• 2005-07-07

    * Fighting PC Noise -- 终于找到了战友

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    http://www.blogbus.com/newswolf-logs/1301623.html

    华尔街日报居然有这么一篇关于电脑静音技术的好文章,喜读之,并特意在我的博客里面收藏,以供我自己查阅并与有兴趣者共享。

    自从多年前有了第一部电脑,便一直恼火于电脑特有的噪音。因为我喜欢听音乐,除了有家庭影院和卧室音响,电脑旁也少不了音箱听下载的音乐。但电脑里面的CPU风扇和电源盒风扇永远都那么响,在音乐空灵的间隙里面,留下的不是遐想空间而是顽固的嗡嗡声。追求HiFi的我此时不得不忍受最恶劣的听音环境,扫兴。

    一直在想为什么电脑就不能做得安静一点?网上谈这方面的东西似乎不多,我也没有特意去搜寻。我也曾经换过CPU风扇,当然只是小换大,适当减少了一点噪音。电源盒的风扇我曾经试着将其stop,然后用粗铜线把散热板接到机箱,但因为散热效果不佳,最后电脑罢工,我只好恢复风扇的转动,还好,电脑没有彻底完蛋。但我的静音试验也就点到为止了。

    其实我已经注意到,现在许多新上市的品牌电脑在消声方面都做得越来越好了。学校实验室的老电脑,不管是戴尔还是苹果,都是风声呼呼,比我的攒机有得一拼,即使是还算新的苹果eMac。但近两年的机型就明显好多了,图书馆里一色的液晶屏加戴尔Dimension系列的主机,都非常的安静,一开始我非常诧异,没想到电脑可以做得如此安静。终于可以不用受噪音之苦了。

    不过刚到这边手头较紧,只好120刀买了个便宜的二手(也许更多手)攒机电脑,速度还不错,但机箱隔音性能差,风扇在里面唱得很欢。熬到今天,终于决定升级到Dell Dimension 3000,rebate之后300刀,虽然是戴尔的初级产品,但绝对比我现在的电脑faster and quieter。

    从此过上安静的日子了。

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    华尔街日报文章:

    June 2, 2005
    Sounds of Silencers Are Loud and Clear: PCs Are Too Noisy
    Hobbyists Hear a Whisper And Improvise a Damper; A Computer Oil Bath
    By CHARLES FORELLE
    Staff Reporter of THE WALL STREET JOURNAL

    Carl Bohne has a half-dozen computers in his St. Louis home, in various
    stages of disassembly. He's hard at work putting together a shrunk-down
    machine the size of a toaster.

    Mr. Bohne isn't trying to soup up computers for added power. He wants
    to quiet them down. Bothered by a noisy PC a few years ago, he took it
    apart to figure out what was causing the clamor.

    Now, building quiet machines is his chief hobby. His computers are
    packed with foam insulation, noise-damping filters and custom-sculpted
    hunks of copper that divert heat from the microcircuitry so the
    built-in fans won't have to work so hard.

    Long an afterthought in the performance-obsessed world of technology,
    computer hum is topic A for a growing "quiet computing" movement.
    Although the noise from a standard desktop registers only about 30 to
    35 decibels -- roughly the level of a whisper -- for some, it is a
    cacophony that must be muffled.

    "When I go visit other people, it drives me nuts," says Isaac Kuo, a
    computer programmer in Baton Rouge, La. "I can always tell where the
    computer is unless it is turned off." But he keeps it to himself. "I've
    long since discovered not to even bring it up with any friends, because
    they just don't care," he says.

    Tomas Risberg, a Stockholm neurologist, calls computer noise "a freedom
    issue." Why "should I have to listen to something I don't want to
    listen to?" demands Dr. Risberg, who helped persuade the Swedish
    government to adopt computer-noise standards.

    Quiet computing isn't just being practiced on the fringes. More
    mainstream manufacturers are seeing value in quieter PCs. Some of
    Lenovo Group Ltd.'s new IBM-brand desktops have a cooling system
    engineered to reduce noise. Apple Computer Inc. markets its new Mac
    mini as "whisper-quiet." Dell Inc. maintains several acoustics labs
    with echo-free test chambers, in part to ensure that its machines meet
    the various noise guidelines employed in Sweden and around Europe.

    Designers say noise is becoming more of an issue as PCs rev up and push
    their way into the living room to play digital music, video and games.
    A computer's mechanical parts -- including cooling fans and spinning
    disk-drives -- generally work harder as a PC takes on more tasks. And
    noise barely noticed amid the buzz of the workplace can be less welcome
    at home.

