Fog Creek Software
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Noise Levels in the Work Environment

I hope I am not rehashing an overdone topic.
However I am curious about the work environment.

We run a Terminal Server at ‘work’, although only one workstation uses a thin client, I was sitting at the thin client workstation, and I notice just how silent it was. It was nice.
Then I thought to my desk, which has a workstation, and a HPLaserjet 4+ printer about 50cm from my shoulder. It is noisy.

At home I work with a laptop, so I get a huge humming on my desk while I am working, sometimes I go into my back office, where I have two desktop machines whirling away. The noise level is not something to be ignored.

So, sitting at this thin client I wondered how beneficial it would be setting up a client/server environment at home, purely to combat noise levels. Obviously not the best method, but it got me thinking, what could be done to combat he noise levels? Maybe run long cables and keep the machine in another room?

Or do you just write it off as “part and parcel” to the task of working with computers all day?

When I go to sleep at night, or when I am sitting down to dinner, I like pure silence. I think I have had enough noise during the day. I would love to be able to make my workplace quieter, but how?

Aussie Chick
Thursday, January 08, 2004

That's interesting.  I work from home and have a relatively noisy air cleaner running constantly.  When I turn it off, I can't seem to concentrate.

I also work in the dark... perhaps it's time to seek some help.


Thursday, January 08, 2004

That is kind of like when I was 18 (and a lost soul), I worked for 3 months on a prawn (ie shrimp) trawler, the diesel engines ran continually, during the day we slept, but if the engines where turned off for any reason, everybody woke straight up.

Aussie Chick
Thursday, January 08, 2004

I'm actually going through the same issue at the moment. Since we moved house a few months back my entire office has been crammed into a single smallish bedroom.

That's two workstations, 3 servers and a laser printer. During a typical hot Australian summer day, the room is a little warmer than I'd like it to be. Actually, it's unbearable.

I'm about to embark on a project to build a server room in an unused corner of the garage. It won't be pretty - just a wooden framed cubicle kind of thing with gyprock walls, a lockable door and so on. It will house the three servers, the server monitor, keyboard, kvm switch, etc. I'll probably just put a single exhaust fan in there for now, but if this summer heat goes on much longer I'll punch a hole in the back wall of the garage and install a small 1/2 horsepower wall mount airconditioner.

I'm lucky to have a brother-in-law who's a sparky, so he'll help with all the cable running. We'll run a new power feed from the meter box straight into the server UPS, so they'll all have their own clean power supply. I'll run a single phone line in (for the ADSL connection) and a single Cat5 line out (from the server switch out to the workstation switch).

This room doesn't get the worst of the day's sun (it's on the southeast side of the house) but it's far and away the hottest room in the house - by about 15 celcius. I figure I'll lose at least 10 of those degrees, plus a whole bunch of noise. I rewired the PABX recently (oh yeah, there's a PABX cabinet in here too :-), forgot about that) and had the servers turned off while I did it. It was so quiet in here it was spooky.

I am really looking forward to working like that all the time...

Andrew Lighten
Thursday, January 08, 2004

You sound like me.
My husband is an Electrician, so I had him run phone cables everywhere for me. (no more phonelines running from one end of the house to the other..yeh!)
My office cops the worst of the sun, and is the hottest room in the house.
My husband wants me to relocate to a table on the back deck in the afternoons, it is far cooler out there but means relocating, a pain.

Will you keep you workstations in your office?

And for what reasons do you have a server at home?
Would love to here about your setup, I steal (well not literally, I actually intercept the occasional piece of equipment that is earmarked for the charity shops, with management permission of course) bits and pieces from work, I have an extra old workstation (win 95) and other parts. My idea being to have a win95 workstation, a win98 (which is my old computer used through uni), and a winXP (being my husbands, now my laptop). The idea being to be able to test software on some real systems.

Aussie Chick
Thursday, January 08, 2004

I like having the noise that *I* want present.

It's not necessary to throw the baby out with the bathwater.  You can just start swapping out components and using a decibel meter to measure noise.  You can do a lot by putting any serverish machines in another room, replacing or removing any noisy fans (taking care to not overheat your system, of course), replacing the power supply with something quieter, etc.

