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Thread: Home theater, want to make my PC more quiet

  1. #1
    KFlint's Avatar ... BT Rep: +35BT Rep +35BT Rep +35BT Rep +35BT Rep +35BT Rep +35BT Rep +35
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    Hey,

    First i must say that I'm not at all up-to-date on the newest PC hardware available these days. I stopped watching for it a couple years ago because I'm not gaming on my PC and it was more than enough for coding (I'm a web programmer)

    So here I am with my 3-4 years old PC, a Pentium 4 3.2 Ghz with 3 Gigs of RAM with an ATI Radeon 256 megs in it.

    Works just fine for me on Vista, however, i want to use it as part of my home theater and i find it annoying to constantly hear the fans in it (the hard drive swapping doesn't bother me at the moment).

    So I wonder what I should do that wouldn't cost a fortune. I'm not sure which fan is making the more noise, I'm not even sure how many fans there is in the box tbh, maybe some have experience with this?

    I don't want to end up changing the whole thing to have it more silent, so any recommendation is welcome

    Thx!

  2. Software & Hardware   -   #2
    clocker's Avatar Shovel Ready
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    First thing to do is isolate which fan is the noisiest...I'm guessing it's the CPU heatsink fan.
    If that's the case, a simple swap to an aftermarket sink/fan combo would probably do the trick. P4's are volcanoes and there were lots of options available back in the day, so finding a replacement shouldn't be too difficult.

    A second, more involved but not necessarily more expensive option, would be to change cases.
    Depends on your access to used PCs, but the older Gateway "toaster" cases had almost full coverage with plastic cladding and are very quiet as a result.
    A PC recycling center near me has three such cases in stock that could probably be had for $10-15...they'll just junk 'em, so anything they get is gravy.

    At any rate, there are a few different ways to approach this depending on your level of expertise.
    "I am the one who knocks."- Heisenberg

  3. Software & Hardware   -   #3
    Artemis's Avatar ןɐɯɹou ǝq ʎɥʍ BT Rep: +3
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    As above with what clocker said, finding the fan is the first step, simply remove the side panel and identify which one is the noisiest fan by ear.
    If you wish to go the whole way and drop the db output from your htpc
    considerably then look at heatsink/passive cooling combinations or those
    that feature low noise fans.
    You can get home theater cases that look like stereo components relatively
    cheaply these days and these passive/low db cooling solutions built in so the only thing left to select is a quiet CPU cooler.
    One other thing though you mentioned you had an older 256mb ATi graphics card, a dedicated htpc would benefit from a graphics card upgrade. It does not have to be a high end gaming card but there are mid level cards that have hardware onboard to decode the various video codecs making playback far smoother. Either look for an ATi card with the HD definition in the name or an NVidia 8000 series card or better since these feature PureVideoHD. You can find reasonable HD cards that are passively cooled as well removing another noise source.

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  4. Software & Hardware   -   #4
    KFlint's Avatar ... BT Rep: +35BT Rep +35BT Rep +35BT Rep +35BT Rep +35BT Rep +35BT Rep +35
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    Thx for that guys, I'll check the CPU fan first, I can handle that i guess

    My expertise level is average, I can change parts without much problem but I never changed a case before and I'll leave that as a second move

    I just discovered that my pc is too slow to play 1080p files right now, 720p files are played better

    The CPU hits 90% and it skips many frames, I understand that having a new card who decode codecs onboard would compensate for the poor cpu performance, discharging it of a lot of operations, right?
    Last edited by KFlint; 02-26-2009 at 01:56 AM.

  5. Software & Hardware   -   #5
    Detale's Avatar Go Snatch a Judge
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    K what are all the specs in your PC? What Mobo and exactly what video card do you have like?

  6. Software & Hardware   -   #6
    KFlint's Avatar ... BT Rep: +35BT Rep +35BT Rep +35BT Rep +35BT Rep +35BT Rep +35BT Rep +35
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    board : http://www.gigabyte.com.tw/Products/...ProductID=1647

    video card :
    ATI Radeon X1300 Series (AGP 8x) don't have PCI Express

  7. Software & Hardware   -   #7
    Detale's Avatar Go Snatch a Judge
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    Sure a new card would help alot. How long have you had this bad boy?

  8. Software & Hardware   -   #8
    clocker's Avatar Shovel Ready
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    Quote Originally Posted by Detale View Post
    Sure a new card would help alot. How long have you had this bad boy?
    New card?

    What AGP cards are you fond of these days?
    "I am the one who knocks."- Heisenberg

  9. Software & Hardware   -   #9
    KFlint's Avatar ... BT Rep: +35BT Rep +35BT Rep +35BT Rep +35BT Rep +35BT Rep +35BT Rep +35
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    nearly 4 years!

    I'm working on a Mac now, so this one was in my closet until i decided to use it as an HTPC

    Should i just change the whole damn thing, starting to wonder
    Last edited by KFlint; 02-26-2009 at 03:18 PM.

  10. Software & Hardware   -   #10
    clocker's Avatar Shovel Ready
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    Yes, you should.
    "I am the one who knocks."- Heisenberg

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