I want to make my computer smaller and quieter

My computer is too big and too noisey. I would like to use a new case and motherboard but something tells me that might not be enough. So I’m here fishing for advice.

Here is my current setup.
Video card: ATI Radeon X800PRO 256MB GDDR3 AGP 4X/8X Video Card - Retail
Power Supply: THERMALTAKE Silent Purepower W0014RU ATX 480W Power Supply - Retail
Motherboard: MSI K8N Neo Platinum Socket 754 NVIDIA nForce3 250Gb ATX
CPU: AMD Athlon 64 3200+ Newcastle Socket 754 Processor Model with Retail fan & heat sink
Memory: GeIL Value 512MB 184-Pin DDR SDRAM DDR 400 (PC 3200) With Extreme Performance Heat Spreader
Optical Drive: NEC DVD+/-RW ND-2500A Black
Hard Drive: Maxtor drive, 250 gigs, 7200 rpm, 8 meg cache, 9.3 seek, ultra ata133
Case: COOLER MASTER PAC-T01-EK Black All Aluminium Alloy ATX Mid Tower


You should look at some of the Small Form Factor PCs (also called mini-PCs) that are out there. Most of them require you to build it yourself, but I’m sure there are vendors who sell full machines, too.

The site I’d look at is www.sfftech.com. They do pretty good and consistent reviews of the offerings.

You could also look at a high powered desktop replacement notebook, if that strikes your fancy.

Thanks, but I said I want to make my pc smaller and quiter. Not buy a whole new system that wouldn’t be very functional anyways.

I would advise to swap fans first.

Get a decent CPU aftermarket cooler.


Check the XP120 - I would add a Papst 4412 FGLL or Noiseblocker SX1 fan to that and here we got a very quiet system

Then get a nice cooler for your GPU


The VF700-CU can be set to very quiet noise levels.

Get a Northbridge passive cooler:


(works great if you got a bit of airflow in your case)

I heard the Silentmaxx cases have a good price performance ratio. Im not sure about it as I´ve never seen one in front of me. Most of my friends have CM Stackers (way bigger then your praetorian) or Lian Li´s. Lian Li PC-V1100 series is a sexy and silent case but the question is are you willing to shell out 250 dough?

I dont think you will be able to shrink it much more then your current Praetorian case.

If you got some noisy case fans, swap them for quieter ones or reduce the voltage for the fans. You could go and get some ready made resistors that shrink the voltage to 7 Volt.

The first thing to consider replacing is the heatsink/fan on the CPU.

You could try unplugging some items and seeing what actually makes the most noise. In your case, it’s probably the CPU fan, the GPU fan, and case fans (probably in that order).

You could consider something like an Antec Sonata case. Instead of having small case fans, it has a single 120mm fan in the back. It’s pretty quiet.

Head over to Quiet PC, and browse the “quiet” parts at Directron for some other ideas.

Read this article http://bookofhook.com/Article/Misc/EasyStepsforaQuietPC.html

Sorry – when you said make it smaller, I assumed you meant looking at new cases (isn’t that pretty much the only way to make it smaller?) :wink:

There’s a great yahoo group called silent-pc that shares lots of good info on silencing your computer, too. The four big sources of noise are your case fans, CPU fan, PSU fan, and video card fan. Try playing around with them to figure out which one(s) are the source of your greatest annoyance, and go from there.

Like Steve said, QuietPC and Directron are your friends in this endeavor. :) However, getting into quiet PCs can be an expensive (and neverending) proposition, as you’ll eventually replace just about everything in your PC in the quest for silence.!

Check out Silent PC Review. They have an extensive list of recommended parts as well as plenty of current reviews and DIY projects, if you’re so inclined.

As for silencing your current system, you will want to replace the cooler on your video card, replace your power supply, and replace your Heatsink/Fan. The Zalman cooler that was mentioned in EvilIdler’s thread would be a pretty good choice.

How many case fans do you have? If youve got the standard gaming rig component of four or five, get a fan control panel ($20 or so from Newegg) and turn them down as low as possible. I did this with mine and cut case noise by a good 60%.

$370 is probably a lot more than you want to spend, but just in case…

The Antec 480W Neopower PSU is pretty much the best PSU out there; the 120mm fan is very quiet and the modular wires make clean wire management practically a non-issue.

