The sweet sound of near-silence

25Jun07

My parents are good sports. For my birthday this year, they were going to buy me an Xbox wireless steering wheel but I asked them to change it to a Corsair 520HX power supply (for my computer). Both are products that are essentially meaningless to them, but such is their love for me that they are willing to buy me gifts that they themselves think are stupid.

The Corsair is a pretty expensive power supply and has more juice than I need, but I picked it because it is supposed to be one of the quietest power supplies on the market. The all-around best power supplies around come from Seasonic, and although the 520HX carries a Corsair badge it’s actually manufactured by Seasonic and is reputed to be one of the best power supplies they make.

Many who know me are aware that I have a predilection for quiet computing. However, I also have a predilection for crazy cheap bargains, and the two are not always compatible. So at times my computers are pretty quiet, and at other times my computers are relatively loud. With the addition of the Corsair, my current computer is now pretty decently quiet. Here are the specs:

  • Intel Core 2 Duo E6300 – The slowest Core 2 Duo at the time that I bought it, but still shockingly fast compared to any previous-generation CPU.
  • Thermaltake TR2 cooler – This is not the quietest cooler on the market (it’s essentially the same as the retail Core 2 Duo cooler), but I can run the fan at very slow speeds due to the cool-running CPU.
  • Abit AB9 Pro – It hasn’t been flawless, but at least it’s fanless!
  • Gigabyte GeForce 8600GT – Fast enough to run the games I care about, and it’s fanless. Works great on Vista.
  • 3 x Western Digital WD5000AAKS (500GB each) – Quiet enough to earn kudos from SilentPCReview. Not particularly fast compared to today’s best, but with Vista I haven’t noticed any performance problems at all.
  • Antec Solo case – Well-designed case that hangs hard drives from rubber bands so their vibrations don’t make it into the case.

It’s not silent, but it’s slightly quieter (not to mention faster CPU and GPU, and with 6X the hard drive space) than my wife’s Dell Dimension E521, which I thought was quite good already.

I am hoping to take a break from upgrades for a while, but if I were to try to make it even quieter I might start with the CPU cooler. Although the most effective thing to do would probably be to replace the big hard drives with lower-capacity laptop-class drives, but I’m not in such a hurry to spend a bunch of money to lose performance and disk space!



3 Responses to “The sweet sound of near-silence”

  1. 1 CC

    Hi Joe, are you running some type of RAID for your 3 hard drives?

  2. Nope, they are three separate volumes. One is for the system and general data, one is solely for recorded TV (I use an Xbox 360 as a Media Center Extender), and one is for photos and videos.

  3. 3 CC

    Thanks for your reply. I am still waiting for the new hard drives to show up to build my Vista system.



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