Completely silent computer built

I’ve got, I think 6 if you don’t count the 2 on the CPU cooler or the PSU fan, which acts as an exhaust. (Or the gpu cooler for another 2).

That 1 noctua runs off the PSU direct, through the inline speed adaptor. Intakes run off the mobo fan control, exhausts run off the fan controller. Typically they all run at pretty low/quiet speeds. I’ve hit on a pretty good cooling throughout so the mobo run ones never seem to ramp up. Just the gpu and CPU fans. Occasionally PSU. If I want more air flowing through turn up the fan controller. My box is stuck in one of those under desk cubbies for the moment, so need a bunch of air moving through there to compensate. But since I hit on my current cooling plan all the case fans seem to just stay at the quiet base level, And my temps are fine.

Most of noctuas more recent (and more expensive) fans seem to be built for low speed. And all the schmancy new bearings help with that. (@anon89609066). In all but the cheapest fans the bearing doesn’t seem to be a major contributor to noise. Until they start to fail. All the frictionless fluid, magnetic, stainless this, magic shit bearings just keep the until at bay longer. A lot of the noise seems to come from turbulence coming off the blades and vibration, either against the case or disturbing the airflow. Rubber mounts minimize the vibration, And any stress on the bearing from the fan running unbalanced. Keeping dust out or cleaning it off preserves the bearings, And keeps airflow clean to minimize noise.

My oldest noctua is I think 4 years old. Still fine. Still silent. The newer ones have 2 years of regular use in them. Some of the fractals got loud after about 2 years, And were replaced with the new noctuas. The others have about 2 years on them now. Keeping them low speed and away from dust has kept them going just fine.

That heatsink is probably way, way over kill. Unless you overclock. I do fine with a hyper 212, with a couple of name brand fans attached.

Eta: Eh I crossed some stuff up. The PSU no longer acts as an exhaust. I’d always done it that way, but heard about concerns that drawing hot air from inside the case, through the power supply shortens it’s life span. So I figured I try flipping it over so it’s basically on its own loop. Cool air from outside the case directly out the back of the PSU. Things are much cooler and it’s fan rarely ramps up. Also I can’t recall where my 6th fan is living at, pretty sure it’s still in there. Plan was equal number of intakes and exhausts, use the fan controller to force the exhausts to run as slow as possible. Should maintain positive pressure for dust control. Then ramping up the controller as needed to equalize the pressure or make it negative for airflow.


I cannot hear it on a train.
I cannot hear it in the rain.


I dunno. My Nintendo Switch seems pretty quiet.

Too much is never enough :grinning:


But really large heat sinks bolt a lot of weight onto your mobo, And take up a lot of room. That can limit space for other things. And if you knock it or it’s just too heavy you risk damaging the board.

But the problem I’ve run into is the way they impede airflow through the case. To a certain extent that’s good, are going across the fins and what have. But over time I’ve learned the important thing is moving cool air to the appropriate places. The standard layout of blowing cool air across the drives, where it gets heated up. Through the CPU cooler and gpu can cause cooling problems. Because your feeding hot air to the stuff thats most in need of cooling. And an overlarge CPU cooler can block airflow to the gpu or create a pocket of hot air around the gpu.

It’s why so many cases have side and bottom vents now for intake fans now. Feed fresh air into what can sometimes be a dead zone. Bigger heat sink than is necessary might mean bigger dead zone than necessary

That’s one advantage possessed by (typically otherwise uninspiring at best and dismal at worst) PC OEM prebuilt cases: Because doing it this way is, presumably, both a cost savings and a reliability improvement they often skip the ‘motherboard sandwiched between rear stiffening plate and heatsink’ arrangement and make the mounts for the heatsink an integral part of the side of the case closest to the motherboard.

Means that you can’t exactly pop that side off to hide few cables; or remove the motherboard without taking off the heatsink(though with the big ones that’s often a good idea anyway); but also means that the heatsink is affixed directly to the chassis, with the screws passing through holes in the motherboard but the motherboard not actually mechanically relevant to the arrangement. Unless the entire case is such junk that warping it is alarmingly easy this arrangement is pretty solid.

Mounting to the motherboard is much more flexible; and doesn’t constrain you to only using motherboards with holes exactly aligned to what your case manufacturer thought were the right locations; but it does put the board in the position of taking any stress.

Fair point, and I would be happier if the CPU wasn’t vertical. But it’s been fine for years, so I got away with this one.

Bought a big case, all part of the plan.

Nope, it means two fans on the side vent can both pump air straight into the heat sink. Plan!

