Project: Build a quiet media centre PC
Why you'd attempt it: So you can forget there’s a computer in your lounge room
Difficulty factor: Medium
Forget noisy beige boxes, media centre PCs should be neither seen nor heard.
While it’s not hard to hide a PC from sight, noise is still a major issue with media centre PCs. That noise mostly comes from fans, but they’re a necessary evil to avoid your computer overheating. Vibration is another key source of unwanted PC noise.
If you don’t have the budget to buy a whisper-quiet media centre PC, you can still refurbish an old PC to live in the lounge room. It’s a question of establishing where most of the noise is coming from and how much you’re prepared to spend to deal with it (weighed against the cost of buying a new PC or building one from scratch).
Switching over your stock standard case fans to quieter fans is a cheap and easy way to take the edge off a noisy old computer. Big fans can spin slower while still moving plenty of air. Look for fans with variable speeds and rubber mounts to reduce vibration. Check to see if your motherboard supports variable fan speeds.
Speaking of vibration, spending a few dollars on rubber washers for your hard drives and optical drives can make the world of difference. Also consider felt case feet to stop vibrations passing into your home entertainment cabinet.
At this point, the next nosiest component is probably the whining CPU fan or the fan in the power supply. If you can’t afford to upgrade to quiet alternatives, see if you can improve the ventilation and air flow in your case. Tying down stray cables can make a big difference. If you can keep things cool, the CPU and power supply fans shouldn’t need to work as hard.
Had success quieting your PC? Add your tips below.