Linked by Thom Holwerda on Tue 15th May 2018 22:45 UTC
Hardware, Embedded Systems

I've been trying to make my computers quieter for nearly three decades. Custom liquid cooling loops, magnetically-stabilised fluid-dynamic bearings, acoustic dampeners, silicone shock absorbers, you name it. Well, last week I finally managed to build a completely silent computer. Without further ado...

The Streacom DB4 is an amazing chassis and case, which I am considering for one of my next computer builds. This article provides great insight into building such a fanless PC, with links to additional articles about the system later in its lifespan.

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v OR...
by The Lone OSer on Wed 16th May 2018 00:25 UTC
RE: OR...
by emphyrio on Wed 16th May 2018 01:22 UTC in reply to "OR..."
emphyrio Member since:
2007-09-11

Heh, only problem is that more and more raspberrypi builds seem to be getting a fan nowadays to improve performance (by preventing heat throttling).

Edited 2018-05-16 01:23 UTC

Reply Score: 4

RE: OR...
by SitrucKram on Wed 16th May 2018 13:08 UTC in reply to "OR..."
SitrucKram Member since:
2013-12-02

And for those who want to perform serious computing, the Raspberry Pi probably isn't even close to an option at this point.

Reply Score: 3

RE: OR...
by grat on Wed 16th May 2018 15:40 UTC in reply to "OR..."
grat Member since:
2006-02-02

... but for those wanting something a bit faster, get a 4 year old iPhone.

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: OR...
by BallmerKnowsBest on Wed 16th May 2018 15:57 UTC in reply to "RE: OR..."
BallmerKnowsBest Member since:
2008-06-02

... but for those wanting something a bit faster, get a 4 year old iPhone.


And if you need something faster than that, you can always get a decade-old Core2Duo...

Reply Score: 4

RE: OR...
by leech on Wed 16th May 2018 15:58 UTC in reply to "OR..."
leech Member since:
2006-01-10

Not sure why everyone pimps the Raspberry Pi. It's just not that great for most things. Though to be fair, it works great in my CosmosEx for my Atari ST computers. Even though the Pi is actually more powerful than any of them. ;)

Reply Score: 0

RE[2]: OR...
by grat on Wed 16th May 2018 17:53 UTC in reply to "RE: OR..."
grat Member since:
2006-02-02

I have a Pi with a wifi dongle, running openElec, plugged directly into a pair of amplified speakers. It mounts an NFS export from my NAS.

Controlled from my phone/tablet, it's a very nice music player.

Reply Score: 3

v RE[2]: OR...
by emphyrio on Thu 17th May 2018 09:11 UTC in reply to "RE: OR..."
Or you know...
by MtRattlesnake on Wed 16th May 2018 00:56 UTC
MtRattlesnake
Member since:
2018-05-16

Put it in the closet.

Reply Score: 0

Comment by CowMan
by CowMan on Wed 16th May 2018 01:15 UTC
CowMan
Member since:
2006-09-26

Awesome case, lovely build, love it!!

To be fair, one could have 0 dB much easier and cheaper by going with an appropriate low power CPU. Another option is to oversize the components so any fans never kick in, i.e. I just built a 4U threadripper box full of noctua fans which is quite quiet; has a Seasonic PSU which is way oversized, 1300W, so never gets anywhere near enough load to spin the fan up in 'hybrid' mode (though I do leave it running). Similarly, the drive cages are fit with fans, but they have never kicked in either.

If the case has room, that often is a more practical (cheaper, more flexible, better reusuability) option.

Another thing to consider, large slow-turning fans are easy enough to be had which will put out less than 12dB in operation - a decent case will attenuate that below perception, which would be way more efficient cooling for 'noiseless' operation. I'd consider that a fair trade off, there is not the reliability to be gained from removing rotating parts, but really allowing for internal airflow is still 2nd class in that regard to a sealed system which would prevent dust accumulation.