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Most of the cheap pre-builts I’ve run into use the stock cooler (or similar) from the CPU manufacture. Clip mounted the front of the board. Gaming pre-builts I’ve messed with typically use a name brand cooler affixed by back plate. So while I’m sure some of them use the case as the back plate (this is the same sandwich, and potentially one with issues given you need space between the board and the case to prevent shorts), it doesn’t seem to be standard for desk tops.

Yeah that’s not how it works. The case manufacturer puts in holes to align with one or more of the standard motherboard layouts (ATX, mATX, mITX , etc). As well as sufficient holes for any stand offs that may be needed. If you buy a case that’s only meant for ATX its only going to be threaded to fit an ATX. OEMs use non standard screw patterns to prevent you from getting a mother board from somewhere else should the mother board go tits up. Its been a very long time since I bought either a mother board or a case where the two layouts don’t match despite being compatible standards. Though its been a very long time since I was in the habit of buying $20 cases and no-name mother boards.

Its not like this is a situation where you can just decide to screw that thing down anywhere there are holes for it either. You absolutely still need to use all of the screws and standoffs required by your board. Otherwise there’s risk of cracking it, or shorting it out if it sags into the side wall (found that out the hard way!).

Though experiment i’ve pondered over the years, not that i have the technical know-how to make it work: Liquid cooling that is paired up with your home’s plumbing. You can have the heat from the PC being drawn onto a section of pipe that is circulating cold water from the home.

I’m sure somebody’s done it!

There seem to be a couple different strategies for cooling down the fluid. Cause regular water cooling really isn’t all that different than regular air cooling, its just more compact and moves the fan and heatsink/radiator to a different spot. It still just works around ambient temp, which can be an issue if room temp is particularly high. Or you need serious cooling.

I dunno if hooking it to the plumbing is the best idea. Water cooling is prone to leaks. Most of the people I know with water coolers have switched to filling it with mineral oil. When it leaks its messier to clean up. But it doesn’t evaporate, and its non-conductive. So fewer blown parts. Since we got hooked up to the municipal water supply our water pressure is pretty variable. First time I turned on one of our hoses last summer the spike in pressure blew the spool off the wall.

There’s a few ways i can think of to make it work with the plumbing. One is to have the heat transfer onto a section of pipe that circulating water, the other is to have the heatsink somehow interact directly with circulating water from the home. Option 2 is likely more efficient but you’d have to worry more about leaks and other potential issues like water impurities. The cold water in places i’ve lived at is usually pretty cold to begin with, colder than the ambient temperature at least so it has the potential for being more efficient at drawing the heat from a PC but again since i’m not seriously entertaining the idea i’m sure there’s some details i’m missing.

Edit: Doing a search naturally does show that people have entertained the concept but i’m unable to find working examples of someone actually pulling it off. Would be curious about what it’d take to make it work in a simple and efficient way, or if its the kind of solution that would inherently need to be complicated. The discussions i find point to it being more complicated than not.

Funny that this thread is up at the same time my ancient Athlon II desktop is freezing up on me. It could finally be it’s time, though it was a decent machine in it’s day. The J1900 was no faster than it, but the J4105 seems to be enough of a bump to finally stop nursing this one along, even if all it really wants is the OS reinstalled. Last time, the onboard vid went and I had to put in a card I had lying around.

Goodbye desktop fans! Last ones in the house. Even my wife has a little HP puck PC I picked up refurb. MB and 8gb will run me $175.

Most out of the box water cooling bits have standard nipple fittings of some sort to hook up the plastic tubing. If you really wanted to try it out its not all that hard to find female to barb fittings meant to thread onto a faucet. Hook it all up. Pipe the faucet into a cpu block, or the radiator. Run your return hose into the sink drain instead of back into the block.

I don’t know enough about home plumbing to tell you how to make it work. Everything I think up I’m like “no wait that’s how draft beer systems work, I don’t think plumbing works that way”. Getting the water out of the pipe is simple enough. Same setup as you use for a shower. Pipe goes through the wall, dead ends in a barb fitting or some such. Valve in there some where for on off, and to control pressure. Plastic tubing from the wall barb to the water block.

But I have no clue how you’d get it back in the water pipe. Given the contents of the pipe is still under pressure you can’t just tap another fitting somewhere else on the pipe can you? Would that circulate directionally? Or do you have to have the pipe dead end at the fitting. And another pipe below that that starts at the fitting? Such that the tubing and cooler are the middle of the pipe?

You can’t just run it down a drain. You’ll be wasting a fuck ton of water.

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