The Silent PC

The Silent PC
IT Noise

ISO 9296
Noise Labels
Intelligent PCs
Site Info

Last modified January 1, 2022


The Hardware & Software Collection

The Silent PC web site was created in 1998. Until about 2002 it used to host an almost complete list of the World's hardware and software solutions for noiseless computing. The silent PC market now many years ago exploded and the list, as most of The Silent PC Web site, is kept here for historical reasons and as a reference.

This site didn't do product reviews, but tried to keep links to them.

The Silent PC is an independent publication and has not been authorized, sponsored, or otherwise approved by any of the companies or other sources here mentioned.


A Sign of Quality

IT manufacturers and resellers can declare their products' acoustics according to international standard making it possible for customers to compare different products also in this respect before buying:

  • A sign of product quality is that the manufacturer or reseller states noise emissions of his system unit, hard disk, storage media reader/writer, printer, copier or projector according to the ISO 9296 standard. [1]

  • The fan manufacturer or reseller can make it clear that he has measured his products' noise emissions according to the ISO 10302 standard.
  • Warning: Manufacturers and sellers using exact decibel or bel figures to declare their products' noise emissions not telling which standard is used should rise great suspicion: It is far more honest to use obviously relative subjective notions like "quiet" or "almost silent", or refer to independent reviews, than to use figures in a way that misleads customers to believe that they are able to use them for to compare. More on comparable verifiable noise declarations for IT equipment can be read at the ISO 9296 page.


    newQuiet Computer Resellers - "We provide affordable and quiet custom built PCs for all purposes and environments. Whether you're looking to buy a PC or build one from scratch, we can assist at every point along the way - from giving you the best advice available on the products that suit your needs, through to lifetime technical support for every product in our catalogue." - Acoustic PC - "We offer premium quality high-performance quiet computer hardware such as quiet computer fans, quiet CPU fans, fanless CPU coolers, quiet PC power supplies, quiet computer cases, computer sound dampening, and soundproofing materials and more for totally silent PC systems." - "We feature all of today's best Quiet PC Solutions for silencing your noisy computer."

    Acousti Products - "At Acousti Products we will assist you in the removal of server and IT noise from the workplace, by helping you choose the right quiet rackmount cabinet. We also provide quiet components for computers and supply pre-cut bespoke acoustic materials for manufacturers."


    System Units & Barebone Systems

    newPuget Systems - Puget Systems specializes in building extremely quiet computers. Some of them are certified by Silent PC Review (SPCR) - Silent PC Review is the World's most renowned and trusted Web site focusing on noiseless computing. Puget Systems ship to the US, Canada, Australia, and the UK currently, and have plans to expand to the rest of Europe by the end of the year. - build SPCR Designed Computer Systems These machines are, like the ones found at Puget Systems, probably some of the quietest pre-built computers possible to buy, helping the ones wanting a quiet PC, but not having the time or interest to build one themselves. ships all over the World.

    Tranquil PC - quiet and declared according to ISO 9296

    The Tranquil PC - ISO 9296 declared - which makes it possible to compare and verify its low level of noise emissions.

    Tranquil PC - UK based Tranquil PC Limited declare their quiet product according to ISO 9296. Its declared A-weighted sound power level value in idling is just 2.9 B. This low value can be compared with the target sound power level value for acoustic comfort of 4.0 B in an Intel® study [2]. The difference between 2.9 and 4.0 B means that the Tranquil PC is about double as quiet as the Intel goal. It is also about four times quieter in idling than allowed in today's ergonomic labeling scheme values for IT equipment (4.8-5.0 B).

    Shuttle® manufactures small form factor systems. Some known to be quiet. This is the Silent PC Review of the high ranked Shuttle Zen (ST62K) XPC: "Finally, a Quiet SFF PC!" Tom's Hardware Guide provides an interesting review of the Shuttle SS40 model, including how heatpipes work.

    newLinutop - "Specialized in energy efficient IT solutions based on open source software, Linutop develops and distributes small, silent and robust PCs (no fan no mobile part). The company supplies innovative, economic solutions for Internet access, digital signage or network monitoring."

    Hush Technologies - "Hush Technologies is a bespoke manufacturer of precision engineered PCs and cooling systems that work with people, not against them. The Hush ATX computer Ergonomics, stability and silence are our watchwords and our focus is on case design, cooling systems and consultancy. Hush Technologies services industries and individuals where stability and silence are a priority, including the medical, media, domestic, architectural and creative arenas." Here is the SilentPCReview.

    Soltek Qbic EQ3401A - a test winner among five barebone systems according to Swedish Mikrodatorn No 5 April 2004. The only disadvantage, they say, is that it does't include a CPU fan, and doesn't feature a parallell-port.

    ACTG - a German silent PC manufacturer.

    Stealth UltraQuiet PC - P4-3.2 by ARM Systems. The SilentPCReview conclusion: "It's a solid, bleeding-edge PC with excellent acoustics at a fair price."

    The SOLTEK Qbic EQ3401M Small Form Factor (SFF) system unit. AnandTech in a review says: "We highly recommend the Soltek Qbic EQ3401M. If Soltek can further refine the system board and internal wiring, it would be our choice without qualification. As it is, if you are willing to put up with the cluttered internal wiring and layout while you build or upgrade your SFF, then you will be rewarded with a sleek, stable system that is the quietest SFF Computer we have ever tested."


    OMWAVE DH1 - "DH1 is a new versatile appliance that will radically change the world of Audio Video products. Silent and sleek, DH1 will alone replace PVR, CD and DVD players and recorders – all of this, combined with all the high technology of a PC - right in the middle of the living room."

    Fanless barebone system by Scythe USA

    EPIA-1000 fanless mini case by Scythe USA - "Tired of noise from your PC system? Using "Heatlane" technology (by TS Heatronics) to transfer heat through the fins at the bottom of the chassis, you can now build a completely fanless mini PC system." The EPIA-1000 is compatible with the VIA EPIA-M and VIA EPIA-M10000 Mini-ITX main boards. - LPC-301FL - "Designed without cooling fans the rugged extruded aluminum chassis acts as a heat sink to dissipate internal heat and provide noise free operation."

    ASUS Pundit desktop barebone system - "'s quiet"

    Armari R8HT-Q3000 - Reviewed in PCPlus: "The big fear with such a focus on noise-reduction is that the raw performance of this machine will be adversely affected. Thankfully this is isn't an issue for the R8HT, which returned some extremely impressive results in our tests" (PCPlus paper issue no 199, February 2003, p 98).

    Creative SLiX™ - "The Ultra-Quiet Barebone Solution".

    Pandora Digital Media Systems - Tranquility™ PCs: "The quietest PCs that you'll never hear". Comment: It would be most interesting to see Pandora Digital Media Systems prove this interesting statement according to ISO 9296.

    Nexus SilentPC

    Digital-Logic AG Microspace-PC: "Compact and Quiet - These are the special features of the MICROSPACE PC, the dictionary-like dimensions of which make it the smallest and quietest PC with passive cooling."

    NEC PowerMate® Eco: "No fan, whisper quiet-approximately 20db". A CNET article: "Teaming with chipmaker Transmeta, NEC says its new NEC Mate incorporates a Crusoe TM5800 processor, a notebook chip. Thus, the new machine is smaller, uses less power, and operates more quietly than other desktop machines--it's so quiet, the company says, that the only noise it makes sounds like rustling leaves."

    SleekLine 1000 Mini 1U Computer System from PC Power and Cooling; who tell that one of its advantages is its quiet operation.

    The ASUS Terminator barebone system is often regarded both quiet and inexpensive. Since there are different versions of this system, one will have to check which is the most quiet one. It has been said that the version with a small power supply using a 80mm fan is the one to avoid. There is an e-mailing list (not connected to Asus) on the Asus Terminator system; where one can ask questions and share knowledge.

    SID FutureClient: "If one constantly works as do our engineers with the theme Thin Clients and Fanless PCs - but never finds a really convincing concept - then one day you get ridden by ambition, to put together something new. We believe we have succeeded. With the worlds truly first, 100% fanless PC to build a PC to meet such ambitions of ours.".

    VIA Eden Embedded System Platform: "With overall system power consumption levels of just over six watts, the VIA Eden Platform is the industry's lowest power x86 embedded platform. Market-leading thermal characteristics make the VIA Eden Platform the ideal solution for ergonomic fanless system designs for a variety of innovative low profile, small form factors, and translate into lower energy costs and longer battery life in mobile designs." PC PowerZone provides a review.

    Ambient Computer Technologies: "Extremely quiet computer technology".

    Hewlett-Packard logo used courtesy of HP Sweden

    Hewlett-Packard® - Compaq® declares some of its products according to ISO 9296. These data can be found below the heading Product Environmental Profiles. Note that much of this information is rather old: You get the impression that HP doesn't keep all its noise declarations uptodate.

    Dell® declare their products according to ISO 9296. These data can be found below the heading Dell Environmental Data Sheets

    The Hewitt Rand Quiet PC "has been built with speech recognition in mind. From the hard disk, to the sound card, to the cooling fans, each Quiet PC is assembled using components that have been selected for their freedom from electrical hum, mechanical noise and vibration."

    Lintec Silence: They claim its noise emission is only 28 dBA, but don't tell which standard has been used for measurement. At this point their info is only available in German.

    Apple with their now discontinued Mac G4 Cube used to say: "Amazingly, we figured out how to cool this enormous G4 power without a fan, making this one of the quietest computers ever built. Running in virtual silence, the G4 Cube doesn't distract you from more important things - like thinking." Apple also redesigned their first iMac, now also discontinued, so that it didn't need a fan. They used to say: "Silence is golden. Unlike PCs, iMac doesn't need a fan inside. It's ingeniously engineered to be the world's coolest computer - in every sense of the word." The flat panel iMac, unlike the previous CRT model, does have a fan. Fortunately, the new iMac, while using a fan, is still considered pretty quiet. There have been complaints on Mac posting sites concerning loud fans in the PowerMac towers and G4 PowerBook laptops, and especially the G4 dual processor systems, who were nicknamed the "wind-tunnel" G4s. The new Apple G5 machines are quieter than the former G4s, and the Mac Mini is regarded a quiet machine.

    Toshiba: "Toshiba's new Intelligent Cooling redefines how desktops are cooled by offering a targeted cooling system that eliminates the need for noisy chassis fans. Combined with EPAK noise dampening foam, the Equium 8000S is virtually silent."

    MultiQ with their "flat panel computer": " MultiQ technology reduces electrical and magnetic fields far below present recommended levels and eliminate almost all fan noise."