Some laptops let you chose between noisy or quiet modes of operation.  Laptop fans are hard to make properly quiet, however. 

And, of course, it is always good to use thin-client notions like x windows, VNC, and Windows Terminal Services (packaged with server OSes and WinXP Pro) so that you only have one machine per desktop.

And having a printer 50cm from your shoulder?  Yuck.  Especially if it's one of those older printers that puts out a lot of ozone (good in the upper atmosphere, bad to breathe)

Flamebait Sr.
Thursday, January 08, 2004

"My husband is an Electrician"

your married?

broken hearted (where do all the geek women go...)
Thursday, January 08, 2004

You didn’t know?
I am sorry to shatter the illusion
Yes, we have been married 6 months now.

Aussie Chick
Thursday, January 08, 2004

>>Or do you just write it off as “part and parcel” to the task of working with computers all day?

I'm currently looking for parts to quiet down several 3-4 year-old computers we still have at the office. Some infos on how to do this:

http://www.silent.se/

Case Noise Reduction
http://www.makeitsimple.com/projects/case_noise/index.shtml

Heatsink Guide - The Basics of Cooling & Heatsink Technology
http://www.anandtech.com/printarticle.html?i=1115

Shhh! Constructing A Truly Quiet Gaming PC
http://slashdot.org/features/01/10/29/1723228.shtml

Building a Silent PC: My Quest for Quiet
http://staff.washington.edu/gray/silentpc.html

How I make PC's become silent
http://www.4p8.com/eric.brasseur/cnoise.html

Frederic Faure
Thursday, January 08, 2004

> You can just start swapping out components and using a decibel meter to measure noise. You can do a lot by putting any serverish machines in another room, replacing or removing any noisy fans (taking care to not overheat your system, of course), replacing the power supply with something quieter, etc.
I have heard of using white noise, but in my mind that only distracts you from the fact that it has just gotten noisier!!

>Some laptops let you chose between noisy or quiet modes of operation. Laptop fans are hard to make properly quiet, however.
Really? Interesting.

>And, of course, it is always good to use thin-client notions like x windows, VNC, and Windows Terminal Services (packaged with server OSes and WinXP Pro) so that you only have one machine per desktop.
How do thin clients go in a programming environment?

>And having a printer 50cm from your shoulder? Yuck. Especially if it's one of those older printers that puts out a lot of ozone (good in the upper atmosphere, bad to breathe)
Oh yes, just finished to a hardware audit yesterday, this lovely printer was purchased in 1994! Top of the line model this baby…(still prints out faster then my little bjc at home, but then in busy ‘admin’ times I get this baby printing out a ream or two a day.)

Aussie Chick
Thursday, January 08, 2004

My computer is relatively quiet, so this doesn't bother me so much.  (I actually kind of appreciate the slight insulation it provides in conjunction with a closed door!)  Noise-canceling headphones might be a quick technical fix (for both home and office), but a thin-client setup could be pretty sweet if you can afford both the gear and the software.  (VNC works quite well on a reasonably fast LAN, by the way, if you don't want to pay for Terminal Server.)

However, if you can track down a small, quiet used laptop and slap a wireless card in it, building your client/server setup would offer you an excellent combo of portability and power.  I know it sounds frivolous, but after having my iBook for 9 months, I can't tell you how nice it is to have network connectivity from the living room couch (or backyard hammock, or school library, et cetera) and not have any wires to trip over.

Sam Livingston-Gray
Thursday, January 08, 2004

See, Aussie Chick, given that I've spent most of my adult life in front of the screen, I've come to loathe using paper.  So I don't.

My viao, which I don't loathe, doesn't give me that option.  My Thinkpad, which I do loathe, gives me the option of making it quieter.

I've found that I can work do with one computer pretty easily as long as it is relatively muscular and contains my primary work.

