Weekend Open Forum: How loud is your computer?

By on February 21, 2014, 6:30 PM
wof, fan noise, case cooling

Fan noise is one of the few things I’m reluctant to compromise on when building a computer. I’m not big into gaming or overclocking these days so my most recent builds have all featured low-end graphics cards and stock CPU clocks.

My appreciation for a quiet system became even more apparent after living with a couple of Litecoin mining rigs for the past month. A machine that can be heard outside your front door can certainly challenge your sanity.

With this week’s open forum, we’re curious to know how loud your primary computer is. Simply vote for the option that best describes your system in the included poll and if you’d like, feel free to share your cooling setup with us in the comments below.




User Comments: 43

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davimous said:

Mine was very loud... and then my power supply exploded.

Experimentongod said:

I really like quiet computing, all my fans are fixed RPM except the one on the graphics card and I use mostly Noctuas. The only noise that bothers me is the one produced by my case vibrating from my secondary disk drive spinning (mechanical HDD).

penn919 said:

My computer is relatively loud, but not as loud as it was before I added an exhaust fan and an after market cooler. It was like a freight train.

rvnwlfdroid said:

Over all it's relatively quiet under normal usage. When it does start to get louder I can hear it (CPU fan) saying "I can breath... need more air..." That's when I know it's time to clean all the filters.

dividebyzero dividebyzero, trainee n00b, said:

Pretty quiet. All ten fans are fluid dynamic or double ball bearing. Fan controllers keep the fans at a happy medium between rotation speed and static pressure.

Tokido said:

Under full load with my case closed about 30ish Db. Got my GPU and CPU under water with 2 360mm radiators.

toooooot said:

I have fan controller and it helps to keep it quiet. My only problem is that both gpu and cpu are cooled by 120x2 radiator so I have to have fans working on 100% when I play new games to keep my hardware at safe temp.

1 person liked this | cliffordcooley cliffordcooley, TechSpot Paladin, said:

I'll just put it this way. I have a 24/7 ringing in my ear that is louder than my PC. And the ringing is not all that loud either.

davislane1 davislane1 said:

You hear that sound emanating from my reply? You don't hear anything? Yeah...

JC713 JC713 said:

My gaming laptop is very loud and hot during gaming.

madboyv1, TechSpot Paladin, said:

My rackmount server chassis is constantly audible. The 80mm fans that came with aren't that good in the noise department but they at least move air pretty well (and tolerable after having the voltage stepped down). The the heatsink is taken from my old main computer, which is a samuel17 and a Noctua fan, so that part is silent.

My main computer is odd... when it boots up it rushes all four 120mm fans for my two radiators to 100% (American Airways flight 501, ready for takeoff) for about 5 seconds, and then drops down to silence. They become barely audible under load.

Guest said:

Always audible and markedly on the first thirty minutes of power up. 12-cm fan, made in china, approximately working fine for the last three years or so (aside from the audible noise)

TomSEA TomSEA, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

I have an SLI setup - two MSI GeForce 660ti's. Most games, perfectly quiet. But a demanding game like Far Cry 3 or Civilization V? Those games can crank up some fan noise.

TS-56336 TS-56336 said:

It isn't loud at all, though I used some kind of CPU cooler (Deep Cool) which makes it quite noisy when booted up.

1 person liked this | tomkaten tomkaten said:

I'll just put it this way. I have a 24/7 ringing in my ear that is louder than my PC. And the ringing is not all that loud either.

I liked your reply, Cliff, because it's concise and it perfectly expresses my experience with my PC.

So cheers ! (y)

mosu said:

The one that stays on 24/7 has passive cooling, the big one with 120 and 140 mm fans is relatively quiet even at full load.And no hardcore gaming.

1 person liked this | Railman said:

At the moment I have a totally silent PC as there is nothing installed in the case.

I am in the process of adapting my old case. I am cutting a large hole in the base so I can install a 14 cm intake fan so that the noisy 8 cm side panel fan can be dispensed with. A filter will be installed under the fan to prevent dust entering. I will be using new legs with shock absorbing rubber. Try to use components that are quieter for example Corsair PSU.

veLa veLa said:

Boy is mine loud. I have an Antec 1100 if that gives you an idea. I counted 11 fans total.

