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Hello everyone, just thought I'd post this in the Windows forum as it's the most appropriate place methinks.

My question is basically, why are PCs that are assembled by individuals, not as quiet as PCs that are built by HP, Dell, etc? (I know that the ones from big companies are technically built/tested by humans [hopefully], but just stick with me here please).

Now some people may argue with me cos I'm generalising a bit, but it's just my experience. I bought a computer in 2004 that was assembled by a friend for a friend. And it was a great rig (XP Pro, Pentium 4, 1.5GB RAM, 180GB HD, 128 Nvidia card) i used it and loved it for years, but then last November, it went dead, and i never got round to fixing it... so when I got some more money I bought ANOTHER assembled PC this year. This one is an E6750 (so Core 2 Duo), 2GB RAM, 400GB or so HD. Performance-wise, I couldn't really complain about these computers, (apart from when I ran VMWare on the old one for Ubuntu, I couldn't sort out the lag even with VMWare Tools installed), but still, that was not a problem. My only issue with them was that, on start-up, whenever the processor was busy (searching for files, running a virus scan, or even just preparing to open up a webpage or to go to screen saver), I could HEAR it. There was (and is with my present machine) a sort of scratching noise which I use to know when its doing something, or about to do something, or trying to do something and maybe having problems.

Now I know a friend with a Dell that is just 512MB RAM, no graphics card, XP as well (not sure which), and even though his computer was slower than mine, it was quietly so. And at work, we have HP pcs, and I've just been asked to clean up an old Compaq one (same company I know but still), and the compaq even runs on Athlon 2600, but the point is, they are all relatively noiseless in the way that i've described my machines to be.

My simple question is "Why is this so", can anyone tell me? Is it anything to do with fans, cos I did think I might need to get one more. Or is it just some sort of 'magic' that the guys in a big factory can perform, but the people in smaller or no factories can't? Am I making any sense at all?;)

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Last Post by jbennet
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I've made rigs that roared and I've built machines for home users who wanted something quieter, really its mainly a matter of the quality of the fans that can reduce noise, as well as quality and technology of the hard drive, a lot of them now come with quiet spin technology (or w/e that company decides to call it)... it can also matter on if you have lots of loose parts or if your cables are tied up nice and neat. Plus it can be different depending upon the ambient noise of where you are, if theres lots of background noise, the system will seem quieter, but if the area is silent, like your home late at night, then you'll hear more... cant tell you specifically though w/o hearing what you're hearing

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yer its normally becuase people who build thier own pcs build them to a high spec with high spec components and so they need to be cooled correctly to run smoothly whereas manufacutres normally use the cheapest parts to try and produce maximium performance and rarely care about fast grpahics cards which require lots of cooling or multipule hard disks so the manufactures pcs rarely have more then one coolin fan (the cpu one) however i find this isnt enough and can often cause the system to run slow as its at the wrong temp.

It makes a big dfiference you know.

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really its mainly a matter of the quality of the fans that can reduce noise

I was made to understand (through other websites) that the brand of fan shouldn't make much difference, they are all pretty similar quality.

as well as quality and technology of the hard drive, a lot of them now come with quiet spin technology (or w/e that company decides to call it)...

Now I've never heard THAT before, that's definitely something to look into.

it can also matter on if you have lots of loose parts or if your cables are tied up nice and neat.

Yes in this case the cables are tied up properly, neatly

Plus it can be different depending upon the ambient noise of where you are, if theres lots of background noise, the system will seem quieter, but if the area is silent, like your home late at night, then you'll hear more...

Yea I did think about that, but no, I've observed the industrial towers in a quiet area, and they really keep the noise down to a bare minimum. If they didn't it wouldn't even bother me one bit.

cant tell you specifically though w/o hearing what you're hearing

Yea I know it's kind of hard, wish I could record something and attach it to the thread but as far as I know, that's not a popular option.:-/

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yer its normally becuase people who build thier own pcs build them to a high spec with high spec components and so they need to be cooled correctly to run smoothly whereas manufacutres normally use the cheapest parts to try and produce maximium performance and rarely care about fast grpahics cards which require lots of cooling or multipule hard disks so the manufactures pcs rarely have more then one coolin fan (the cpu one) however i find this isnt enough and can often cause the system to run slow as its at the wrong temp.

Yea I hear you mate. Thing is, I've actually got a fan on the CPU, one at the back of the tower (presumably for hot air out), a little gauze/net area on the side (presumable for air in as the front doesn't have much of a vent, and even a small fan on the graphics card. So yeah, I'm pretty stumped, I think it's something to do with when the processor has to access the hard disk, cos if i'm just typing, it's quiet, but if i went to save a large document for instance, it would start croaking/scratching... very curious indeed!

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I was made to understand (through other websites) that the brand of fan shouldn't make much difference, they are all pretty similar quality.

Not true at all. I've had two systems side by side (dells) and one had a bad fan so I replaced it with the cheapest one I could find that said "quiet" on it, but let me tell you there was nothing quiet about this fan. I immediately ordered a new fan on newegg that was "whisper quiet" and had several reviews stating that the users could barely hear the fan. Three days later I replaced the absurdly loud fan with the new one and it was just as quiet as its sibling dell that was in the adjacent workstation.

Another factor you'll want to consider though is fan speed, obviously the higher the speed the louder the fan. If you're looking at putting a fan in a high performance system you may want to look at fan controls so that you can adjust the speeds for when you're idle or doing simple tasks and for when you're pushing your system to its limits.

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I have good luck with the large the 120mm fans mounted using silicon rubber rivets. I also have a Zalman cpu fan (dang near 10 pounds of copper with a 120mm fan mounted on - okay, I exaggerate but it is heavy).

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ball bearing fans are more reliable than sleeve bearing fans but are noisier

i have a P4 Extreme edition overclocked to 4ghz
some nvidia motherboard
4gb ram
xp pro
radeon x1950 pro 512mb video card
2x seagate 250gb disks
2x samsung litescribe dvd burners
soundblaster audigy sound card
custom home-made case

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