White noise generators aren't going to help the stress produced by noise overall.  Your system fans are generally good generators of white noise anyway. ;)

It's an incremental process.  A few years back, I was the proud owner of a Seagate Medalist Pro 9 gig, the first 7200 RPM IDE drive.  It wasn't noisy, but it was *hot* so I needed to have extra fans to keep it cool.  When it finally went on to the great RAID array in the sky, I replaced it with two newer 7200 RPM IDE drives that didn't need as much cooling, so that really helped my noise environment.

If I had the money to blow on it, I'd probably buy one or more fanless miniITX motherboards and fanless 60 watt power supplies for the machines that don't need to be screaming because the notion of a computer that doesn't need noisy fans appeals to me.

Flamebait Sr.
Thursday, January 08, 2004

This is an extreme problem in a recording environment. General consesus is you can quiet computers by treating them with foam, fans, baffles, and so on, but you can't silence them. The only way to silence your computer is to put them in another room.

Long cables, remote access, and so on can help, but this isn't always realistic. So what happens is you have to build a box around your computer. From the cardboard box it came in to hangung curtains around your computer desk to a custom made box with a glass panel door. You have to ensure that enough air gets to the computer so that it doesn't overheat, and if you have thermometers in the computer that display on your screen and beep and boop if it gets to hot, that will help as you're experimenting.

In summary:

Quieter parts will reduce decibels, but not silence your computer.

To silence it put it in another room, but if that isn't possible, put it in a box, but make sure it gets enough air.

www.MarkTAW.com
Thursday, January 08, 2004

I recently "configured" a Dell Dimension 8600 as a home machine for one of my co-worker's.  I had it shipped to my location to migrate settings/data.  Upon turning it on, I heard absolutely nothing!  "Oh shit, a DOA" I thought - then "beep" and a bootscreen!  The computer was making no noise! 

Pulling the "hood" revealed a high quality ball-bearing 80mm throttled fan and heat duct cooling the P4 CPU, and well thought out case design.  The power supply fan was similarly throttled . . .

After a bit of investigation, I've found plenty of options for quiet PC's.  I personally built a couple using Antec's Sonata case which uses a throttled 120mm fan.  You'll also find that the latest SATA drives offer great throuput and are very quiet.  Seagate's Barracuda 120GB model is essentially inaudible.

Some great info/products at:

http://www.endpcnoise.com/

John Murray
Thursday, January 08, 2004

AC

I also did some trawling as a youth, not much sleeping involved, however. <g>


Thursday, January 08, 2004

Not something that I put on the resume!

Aussie Chick
Thursday, January 08, 2004

Aussie Chick:

Yes, workstations will stay in the office/bedroom. I don't really want to go out to the garage to work. :-) We have two workstations, but one is usually turned off; my wife only uses it when our beautiful 20 month old baby girl has gone to sleep at night.

We've got three servers:

(1) Linux comms server. Hosts email, website, a few wiki's we run for different projects, and three different CVS repositories. Installed to run just enough software to do what it needs and nothing more. Public IP address, lots of firewall protection.

(2) Win2K server. Runs FogBUGZ and nothing else. Public IP address, lots of firewall protection.

(3) Linux file server. Hosts all our internal file storage plus acts as *nix development server. Private non-routable IP address.

I've got three printers on the LAN. The usual HP laser, a Canon color inkjet (as a rule I despise inkjets with a passion you couldn't begin to understand, but this one actually isn't too bad) and my beautiful HP 450C A1 full color plotter. This is just fabulous for getting decent object model diagrams printed.

We bought a reconditioned PABX from a local comms gear reseller; came with 4 handsets (capacity for 24), 2 analog lines plugged in (capacity for 8), it's fully digital so I can plug ISDN line cards in, it has a call data recorder so our Linux server can suck call details off the phone system and put them into our billing database, etc. Fully installed for AU$1200. Bargain. I got tired of appearing unprofessional by having handsets clunk down on the desk when I needed to move away from the phone during a call; much better to put someone on hold and have them listen to hold music.

Right now all this stuff is crammed in one small room. When my room-in-the-garage is done I'll just have two workstations and *nothing else*.

