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How loud is your primary computer?

Displaying poll results.
It's silent
  5945 votes / 17%
It's only audible under load
  9145 votes / 26%
It's a constant, minimal buzz
  5849 votes / 17%
It's mostly quiet, occasionally noisier
  4484 votes / 13%
It's not quiet, but not loud enough to annoy
  3488 votes / 10%
It's louder than I prefer
  3255 votes / 9%
It's far too loud
  850 votes / 2%
It's a 4.3 on the Richter scale
  1220 votes / 3%
34236 total votes.
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  • Don't complain about lack of options. You've got to pick a few when you do multiple choice. Those are the breaks.
  • Feel free to suggest poll ideas if you're feeling creative. I'd strongly suggest reading the past polls first.
  • This whole thing is wildly inaccurate. Rounding errors, ballot stuffers, dynamic IPs, firewalls. If you're using these numbers to do anything important, you're insane.
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How loud is your primary computer?

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  • by MadX (99132) on Tuesday January 28, 2014 @02:48PM (#46092815)

    Bought a nice case with foam padding (Coolermaster Silencio 550). Dropped the noise level by a considerable margin.

  • by langelgjm (860756) on Tuesday January 28, 2014 @03:22PM (#46093239) Journal

    So I went with my mid-2007 Macbook2,1. Audible only under load, and then the fan makes a lot of noise. Or in a completely silent room, with no load whatsoever, there is an annoying whine related to CPU idling.

    Also have a PowerMac G5 which under no load is audible but quiet, and under any load sounds nearly like a jet engine.

    The quad-core Xeon Dell PowerEdge server is loud enough that I keep it in S3 suspend and just use Wake-on-Lan to turn it on when I need it.

    Everything else is about standard desktop PSU/CPU fan quiet. Except for the AppleTV Gen1, now running OpenELEC/XBMC, which is nearly completely silent. Occasionally you can hear the hard drive.

  • by tlambert (566799) on Tuesday January 28, 2014 @04:43PM (#46094181)

    I only hear it when it's ringing... it's a cell phone.

  • by Bonker (243350) on Thursday January 30, 2014 @03:21AM (#46107741)

    I'm partially descended from Cherokee on one side and Choktaw on the other. However, as a computer nerd with a florescent-light tan, I am the WHITEST Native American you will ever meet. (Oddly enough, there are *blonde* native Americans less white than I am.)

    I've also been blessed to keep my hearing despite working in or near various data centers and around heavy machinery. I've always been very careful about hearing protection.

    I can hear the capacitors in my CRT TVs cycling. I can hear the constant whine of AC power in the walls. If I'm lucky enough to be around older electronics with real vacuum tubes, I can hear them sing or hum, depending on size.

    At night, I can hear the nails squeaking in their holes as my house settles. I can hear that damn squirrel scurrying across my roof in the wee hours. Yes, stomach, I know that squirrel is edible, but I am an well-(over)-fed computer programmer and not a nomadic hunter-gatherer. Would you and my ears *please* quit waking me up for that kind of thing?

    Accordingly, I'm one of those individuals who can gauge the load on their PC components simply by listening to them. This has become more true as newer motherborards tend to have throttle-able fans. I can still distinguish when my CPU decides to page out to disk even *with* the fans droning out the hard drives, though.

    It can be bloody unpleasant at times. For example, I've paged 3 times while writing this post. Why? I'm running VM and a ton of RAM-hungry apps, including Firefox. I twitch every time it happens.

    However, it's also saved me countless hours of frustration and lots of cash as I can often identify hardware problems by sound.

    I really pissed off my neighbor once doing this. He had an AC mechanic out because his air conditioner kept quitting. Mine was as well... but I could HEAR the transformers humming oddly on the poles. (And not the good kind, where the Autobots defeat the Decepticons)

    "This isn't an AC issue. It's a power issue. I've called the power company."

    Made the mistake of saying that after he'd just paid for the AC service call.

  • Re:Water cooling FTW (Score:3, Interesting)

    by iamweasel (1217570) on Thursday January 30, 2014 @05:43AM (#46108189)

    Sadly, just about every "water cooled" computer requires both. Water cooling is rarely anything more than a way to put your air cooling in a more convenient location.

    True, but when you can actually have the air cooling with much larger surface area in a convenient location, you can do much better than to just stick a radiator and fans inside or on the side of the case.

    I use water cooling to almost silence my gaming "rig". I built a chimney of sorts behind my bookshelf, and have an array of passive radiators hidden there. Also the pump is at the bottom of the chimney, in foam padding. I have a fan at the bottom, and it is being controlled by the water temperature, but the ~250W (guesstimate) that my GPU and CPU dump into the water while gaming can be cooled fairly well with just the chimney effect. It's fairly inconspicuous too, since on the side of the bookshelf the visible bits are the reservoir at the top, the air intake with fan and two tubes coming out of holes at the bottom.

    The PSU, chipset, SSD and HDDs need to be cooled by air in the case, so I need fans, but they can turn at a fairly quiet 600 - 800 rpm. In addition to the PSU fan, I use three fans to have slightly positive pressure inside the case, but I could probably do with just a single one if I took the effort to modify the case and make most of the case airtight so I could control the airflow better. The HDDs are suspended and sandwiched, but I think they wouldn't be too noticeable even without the extra soundproofing.

    I sunk a fair amount of time and money into this (one needs quality components), but the silence is golden. Maintenance, however, can be a bit tedious because of the amount of coolant that needs to be bled and replaced. Also cleaning all tubing and connections is a chore. With the coolant split into 6 parallel flows for the radiators, filters, monitoring sensors and ports to help bleeding add up to quite a few fittings.

    The setup would, of course, be pure overkill if the whole system wasn't in a silent space, but my "office" is an old studio with good soundproofing, so there isn't too much ambient noise. Computer fans do not bother me in more noisy environments, but they really started to bug me in that space. Now if I could just do something to the electrical noises my the components and display make...

Elegance and truth are inversely related. -- Becker's Razor


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