In the Forums...
Posted: January 20, 2000
Written by: Dan "Tweak Monkey" Kennedy
Stage 1: Shut The FANS Up! (More Suggestions)
If your fans are still extremely loud, another option is to replace them with quieter fans. There are some pretty impressive fans out there like Panaflos, which are very quiet but powerful. Teamawe sells them. Other options include the low speed Sunon fans from The Card Cooler. These babies are very quiet... I have two 120mm fans in my case (as The Card Cooler XT) and they're pretty much silent. Or you can just buy The Card Cooler XT, which puts two of those fans together for a good price. Okay, enough with the fans... let's move on.
Stage 2: Hard Drives / CD-ROM
Hard drives are not as easy to silence as fans, but they can be worked with easily. First, consider buying a hard drive that's quiet (in the first place). There are way too many hard drives out there for me to recommend the "quiet kind", so I'll just mention what I've noticed. The 7200 RPM Maxtor drives are pretty quiet. Most IBM drives are really quiet. My Quantum SCSI drives are nearly silent (except the vibration!). Look around... play with your friends' PCs and decide what's best. The same goes for CD-ROMs, except if you get a Kenwood True72x. These spin at a lower speed, creating less vibration and noise.
If you're already stuck with a loud hard drive, you still have a couple options.
Where a hard drive or CD-ROM drive mounts into the case is definitely a consideration. Make sure your drives are firmly mounted into the case. Don't have them dangling around or they'll make even more noise than necessary.
Also, you can insulate the drives when you install them. Simply put a rubber washer between the screw and the casing. This will cut down on the vibration between the drive and the cage. If you really want to, drill out some holes and put grommets through them to mount the drives. This would be even better. Remember, every bit counts!
One more obvious way to cut down noise from the hard drive is to defrag often (defragging is very noisy) to make sure your PC isn't using the hard drive more often than it needs. Adding RAM can greatly reduce hard drive noise, especially if you have less than 96MB or so. Less hard drive access during applications/games from swapping, less restarts while defragging/scandisk etc., all help reduce noise in the long run.
Stage 3: Crappy Keyboards
It's only a minor step, but in my opinion, it's an important one. I personally cannot stand a loud keyboard. It's even worse if someone else is typing on it. Do yourself a favor and buy a nice keyboard if you're still using that SuperMagicHappyBee 'budget board' that you picked up for $5 at a computer show. You can buy a nice Microsoft Internet Keyboard for around $20, or if you prefer, many of the others out there that are better than a generic keyboard. It might work for now, but it's probably on its way out anyway.
If you do have a nice keyboard and it was once nice and quiet, it could be dirty. Check out the Clean a PC guide.