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[ The PC Guide | System Optimization and Enhancement Guide | System Optimizations and Enhancements | Improve the PC's Physical and Environmental Characteristics ]

Reduce the Noise Level of the PC System Unit

Newer PCs produce more "noise pollution", in general, than their less sophisticated ancestors of the early 80s. There are two main reasons for this. The first is that many newer components that run faster and faster make more noise, especially drives that spin at high speeds. The second is the use of multiple fans for cooling a modern system. The noise made by the system can be irritating or distracting to many people.

Here are some simple ideas for reducing the noise level of the PC:

  • Relocate the PC: Moving the PC off the desk and onto the floor, especially if a few feet away from the main work area, will help reduce the perceived noise level.
  • Use Power Management: The hard disk drives are a major contributor the noise level in the system. Modern hard disks, when placed in a system with a BIOS that supports power management features (most do) can be instructed to spin down after a period of inactivity. This will reduce the noise level of the PC if you do a fair bit of activity without accessing the hard disk.

Note: There are drawbacks to using power management. See here for a full discussion.

  • Don't Add Redundant Fans: Some system cases have places where you can add additional fans to improve the air flow in the case. While this aids in cooling, too many fans contribute to the general racket of the PC. Don't add more fans if this is a concern.
  • Ensure the Case is Fully Closed: The PC will make much more noise if it is run with the cover off. In addition, if any of the drive bays are not covered, or if expansion slots are missing their metal inserts, noise will "leak out" these spaces. These gaps also interfere with air flow within the case, and therefore prevent optimal cooling of the PC.
  • Replace the CPU Fan If Noisy: Some CPU fans create a lot of noise; I've bought some that sounded like a jet getting ready for take-off. A replacement fan may much less noise; the better the quality of the fan, in general the quieter it is. A decent one should cost only about $10 or so.

Next: Improve the Security Level of the PC

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