Reply Score: 3

RE: Comment by CowMan
by TheForumTroll on Wed 16th May 2018 10:32 UTC in reply to "Comment by CowMan"
TheForumTroll Member since:
2018-04-28

A lower power CPU isn't really needed if you use good components. My old I5-2500K overclocked a bit doesn't have any fans running. Just a huge chunk of aluminum from Noctura. Only when fully OC'ed (4,5Ghz) does the single fan turn on (controlled by SpeedFan). Fanless PSU's from Seasonic are also very quiet ;)

Edited 2018-05-16 10:34 UTC

Reply Score: 2

Comment by werpu
by werpu on Wed 16th May 2018 07:56 UTC
werpu
Member since:
2006-01-18

He probably would have gotten away much cheaper by sticking to a Ryzen 2200 or 2400 APU instead of going for the 1600 with a dedicated GPU.

Reply Score: 4

RE: Comment by werpu
by Morgan on Wed 16th May 2018 11:01 UTC in reply to "Comment by werpu"
Morgan Member since:
2005-06-29

Exactly. Since he said it's not for gaming there is simply no need for a dedicated GPU. I recently built a Ryzen 5 2400G based workstation and the built in GPU is more than enough for any non-gaming task, and it also can handle light to medium gaming for all but the most inefficient game engines (Unity I'm looking at you).

Reply Score: 4

RE: Comment by werpu
by bhtooefr on Wed 16th May 2018 11:37 UTC in reply to "Comment by werpu"
bhtooefr Member since:
2009-02-19

Unless he needed six cores.

Reply Score: 2

Coil whine
by p13. on Wed 16th May 2018 08:31 UTC
p13.
Member since:
2005-07-10

While annoying on a regular machine, it will drive you absolutely nuts on a "0db" machine like this.

Reply Score: 0

RE: Coil whine
by yoshi314@gmail.com on Wed 16th May 2018 10:28 UTC in reply to "Coil whine"
yoshi314@gmail.com Member since:
2009-12-14

at least it will be more noticeable and easier to locate.

Reply Score: 2

Comment by werpu
by werpu on Wed 16th May 2018 08:45 UTC
werpu
Member since:
2006-01-18

He probably would have gotten away much cheaper by sticking to a Ryzen 2200 or 2400 APU instead of going for the 1600 with a dedicated GPU.

Reply Score: 2

Comment by ahferroin7
by ahferroin7 on Wed 16th May 2018 12:33 UTC
ahferroin7
Member since:
2015-10-30

There's all kinds of other things you can do too though. Some newer MB's can be configured to stop the chassis fans if things are cool enough, certain PSU's can do likewise. I forget the actual branding, but there's at least one really nice fanless ceramic CPU cooler out there that essentially induces convection currents across the fins because of its design.

You can of course also do any number of custom designs. A few years back, one of my friends put together a system that used a custom made, airtight, solid aluminum case that had external fins, and then stuck a bunch of peltier modules with heatsinks on the inside of the top of the case to transfer the heat to the case and induce internal convection currents. The whole system had no moving parts (he used a big passive CPU cooler and SSD's), was completely silent (the case was thick enough that it dampened the coil whine from the internal components to the point of being inaudible), and the whole thing ran remarkably cool (I think he had a 65W CPU, and it ran at no more than 50C most of the time, with the outside of the case rarely going above 30C).

Reply Score: 3

No case walls
by jessesmith on Wed 16th May 2018 14:13 UTC
jessesmith
Member since:
2010-03-11

Years ago I learned that it is often possible to run a completely silent system by simply taking the sides off the case and removing the fan. Use a SSD instead of a HDD and, ta-da, silent computer with virtually no tinkering or special equipment.

As others have pointed out, you can do the same thing with a Raspberry Pi, but it won't give nearly the same performance as just taking the sides off a typical desktop case.

Reply Score: 0

C64 and Amiga 500
by cybergorf on Wed 16th May 2018 14:49 UTC
cybergorf
Member since:
2008-06-30

Computers are silent. At least that is what my first experiences with computers told me.
Except for the (optional) floppy drive my C64 was absolutely silent.

I seems noisy computers were just a unfortunate episode in history :-)

Reply Score: 5

Comment by ilovebeer
by ilovebeer on Wed 16th May 2018 15:26 UTC
ilovebeer
Member since:
2011-08-08

Nobody at this point should be impressed that someone built a silent/0db pc. It's old news and people have been doing it in various ways for many years. If you're going to show up extremely late for a party, at least don't pretend it just started because you finally got there.

Reply Score: 5