Andrew Lighten
Thursday, January 08, 2004

Oh, one other thing I forgot -- our Linux comms server hosts a jabber IM server that's firewalled off for client-only access.

This is GREAT when you're working from home and working with remote customers and development partners.

We're based in central Victoria, about 150km NW of Melbourne.

We have clients in the eastern suburbs of Melbourne, on the Murray River, and southern NSW. We develop stuff along with people in Melbourne CBD, eastern suburbs of Melbourne, and Perth.

It's really efficient to allow all these people in different places and different timezones can jump into a jabber conference room and discuss stuff, throw screen shots and URLs at each other, etc, and not have to pay for anything other than dribbly little bits of bandwidth.

Andrew Lighten
Thursday, January 08, 2004

Nice setup for a home office.
And to think I feel pretty cool with three machines and one little crossover cable!

OT: What is it that you do? How hot did you say Melbourne was this time of year (did I mentioned Qld-Aussie Chick!!)?

I think I could setup my office alot better if I where to dump the laptop and use a proper machine, keep it all in the next room, and run cables with a nice Flat Screen monitor or two.

Aussie Chick
Thursday, January 08, 2004

What about wireless?

We just went with a Linksys setup here at home; worked out great.

Nigel
Thursday, January 08, 2004

How safe are wireless networks? Or more to the point, can they be made safe? I have heardx bad things.

At any rate, this would still require at least one ‘workstation’ type machine in a room wouldn’t it?

Aussie Chick
Thursday, January 08, 2004

Hi Aussie Chick,

I have some experience with this topic. I am ADD-tending (easily distracted) so I go ballistic over anything that interferes with my zone/trance/fugue.

I just vacated a rented office that was next to a ... barber shop... in a frame construction building. Yeah, what was I thinking, indeed. !@%*, a *constant* din of old farts BSing. I absolutely could not get *any* work done until evening hours.

I tried active noise cancellation headphones - didn't work - they only work to cancel  low-frequency machine noise, not conversational noise. But that is actually an idea for you if you choose to listen to tunes during work, since these headphones do cancel noise such as fans.

On quiet and PCs - the quietest PC that I have experience with is the "Shuttle" mini-ATX form factor case. I got my wife one last year. There is no CPU fan. The CPU is cooled by a heat sink that attaches with "heat pipes" to a radiator that is behind the case's fan. This PC is *extremely* quiet even when you're right next to it. A bonus is very low energy consumption.

As far as a printer goes, they do make sound deadening enclosures for printers.

Bored Bystander
Thursday, January 08, 2004

What do I do? Well, right now it's software related to a medical device for a local company that's developing the product on behalf of an American company.

(Yes, I'm doing offshore development for an American company. All US readers can despise me now.)

Melbourne has been really hot. Not quite QLD temperatures, but Melbourne has just had it's hottest December for 40 years or something like that. Oh, and we also just had the coldest January morning for 25 years or something... kinda weird.

Andrew Lighten
Thursday, January 08, 2004

Bored... I'm very intersted in the Shuttle, and I think my next workstation might be one.

For day to day computing it should be powerful enough. I just wish I could use both a 2nd hard drive (though with a network that's not as big a deal) and a floppy.

Wireless networks have been discussed here before, but why not go wired if the computer is stationary?

www.MarkTAW.com
Thursday, January 08, 2004

Has anybody tried the noise-cancelling headphones? (they sample exterior ambient noise, then play it back to you inside the headphones, but 180 degrees out of phase thereby cancelling nearly all external noise out -- at least as far as your ears are concerned)

The idea has been around for many decades, but I've only fairly recently heard of them being readily available. I've never tried them myself, but the idea seems perfectly sound (sorry 'bout that - had to say it ;-).

Assuming such headphones are any good, it seems like there might be a lot less involved in blocking the noise at the receptors (i.e. your ears) than at the source.

anonQAguy
Thursday, January 08, 2004

Awesome, more of the local aussie connection, even moreso as I'm a fellow QLD'er - hasn't it been stinking hot these past days.

I have a similar problem, I have very loud fans to keep the space heating Athlons cool. A secondary problem is that the 5 PC's in my room significantly raises the temperature of the room.