    The sounds the silencers are trying to vanquish can be very small. A
    fast, loud gaming PC can hit some 55 decibels, measured from three feet
    away -- about equivalent to the background noise in a mall. Nirvana for
    silencers generally comes below 20 decibels, which is a sound all but
    inaudible, even close by.

    Mr. Bohne, who makes his living as an auto mechanic, ekes out the most
    cooling from the fewest fans by cramming the insides of his PCs with a
    carefully engineered system of ducts that direct cool air to hot spots.
    He uses whatever is handy -- a plastic cookie jar, a clothes-dryer
    exhaust hose -- and picks up bits and pieces at the hardware store.

    Serious silencers post pictures and swap tips on sites such as
    SilentPCReview.com1. One popular tweak described on the site:
    suspending disk drives on a hammock made of elastic bands to reduce
    vibrations transferred to the computer's shell.

    For insulation, silencers buy up sheets of Sorbothane, an elastic
    polyurethane valued for its damping properties that is used in the
    insoles of sneakers and in shotgun recoil pads. They also turn to a
    cottage industry of online retailers selling special, quieting parts,
    including flower-shaped copper "heatsinks" (about $45) that draw heat
    away from a chip more efficiently than the aluminum that comes standard
    in many PCs.

    SilentPCReview.com founder Mike Chin, a music lover who plays piano and
    guitar, has set up a studio in a converted kitchen of his Vancouver,
    British Columbia, home. Equipped with a digital microphone and a
    sensitive sound meter, he records computers and parts in action, then
    posts the recordings to the site, where the discriminating audiophile
    can evaluate their "sound signature" for various annoyance factors.

    Mr. Chin, who sometimes consults with companies, says the worst
    emanations are the "pure tones" -- or whines and hums that come from
    spinning parts or vibrating metal. Also bad are repetitive clicks from
    a shoddy fan. Less objectionable is the gentle whoosh, which tends to
    fade into the background. "It's the sound of trees, it's the sound of
    waves," Mr. Chin says.

    Michael Campbell, an engineer in Plano, Texas, said he turned to a
    quiet PC after suffering with a Hewlett-Packard Co. Pavilion model
    "just a little bit quieter than this side of a jet engine."

    Ameer Karim, an H-P executive, says the Pavilion machines have gotten
    quieter in recent years, and he says that H-P's internal acoustic
    testing shows that its machines are "equal to or, in most cases, better
    than our competitors."

    Mr. Campbell replaced the PC with an $1,800 custom quiet model from
    Endpcnoise.com, a small Web retailer, about 18 months ago. Mr. Campbell
    says it was "worth every penny. ...You don't really know that it is
    running unless you look at the power light."

    Jon Schoenborn, Endpcnoise.com's general manager, says interest in
    quiet computing is picking up rapidly. His offerings include such items
    as a 70-pound, $1,200 computer case dubbed the "TNN," for "Totally No
    Noise." It dissipates heat, entirely without fans, by transferring it
    over copper pipes to the box's thick metal walls. The price is for the
    case alone, with no computer inside.

    Russ Kinder, an architect in Grand Rapids, Mich., turned to a more
    radical approach: computer submersion. After setting up a PC that had
    to run day and night, he didn't want any nocturnal buzzing. So, he
    says, he plunged the computer into an acrylic tank filled with mineral
    oil.

    Other liquids, like tap water, would conduct electricity and fry the
    circuitry. But oil is nonconductive. Mr. Kinder says it worked fine as
    a muffler, so long as he topped off the oil occasionally to replace
    what had evaporated. He admits the oil gummed up his hard drive until
    he figured out a way to detach it from the rest of the computer and
    suspend it above the tank.

    Mr. Kuo first became concerned about noise when he hooked up a computer
    to his living-room TV set in order to watch digital movies on the big
    screen. Doing so required a faster graphics card, which came with a
    noisy fan. "It just got to be too much," he said. Whenever the movie
    got quieter, "instead of hearing quietness, you heard buzzing-buzzing
    like someone operating a power tool in the next room."

    Several modifications later -- which included replacing a few parts and
    engineering an air duct out of an empty plastic snack cup, sliced in
    half -- the setup was quiet enough to be drowned out by the ticking of
    his wall clock.

    "My wife, she thought it was perfectly fine," Mr. Kuo said. But he was
    still bugged. "This is what happens when you start getting into quiet
    computing. Your standards for how loud is too loud...get lower and
    lower."

    http://www.howtofixcomputers.com/bb/ftopic98548.html

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