    HeadLock Data in Sweden was first to develop a TCO'99 labeled computer. They are here well-known for their high quality, and also known for manufacturing certified medical computers. The Swedish noise-conscious IT hardware reviewing magazine Mikrodatorn (no 5, May 2003) stated that the HeadLock Koala Silent system unit was highly reccomended for both home and office users, because of its combination of good performance and excellent low acoustics.


    Thin Clients

    An increasing number of companies and tax-paid services these days utilize thin clients with the primary goal to cut IT hardware and administration costs. An extra bonus is that modern thin clients often run very quiet, and often even silent.

    The thin client device is a simple terminal or other computing device connected to powerful servers where applications and data are stored and processed. Sometimes old and cheap computers are reused as thin clients simply by adding a special software. Here their slow performance often isn't att all recognized. A disadvantage using old computers can be that they are noisier than the new thin clients manufactured for this very purpose.

    The opposite to a thin client is a fat client, or fat PC. Fat PCs, which is what most home users have, run a full complement of drives, peripherals and storage capability. They contain an operating system and their own applications. Above they are refered to as system units.

    Chip PC is the maker of the Xtreme PC thin clients. Their EL 4310 is one example of the low power consumption of, and thus the lack of need for active noisy cooling solutions for modern thin clients: It consumes 3.5W! This is about the same power dissipation as for an ordinary bicycle lamp; to be compared with the about 100W dissipated by only one component of an ordinary PC system unit, the CPU.

    HP® Compaq® t5700 - Transmeta Corporation, who provides the cool running processor for this thin client, says: "The HP Compaq t5700 thin client is an all-new, all-HP design that transforms the enterprise systems landscape with a new innovative and ultra small design that offers desktop-like features and performance at compelling prices." "A moderately sized heat sink and lack of a cooling fan, even at gigahertz speeds, makes for a truly quiet work environment."



    When buying a motherboard (mainboard) for a quiet PC one should check for one that meets the latest ACPI specification - including the S3 sleep mode, one that features built-in thermal regulation of cooling fan speed according to need for as many fans as possible, and one that doesn't need any extra on-board fans just to cool motherboard chips. Advanced Programmable Interrupt Controller (APIC) must also be supported.

    A motherboard for building a quiet or silent PC should feature the capability to regulate the speed also for big but slow rotating quiet fans: There should be no lower limit for monitoring of fan rpm. This said because some motherboards these days have been found incapable of handling slow moving quiet running fans.

    The main providers of PC processors (CPUs), AMD® and Intel®, provide internal thermal diodes for most accurate measurement of the CPU inner temperature. AMD was a bit late with this feature and used to rely on external, less accurate measurements, with sensors located on the motherboard. This might be the background to the fact that not all AMD CPU compatible motherboards yet are able to utilize AMD's internal temperature sensor: something necessary to be able to run the chip as quiet as possible. An extra temperature sensor located on the motherboard is of course an advantage, and today seen on most quality motherboards. Those that want to run an AMD processor on their motherboards should check that it supports AMD's Cool’n’Quiet™ technology, intended specifically to reduce noise and lower power consumption.

    For some time PC processor overclocking has been hot stuff. Today people also talk on the advantages of underclocking processors; to make them run cooler and minimize the need for active cooling. A perfect motherboard for a silent PC should therefore feature capabilites for underclocking. SilentPCReview explains this further in the article "CPU Undervolting & Underclocking: A Primer", and maintains a list of "Undervoltable Motherboards".

    It is wise if the motherboard is equipped with a good mounting solution for the heatsink or water cooling block, since noiseless cooling of the processor requires the largest possible surface areas. If not is it easier to break the CPU on mounting the cooling solution, or when transporting the system unit. Conscious motherboard manufacturers also keep a little extra room around the CPU sockets making it easier to attach large heatsinks and water cooling blocks to the CPU.

    The PC motherboard can be seen as the component of the PC system that provide it with system capabilities: Without the motherboard would the PC system not be a system. The goal for every intelligent system is to provide as much positive results with as little negative side-effects as possible, and this to as little cost as possible. The system capabilities of PC motherboards, and the components conected to them, can be much further improved. This subject is further discussed at the Intelligent PCs page of this site.

    VIA Epia M mainboard declared according to ISO 9296

    The VIA Epia M motherboard with CPU - ISO 9296 declared.

    VIA EPIA M Mainboard - VIA Technologies, Inc. is the first known motherboard manufacturer declaring their products according to ISO 9296. Note that ISO 9296 values for mainboards will be higher than the final PC with enclosure: you have to compare ISO 9296 values between products of the same kind. VIA writes: "Available with an embedded VIA Eden™ ESP processor core for fanless systems with ultra low-power requirements, or an embedded VIA C3™ E-Series processor for more demanding digital multimedia applications, the EPIA M-Series is the perfect platform for a whole range of small form factor, low-power digital media devices and home entertainment centers." VIA EPIA M mainboards belongs to the Mini-ITX motherboard form factor, created by VIA. provides some information on how to build quiet systems based on these small motherboards.

    Intel®: Some of their most recent motherboards feature the ADI 1027 dBCool thermal control chip, which probably is today's most important and advanced invention for to minimize noise at motherboard-level. "Intel® Precision Cooling Technology is the latest exclusive feature for Intel® desktop boards¹ that brings advanced cooling capabilities to your PC. With Intel® Precision Cooling Technology, your system fans will automatically adjust their speeds according to the internal chassis temperature. If your system temperature is within normal operating specifications, your fans will operate at reduced speeds, thereby reducing noise and power consumption." It seems as all the recent boards that feature the ADI 1027 dBCool thermal control chip also utilizes a large heatsink, instead of a fan, for to cool the most hot-running on-board chip. One can read more on the importance of the Intel solution and the ADI chip at the Intelligent PCs page.

    MSI™ - their CoreCell™ Chip includes fan speed control according to temperature. The MSI™ K8T Neo board is one of a few already supporting the AMD® Cool’n’Quiet™ technology. In this review of eight motherboards Tom's Hardware choosed the MSI™ K8T Neo board as the clear winner, also because of its support for AMD's new clever technology.

    AOpen® also improves their boards with hardware monitoring and fan speed according to need. The name of the AOpen solutions: SilentTek and SilentBIOS. Here's a SilentPCReview - SPCR's Conclusions: "AOpen's SilentBIOS/TEK is by no means a flawless execution of an embedded thermal fan control system in a motherboard, but it is the first serious attempt. An ambitious, flexible and powerful software utility, its inclusion of the CPU temperature diode data into a fan control feedback loop gives it a great deal of power and accuracy. Some peculiarities, ambiguities and idocyncracies have been noted, but in my opinion, they are not serious enough flaws to offset the many noise / thermal control benefits provided."

    ASUS® - some of their motherboards feature their Q-Fan technology: "With the Q-Fan cooling system, users can now work in a distraction-free environment with minimal system noise. This unique technology, which intelligently and automatically adjusts CPU fan speeds according to system load and temperature, is available only on motherboards by ASUS, the world's top designer and manufacturer of motherboards." Here's a list of which ASUS boards feature the Q-Fan technology.

    Fujitsu Siemens Computers® is a motherboard manufacturer that have implemented fan speed regulating according to need for cooling, thus minimizing noise. Their Premium motherboard series provides independent system monitoring and thermal management. Their D1184 motherboard has been reviewed here, and here.


    Processors - CPUs

    Buying a processor (CPU) for a quiet PC you should look for one that generates as little heat as possible. To check this up one have to look for a processor that uses as little of electric power as possible. Power consumption is measured in Watt. One can compare processors in this respect at "Processor Electrical Specifications" by Chris Hare.

    Small and yet very capable electronic circuits have to be regarded very impressive, but the combination of very small and yet very hot running electronic circuits must be regarded most unimpressive. CPUs do get hot, and today those with higher frequences do get very hot. The CPU surface should therefore be as big as possible, making the contact surface to the today always necessary heatsink or water cooling block as big as possible, making it easier to evacuate heat. Manufacturers aware of this will add an IHS (Integrated Heat Spreader) to an original small CPU cirquit surface. An other reason making the CPU surface area as big as possible is to make it more difficult to break the cirquit on the needed firm mounting of the cooling solution to it.

    An other important feature for a CPU for a quiet PC is that it should feature a built-in temperature sensor and a temperature monitoring solution, making it possible to measure the inner temperature of the chip.

    Conscious built CPUs also features automatic underclocking of themselves so that they stay within their operating temperatures even if some problem with overheating occurs. This is a far better solution than the more commonly used automatic shutting off; crashing the system. Not even the shutting off solution is something to take for granted in today's processors - they will if they run too hot just simple overheat without first telling. One can download a film on this from Tom's Hardware Guide. Shutting off or slowing down as the processor exceeds a high temperature limit will protect the user against fire and money loss because of an unusable CPU. Read more on thermal aware PCs at the Intelligent PCs page of this site.

    CPUs Ranked by Noise is a page at the Recommended section of SilentPCReview.

    Intel® - The Intel processors have for a long time featured built-in temperature sensors, which makes it easy to use them for building quiet PCs, easily being able to monitor their inner temperature, and making it possible to regulate their cooling fan speed according to need. If they overheat they will underclock themselves preventing the chip from being burned, and protecting the system from a crash. Intel is also clever enough to utilize the whole socket area of their most recent CPUs for an integrated heat spreader. For a long time Intel has been in the frontline of thermal awareness, both regarding their CPUs and the rest of the PC systems by for example standards like ACPI and the BTX form factor. Paying for an Intel CPU one doesn't only pay for a capable CPU, but also mostly for efforts working in an intelligent direction of PC technology. The Pentium® M processor series, although its manufacturer has marketed the Pentium M exclusively as a mobile product, is regarded Intel's best one for building also a quiet stationary PC: This because of its high performance to power consumption ratio.

    AMD® is the World's second largest CPU manufacturers. Since 2001 their processors utilize internal temperature sensoring. With the introduction of the Athlon 64 3200+ AMD in September 2003 introduced a new technology named "Cool’n’Quiet™". In an XBit Laboratories review this was said: "As a result, if the cooling solution in your system features a fan with varying rotation speed, the Cool’n’Quiet technology may significantly reduce the noise level of your system. And beside that, we save a lot on the CPU power consumption." Here is Tom's Hardware's Cool’n’Quiet™ explanation. Only a few motherboard manufacturers now support AMD's Cool’n’Quiet™ technology. Tom's Hardware has a clear winner supporting this clever technlogy, the MSI™ K8T Neo board. Athlon 64 for Quiet Power is a valuable SilentPCReview article. Here is the SilentPCReview list of the boards that now can take use of AMD's Cool’n’Quiet technology.