What I am going to try however is putting some shelving up to have the PC's sitting above me - heat is meant to rise, so hopefully down low, where I will be sitting, shouldn't be affected as much. Also gotta find some quality, quiet 80mm fans - any suggestions (currently, one of my boxes is about 60dB :) )

Dan G
Thursday, January 08, 2004

Bored, thanks for the update, I was wondering what happened with the barber shop.

Noise cancelling headphones are pretty good at reducing ambient noise a few db's, but they're not the be all end all. Just ask Bored Bystanders.

Dan, I puchased some quiet fans, but you also have to replace the PSU fan, and the PSU in general. Right now it's the loudest thing in my computer. Check out Short Media & Toms Hardware for recommendations.

Also take into consideration that several different fans, especially different brands will produce low level noise on different frequencies, adding the overall noies of the room. Sometimes noise on one frequency isn't annoying, but add a 2nd noise on a different frequency and it gets THAT much more annoying.

www.MarkTAW.com
Thursday, January 08, 2004

>> Has anybody tried the noise-cancelling headphones?
...
anonQAguy

Yup, see my post above. I bought Sennheiser's (through Amazon for about $80). They were the best rated ones that were priced less than the $300 Bose.

They reduce the volume of things like fan noise and other low frequency, rythmic noise. They do *not* do *anything* for "impulsive", irregular noises such as conversation. These headphones will work on the subject of this thread, such as printers and PC fan noise.

One thing - it's probably just my body's weird wiring or something - these headphones make me feel like my eardrums are *under pressure* when I first switch them on. It's extremely unpleasant.

It's the same sensation that you get when you are in an airplane rapidly gaining or losing altitude and you don't yawn to equalize the pressure. I think it's actually a sensation induced by the mind's past experience with instantaneous loss of sound volume being caused by plugged up nasal passages...

Bored Bystander
Thursday, January 08, 2004

Mark - the Shuttle is decent for what it is. As you no doubt know, it's about as non-expandable as the old "Packard Hells". It has just two PCI slots, and all functions are integrated into the MB. But it's so darn small. I'm not a gamer and all my wife uses it for is AIM, Popcap and email.... so I can't give a read on performance. Seems fine under W2K.

We've had it (an SS-40G, somewhat dated by now) for about a year with only two glitches: when I assembled it I stuck the fan blade with a ribbon cable, so it promptly overheated and shut down. (the brrraccckkk sound was a dead giveaway, heh.) And, after a power outage, the Shuttle wouldn't power on with the switch. Unplugging it and plugging back in fixed it. I think it was some sort  of overvoltage protection from a line spike causing it to go "dead" to protect itself.

Bored Bystander
Thursday, January 08, 2004

You mean 2 PCI slots or 1 PCI slot and 1 AGP slot.

I was thinking of getting one, putting a video card that supports television in it, and painting it black and putting a big green X on it. Part Tivo, part Web TV, part gaming machine.

www.MarkTAW.com
Thursday, January 08, 2004

on top of  the noise problems, i get some prettty nasty interference on my monitor from the airconditioner unit, which is just outside the window.  i should go and get a LCD monitor but they are $$$$$.

when i'm on the computer, i turn the aircon off, but housemates don't exactly like this solution.

stan
Friday, January 09, 2004

"I recently "configured" a Dell Dimension 8600 as a home machine for one of my co-worker's.  I had it shipped to my location to migrate settings/data.  Upon turning it on, I heard absolutely nothing!  "Oh shit, a DOA" I thought - then "beep" and a bootscreen!  The computer was making no noise! "

Yeppers, my office has about 15 of Dell desktops (mostly Optiplex) which are about 1-2 years old, and they're all incredibly quiet. I do some admining on them, and every now and then I hit the power switch, then wait for a few moments and when nothing happens I go "d'oh, it was on and I just shut it down".

Very good stuff IMO. Would buy one for home if I needed a new system, any day. Even the ones that are never shut down (simple file serving) make no noise that can be heard more than half a meter away, so the ball bearings in the fans seem to last pretty well.

