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Water cooled computer? Is it quiet?

Discussion in 'Tech Talk' started by Viper_Audio, Dec 31, 2006.

  1. Viper_Audio

    Viper_Audio

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    I like my computer except for it's freakin noisy. It's got at least 4 fans going all the time.

    I am thinking of going "water cooled", to reduce the noise.

    Is there any good websites or forums that discuss this?

    Does anyone have any experience with "cons" other than of cost?

    Thanks
     
  2. IndyGunFreak

    IndyGunFreak

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    It all depends on the radiator/pump that you buy. I read a review (I think in MaximumPC) a few months ago of several water cooled systems, and only one of them was "quiet" according to the author.

    IGF
     

  3. Darkmage

    Darkmage

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    My computer has been watercooled for a couple of years. Yes, it is quiet. Right now, the loudest thing in my computer is my hard drive. You can't hear my computer beyond about three feet.

    A couple websites to check out:
    www.silentpcreview.com
    www.htpcnews.com

    Both of these websites have a strong interest in quiet computing. The former obviously is a bit more fanatic about it. They have a part selection guide that is extremely useful. You don't really need to go watercooled to get a quiet PC... but it sure helps. :)
     
  4. Tennessee Slim

    Tennessee Slim Señor Member CLM

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    It's cheaper (and much less of a hassle) to replace cheap POS OE fans with hi-dollar aftermarket ones. I'm partial to the Papst brand (quality German engineering and their noise specs are worst-case if anything).

    If they'll fit the application, there are adapters that let you use a larger, slower-turning(and hence, quieter) fan in place of a smaller, faster, noisier one. More air moved with less noise.

    I don't recall the brand name but there is (at least) one add-on external water cooler that is fanless. The external gizmo is a heavily-finned, aluminum coolant tank. All that surface area is supposed to offer good cooling without requiring a fan.

    Or you could follow the lead of the guys at Tom's Hardware. They sealed up a case and filled it with vegetable oil. No pumps, fans or radiators necessary, and it's totally silent.
     
  5. Rabid Rabbit

    Rabid Rabbit

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    The case design makes a big difference. I have one from Antec that was advertised to be very quite. If I'm more than two feet away I have to look at the lights to see if it is on. Not only are the fans quiet but the HDD, fan and motherboard mounts are rubber there isn't one ribbon cable inside the box. I think I paid $70 for the case with power supply.
     
  6. Tennessee Slim

    Tennessee Slim Señor Member CLM

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    Which reminds me…

    Years ago, I was overclocking a Celeron 566 and running a hotrodded fan on it that was louder than a Pratt&Whitney PT6. Watching TV one night, I saw an ad for Lexus automobiles that mentioned they used asphalt in the floor pan to deaden noise. “Hmmmmmm…” I thinks to myself, “…some roofing shingles are made from asphalt …mebbe it’s worth a shot.”

    So I found some scrap asbestos shingles and cut them up into the proper shapes and taped them inside the case. When I got everything adjusted so the case would reassemble, I was amazed how much quieter it was. I’m not suggesting you run to the nearest construction site and “midnight requisition” some shingles but it does point out how case shape and construction can serve to amplify the noise inside.

    But the shingles ain’t exactly a dumb idea, neither.
     
  7. Wulfenite

    Wulfenite The King

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    Might be easier to get a bucket of roofing mastic and paint a thick coat on the inside of the case. You could then cover it with roofing felt or even paper and let it dry in the sun for a couple days before putting it back on the unit. Should be even quieter.

    Of course you could just turn on itunes louder.
     
  8. Darkmage

    Darkmage

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    The product you're thinking of is the Zalman Reserator. That's the most popular fanless watercooling system that I know of. In fact, they have a new product, the Reserator 2 that looks pretty sharp. If my system wasn't gurgling right along, I might pick one up.

    The Reserator is huge, but it is dead silent. It's enough to cool your CPU and GPU, but don't try to overclock with it. As an aside, Zalman's traditional heatsinks are top-notch as well. The CNPS-7700 series and the 9500 series are nearly silent. Tenessee Slim's advice about large, slower fans is right on the money. The Zalman heatsinks use a 120mm fan (as opposed to a stock 60mm fan) and are barely a whisper.

    Another fanless option is the Thermaltake Rocket, which is similar to the Reserator, but less cool looking, not as effective, and lighter on the wallet. However, Thermaltake does have a couple of watercooling products that have good reputations: The Big Water SE watercooling kit and the Symphony. I lust after the Symphony, but my home theater isn't slick enough to justify that kind of purchase.

    If you really want to go watercooled, there are lots of options out there, including more passive systems. If you just want a quiet computer, it's cheaper to stick with air cooling and select quality components.