PC nerd PC nerd said:

My fans are mostly Noctua silent fans. Got an NH-D14 on the CPU and an Accelero Twin Turbo Pro II on the GPU. So it's pretty quiet.

Nobina Nobina said:

Have a laptop so it's not really loud at all, even when under full load. It can get hot though.

1 person liked this | misor misor said:

I'll just put it this way. I have a 24/7 ringing in my ear that is louder than my PC. And the ringing is not all that loud either.

if you have tinnitus, your ear needs to be examined by a general practitioner or an ear specialist.

if you have common colds, you may need to take nasal decongestants, drink lots of fluid, and avoid forceful expulsion of nasal discharges to prevent rupture of ear drums.

if you don't have common colds, you may have an impacted cerumen. have it taken out by any doctor.

if you don't have any medical/psychosomatic problem, then pardon my ignorance if I didn't get what you mean.

on topic:

my desktop computer (i3-530) is essentially quiet nowadays. previously, it is very loud due to dust build-up, I think. the noise diminished after my once-in-a-blue-moon cleanup.

1 person liked this | slh28 slh28, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Silent when idle/normal operation but pretty loud during gaming due to an aggressive GPU fan profile and with all the case fans turned up. But then I wear a headset when gaming which cuts out all the noise.

But the loudest and most annoying (to other people) part of my computer is probably my keyboard with MX Blues

Benny26 Benny26, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Mine is only ever really audible under load, unlike my last PC which could rival some jet engines. Right now I just use a Corsair H60i combined with 7 all round system fans (140mm most). Asus Fan Xpert pro which came with my board does a damn fine job of keeping them all running as quiet as possible though.

The fan on my EVGA 660ti can be noisy when pushed past 60%, but it never gets that far under normal conditions.

Cycloid Torus Cycloid Torus said:

120mm fans - pretty quiet. HDD is louder - constant activity from "SYSTEM PID 4" is loudest part of system. Unable to determine why LogFile$ needs so many entries or why Superfetch has to be completely reconfigured every few hours. Big opportunity for an OS which truly optomizes rather than thrashes thru every day.

Cycloid Torus Cycloid Torus said:

Only gave half of the answer...from the perspective of my SOUND SYSTEM, about 85 db.

Prosercunus said:

Always audible. I have actually become dependent on the case fans for sleeping because it makes wonderful white noise. Total silence bothers me.

Guest said:

Corsair h100i running at 1000 rpm and silent

will only max the fans out when im bored to cool the liquid a bit and be happy

gigabyte windforce 760 oc

both silent and when im gaming all I hear is game audio

EClyde EClyde said:

Depends on the type noise regarding whether it bothers me. It was over a decade ago I cam down one Saturday morning turned on the computer and while making coffee in the next room I thought...dam that's loud. I bought a Zalman PSU cause the PSU was the big noise. I can hear my computer and while I consider it silent it is always audible. I think some of youse guys are faking your replies...only makes noise under load????

hahahanoobs hahahanoobs said:

Not loud enough to bother anyone. My H100i fans are audible on lowest speed, but only because they are on the outside of the case under the top mesh grill, and the case is right next to me on my desk.

Railman said:

Silent when idle/normal operation but pretty loud during gaming due to an aggressive GPU fan profile and with all the case fans turned up. But then I wear a headset when gaming which cuts out all the noise.

But the loudest and most annoying (to other people) part of my computer is probably my keyboard with MX Blues

My wife used to be heavy handed with the keyboard. My PC is in the spare bedroom. I could hear the keyboard downstairs. She has her own PC now and that keyboard is very quite.

There are a number of factors that can cause a PC to be noisy. Vibration can be transmitted to surrounding objects. There are a number of ingenious methods used to reduce noise. I recall one person suspending hard drives by rubber bands!

Cycloid Torus Cycloid Torus said:

I recall one person suspending hard drives by rubber bands!