    Apple® - Many of their Macintosh G3 and G4 processors where known to run cool. Sometimes only a heatsink without an attached fan where enough to cool them. However, with the current G4 and G5 Power PCs this isn't true any longer. The Apple CPUs feature built-in temperature sensors. What will happen if an Apple CPU overheats isn't known (Anyone that knows can e-mail the site author).

    VIA C3™: "With its incredibly low power consumption and low heat emission properties, the VIA C3 processor can be used as the basis for ultra cool, silent PC, Server and Entertainment systems." VIA C3 was the Worlds' first 0.15 micron x86 CPU. It is now manufactured using the 0.13 micron process; the fastest one December 19, 2001 being a 933MHz one. The first VIA C3 CPUs didn't need active noise generating fan cooling; but with the introduction of a 1 GHz version VIA states: "With a typical power consumption of a mere 5.7 watts, the VIA C3™ 1GHz processor only requires a standard small fan and heat sink to operate with rock solid reliability and stability, even in tough thermal conditions." Here VIA writes on noiseless PCs and suggest configurations for silent systems. The VIA C3 CPU is compatible with common socket 370 motherboards - those used by Intel Pentium III and Celeron CPUs. Here one can find out where to buy one. The VIA C3 processors does like the processors from Intel and AMD, provide thermal data so that one can check their temperature, and the C3 processor chip features a built-in thermal sensor and a solution to make it cut out if it gets too hot.

    Transmeta Corporation with their processor Crusoe™: "Our unique Code Morphing technology has allowed us to drastically reduce the processor's power consumption without sacrificing performance." "A hot processor also needs fans to cool it, making the resulting mobile computer bigger, clunkier and noisier." The Crusoe processor features a built-in temperature sensor. Transmeta regard temperature sensoring a critical part of their LongRun technology. They measure the effects of temperature and voltage on their own circuits and adjust their system timings and performance level based on what they read. Then they match their performance to the task at hand so that they burn no more power than an application demands at a given time, and adjust this approximately 200 times per second. At Transmeta Zone you can read more on the Crusoe processor.


    Power Supplies

    PC Power supplies (PSUs) today most often make use of active cooling with one or two fans. A quiet power supply using fans for cooling should therefore be built with high quality low-noise ones. The power supply equipped with fan(s) should also feature thermal sensoring, and be able to regulate the fan speed according to temperature. It should meet the latest ATX and ACPI specifications.

    In PC system unit constructions today are their power supplies most often made responsible for evacuating heat not only from themselves, but also heat from the whole system unit. It can therefore be difficult for the manufacuter to build the power supply as noiseless as would be possible if it only had to evacuate its own heat. Users needing the most extreme performance of their PCs can use water cooling for to evacuate system heat, making it possible to have the power supply fan move so slow that it can't be heard.

    So far water cooled power supplies doesn't seem to be manufactured. In the future it's possible that more power supplies will make use of water or passive convection cooling. Then a temperature controlled slow moving but high performing quiet cross-flow fan can replace the smaller noisier power supply fans, that for some time has been made responsible for system heat evacuation.

    In the future PC power supplies will probably also be made capable of reporting their inner temperature to a motherboard temperature controlling unit, making it possible to further optimize the cooling/noise ratio at the same time as being safe that the power supply doesn't overheat. Read more on this subject on the Intelligent PCs page of this site.

    SilentPCReview's Power Supply Fundamentals & Recommended Units section can help you in your decission making: "..higher efficiency is the key to cooler, quieter PSU operation" is one of the important conclusions, and therefore also this closely related link: 80 Plus is a US buy-down program for desktop computers and desktop-derived servers that contain highly efficient power supplies.

    Silverstone fanless power supply

    SilverStone SST-ST30NF - a fanless noiseless PSU. Here is the review. In the SilentPCReview this was said: "The SilverStone ST30NF is the most capable fanless PSU I have tested or used thus far. The features alone are impressive enough, but more importantly, real performance was exemplary throughout bench and in-system testing."

    proSilence PCS-350 fanless PSU - A SilentPCReview: "The proSilence PCS-350W is a solid, perfectly viable fanless PSU well-suited for use in the vast majority of quiet desktop PCs. Its use does not obviate the need for fans elsewhere in the PC. A fan for case cooling is probably necessary to evacuate the heat generated by the CPU, hard drive, RAM and other components. Most systems will also require a fan for CPU cooling. Regardless, the proSilence PCS-350W deserves a strong recommendation for being the first fanless drop-in substitute for a ATX12V PSU."

    Verax 300 Watt power supply. A SilentPCReview, and here the conclusion at the Recommended pages: "As quiet or quieter than Nexus NX3000, with identical characteristics except the fan. Unusual "static" noise signature to Verax fan, which has very little low-frequency noise." is one of Verax' resellers.

    Nexus NX-3000 "Real Silent Power Supply". A Sudhan Media review: "Nexus. The Holy Grail in the Quest for Silent Computing?" and SilentPCReview: Nexus NX-3000 PSU: a new fan-cooled standard. At SilentPCReview's recommended section they say: "Quietest fan-cooled PSU yet, with tight line voltage regulation and good cooling despite quiet fan. Looks similar to Zalman. Passive PFC. Stamped grill vent only downside."

    Deltatronic Computer 360 Watt Silentium SPS360A power supply runs without a fan. One can get the impression it's an external one, but this doesn't seem to be the fact. Web site in German.

    RSG Electronics' noiseless power supplyRSG Electronic manufactures fanless noiseless PC power supplies.

    Sirtec: "The Sirtec smart automatic fan speed control design with built in temperature sensor effectively reduces the noise level to half of that of conventional power supplies. Sirtec PSU maximize the balance between noise reduction and necessary cooling. This unique feature is included in all models. Besides of the excellent silence performance, the stability and full protection design of Sirtec PSU offer your computer a reliable power source. And best of all, the affordable price benefit every computer user to enjoy working under silence environment." This is another of Sirtec's power supply urls: High Power. Sirtec power supplies are also sold under other names. One of those recieved good test results in a C't review (nr. 13, issued on 17-06-02), also for a low level of noise emissions: "Für wenig Geld möglichst leisen Betrieb bietet beispielsweise x (besonders im Schwachlastbereich)" (x stands for the OEM manufacturer).

    Engelking AP2-6300 SFC-A: "The installed low-noise self-monitoring fan only comes into operation in extreme load or temperature situations." In a review in German PC magazine C't (nr. 13, issued on 17-06-02) Engelking AP2-6300SFC-A was found to be the most quiet among all tested power supplies.

    Seasonic: "The Smart and Silent Fan Control circuit design allows the power supply fan, during normal operations, to be in a low rotation state that results in both the lower noise for the system and the increase in lifetime of the fan." SilentPCReview has evaluated the SS-300FS Seasonic product and concludes "Compared to ALL other unmodified power supply units I have used, the Seasonic SS-300FS is about the quietest."

    Deer Computer Company L&C 350W PSU. In a review by Michailtech this is said: "Speaking of the fan, the thing is completely silent. Freakishly silent."

    Just Cooler "silent power supply"

    Zalman Tech: "With the goal of enhancing the computing environment, all Zalman Tech products are noise-free." Comment: The Zalman PSUs are often regarded as some of the most quiet high performance high quality among PSUs, even if some choose to exchange the fan to a more quiet one. Here is an review, and here is a SilentPCReview of the Zalman ZM300A-APF: "Impressively constructed and designed for excellent cooling while maintaining low noise for a wide range system loads, the new Zalman takes clear aim at the growing market for quiet computer power supplies."

    Q Technology "Ultra-Quiet PSUs are extremely high quality units developed especially for people looking for noise characteristics never before known in the world of PCs." Comment: The Q Technology PSU has a good reputation on being a quiet one. is their US distributor.

    Enermax manufactures power supplies with thermal controlled fans meeting the latest ACPI specification. They describe them as noiseless. Users commonly regard them as high quality ones, but there has been complaints on that they where not as quiet as wanted. This might change with a new Enermax series of power supplies, now featuring the possibility to set one of the fans' speed manually. There have been reports that some of the Enermax 431 W and 350 W models have been affected by a wrong located fan placement, making the fan more active than needed. Enermax seems to take these ones back on guarantee, or send the component that has to be changed.


    Hard Disks

    The best hard disks for building quiet PCs are the ones with a documented low level of acoustic noise emissions - Hard disk manufacturers can dare stating noise declaration according to ISO 9296 - this for to facilitate comparision between products [1].

    The connection between the moving and the not moving parts of a hard drive is critical. Here some kind of bearings are used to minimize friction and vibration. Today the most quiet bearings are the fluid ones (FDB).

    The hard disk should feature the possibility to, via a software interface, choose if one wants give priority to acoustic ergonomy before optimal performance.

    You should look for the hard disks that generates as little heat as possible, at the best making it possible to enclose the disk in a noise dampening enclosure, but at least not adding more heat to the system than necessary. Checking hard disk heat emission can be accomplished by comparing product sheets, and checking that the disk has a low level of electric power consumption measured in watt.

    You should check that the hard disk take use of the so called S.M.A.R.T. system, and that the manufacturer has implemented thermal awareness in this system: The best hard disks features a built-in temperature sensor, which is able to report the temperature of the disk to the S.M.A.R.T. system. When one puts a hard disk capable of reporting its temperature in a noise dampening enclosure one can be sure that it tells if it's having problems with heat.

    The ideas behind the S.M.A.R.T. system - Self-Monitoring Analysis and Reporting Technology - came from IBM, but it is now used by almost all hard disk manufacturers. It includes a software interface when fully implemented. Strange enough has it taken some time before hard disk temperature has been included as a part of the S.M.A.R.T. system - a system intended to protect the user's valuable data.

    The most foresighted hard disk manufacturers states that they are working for standardization of temperature reporting of hard disks to a future implemented motherboard unit for coordinated adaptive cooling of personal computers. Read more on this at the Intelligent PCs page of this site.

    Recommended Hard Drives is a page at the Recommended section of SilentPCReview.

