Silence is golden. Meaning it costs can a lot. Getting something quiet is usually only what people care about for the SECOND performance computer. Meaning their first one admittedly too loud. Computers can run a LOT hotter than people think they can 100% stable and no degradation in reliability. There have been studies concluding that HDD do like it cooler (longer reliability) but no studies conclude that higher sustained CPU/MB/RAM temps degrade reliability in any way as of 2017. If you have any, let me know.
Here are the things you are going to need, in no particular order:
1. Quite Case with FOAM LINED WALLS.
Nanoxia Deep Silence (usually the best)
Silverstone has some foam-padded Cases. (Usually the cheapest)
NZXT Look for the ones with “Noise absorbing internal padding”
Cooler Master Silencio
Corsair – Carbide, Click on “silent”
I do NOT recommend you buy foam yourself and try to dampen them. It is very expensive and you have to get just the right case that you can take apart it all and add it. It’s just a lot of hassle and time and a lot more money than it is to buy an off the shelf system. Most cases aren’t amicable to such modification.
More Case Fans?
You. do. not. need. more. case. fans! Usually, quiet cases has quieter case fans.
More fans mean just more noise. People think that they are all magically system temperature controlled and they’ll “sense” the temperature is lower and just go slower. Not true. Most aren’t that fancy and can’t operate at very low rpm.
2. Quiet CPU fan
Check the page of CPU fans. Get a “Recommended” CPU fan. Avoid water cooled, it’s actually twice as loud and barley better cooling wise.
3. Quiet (when idle) or passive Graphics Card
Most gaming GPUS operate in a hybrid mode of 0dB when there is no load. So yes your GPU is silent when in windows and playing videos, and only turns on when seriously gaming. Perfect. Because when you are gaming, you are usually being loud and or have headphones on so sound isn’t an issue. But even these hybrid ones are quieter under load than their counterparts.
Asus (Strix Series)
EVGA (Whisper Silent Cooling Series / Decibel Inverter (dBi) – EVGA’s ACX 2.0+)
MSI (Twin Frozr series)
Gigabyte (0dB Semi-Passive Fan)
SAPPHIRE (Intelligent Fan Control II / IFC-II )
4. Quiet Power Supply Unit (PSU).
There are quiet PSU’s and there are hybrid PSUs.
Look for a PSU that has a hybrid mode. Then buy way more watts than you need, so that it’s ALWAYS in hybrid mode.
5. Mechanical Hard Drives (HDD):
I can’t wait till mechanical HDDs are no longer needed. But if they are, they are the loudest things in a quiet system. I personally use these: SilentMaxx HDD Silencer They are rare and hard to find, but they are the only enclosure that dampens the noise AND cools. Most of the HDD enclosures lessen the noise but increase the heat.
With the SilentMaxx HDD – Copying for 24 hours+ HDD in the enclosures, in a closed sound proof case (2 case fans), in a custom desk with no powered air flow, were at 28-30° degrees C. (Worst case scenario)
Without the SilentMaxx HDD – Copying for 24 hours+ HDD in the case, with OPEN SIDE, on top an open desk were at 44-46° degrees C. (Best case scenario)
Same identical ambient temperatures. This is not even a true apples to apples comparison, yet the worst case scenario VS best case scenario there is an 15° C degree difference.
They do take up a 5.25″ bay (they are in between a 3.5″ side and 5.25″ side, they use spacers to reach to the 5.25″ size). Sometimes, even in the enclosures, even in the foamed lined quiet case, even in my custom desk, I will still hear a slight HDD grind when the rest of the room is dead silent.
On a budget: Slow RPM HDD AND Suspend them with bungee ropes like so:
Everyone knows most the sound dissipates when you pick up a HDD. That’s the reasoning behind that above.
6. Custom Desk
This can also help with quieting a computer.