Jun 24th 2008

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Silence is Golden

My new quad core machine is lovely but it had a bit of a resonant rattle when the CPU fan hit certain speeds.

Mostly it would hit this mid campaign in Enemy Territory No amount of twisting and tightening things on the CoolerMaster Centurion case would cure it.

Now as anyone who has built a box based on Intel's LGA processor sockets will attest, changing a cpu heatsink/fan with the board in situ is a scary prospect as the tension required on the mounting clips would cause the board to flex on it's mounting posts to the point of risking damage.

In any case I wasn't convinced that another HSF would resolve the problem. So I started thinking about how biscuit tin like the case material is (and this isn't by a long shot the most flimsily case on the market) Remembering my days selling and installing In car entertainment systems I started to think about a product called Dynamat which is a self adhesive sound deadening sheet.

Now I know there are several similar products on the market specifically for PC's but I knew a local motor factor kept the Dynamat in stock and I also suspect it is cheaper. £15 later I came home armed with a 4sqft sheet.

Now with this stuff it is not necessary to cover the whole surface of the panel, you just need to get a good size bit as close to the centre of the panel as you can. I would say that an A4 sized section for each side panel and a couple of CD jewel case sized pieces for the top is sufficient (cases vary on access to the inside of the top panel, mine would need rivets drilling out to get full access but you can squeze one smaller sized bit near the drives and one over the PSU) Firing up the machine again and what a difference ! As expected the rattle had gone, and knocking on the side of the case now sounds like knocking on a wooden door rather than a biscuit tin. But what I wasn't prepared for is how much less fan and drive noise comes from the machine, I am sure you would have to spend significant money at quietpc.com to get anything like this reduction through changing fans etc.

So there we go, a quick, cheap and effective way to make machines noticeably quieter without resorting to replacing fans with ultra quiet ones. It won't cure the noise from a faulty or cheap fan running at full pelt but it still makes a very significant difference and I still have enough left to do another machine.

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