* Fighting PC Noise -- 终于找到了战友
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。
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
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
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