[mythtv-users] Quiet CPU Cooler Recommendations

matthew.garman at gmail.com matthew.garman at gmail.com
Sat Jan 27 00:01:40 UTC 2007

On Fri, Jan 26, 2007 at 03:17:49PM -0800, Kirk Bocek wrote:
> I guess I just haven't found a fan that's 'too quiet to hear.'
> Sure, that would be fine. All I know is that the super-dooper
> quiet Zalman that I bought for my existing box is still making too
> much noise (even with the speed adjustment turned *all* the way
> down) for our bedroom.

Which Zalman do you have?  I bought several of what many consider to
be their best Socket 462/A cooler, the CNPS7000A-AlCu.  They all
came with the Zaman "fanmate", a variable resistor to control the
fan speed.  Turning the pot all the way down, I found those fans to
be *extremely* quiet (practically silent in the right case).

However, I've had other Zalman standalone fans, and they're no good,
even undervolted.

> I'm just pretty sure that the 18-22dB quoted at one of the silent
> PC sites is gonna be too loud.

IIRC, 20dB and below cannot be heard by most humans under "normal"
conditions (e.g. your bedroom).  The decibal ratings quoted by
manufacturers are almost always bunk---for instance, one fan model
may say "super quiet: 18db".  But at what distance?  Twenty feet
away?  Sure.  But from 1m?  I doubt it.

I have the stats listed for all my computers here:


Check out the last entry, "fisherman".  That's the MythTV PC I built
for my parents.  Unless you stick your head right next to the rear
case fan, you can't hear it in their living room.  And their house
is quiet---they live out in the country.  And this PC is used
exclusively for HD.

My MythTV is near the top, "cesspool".  I can't hear it in my living
room, but the ambient noise in my apartment (in Chicago) is much
louder.  This machine isn't quite powerful enough to do HD reliably,
so I plan to upgrade to something similar to what I built for my
parents (except that I'll keep the low-profile NSK2400 case, which
is too short for the Ninja, so I'll use the Thermalright SI-120 I
mentioned in my other email).

Most of my machines are based on parts from the SilentPCReview.com
website's "recommended" list.  There are *lots* of fans, probably
the vast majority, that can't even be considered "sorta quiet".
However, I think you'll find that the SPCR top picks are quiet
enough (although they may require you to undervolt them).

A company called Nexus makes SPCR's favorite 120mm fan.  However,
the OEM for them is Yate Loon, model D12SL-12.  You can find these
Yate Loon fans many places on the Internet *cheap* if you buy them
in quantity (i.e. 5).  I recently bought 5 for around $20, and
cherry-picked the quietest one myself.  Not a bad deal, considering
the Nexus will cost you $20 for one.

Finally, another idea is this: unless you're watching silent movies,
your PC's "noise ceiling" should be higher while actually watch TV.
And if you're using this PC as a front-end only, why not have it
shutdown/hiberate/sleep when you're not using it?  Then it will
TRULY be silent :)

Someone pointed me to silentpcreview.com a few years ago when I
thought my computers were too loud.  Building the quietest possible
PCs has since become a hobby (some might say obsession) of mine. :)

That was supposed to be a *short* post :)

Take care,

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