    Samsung: Samsung SP1614N has in a recent (April 10, 2004) SilentPCReview been compared to the Seagate Barracuda 7200.7: "The Samsung SP1614N clearly beats the Seagate Barracuda 7200.7 (ST3160023A) in both performance and acoustics. It is a far quieter drive, and faster, too!" Editor Mike Chin adds a note: "As both the Seagate Barracuda IV and V appear to be discontinued, the Samsung SP series are the current 3.5" quiet hard drive champs." It doesn't seem that Samsung yet has implemented awareness of temperature in their hard disks.

    Seagate Technology, Inc., a leading manufacturer in data storage, is wellknown because they used to provide the World's most quiet high-performance hard disk: The Seagate Barracuda ATA IV series. According to Seagate did their quiet success disk series not feature a thermal sensor, but many users told they could use the freeware program Speedfan to monitor their Seagate Barracuda ATA IV temperature. Here is a recent review on the Seagate Barracuda ATA V. There are these days many reports on Seagate Barracuda 7200.7 drives, the ones replacing the ATA IV and V series, providing less acoustic comfort than their earlier successful products did, and the initiated now tend to buy other manufacturers' disks. Hopefully will Seagate soon get on track again.

    Cenatek Rocket Drive
    Cenatek Rocket Drive - A hard disk without moving parts. Here is a SilentPCReview.

    Western Digital Raptor WD740GD is in the Swedish PC magazine Mikrodatorn (No 5, 2004) said to be the market's fastest 10.000 rpm serial ATA disk. It is also said to be a quiet and comparable cool running disk.

    Maxtor Atlas 10k III: a 10.000 RPM SCSI hard disk, reviewed by StorageReview: "It's by far the quietest 10k RPM drive at idle that we've yet heard."

    Quantum is one of the world's leading manufacturers in data storage devices. In this white paper on the their Quiet Drive Technology they state the following: "Quantum is focusing on making quieter drives for the following reasons: -Changes in the use and location of systems employing Hard Disk Drives. -Environmental concerns. - Quiet means quality. -Customers are demanding and valuing low acoustics." Quantum hard disks doesn't yet seem capable of temperature reporting, doesn't seem to have built-in thermistors.


    CD & DVD Drives

    CD and DVD disk manufacturers can also state noise declaration according to ISO 9296 for to facilitate comparision between products [1].

    Ergonomic CD or DVD drives should be capable of having their speed adjusted, so that it can be lowered the times when one wants acoustic ergonomy more than speed. The best CD and DVD drives are those capable of adjusting their speed according to need at any given time.

    CD or DVD drives to avoid are those running so hot that they need to have a built-in cooling fan.

    At this point it's difficult to find any quiet CD or DVD readers at all. They all seem to be making more or less distracting sound. This is possible due to today's need for high speed not pairing the physical limits of this kind of media. The examples below are more to speak on technology that makes it possible to build CD and DVD readers as quiet as possible.

    A solution for not all the time having to stand CD and DVD reader noise can be to use a program that copies the material of these storage medias to a quiet hard drive. CD or DVD reader manufacturers interested in ergonomics could include a piece of such software with their hardware. Read more on this at the software section of this page.

    Sony DDU1621: A DVD drive reviewed by DigitLife: "I think it is the quietest drive I've ever seen."

    ASUS DVD-E608 8x DVD ROM Drive: One is able to set its speed pressing a button, or using a software bundled utility. And there is also an "Adaptive Speed System - Automatically adjust the speed to the current reading status. The drive will lower the speed for CD such as MP3 when playing. As the speed decreases, the noise level also decreases and thus prolong the motor's life." ASUS DVD-E612 seems not yet mentioned on ASUS Web pages. Jason Wong has reviewed this 12x DVD drive. He says: "What I noticed most about it was its stability and silence while playing DVDs." He also concludes: "It's a fact that this drive is very sensitive when it comes to reading certain CDs. Although it would read all the VideoCDs that I load, the uncomfortable vibration and humming noise is always present. I've tried the same CDs with my HP CD-RW drive and there's no such problem."

    QPS manufactures external FireWire CD-Rewritable drives that doesn't need any fans for cooling. In Swedish MacWorld (February 2001, pp 32-35) QPS' Que! Drive 12/10/32 got price as best product. They concluded that it was quiet, fast and reliable but expensive.

    Hitachi: Their GD-7500 DVD-ROM reader has been constructed with a low noise level in mind.

    Zen TrueX technology: "It's a way to build fast drives (CD or DVD) with slow rotational speed.." "For a given speed rating, a TrueX drive will rotate far slower than a non-TrueX drive. The result is less noise, elimination of spin-up delay problems, and the drive should be more reliable." (from PC Plus, issue 163, May 2000, p 181). Kenwood uses the TrueX technology and says: "Currently no other company is offering a drive equal in performance or quietness of operation to Kenwood's TrueX CD-ROM drives."


    Graphic Cards

    When choosing a silent graphic card for the PC one has to look for one that doesn't use a fan of its own for cooling, a heatsink should be enough.

    Recent years has graphic cards utilizing fans for cooling, by people not knowing better, had a tendency to be regarded as more powerful than the ones able to be passive cooled with only a heatsink. The ones thinking in that way have to be regarded as less the less aware: The presence of a graphic card cooling fan, like all cooling fans, sadly have to be regarded as a sign of human imperfection; a sign of technology dissipating too much heat and consuming too much power than needed for its actual work.

    Most high performance graphic cards today are dissipating too much heat to be handled by passive convection cooling. A solution to the heat and noise issues of high performance graphic cards is that the manufacturer prepares them for the use of water cooling: This by enclosing a water cooling block that optionally can be utilized, or at least providing a good solution for mounting a water cooling block to the graphic processor, and sometimes also to the memory units.

    The best graphic cards features a built-in, but not fan-dependent, temperature monitoring and controling solution, similar to the thermal solutions seen in today's most advanced CPUs. If they do one will be safe that they do not overheat without first telling; this with whatever technique is used for cooling.

    The most foresighted manufacurers of graphic cards states that they also are working for standardization of temperature reporting graphic cards to a future implemented motherboard unit for coordinated adaptive cooling of personal computers balancing the need for high-quality acoustic environments, at the same time as satisfying the needs for the best possible performance. Read more on this at the Intelligent PCs page of this site.

    Sapphire with their Ultimate Radeon 9700 Atlantis PRO provides a silent running high-performance graphic card equiped with a heat-pipe cooling solution.

    NVIDIA Geforce4 MX440: these cool running circuits can be found on many boards from different manufacturers.

    ATI Radeon 9600s - Graphic cards equipped with these chips seems to be able to run without active noisy cooling. The other 9600 series chips (SE, Pro, XT) all seem to require fans. ATI - Radeon 9000 is also a cool running graphic card. Note that the Radeon 9000 Pro is clocked higher and comes with a fan. The ATI Radeon 9200 should be slighly better than the 9000, but remain silently cooled with passive convection.
    Thanks to Jay Patrick Howard for graphic card facts.

    Matrox - G550 take use of cool running components. Note that this card isn't marketed as a gaming product.

    ASUS: Some of their recent graphic cards are equipped with a thermal sensor and a hardware monitoring chip. The hardware monitoring chip lets the card keep tabs on its supply voltage, main chip temperature and fan speed. One also gets an alert in the case of a fan failure. ASUS include a software called SmartDoctor that lets one check all these parameters. One can read more on this here and here. The ASUS GF4MX440 keeps cool using only a heatsink, no fan. Here is a review. The a little older Geforce 2MX graphic cards also often run so cool that they don't need a fan, which make some of them good for building a quiet PC. The ASUS AGP-V7100 is an example. In the November 2000 issue of the The Swedish PC Magazine MikroDatorn Asus V7100 was chosen as the best among the Geforce 2 MX graphic cards. Tom's Hardware Guide in Februari 2001 reviewed five allround graphic cards with nVIDIA's GeForce 2 MX graphic chip: "The Asus AGP-V7100 is certainly the most flexible card of this review, as you can either attach an analog monitor and a DVI-I flat panel, or another analog device using the included adapter." ASUS SmartDoctor technologies seems to be included with the AGP V7100 card.

    ELSA Synergy III is, or was, a rather expensive high performance 3D graphic card, which also didn't need a fan of its own for cooling, a heatsink is/was enough. ELSA Synergy III got five out of five possible and was best in the test "most 3D for the money" in the Swedish DatorMagazin (Nr 3-2001, pp92-99). The other tested cards where Matrox Millenium G450, ATI Radeon 64MB DDR and 3DLabs Oxygen GVX1 PRO.

    ATI Radeon VE 32MB - AnandTech has reviewed it: "As we mentioned in our original Radeon DDR review, it seems that any Radeon core running at 183 MHz does not really even need a fan: the fan is most likely only added for aesthetic value, as people associate chips with fans on them as fast. In order to save costs even further, the Radeon VE skips the whole fan and uses just a standard heatsink. The heatsink does get hot to the touch, however it is unlikely that even this heatsink is necessary."


    Temperature Measurement & Fan Speed Monitoring/Regulating Devices

    MCubed T-Balancer: "The T-Balancer is a fan control system with a truly unique noiseless mode. Traditional fan control systems can reduce the fan speed only by 50%, while the T-Balancer is able to reduce the fan speed by over 90%. It is even possible to stop or to turn the fan completely off, without any harm to your PC." The Tom's Hardware review.

    TOCOOLS FanCon - a variable fan speed controller. It does a good job at the same time as maintaining the possibilty to monitor fan speed.

    Cobalt3 Pyramid Fan Silencer: "Using a microprocessor the Pyramid controls your cooling fans and only speeds them up when the temperature demands it. The temperature sensor is placed inside the case at the warmest location ensuring that the temperature will not rise too high at any location. The Pyramid is a "smart" device since it speeds your fan up variably and NOT in a low/medium/high fashion like other fan speed systems." A review at ipKonfig.

    Vantec Nexus Multi-Function Panel NXP-101 "adds flexibility to your personal computer by providing fast and easy access to the USB and Firewire devices.  One switch mode button  and the LCD display allow you to monitor the system temperature instantly. Central CPU Fan Controller allows efficient monitoring system temperature and audio alarm allows to prevent system overheat problems.  Interchangeable faceplates give your PC case a brand new look."

    Vantec Nexus Fan Controller, NXP-201, "connects up to 4 fans and allows you manually adjust the fan speed and noise level.  The fan speed is determined by the variable speed potentiometer settings which vary the voltage of the fan from 7V-12V. Each channel will support 15-18W.  Blue LED lights combine perfectly with the Black or Silver housing."

    Control Resources, Inc: "SmartFan™ provides these important benefits: acoustical noise reduction, energy and cost savings, temperature regulation, greater product reliability, increased fan life and improved safety."

