I started my vacation last week. I am not going anywhere because we decided to install a swimming pool in the backyard. That little project successfully depleted the summer vacation funds and more.
I have been doing quite a bit of recording work despite the need for some time off. The weather has been so poor in this part of the country that I have not felt the urge to go to beaches or to engage in other outdoor activities. I had quite a bit of work to do on a few projects and so I have spent most of my vacation time slugging away in the control room.
I had treated my studio DAW with upgrades from Quiet PC. Although the control room computers are in an insulated and soundproofed machine room they still emit a fair bit of noise. I installed new power supplies and cpu coolers and I insulated the computer cases with sound dampening material. The net result is that the computers are very quiet.
My office computer roars like a jet airplane.
I had to do a forced upgrade to the office computer when a power supply went south causing the processor to do a thermal meltdown. I replaced the processor, motherboard, memory and upgraded the hard disk.
The computer has an Enermax PSU, a stock Intel CPU cooler, a case fan as well as other assorted peripherals (video card, hard disk drives, CDR, etc.). I measured the noise level of the computer and, at idle, it produces over 58dBA of noise. It also happens to be a fairly broadband noise pitched at just the right amplitude and set of frequencies to be exceptionally annoying. I have to put the computer on standby once I leave the office because the noise level permeates the rest of the building.
I broke down yesterday and contacted the folks at Quiet PC to help me out. I have ordered a Zalman ZM400A 400 watt noiseless power supply, an Arctic Cooling Super Silent 4ProL CPU cooler, and an AcoustiFan Noiseless Computer Case fan. Each item in isolation produces about 20dBA of noise. Every 10dBA rise in SPL is perceived as a doubling of the noise level so you can imagine how much quieter those items will be over the current 58dBA. I’m not sure which piece is the loudest right now. It seems to be a contest between the case fan and the CPU cooler.
Although I could take the case fan out, the CPU cooler fan, which is currently rotating at about 3,000 rpm, would quickly rise to 5,000+ rpm to maintain acceptable thermal levels. Either way, these new generation processors from Intel run loud and hot.
You can learn more about making your computer operate with less noise at the silent pc forum. There is a great primer just off the home page called: Noise in Computing: A Primer for PC Silencers.