Muzzling the Noisy PC


Home Most people would regard the sounds that come from the speakers connected to a PC to be the most annoying sounds that a computer can make. It’s the noise created by the operation of the computer that can annoy some people. There are two sources of the noise that a computer makes fans and the hard drive(s). Excessive noise from is a sign of an impending failure of a hard drive or a fan. A higher pitched whining noise is means a hard drive is in need of the last rites and your data will going to the great bit bucket in the sky unless you back up immediately.

A low roaring means it’s a fan that’s about to go. Normally a computer will have two or three fans. There is a fan in the power supply that pulls warm air out of the PC case; there some times will be a fan that pulls cool air into the PC, and a fan on the heat sink that cools the CPU chip. If it is CPU cooler fan that is the culprit the PC needs to be serviced as soon as possible. If the CPU overheats hardware damage can happen very quickly. It takes only seconds for a CPU to burn out. Modern PC’s have an internal setting where if the CPU reaches a certain temperature the computer will shut down on it’s own and will not allow the system to be powered up until the CPU cools down.

The fan on the back right near where the power cord plugs into the computer is part of the power supply, the part of the computer that takes the alternating current that come from the wall plug and downconverts it to 12 and 5 volt direct current feeds for the motherboard and disk drives. When this fan gets noisy or stops altogether the entire power supply needs to be changed.

Even when some PC’s are working properly they are just loud. Often it’s because of multiple case fans required to cool high performance parts that generate a lot of heat. The documentation for these parts will tell you what is a safe operating temperature is. Case fans can be disconnected safely but if a component gets too hot then it means that one or more case fans will have to be reconnected so that components will operate at a safe temperature. There are a number of noise suppression kits on the market comprised of rubber gaskets that fit on the intake fans and the power supply on any standard ATX case. Putting a rubber gasket on the power supply and intake fans will help avoid transferring vibration into the PC case. Many PC cases will support a large size case fan. The advantage of having a larger fan is that a higher volume of air can be pulled into the PC case with the fan spinning a lower RPM.

High performance hard drives with platters that spin at 10,000 or 15,000 RPM can be very noisy and there are kits that mount the hard drive in a tray that slides in the 5.25 drive bay typically used for optical disk drives. The trays are made with plastic and rubber in such a way that suppresses vibration transfer.

Screws that hold computers parts in a case can become loosened by vibration and allow the motherboard and other parts to vibrate. Sometime just checking and tightening screws can help cut down noise. PC case noise can’t be entirely eliminated but it can be reduced significantly through relatively low cost solutions.


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