    ASUS iPanel: The iPanel is a box with a readout that is inserted in a usual 5-inch drive bay. As an owner of a recent Asustek motherboard one can use the ASUS iPanel to check the physical parameters of the system - temperature, voltage and revolutions of a fan, and clarify the reasons of failure without opening the case. It has been troublesome finding any information on this piece of hardware on ASUS' Web pages, but easy to find it reviewed: Riva Station, Digit Life, Game PC. This site author's own experience with the ASUS iPanel is that its weakest point is that it's totally CPU dependent: If iPanel doesn't show any boot or error codes at all should one interpret it as a CPU problem. ASUS is well known for its high-quality motherboards. A suggestion is that they put a little more effort in improving hardware monitoring so that their boards can report independent of whatever is added to them.

    MacPower DigitalDoc: "You can now simultaneously gauge the temperature, monitor voltage, and monitor the fans of up to eight different system devices with Macpower's new battery-free DigitalDoc3® series system monitor. These units safeguard your system from overheating and protect you from losing valuable data or hardware." ProCooling has a review, and VirtualHideout has reviewed the DigitalDoc5. Comment: DigitalDoc at this point has no option for fan speed adjustment according to need. It only supports on and off for its connected fans.

    CompuNurse is a thermistor with readout. It can be used for checking the temperature inside the PC case. ClubOverclocker has reviewed it.

    Microstorm Noise Killer: "Most personal computers use a rather noisy fan for the cooling. This noise irritates many computer users. The Noise Killer offers a simple solution to this problem."


    Coolers, Heatsinks & Fans

    Passive cooling utilizing heatsinks is the easiest silent cooling solution for personal computers' heat dissipating technology. It requires careful selection of cool running components and room for free airflow in the system unit.

    For the people that want their PCs to have the most extreme performance, and yet want them to be silent, watercooling is the only solution.

    For best cooling heatsinks when used should be as big as possible and be made of copper. (Silver is even better but mostly too expensive.) Some say that folded fin heatsinks have better cooling properties than the today most common heatsinks; the extruded ones.

    Good fans for a quiet pc are the ones rated as quiet and at the same time known to produce a good airflow. Most fan manufacturers provide acoustic data regarding their fans, but one has to be aware that these facts at this point mostly only can be used when compairing fans from the same manufacturer. The fan manufacturers haven't yet agreed on a universal standard for fan noise measurement. To overcome this limit the consumer can read independent reviews on fans, and also go to the fan noise "listening rooms" that are becomming available on the Web. Read more on this subject on the Tips page of this site.

    The best fans are those also being able to report how fast they rotate. These fans are equipped with at least three wires. Fan rotation speed is measured in RPM, and the third wire normally provides an RPM monitoring signal. This allows the fan speed to be monitored via the motherboard or other device.

    Recommended Heatsinks and Recommended Fans are invaluable sources at SilentPCReview.

    Eheim aquarium pumps for silent PC watercooling

    The Eheim German quality aquarium pumps are commonly regarded as some of the best for silent watercooling of PCs.

    newIC Diamond 7 Carat Thermal Compound - "Diamond's five times better thermal conductivity compared to silver makes it a superior heat transfer material for cooling high performance CPUs and is electrically non-conductive and non-capacitive." A product by Innovation Cooling.

    The HTCS-Radiator for noiseless watercooling.The HTCS-Radiator by German Innovatek - for 100% noiseless system unit water cooling. It is said to be capable of cooling even todays hotest running computers. 46 centimeters high and 4.02 Kg weight! Combine it with an Eheim pump, and put this good looking high-end product where it can be seen.

    The Zalman Reserator 1 for noiseless watercoolingThe Reserator 1 by Korean Zalman for noiseless system unit water cooling. Here is part of the Nordic Hardware review conclusion: " was long since something impressed me this much. Zalman has taken the step into the fanless water cooling with all its problems perfectly."

    Arctic Cooling VGA Silencer - designed specifically to fit the ATI Radeon 9500~9800 series, and also fits nVidia GF3 cards. Here is a SilentPCReview preview.

    HeatlaneZen for noiseless CPU coolingHeatlaneZen™ CPU radiator NCU-1000 - "NCU-1000 doesn't require a cooling fan. You can enjoy DVD, music or late-night internet surfing without CPU fan noise." It's "Confirmed up to P4 2.8GHz." Here is the SilentPCReview of this interesting product.

    fanless VGA cooler by ScytheVNCU-01NA - a new advanced silent graphic card cooler by Scythe.

    Thermalright SLK-900 heatsink - a SilentPCReview: "The Thermalright SLK-900 allows you to run quieter fans with hotter CPUs better than any other HS we've tested so far." (February 20, 2003)

    Tocools Corporation "is a CPU cooler manufacturer for high thermal performance & Quiet PC system. We are supplying high performance CPU coolers (for P4 and AMD Athlon) worldwide. We have a unique excellent heatsink processing technology, called Tocools pramidal inside cutting technology."

    Zalman ZM-80 VGA Heatpipe - a noiseless heatpipe cooling solution for graphic cards: A SilentPCReview and a review at TweakTown.

    Active Cool AC4G - "AC4G's patent-pending solid-state cooling represents a significant leap forward in cooling power, processor temperature control and monitoring, and computer noise control. Installed in any PC in less than 90 seconds."

    Arctic Cooling: "The goal for every cooler developed by us is to provide cooling for the fastest processors of today and tomorrow while keeping the noise levels to an absolute minimum."

    Fluminimum provides heatsinks some say can be used for passive convection cooling of CPUs. They also provide heatsinks for hard disks. Their documentation is at this moment sparse, at least in English.

    Tip-Magnetic Driving Fan: "As known, the tips of fan blades are the main source of noise when a fan is rotating. The magnet of T.M.D. FAN surrounds along the tips of fan blades. This "tip-magnetic" design eliminates the major noise source of an impeller and provides the suspended balancing force when impeller is rotating."

    ZALMAN ZM-NB32 North Bridge heatsink: "The northbridge chipset can be cooled down to an optimal temperature without generation of noise." Here is a review by Michael Hipp.

    Titan Chip Cooler TTC-CUV1AB is a graphic card processor cooler with a heatsink made of copper. In an review they state: "The fan under power is virtually silent."

    Verax manufacture fans they describe as very quiet. So far their information is only in German.

    Panaflo fans are manufactured by Panasonic. Some of them are rated very quiet. Panaflo FBA08A12L, a 80mm hydrowave bearing fan, is chosen as SilentPCReview's reference fan because of its smooth sound quality.

    Innovatek provides high quality water cooling solutions. Tom's Hardware in a review concludes: "Innovatek has managed to launch an easy-to-install, useful cooling system that uses water as a cooling medium. This system can be added to existing PC systems without too much trouble. Behind every one of Innovatek's high-quality components there are clever, detailed solutions without any parallel in the cooling world."

    Adda is said to manufacture some quiet PC fans. "The advantages of Adda's AB2510AB Air Bearing Fan's structure mechanism compared to other company's fan is its unique design concept that offers capabilities of lower friction, lower noise, lower pollution and delivers higher flow rate, higher static pressure."

    Arctic Silver 5: This is the improved follow-up to the well-known Arctic Silver 3 high-performance thermally conductive compound. Check their site for reviews.

    Plycon Computers: "Fan adapters allow you to use much larger fans than you normally could on current CPU heatsinks. This allows you to use fans with lower noise levels, but with the same or greater airflow. Depending on the heatsink, you might also see better cooling performance."

    Zalman ZM17CU is a passive heatsink cooling solution for graphic cards: "The video card can be cooled down to an optimal temperature without generation of noise." RipNet-UK provides a review, and ModdingZone another.

    Zalman CNPS3100(g) is a CPU heatsink/fan combination. AnandTech has evaluated it an says: "The expression "noiseless" isn't a marketing hype - it is simply true. In noiseless mode, the CNPS3001 is the quietest cooler we've ever tested..".

    The Alpha PAL8045 CPU heatsink in combination with a Papst 8412NGL fan reviewed by AnandTech: "With this Papst fan, the PAL8045 a good choice for a super-quiet, high performance PC. It is even quieter than the Silverado in quietest mode, while providing better cooling performance. Still, we don't recommend the Alpha/Papst combination for overclocking, but it does provide enough cooling even for the most power-hungry non-overclocked Socket A CPU, the Athlon 1.4GHz."

    Noise Control Silverado processor cooler: Tom's Hardware in Mars 2001 evaluated processor coolers and said: "The spectacular performance from Noise Control's Silverado puts it in the limelight: its innovative design and encapsulated construction make it seem virtually silent when running. In fact, you have to look at the fans on the sides to determine if the cooler is actually in operation. A background noise level of 38 dB(A) is exceptional, considering that the majority of participants tested at almost 50 dB(A)." "For us, the Silverado is the clear winner."

    JMC is one of the manufacturers often mentioned when talking on temperature controlled fans. "The Intellifan is a direct response to Intel's IPMI and SMbus directives" said Loran Frost, Sales Director of JMC. "The Intellifan integrates all the features of thermal management solutions found today in many systems. Initial development incorporates an I²C interface that accepts speed commands and provides status to the system when queried." "This advanced concept eliminates the need for several integrated circuits to control the fan. The end result is a less complex system design, improved manageability and reduced acoustic noise." AnandTech evaluated a JMC temperature regulated socket-A & socket-370 CPU cooler, and concluded: "When the CPU is running cool, the fan spins slowly and is almost entirely silent, and even if it spins at top speed, it isn't loud at all. This is how it should be."AnandTech also tested a RDJD (RDJD is now part of JMC) Intel processor cooler, the PGA 715, with a temperature controlled fan: ".. the temperature control works very well, it will keep the CPU at a constant temperature, and unless you run your PC under extreme temperature conditions, the cooler will be exceptionally silent."

    Lemont Aircraft Corporation  "..provides a solution to the problem of heat dissipation vs noise in the form of its Augmented Fan technology. This technology is already in production with two of the market leaders,  NMB and Panasonic." "The Integrated Augmented Fan/Heat Sink utilizes the normally-wasted energy in the tip vortex of the fan in a dual fashion."

