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Silencing A Noisy Computer


CPU Fan (Photo credit: eddie.welker)

No the best way isn’t to throw it out and get a brand new one.  Many times it’s a relatively cheap fix.  The reason for this is because it’s usually heat related, so follow these tips:

1. Clean it out

Before you do anything else, make sure your computer is clean and dust-free. If you’ve had it for more than a year, chances are it’s built up some dust on the fans and heatsinks, which will make it run hotter (and thus louder), so grab a $5 can of compressed air and clean that sucker out. When you’re done, you may find that it’s gotten a little quieter already.

2. Replace the heaksink or invest in water cooler

Some of the loudest components in your computer are the CPU cooler and the fan on your graphics card. Often, the ones that come with your computer are super loud, and they aren’t all that great at cooling in the first place. So, one of the best things you can do to keep noise and temperatures down is to buy an aftermarket cooler. You have two choices: heatsinks and water coolers.

3. Upgrade your fans

How many fans you choose depends on your case, so you need to take a look at what you have before you go buying fans. Let’s take a typical mid tower computer case, for example, with two fan slots in the front, and one in the back. We want the air to follow one path through the system, from front to back. That means we’ll use our front fans as intakes, and our back fan as exhaust. Air comes in through the front, blows over your hard drives, then to the rest of your hardware and out through the back. Having the back fan at the top is especially handy since hot air rises, so it will blow out hot air first. Your graphics card and power supply will cool themselves on their own, but it’s nice to have some of that cool air flowing over them as well—if you have a side intake fan or bottom intake fan, that can help.

4. Invest in a fan controller

No matter how you arrange your setup, you’ll want some way to control your fans. That way, they’ll be silent when your computer is idle, and louder when you need the cooling performance (during intensive processes like gaming or video conversion). If you only have a couple of fans, you may be able to control them automatically, but if you have more than a few fans—or if you just want a bit more control over the noise levels—I can’t recommend a fan controller enough. It fits in one of your computer’s drive bays and lets you adjust fan speed with physical knobs. Some will even monitor the temperature of your hardware for you, which is pretty handy.

Of course the ultimate key is to invest in quality hardware from the start.  Remember that you get what you pay for.

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