Antti Kurenniemi
Friday, January 09, 2004

I bought a Mini-ITX "Hush" PC just before Christmas.  It contains a 1GHz C3 processor, 512MB of RAM, DVD-CD-RW drive, etc., and is just as quiet as the site claims.

No fans.

Basically, it turns the entire case into an external heatsink.

Not only is it eminently practical, but it looks gorgeous as well.  All that can be heard is the occasional clicking of the drives through the noise insulation.  It has more than enough power for most day-to-day tasks, and I can recommend it:

http://www.mini-itx.com/store/hush.asp

Gamers, (or those programmers who spend more time compiling their source than they do editing it) may be interested in the brand new Mini-ATX which is a similar fanless solution that supports Pentium 4s of up to 2.8GHz :

http://www.mini-itx.com/store/hush-atx.asp

David B. Wildgoose
Friday, January 09, 2004

Notebooks are hard to get silent, but it is possible. Basically there are only two noise targets you want to look at: the fan and the harddisk.
For the fan: look for a machine that can run with the fan off during everyday operation. I had a Toshiba Tecra 8100 that only turned its fan on when some prolonged CPU intensive stuff was running, in practice almost never.
For the disk I have just one advise: buy the notebook with the cheapest drive possible and swap it out for an IBM Travelstar. Even with your ear to the case you will not hear this thing.
The result: an inaudible notebook.

Just me (Sir to you)
Friday, January 09, 2004

To add a link I am not affiliated with in any way, but have got some good quietening stuff from:

www.quietpc.com

They are a UK company originally, so not sure what the US operation is like.

Dominic Fitzpatrick
Friday, January 09, 2004

Most people only look at gigaherzs and megabytes when buying a computer. Nobody cares care about fans, CPU heatsinks or power supplies. As a result you get what you ask for: noisy and hot stuff. Luckily, noise and heat are being taken more serious by the hardware manufacturers these days. Dell is one good example.

It's not that hard to silence older computers. Just open the case, turn you computer on and listen what the noisiest components are. It's not a bad idea to do that anyway, because noisy fans or harddrives generally indicate warn-out bearings. Especially high pitch noises are a warning for imminent failure.

Replace the noisy fans with Papst or Panaflow fans and monitor your computers temperatures using something like speedfan:
http://www.almico.com/speedfan.php

If you got temperature to spare, run your fans at a lower RPM by reducing the voltage. Personally I use Zalman fanmates, which cost a couple of Euros each:
http://www.zalman.co.kr/english/product/cnpsfanmate.htm

It makes a great difference.

About laptops: get an Intel Centrino. It uses very little power, and thus are silent. My Acer Centrino is totally silent 99% of the time.

About desktops: The AMD Athlon 64 looks very promising as it has a Cool and Quiet technology. Like notebook CPUs it throttles back when you don't need all it's power, making it much easier to cool and allowing CPU fans to automatically reduce RPM. Also watch out for modern graphic cards, they often come with small and noisy fans. If you don't care about games buy fanless Matrox cards for the best 2D performance. There are also a few manufactures that sell fanless ATI cards.

The best link for silent computing is this one:
http://www.silentpcreview.com

Jan Derk
Friday, January 09, 2004

I just got the Bose QuietComfort 2 noise canceling headphones for Christmas.
Our office has a very loud HVAC unit...many printers and about 50 servers/workstations/laptops.  The headphones do a great job of eliminating the constant noise they all produce. 

Strange thing though is that they bring out more high pitched noise that you normally don't hear, especially when flying.  (i.e. faint but high pitched wind noise that deflects off the wings, and sometimes metallic noise of computer fans, although very faint)
The effects of the high pitched noise is pretty much gone when using them to listen to music while the noise cancellation is on.  Aside from voices, all you hear is wonderfully reproduced music.

They are large (fit over the entire ear) and may be bulky for traveling, but I like them....

apw
Friday, January 09, 2004

On noise cancelling headphones: "One thing - it's probably just my body's weird wiring or something - these headphones make me feel like my eardrums are *under pressure* when I first switch them on. It's extremely unpleasant.