    Papst is an often recommended manufacturer when talking about quality PC fans with low noise emissions. Papst says: "Noise from fans becomes disturbing when it rises above a certain auditory level. Since many electronic systems are located close to users, fan noise emissions must therefore be as low as possible. Consequently, any fan designed into a product must be optimized to keep noise within acceptable bounds. Therefore, noise performance of fans is a decisive criterion relative to design-in selection." "Papst Variofan fans are tailored exactly to the requirements of silent electronics. The high spot being that with intelligent IC technology a Variofan only operates at the speed that is really necessary for cooling. The result being a drastic reduction in noise; in comparison to constantly rotating fans by up to 18 dB(A)." An other Web site for Papst fans is this one: EBM. It seems that the most quiet Papst fans are those equipped with sintec bearings.

    Indek: " Therm-A-Pipe absorbs heat generated by components such as CPUs deep inside the enclosed chassis, then transfers the heat to a convenient location for discharge. With no power-consuming mechanical parts, heat pipe is a silent, light weight, space-saving, and maintenance-free solution."

    CoolWhip produces heat sinks: "Our company has specialized in overclocking products, but our products can also be used in systems where stability is crucial -like servers or high performance workstations, or where silent operation is a must."


    Vibration Damping

    Nexus silicon fan mounts - "The Nexus ultra soft silicon fan mounts are designed to eliminate noise generated by the vibration of PC cooling fans."

    Acousti Products Anti-Vibration RangeAcousti Products Anti-Vibration Range "includes Ultra Soft Fan Mounts, Ultra Soft Fan Gaskets and AcoustiFeet™ quiet feet for cases and other units on hard floors/desktops. Made from ultra-soft silicone polymer these products effectively decouple the component or case to eliminate noise caused by vibration."

    Cyl3nc3r "increases air flow and decreases case noise."

    NoVibes will let one mount a 3.5 inch harddisk in a 5.25 inch drive bay, and isolate it so that the harddisk vibrations aren't transmitted to the rest of the PC case. Dan's Data provide a review.


    Noise Reduction Boxes

    AcoustiRACK"The AcoustiRACK™ range of cabinets and accessories is designed to enclose noisy 19 inch rackmounted equipment such as servers, networking and audio equipment and are acoustically lined with composite soundproofing materials."

    LEY ECD FEK-Pro - "Harddisk insulation for 3.5" harddisks with 1" height. Suitable for drives with up to 10.000rpm (with optimized air-flow even for 15.000rpm)." Here is a review in German. It can be translated with Babelfish.

    Smart Drive 2002 hard disk enclosureSmart Drive 2002 Hard Disk Enclosure: An aluminum enclosure that is effective at containing the rotational and seek noises emmited from a hard drive. SilentPCReview and provide reviews. The Smart Drive can be purchased from Silicon Acoustics.

    COCOON: "Safe and Sound - Scandinavian Design Furniture for the PC!"

    Woodcase: Hand-made wood ATX-size cases for PCs. At this point only in Finish, but one can e-mail questions in English.

    AcoustiLock "is a new product that completely eliminates fan and drive noise in critical listening environments."

    Rob Lonsdale Audio: The Double Box - "An acoustic enclosure that silences your computer so that you can retain your sanity during those long sessions in the studio."

    Sound Construction & Supply Inc: "At Sound Construction & Supply our goal is to hand-craft only the finest furniture for your studio. We meet that goal by paying attention to the little things. From the smooth, honey-colored finish of our oak trim, to the integrated circuitry of our super quiet ISOBOX, we critically evaluate each piece that goes into the construction of our products." This is what one user has said: "The ISOBOX does a nice job of cutting hard drive noise.  However the exhaust fans it uses do contribute their own background noise, even under low heat loads. It's on the order of the house A/C system running continually. Some may be bothered by it, and some may not care. It's enough of an issue in my otherwise quiet office with my noise-obsessed personality that I'll probably look at replacing the fans with a quieter model and putting them under control of one of the enclosed machines at some point. With the exhaust fans off my noisy laptop and moderately quiet desktop are inaudible."

    Vexers AB: "Vexers Noise Reduction Box  - A soundproofing and functional box for most types of personal computers. Reduces noise to a hardly audible level. The cooling system has diagonal air flow for best cooling of the CPU. Easy to install and locate."

    Molex SilentDrive: "SilentDrive is a thermal and acoustic enclosure designed to reduce the noise of a hard drive by >90% while still maintaining the drive's required ambient operating temperatures." Read an initiated comment at SilentPCReview.



    Noise-traps represent an intelligent solution for to master one of the main IT engineering problems: We want to keep the noise, but not the heat inside the machine.

    Muffled Computing is dedicated to the high performance computing experience free of excess noise. To accomplish this we have done extensive research and development over several months and come up with a set of unique products that offer solutions to noise in a modern high-speed computer.


    Sound Insulating Material

    AcoustiPack™ - "is a set of specially developed, high quality, acoustic materials that can be cut and fitted to the inside of any existing computer case to significantly reduce noise." A SilentPCReview: "The Deluxe AcoustiPack™ by Acousti Products represents a thorough and effective approach to dampening materials for computer cases. The variety of damping materials supplied, and the various functions they perform, as well as the comprehensive information for the end-user -- all these bespeak of a carefully researched solution not evident in other damping products."

    B-Quiet: "Have a noisy computer case?"

    Power Snooze: "Frustration of PC noise lead to the development of Power Snooze and with the kit, we ensure that you get a selection of the best sound-damping products available."

    Akasa Pax Mate is a sound insulating material designed specifically for PCs. Here is a review by WiperLair, and here is one by Atlanta OC.

    Accumat is intended for sound insulation of cars, but can be used to line the inside of the PC case to dampen noise. It has an adhesive back making it easy to install. It doesn't have any odor.

    Auralex Acoustics sells acoustic foam products that can be used to insulate PCs.

    Dynamat is the producer of different sound insulating materials intended for cars, but sometimes suggested to use for noise dampening of PCs. A common complaint with Dynamat is an odor. It will disappear after some months use.


    PC Cases

    Today there are very very few PC cases built with acoustic ergonomy in mind. It seems like the information technology industry until now has shown a bit lack of interest and fantasy to solve the rather basic problem of building PC cases able to evacuate heat at the same time as keeping noise inside. "Noise-traps" on the top of cases taking use of the physical properties of air - hot air rises - evacuating the rising hot air as chimneys, slow moving groumet mounted large fans, noise dampening material, heat-pipes, water cooling and other even more inovative solutions will in a near future most probably be seen used by many PC case manufacturers.

    Here is SilentPCReview's Recommended Cases section.

    Zalman TNN 500A - a computer case utilizing heat pipes for noiseless coolingThe TNN 500A "is the world's first absolutely noiseless computer case for high-end systems that has been developed with Heatpipe Technology, HSC (Heat Source Contact) Power Technology, a High Capacity Extrusion Technique, and FMS (Flexible Mounting Structure) Design Technology by ZALMAN Tech Co., Ltd." Here is a Tom's Hardware review and here is the SilentPCReview.

    GMC cases. A review at

    Antec Sonata - SilentPCReview concludes: "In the hands of an imaginative or experienced silent PC devotee, it could easily be made extremely quiet."

    AcoustiCase™ - "is a range of acoustically insulated high-quality computer cases. Used together with low-noise components, an AcoustiCase™ helps achieve a significantly quieter computing experience."

    Palo Alto Products: Their ATX cases are often regarded quiet and of high quality. Dell, well known for producing quality PCs often with a low level of noise emissions, have used them for some time. On the Palo Alto site one can find links to many reviews. Reading this now old press release it seems like Flextronics now owns Palo Alto Products.

    WoodCase makes handcrafted good looking quiet wood PC cases. At this moment the site is only in Finish language, but one can request information in English.

    The CALM system: "is a natural heat dissipation system that removes heat from CPU, graphic card and power supply by heat flow without fans. It is a no-noise, no-power, trouble-free computer cooling system." "The standard CALM system comes with a provided PC case which includes a fan-less SMPS, cooling sets for the CPU (Intel Pentium-series, Celeron series, and AMD K-series) and graphic chip." Arthur Gerla contributed with the first review of this interesting solution for how to build a noiseless PC.

    Mustang EPP 6210 is a computer housing where conventional steel plate and plastic materials are replaced by expanded polypropylene hard foam. "For system integrators, the Mustang EPP 6210 computer housing represents a major timesaver in manufacturing, excellent noise reduction..." Update: If you have problems using the link above, the company behind this product is Pilot Computer, and here is their German page on the Mustang EPP 6210 case.

    Addtronics: The PC-Musician has reviewed the Addtronics 3890a Midtower ATX Case, and says: "Of course the real point of this review is testing the quietness of the case and my rating will primarily reflect that. In this department this case get a resounding 'hell yeah'. Based pretty much solely on the power supply which is nearly whisper quiet, it's pretty amazing."

    ElanVital have developed a system they call Whisper technology: "The patent pending WHISPER technology enables a reduction of noise during full PC operation to a stunning 28dB(A)*, which is far below official so-called Silent PC classification values which require a maximum of 33dB(A). This remarkable milestone in PC noise reduction was reached without compromising the necessary thermal requirements of even the latest and (literally) hottest CPUs!" (Comment: This is not the same company as developed the Swedish Lap Power Whisper System.)



    It is worth noting that also some PC monitors are making buzzing sounds; even if this used to be more common earlier. For today it is not known which companies makes noiseless or noisy monitors.


    Distancing the Noise Hardware

    newMatrox Extio F1400 "The Matrox Extio F1400 drives up to four monitors for a resolution of up to 1920 x 1200 per display. A fanless device, Extio F1400 permits a quiet and secure environment by separating the host computer form the monitors and other user peripherals, including keyboard, mouse and audio by up to 250 meters (820 ft) of fiber-optic cable." "This product has been used in many markets that covet silent operation, especially control rooms with operators facing mission-critical information."

    NTI provide a lot solutions for to use distancing to minimize PC noise. Long quality cables for the keyboard, mouse and monitor is just one of their specialities.

    JUMPtec WEBasDISK: "Simply connected to a HDD port the combination of a NetARM processor and the intelligent firmware of WEBasDISK will convert the data requirements of the system towards a harddisk into TCP/IP messages, which will be sent to a server."

    The UTP Console Extender "provides convenient and remote access to a computer located up to 150 m (500 ft.) away from a keyboard, monitor, and mouse. Your main system box can be placed in a safe and secure location away from where you need to access it."

    Dakota VoyagerUTP could be a solution if one wants to minimize PC noise by separating the system unit from the screen, mouse and keyboard. The system unit can be put away between 50-300 meters depending of which model you choose. "Voyager technology is reliable, silent (no moving parts) and delivers premium video quality. Our customers are invariably very pleased with the results." Here is a pdf document on VoyagerUTP. Here is the same document stuffed as sit and here as zip file. You will need Acrobat Reader to read it.