I use short pieces of cheap clear plastic tubing: 1/2" for 2.5" HDD in a 3.5" and 3/4" for 3.5" in 5.25" space - leather hole punch lets me mount with standard screws.

cliffordcooley cliffordcooley, TechSpot Paladin, said:

I use short pieces of cheap clear plastic tubing: 1/2" for 2.5" HDD in a 3.5" and 3/4" for 3.5" in 5.25" space - leather hole punch lets me mount with standard screws.
Could you post a picture for us to see?

1 person liked this | Cycloid Torus Cycloid Torus said:

I use short pieces of cheap clear plastic tubing: 1/2" for 2.5" HDD in a 3.5" and 3/4" for 3.5" in 5.25" space - leather hole punch lets me mount with standard screws.
Could you post a picture for us to see?

Picture posted in PC Modding & Hardware pics. [link]

Guest said:

My machine is also quiet for the amounts of fans I have.

1x140mm intake fan.

2x 140 top exhaust

2x 120mm push and pull on CPU HSF

1x 120mm back exhaust

1x 120mm side intake

plus two gpu's for now the Radeon 7970 Ghz is using stock msi cooling.

my Physx card is a EVGA 650 SC card which is pretty low power and very quiet.

Everything besides the gpu's are controlled from a 6 know manual control panel on the front of the tower.

O and one of the biggest things for keeping the noise down I run a Corsair AX PSU which is very quiet and at low loads pretty much turns off its fan.

m4a4 m4a4 said:

I never notice because of this thing called music

VitalyT VitalyT said:

My desktop is as quiet as it gets, without using water cooling.

TitoBXNY TitoBXNY said:

I gave my reliable Antec TPQ-850 850W to my daughter and got myself a Cooler Master GX - 750W to save money. The Cooler Master is very loud and even louder when running GW2 on my GTX 760. I will replace it in the next 2 weeks. Other than that my PC is fairly quiet.

St1ckM4n St1ckM4n said:

Heh, I question the popularity of the "only makes noise under load" option. I can guarantee that a fitted out gaming rig will make noise even at idle.

Myself, my main rig is pretty standard. Makes a little noise on idle due to the fans, and a little more under load - but still very good.

My HTPC has the option to be as quiet as an idling laptop. Currently, I've got it idling and load at under-than-console noise levels.

Kibaruk Kibaruk, TechSpot Paladin, said:

The 5 chassis fans are pretty silent, what kills me at night is the led lights they have T_T

The proc has a hyper TX3 cooler which is silent too under normal load, the most audible thing is the HD6850 fan under a tiny bit of load.

Railman said:

I use short pieces of cheap clear plastic tubing: 1/2" for 2.5" HDD in a 3.5" and 3/4" for 3.5" in 5.25" space - leather hole punch lets me mount with standard screws.
Could you post a picture for us to see?

Picture posted in PC Modding & Hardware pics. [link]

That is a simple and elegant solution. Only one problem, where can you buy 1/2 inch plastic tubing?

1 person liked this | Cycloid Torus Cycloid Torus said:

That is a simple and elegant solution. Only one problem, where can you buy 1/2 inch plastic tubing?

True Value hardware or Ace. It is used for all sorts of things - from fish tanks to water sculptures. Great stuff! I use a longer piece which I pushed into a hole in a milk jug cap as my dust vacuum when I clean out the PC. I have a piece on my Phillips screw driver to hold the screw while I am driving it. I have a larger piece on my spark plug wrench to hold the spark plug. Depending on diameter, thickness and length, clear plastic tubing can replace a spring, cover a spade connector, etc. etc.

1 person liked this | Cycloid Torus Cycloid Torus said:

[link]

Railman said:

That is a simple and elegant solution. Only one problem, where can you buy 1/2 inch plastic tubing?

True Value hardware or Ace. It is used for all sorts of things - from fish tanks to water sculptures. Great stuff! I use a longer piece which I pushed into a hole in a milk jug cap as my dust vacuum when I clean out the PC. I have a piece on my Phillips screw driver to hold the screw while I am driving it. I have a larger piece on my spark plug wrench to hold the spark plug. Depending on diameter, thickness and length, clear plastic tubing can replace a spring, cover a spade connector, etc. etc.

Managed to purchase tubing from a farming supply shop at lunch time.

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