Mnpctech.com is the site of a custom modder that sells modded cases, not ricer, neon jobs, but built to allow for good airflow and quiet use.
I bought a case from him, no longer offered, but this SC195 mod is pretty nice. The Ultra Quiet version w/ pre-installed noise-dampening foam is closest to the version I bought. Combined w/ a quiet CPU fan and the Antec PSU makes my PC extremely quiet.

I figured it was a bit indulgent, but over time, it’ll pay off, because I really can’t foresee a need for a new case until/unless the BTX standard becomes a requirement in the next 3 years or so…http://www.mnpctech.com/SC195.html

I"ve used Zalman Fanmates to quiet my existing fans…


The THERMALTAKE Silent Purepower is not a VERY noisy PSU. If you power it down with the 2 knobs (I hope you got the version with the frontside knobs?), its ok, not silent, but there are worse.

You also dont need to place a fan controller in it. You can simply plug the fans onto the 5 Volt rails of the molex connector, if you push the contacts out and exchange them (the yellow 12 V with the red 5V).

For 370 US I could build you a passive cooled watercooling system, easily.

I’ve decided to go ahead and buy a fan control from newegg. Really just because I can and found one that has different color info displays and all sort of neat stuff.

However I don’t think that is my major problem. Upon the advice, I decided one wuite evening to open up my case and start disabling things to determine where the noise is coming from. Here is what I discovered from loudest to quietest.

  1. Hard drives. Forgot I have TWO hard drives and one of them has a high pitch whine. Sounds like a freaken fan but now its a drive. Its my secondary 160 gig so it may be replaced very soon.

  2. CPU fan. Actually its pretty close to which is the loudest. The cpu fan or the hard drive.

  3. DVD drive. If there is a disk in it it rumbles quite a bit. I think some padding might help.

  4. The five case fans. Individually they are quiet. Together they put out quite a bit of noise

  5. The videocard fan. Not really much noise at all

  6. Power supply. Hardly hear it but since it did make some noise, I figure I should list it.

So my plan is: New heatsink and cpu fan, replace squeaky hard drive(s), pad the dvd drive, and get a fan control.


these things seem pretty bad ass the case is the heat sink as well. At least im pretty sure thats how they work. May be a bit pricey though :?

Some rubber grommets for your hard drives, dvd drives, and fans might help a good bit. It’ll be a ton cheaper than replacing any of your stuff, too.

Read up on volt modding your fans. 7 volts is almost always enough for a case fan, especially if you have 5 of them. The difference in sound is huge, too. It’s very easy to do, too.

Why do you have 5 case fans? Are you getting negative air pressure (too much out, not enough in)? That’s bad, and noisy. Looking at your specs a 7volt 120 in and 7volt 120 out should be enough. If all you have is 80mm fans use a 12 volt in and 12 volt out.

Lastly, how much money are you looking to spend? With a couple 7 volt 120mm case fans, a passive Zalman gpu cooler, rubber grommets for your hard drives and dvd drive, and the Zalman reserator you can have a nearly silent PC.

The 5 fans in my case are 3 going in and 2 going out. So the net should be positive air pressure inside keeping the inside cool and dust free.

I was looking to spend under $500 so anything should be covered.

Unless you have a VERY hot machine, you really don’t need 7 case fans. In fact, you can probably get by with a single 80mm exhaust fan clocked at 7V.

I’d be leery of rubber grommets for the hard drives, they tend to heat real badly with those (the connection to the case allows the drives to dissipate heat over a much larger area). Just get a nice and quiet drive (Seagate or Samsung) and then if you’re real psycho, a SmartDrive enclosure.

Today (which was different than yesterday and likely to change tomorrow) I’m kind of leaning to building a small form factor and silent pc. Here are the cards at newegg that are reasonably powerful and are cooled with huge ass heat sinks instead of fans. Any comments about the cards below?

XFX PVT44AWA Geforce 6200 256MB DDR AGP 4X/8X
SAPPHIRE RADEON 9600 256M Radeon 9600 256MB DDR AGP 4X/8X Video Card
ASUS EN6600/TD/256M/Silencer Geforce 6600 256MB DDR PCI-Express x16
GIGABYTE GV-N68128DH Geforce 6800 128MB DDR AGP 4X/8X Video Card
GIGABYTE GV-NX66256DP Geforce 6600 256MB DDR PCI-Express x16 Video Card
GIGABYTE GV-RX80L256V Radeon X800XL 256MB GDDR3 PCI-Express x16 Video Card

Even if you change your opinion on silent PCs, I don’t! If these cards are any good I might even throw out my perfectly good GeForce FX 5900 XT, just to have a video card without a fan.