    Networks Hubs and Switches

    Most of the simple ethernet hubs with eight or less ports makes no noise, but hubs with more ports than eight, and network switches can feature fans. When fans are used for cooling in ethernet hubs and switches are they most often small and fast moving; thus making a very distracting noise.

    Since most information technology isn't yet labeled with its acoustic noise emissions, is it for the moment hard for customers to find out which hubs and switches are noisy or noiseless. The manufacturers that produce quiet hubs and switches can state this according to ISO 9296 as a sign of product quality. The ones that manufacture fanless products could at least mark that fact, since it wouldn't cost them anything at all, and possibly increase their sales.


    Mixed Hardware & Resellers

    Pure Silence - " Our silent cooling products for PCs are used by major recording studios, acoustic laboratories and corporate computing environments."

    MR Computertechnik GmbH - - A German reseller.

    Kool 'n Quiet - a UK based webstore - "Are you living with an excessively noisy computer? Is it running too hot? Or both?"

    SilenX Corporation - "Your source for Silent PC Components!" - A Californian reseller.

    PCSilent - a German reseller of noiseless computing products: among them the Verax fans, fan/heatsink combinations and their quiet power supplies.

    QuietPC.Com "We offer three types of products which address the three main sources of noise in most PCs - hard drive, the power supply and the processor cooler." PC Notes comments QuietPC.Com products.

    Deltatronic Computer: An interesting fanless power supply among other solutions. At this point only available in German.

    Muffled Computing is dedicated to the high performance computing experience free of excess noise. To accomplish this we have done extensive research and development over several months and come up with a set of unique products that offer solutions to noise in a modern high-speed computer.

    Nexus: a Dutch manufacturer and reseller of quiet system units and components for to build a quiet or silent PC.

    BlackNoise - a German reseller.

    Silent PC Australia: "is the Proud Distributor of the Silent Systems Range of products including Q Technology™ ATX Ultra Quiet Power Supplies, Molex Radial Fin™ CPU Coolers, Silent Drive™ Hard Drive enclosures, and also the Range of Nexus Products including CPU / Memory Coolers, and Accessories." - a US reseller: "All of our products are especially designed to stop computer noise at its source. You can choose to buy our silent computer products and silence your PC yourself, or, if you like, we can build you a Silent Computer System that is ready to use and quieter than a whisper."

    LowNoise PC Supplies - an Australian reseller.

    Carillon Audio Systems: "In an ideal world with little pressure on finances and floor space, noisy stuff like tape machines and computers are exiled to a 'machine room' which is acoustically isolated from the studio mixing area."

    Silicon Acoustics: "was formed in October 2001 to become the Silent PC Enthusiast's premier source for quiet and silent computer parts and accessories. We specialize in offering hard to find and difficult to obtain products from around the world. Many of the parts we offer are unavailable anywhere else North America."

    Just Cooler: "The best solution for cooling down and silent".

    LEY®-Enhanced Computer Devices manufacture passive cooling solutions for PCs. At this point their site is only in German.

    Koolance manufactures liquid cooling solutions for processors, power supplies, hard disks and graphic cards.

    PC Power & Cooling among other things sells quiet power supplies, a computer over-temperature alarm and a 80 mm fan with an acoustical noise level as low as 20 dBA.

    Zalman Tech: "CNPS (Computer Noise Prevention System) is a system that cuts traditional computer system's noise of 30dB or higher to 20dB or lower, which is below what a normal user can usually notice. CNPS is achieved with Zalman's world first technologies such as CPU & VGA FHS(Flower HeatSink), which has shorter heat conductance path and surface area that is 3 to 10 times as large as traditional coolers, and NP(Noise Prevention) Fans. To create a full CNPS computer, you also need NP Power Supply and NP Hard Disk." OCWorkBench has reviewed their patented copper/gold "Flower HeatSink" with fan. Here is a preview.

    Molex in 1998 bought the company Silent Systems, a world leader in PC acoustic and thermal component solutions: "We are in the process of rolling out several new lines of heat sinks for PC microprocessors."

    SilentPC: "Over the last 9 years Silent PC has been concentrating on the environmental issues for PC’s specially working on getting the noise levels down, this in co-operation with the technical people from the different industries."

    NoiseControl "is a package of products that significantly reduce the noise produced by typical computers." "The following products are designed for noise-conscious users and applications such as music studios."


    Data Projectors

    Nowhere in the information society is the need for quiet information technology more obvious than when talking on projectors. Data projectors are fast becoming affordable for most companies, Government authorities and also for many home theaters. These projectors are commonly built very small. Their lamps generate a lot unwanted heat. Heat tends to threaten their technology's reliability and does therefore have to be kept low; mostly by use of more or less noisy fans.

    If being provided the choice everyone realizes that projector weight and small size is a lot less important than the attention of the audience. These pieces of information technology are most often placed in the middle of the audience in very quiet rooms. If their noise emissions don't cause speech-masking, will they clearly consciously of uncosciously become distracting at whatever possible level. Due to the projector noise issue some call them "sleeping pills".

    At this point have many projector manufacturers started providing some kind of non-standardized non-comparable non-verifiable noise-data in decibels. Decibels isn't what the IT industry has aggreed upon for to state the important sound power level figures for information technology equipment, and to not state what standard has been used for noise declaration doesn't at all conform with international standardization. Most users of data projectors belong to the most educated ones in their respective countries. It is interesting to see them still finding it acceptable to be provided noise emission data in this non-comparable manner even for very expensive products.

    Projector manufacturers should of course also state noise declaration according to ISO 9296 for to facilitate objective comparision between different manufacturers' products [1]. For about a fourth of the end-customer price for just one sample of a mass produced data projector will their manufacturers be able to buy a comparable standardized proffessional noise measurement in an external accredited acoustic laboratory.

    Philips Bsure SV2 was chosen the quietest ever tested projector and best projector in test by the Swedish IT hardware reviewing magazine Mikrodatorn (No 11, 2003, pp 44-51). This isn't the smallest projector in business, but its manufacturer seems to understand what to prioritize when building an intelligent product for the information society.

    ASK M3: The Swedish PC hardware reviewing magazine Mikrodatorn have chosen the ASK M3 as the best product in their reviews of data projectors both year 2000 and 2001. At the same time ASK M3 was twice chosen for being the most quiet data projector. It's test result for noise emission isn't the best of all reviewed projectors in exact digits, but the quality of the sound it makes is the most comfortable. (Mikrodatorn Nr 15, Dec 2000, pp 42-52, Mikrodatorn Nr 15, Dec 2001, pp 52-59). The other projectors in the 2001 review was Epson EMP 703, Hitachi CP-X270, Infocus LP530, NEC LT155, Philips UGO X-lite, Plus U3-1100Z, Sanyo PLC-XW15, Sharp PGC20X and Sony VPL-CX2.

    OptiLight is an inexpensive and quiet media projector under development.

    Muffled Computing doesn't manufacture projectors, but noise mufflers that probably also can be used to quieten already bought under-designed projectors. Write to Brian Summerfield, who might start a production if there is enough interest.



    Printers should of course also run as quiet as possible. Serious printer manufacturers not only build quiet running printers, but also conform with the ISO 9296 [1] IT noise declaration standard, to help their customers make a buying decission also based on the compared products' sound power levels in different modes.

    A basic recuirement for good acoustic ergonomy is that a printer is totally silent in sleep (stand-by) mode. Note that a totally silent product, for mathematical reasons, isn't declared as a zero B one according to ISO 9296: A silent object has to be declared as "inaudible" or  - ∞ B, ie "minus infinity".

    Hewlett-Packard logo used with permission of HP Sweden

    Hewlett-Packard is one of the printer manufacturers that for a long time has published noise data according to ISO 9296. HP's noise data can be found below the heading Product Environmental Profiles.



    Virtual CD & DVD Disc Software

    Running virtual CD and DVD discs on quiet hard drives is the best way to overcome the limits of todays high speed vibrating and noise generating removable media readers, and at the same time for to vastly improve access-time to the data they contain.

    Hardware manufacturers interested in ergonomics can include this kind of software with their drives.

    Note that you have to own the media that you copy this way: Lack of respect for copyright law makes creative people less prone to be creative.

    Virtual CD is a commercial solution running on Windows® systems: "Virtual CD copies your favourite audio-, data- or video-CD/DVDs as compressed image files on the hard disk and emulates up to 22 CD drives to access and to run the CD applications. The media itself is not required." Virtual CD is made by the programmers that invented the CD caching in 1995. It's the original.

    Hekko Virtual CD™ - freeware, runs on Windows® systems.

    FarStone VirtualDrive - commercial, runs on Windows® systems.

    Fantom CD is also a commercial solution running on Windows® systems to make virtual CD and DVD drives on a hard disk.

    DAEMON Tools is a program for Windows® users among other things capable of running virtual CD and DVD drives on a hard disk. It's not freeware, but one is free to use it without registration for non-commercial purposes.


    CD & DVD Speed changing Software

    Speed changing software for CD and DVD readers will become natural to include by manufacturers aware of ergonomics.

    CDRom Tool: "With many drives, it is possible to set the read speed to a value lower than the maximum speed. This makes the disc spin slower, reducing mechanical noise. Many also let you set the spindown time to a value higher than the default. This makes the disc stay spinning and ready to access data for longer spans of time. Unfortunately, most CD-ROM drive vendors do not give you the programs you need to change these settings. That's where CD-ROM Tool comes in." CDRom Tool runs on Windows® systems and is free under the GNU General Public License.

    Nero DriveSpeed is a freeware program for Windows® users that can control CD and DVD drive speed and spin down time.

    CD Bremse is a Windows® program to make ones CD and DVD reader spin slower than the preset value. This way vibrations and noise could be put to a minimum when you don't need full speed. At this point the documentation is only in German.


    RAM-Disk Software

    A virtual disk of RAM can make it possible to avoid a local hard drive, or shut down a noisy hard disk, at least for some time.

    SuperSpeed®: RamDisk, SuperSpeed and SuperCache (for Windows).

    Cenatek: RamDisk (for Windows)

    ARM Linux Ramdisk

    AppDisk: MacOS ramdisk software.


    Distancing the Noise Software

    Linux Terminal Server Project: "The LTSP is all about running thin client computers in a GNU/Linux environment."

    VNC - Virtual Network Computing: "It is, in essence, a remote display system which allows you to view a computing 'desktop' environment not only on the machine where it is running, but from anywhere on the Internet and from a wide variety of machine architectures."

