Introduction: How to Silent Your Cheap Desktop PC

When the days got warmer this year, I noticed my girlfriends desktop computer sounding even more annoying than anytime before.

It was always loud, but somehow it now managed to "scream" all the time, even idle.

And since she got Windows Vista (*cough*) installed on it, the HD is ALWAYS busy, even if you had not touched anything for hours, I have no idea why this crappy OS is behaving like that.

It started to really piss me off.

So I ripped out its guts ;)

I have no "before-after" pictures, as most of the time I just started to fix an annoying condition without thinking about keeping records of the process.

But I think you can imagine from my writings.

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I checked the system and CPU temperature, way too high.

Almost closed case, "boxed" PC-fan, passive cooled graphics board and the only thing that ventilated all this was the tiny power supply fan.

But before modifying anything, I removed all the dust from the case, the power supply and the CPU heatsink, which wasn´t that much, compared to my own "well-ventilated" case. So that didn´t have any noticeable effect on the noise and temperatures at all.

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So I decided to improve the airflow and decouple the HD.

I installed two (cheap) 120 mm fans (I had lying around) to the front of the case, one in the front bottom (hidden in the photo) and one in the middle (fixed with foam rubber and clearly visible, thought she would like it, since she just finished her Mechanical Engineering Education and likes turbines ;D  ).

Removed all removable parts decreasing the airflow (intake cover etc.), and placed the 3,5" HD behind the middle fan in an 5,25" slot while acoustically decoupling it from the cheap sheet metal case (resonating body) with some PU-foam pieces.

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Results:

(CPU) Temperature decreased about 20 °C (!),
high speed CPU fan not audible anymore,
instead a barely audible low-freq humming of the slow speed 120 mm case fans,
HD access is still barely audible, but not amplified by the case anymore

Overall way less than half as loud as before.
Won´t keep me from a nap on the couch now, even if it´s busy.
Mission accomplished ;)

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Costs:

For me 0,- €/$ since I had the parts laying around

Fans: about 10 to 20 €;  even the cheap ones are still "quiet" compared to expensive but smaller diameter fans

Some PU-foam and foam rubber pieces, cents for the amount I used, about 5-10 € if you have to buy whole slabs / pieces.

Working time: About two or three hours from getting pissed to have it up and running again.

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Enjoy the silence :)






Comments

author
vanwazltoff (author)2012-11-06

best way to cool a cpu down is to replace the heat sink and to use a quality thermal paste. you can buy 5.25" hdd cooling bays

author
confu (author)vanwazltoff2012-11-07

The cpu heat sink wasn´t the problem. That worked fine. As I wrote, the cpu temp decreased by 20 K with an improved case ventilation alone. Trying to cool down a heat sink with hot air simply won´t work. Even with a better one than the "boxed" version.
And I didn´t have to buy anything, I did all this with unused stuff I had laying around.
But Thanks for your comment :)

author
nathan.hamman.3 (author)confu2014-08-01

What i think is wrong with vista is you have an application in the background possibly malicious using up resources even when there is no user actually doing anything on the computer.

author
vanwazltoff (author)confu2012-11-08

airflow does help, you can the difference between the aitflow of a cooler master case and something like a dell. what most companies do it criminal, frying cpus for years

author
SuperTech-IT (author)vanwazltoff2013-06-15

Yes, DELL is infamous for this. Their CPU fans can sound like Jet engines once the thermal grease starts to break down too - and their cases aren't exactly designed for optimal airflow. In those cases, removing the old thermal paste and replacing it with new paste works a wonder. I used to get Dell computers free because they were being thrown out because of the obnoxiously loud sound and a bit of Arctic Silver fixed them right up!

author
dundo (author)2014-03-28

I take apart my old power supply with 12cm fan. I simpli attach it to the housing with few screws. It fits perfestly in 5.25" DVD hole. Looks good and works good :)

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author
SuperTech-IT (author)2013-06-15

You can get nice 120mm fan "filters" that would hide the visible fan nicely, and prevent the hidden one from dusting up the place.
Personally, I just leave the sides off my case. I think it's pretty! (besides, my case has the 120mm fans front and back built in anyways). I wouldn't have room for a fan where you put one either.

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About This Instructable

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Bio: I like to make / fix / improve "things"...
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