It's the same sensation that you get when you are in an airplane rapidly gaining or losing altitude and you don't yawn to equalize the pressure. I think it's actually a sensation induced by the mind's past experience with instantaneous loss of sound volume being caused by plugged up nasal passages... "

I've always wondered about how noise cancelling would feel. Sound is a 'wave' of alternating high and low pressures. To cancel, one counters this with another 'wave' of alternating hig and low pressures--another sound. Does this return the volume of air enclosing the two sounds to ambient pressure, raise the pressure, or lower it? Your experience makes me think that, at least for this model of headphone, the new pressure waves have the effect of altering the average pressure (in relation to ambient) within the volume enclosing the two sounds (original and cancelling).

Ron Porter
Friday, January 09, 2004

I don't notice any pressure difference sensation when using the headphones.  The Bose headphones cover the entire ear vs. some headphones that rest on the ear.
I guess the Bose design must create less of a flexible seal around your ear. - OR - maybe Bored is wired weird :)

apw
Friday, January 09, 2004

The first time I tried noise cancelling headphones, I did get a distinct sensation of the noise being "sucked" out of the area by my ears.

I guess that's what it's doing, creating inverse pressure waves. If you ever get a chance to go to the Sony store in NYC, they've got a pair there. It's really a fun experience.

www.MarkTAW.com
Friday, January 09, 2004

Now that we solved the problem of noisy computers I just wonder how can I stop the AC duct fan just above my head.

Seriously, I find computers being noisy at home but at work I have much bigger problems with the AC, office fluorescent lighting, street traffic and machinery depending on the work place.

coresi
Friday, January 09, 2004

My company just installed "natural light" tubes in the flourecent fixtures here...seems to have made an improvment in glare and the over look of the place...not as drabby as before....

The noise cancellating headphones work great for the AC noise...

apw
Friday, January 09, 2004

Now all you need is the visor with the heads up display and iris tracking software so you don't need to use the mouse any more and you can just sit there all day nodding and shaking your head like an incipient sufferer of Parkinson's disease.

Simon Lucy
Friday, January 09, 2004

The noise the computer and air conditioning make is not nearly as annoying as the sound of a co-worker berating one of his guys two doors down. I can hear them through the closed door.

Unfortunatly this is a weekly occurance. And, if I had to manage this nitwit, I would resort to yelling out of frustration too!

not even a nickname for this post.
Friday, January 09, 2004

The interesting part about the whole PC enthusiast movement is first they were overclocking, then they moved to case decorations, now they are in to making things quiet.  While still overclocking/performance enhancing and decorating the case, of course.  Of course, overclocking has gone downhill with the notable exception of the occasional random attempt to see how much you can squeeze a system, including a few times where they've done liquid nitrogen cooling.

The one trick, if you are looking at cases and such is that the larger fans are quieter.  I had a drive cooler with 3 40mm fans.  When I moved to 80mm fans with a new case, it quieted down quite a lot.  Also you can slow them down with a controller so that they do the same work as a smaller fan with less noise.  The problem with fans, of course, is that they are often subjective and any manufacturer-provided specs are subject to manipulation, like my 200 W $20 bookshelf computer speakers. ;)

You need to be careful with the sound-deadening insulation because it also generally acts as thermal insulation.  Some of the PC quieting folks are against it.  Probably the best thing would be to have a blower outside of the room with a hose that attaches to the computer, but that's excessive. ;)

Flamebait Sr.
Friday, January 09, 2004

Simon,

I was under the impression that parkinsion tremors are actually caused by the medication and not the disease itself.

apw
Friday, January 09, 2004

Overclocking kind of got boring once they realized Moores Law would make this years overclock next year's low end off the shelf computer.

www.MarkTAW.com
Saturday, January 10, 2004

>Overclocking kind of got boring once they realized Moores Law would make this years overclock next year's low end off the shelf computer

... not to mention the risk of insufficient cooling making this years overclock, next years paper-weight...

SC
Monday, January 12, 2004

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