    Etherboot: "is a software package for creating ROM images that can download code over an Ethernet network to be executed on an x86 computer. Many network adapters have a socket where a ROM chip can be installed. Etherboot is code that can be put in such a ROM. Etherboot is normally used for for booting PCs diskless."

    Netboot: "enables a computer with an Intel compatible CPU to boot without access to a hard disk or diskette. For this the computer has to be equipped so that it can load the operating system over an IP network from a server. All tools required for this process are included in the Netboot packet."


    Mastering of Heat Software

    VIA FliteDeck™ is a Windows® based system control suite intended for VIA mainboards. Among other things does it monitor fan speed and temperature. It is today unclear if it also is capable of adjusting cooling according to need.

    GL Temperature Sensor can be used to read out the PC system's main component's temperatures from a home-built thermal monitoring circuit. Read how to build the circuit here.

    Lm_sensors: "This is the home page for the effort of building and providing some essential tools for monitoring the hardware health of Linux systems containing hardware health monitoring hardware such as the LM78 and LM75"

    Wpcredit with additions from ViaHardware Dot Com: "Wpcredit (with the correct patch) allows you to view and change registers of the KT266/266A chipsets. "I will show you how to lower your CPU and ambient temperatures dramatically. I regularly experience temperature drops of up to 15C at idle and 7C at average full load *."

    Radiate II is a free win32 heat calculation tool for processors.

    VCool: "This little utility will cool your Athlon/Duron processor on Via KT133 or KX133(A) (VT8363, VT8361, VT82C691/693A/694 or VT8371 +VT82C686x) chipsets during idle." VCool is available in a Windows® and a Linux version (LVCool).

    BP6FSB is a utility for Windows® users that among other things make it possible to change how fast the CPU fans are running, based on CPU temperatures. It's only intended for the Abit BP6 dual Celeron motherboard.

    SpeedFan "is a freeware program that monitors fan speeds, temperatures and voltages in computers with hardware monitoring chips. SpeedFan can even access S.M.A.R.T. info for those hards disks that support this feature (almost all :-)) and show hard disk temperatures too, if supported. At the lowest level, SpeedFan is an hardware monitoring software, but its main feature is that it can control the speed of the fans (depending on your sensor chip) according to the temperatures inside your pc, thus reducing noise and power consumption. Most Winbond sensors and ASUS AS99127F support fan speed changing, as well as others from MYSON, ANALOG DEVICES, NATIONAL SEMICONDUCTORS and ITE, but the motherboard should make use of available pins. This means that if you have, say, a W83782D on a BP6 then you're ok. If you have a W83782D on some GigaByte's... you're not :-)."

    MBProbe is a freeware Windows® program which monitors voltages, temperatures and fan speeds using hardware monitoring chip(s) available on many modern motherboards. Jonathan Soon Yew Teh, the programmer, has considered adding fan speed control to MBProbe. He says: "One problem here is that there are many different types of fan control chips, so trying to get it all to fit into a common UI could be a problem. Perhaps it would be best to work on a separate utility (one for each different chip, maybe in the form of plugins) which works in conjunction with MBProbe to control the fans." Jonathan welcomes anyone that wants to participate in the work on adding fan speed control or plugins to the program.

    Linux System Hardware Monitoring is a project with a primary mission to provide the best and most complete hardware health monitoring drivers for Linux.

    Motherboard Monitor is a freeware Windows® program that can be useful for monitoring CPU temperature. It can also be used to monitor temperature of S.M.A.R.T capable hard disks, if made capable of reporting this physical property.

    Thermograph is a shareware utility for monitoring the processor temperature of G3 or G4-based Macintosh computers.


    System stressing software

    These programs can be used to test if quiet systems keep stable even under maximum stress.

    Hot CPU Tester Pro "is a system health and stability tester. It tests CPU, chipset and virtually all parts of motherboard for errors/bugs, defective parts and components."

    HeavyLoad "is inteded to stress all resources of a PC (like CPU, RAM, harddisk, network, operating system, etc.) in order to test, if it will run reliable under heavy load." Runs on Windows systems.

    CPUBurn is an open source program designed to load x86 CPU's as heavily as possible for the purpose of system testing. It can be useful for testing the cooling properties of your quiet PC. A Windows® and a Linux version is available.


    CPU Cooling Software

    athcool is a small Linux® utility, enabling/disabling Powersaving mode for AMD Athlon/Duron processors. One user tells athcool dropped his watercooled machine from 40 C down to less than 30 C in web-surfing-use.

    CpuIdle is a power management software for Windows® users: "CpuIdle lowers the CPU temperature. This enhances CPU life (a decrease by 10°C doubles the life span) and cuts power consumption. It seems like the Windows® 2000 and Windows® NT operating systems have a built-in function doing the same job as CPUIdle.

    Waterfall and Rain are two older freeware Windows® programs that do the same thing as CPUIdle: They can make the processor run cooler. Rain is the most recent one. They don't seem to be updated anymore. Here can one download Rain. Here is a comparison between Rain, Waterfall and CPUIdle.


    ACPI related software

    ACPI (Advanced Configuration and Power Interface) is an open industry specification and establishes interfaces for OS-directed configuration and power management on laptops, desktops, and servers. Windows® and Linux® systems use ACPI for their power management. Suspend to RAM (S3) is an ACPI power savings mode, that also shuts off unnecessary noise when computers aren't in use, but users want them to be faster available than when first having to perform a full start-up.

    PassMark Sleeper lets you experiment with different ACPI power savings modes on your Windows machine.


    Hard Disk Temperature Monitoring & S.M.A.R.T. Software

    The ideas behind the S.M.A.R.T. system - Self-Monitoring Analysis and Reporting Technology - came from IBM, but it is now used by almost all hard disk manufacturers. It is intended to predict harddisk failiure before it occurs.

    S.M.A.R.T includes a software interface when fully implemented. Strange enough has it taken some time before hard disk temperature has been included as a part of the S.M.A.R.T. system - a system intended to protect the user's valuable data: Thus many hard disks still lack the capability to measure and report temperature. If they do, it's safer to enclose them in sound insulating material.

    HDD Thermometer is a freeware Windows utility that among other things show hard disks temperature indicators in the system tray.

    HDDlife™ - "HDDlife works under Microsoft Windows 2000/ XP/2003 using the latest capabilities of these systems." Freeware.

    HDD Health "is a full-featured failure-prediction agent for machines using Windows 95, 98, NT, Me, 2000 and XP. Sitting in the system tray, it monitors hard disks and alerts you to impending failure. The program uses Self Monitoring and Reporting Technology (S.M.A.R.T.) built into all new hard disks, and can predict failures on your hard drives."

    Active Smart "is an industry leading S.M.A.R.T. diagnostic and failure prediction software for the hard drives. It uses S.M.A.R.T. (Self-Monitoring, Analysis and Reporting Technology) to monitor the health status of Hard Disk Drives (HDD), monitors drives temperature, prevents data loss and predicts possible drive fail using special algorithms."

    Motherboard Monitor is a freeware Windows® program that can be used to monitor temperature of S.M.A.R.T capable hard disks, if made capable of reporting this physical propterty. It can also monitor CPU temperature.

    SMARTmon: "The only S.M.A.R.T. disk monitoring software that supports SCSI, Fibre channel, IDE, and SSA peripherals. The program is ported to Windows® and LINUX/UNIX platforms and has extensive peripheral configuration, monitoring, and reporting capabilities."

    HDD Temperature is a small and free Windows® program that resides in the system tray and there shows the current temperature of hard drives capable of reporting temperature. Here is a list of drives capable of this and supported by HDD Temperature.

    SIGuardian™ "is the only tool what allows you full control over the health of your HDDs, and prevents data loss because of failures. Using S.M.A.R.T. technology included in all modern HDDs SIGuardian predicts the end date of HDD lifetime, so you can make backup copies of all your data before it's to late." SIGuardian has been developed by PalickSoft, the company that keeps HDD Temperature for free.

    DTemp is a program that can show the temperature of a hard drive. Note that only a few hard drives yet feature built-in thermal sensors.

    Storage Soft EZ-S.M.A.R.T. "works with S.M.A.R.T.-compliant hard drives to warn you of an impending hard drive failure, so you can back up or move your data to a safe location before the drive fails.". If ones hard drive is capable of reporting temperature to the S.M.A.R.T system then it can be checked with this software, and one will get a warning if ones drive runs too hot.

    SMART Defender is a Windows® program that monitors SMART capable IBM IDE and SCSI hard disk drives. The program reduces the risk of system down time by assessing the reliability and predicting hard disk drive failures. SMART Defender is an IBM replacement for EZSMART.


    Hard Disk Spin Down Software

    Hard Disk Sleeper is a Windows® shareware program that will spin down PC hard drives when not in use. Running Windows® 98, at least in SE, the function spinning down hard drives not in use for a specified time is built in the system. (Win 95OSR2 does not spin down disks separately.)

    Sleeper is a Macintosh shareware program to spin down hard disks.

    NOFLUSHD is a GNU/Linux daemon that spins down disks that have not been read from after a certain amount of time, and then prevents disk writes from spinning them back up.


    Hard Disk Activity Indicating Software

    Hard disks commonly emit two kinds of sounds: The sound emanating from their spinning disk(s), and the sound that comes their reading/writing head(s). When we talk about the "Idling" operating mode sound for hard disks we commonly mean their rotating disks' sound. When we talk about the "Operating" operating mode we mean the sound from their reading/writing heads' activity - superimposed on the Idling sound. The idling sound is the sound most people find bothering, while many people find the hard disk operating sound valuable - telling that there is activity.

    Some people like to know when their hard disks' reading/writing heads are utilized. If they build a very quiet computer system they might find out that they can't hear this informing sound any more. Software that visually informs about hard disk activity can be a solution for them.

    What still lacks to be develped is a hard disk activity indicating program that optionally also can play a sound; a typical hard disk reading/writing sound, and optionally any sound the user wants to choose.

    Diskmon - a utility that captures all hard disk activity or acts like a software disk activity light in your system tray. Diskmon runs on Windows® 2K/XP/2K3 systems.


    Miscellaneous Software

    Temperature Converter: "Converts temperature values between all four standards and shows their relationships, graphically."



    1. International Standard ISO 9296:1988 (E) "Acoustics -- Declared noise emission values of computer and business equipment". Further explained at the ISO 9296 page.

    2. Acoustic Overview, Version 1.0, Intel Corporation, p 7, Design Goal.


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