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Cooling: The Enemy of the Quiet Computer
It matters little if the computer is a home-built machine or comes standard from the factory: a guide to quiet computing is sure to come in handy when the whirring of internal components makes it hard to concentrate.
As a general rule of thumb, it is primarily the cooling system that makes silent computing a challenge. When attempting to keep the home office quiet, computer fan noises are the most commonly heard sounds; they are closely followed by loud keyboard and mouse clicks.
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Quiet PC Case
A quiet computer case greatly damps the noise of internal whirring. Containing the cooling systems that greatly contribute to the overall noise, a case that is specifically manufactured to be a silent computer cooling case makes a difference. Gamers already know that Antec is the name to look out for, and quiet computer aficionados keep a particular eye open for the Antec P182(1).
It features three layers of insulation and grommets that keep vibration transfer to a bare minimum. Placing the power supply unit at the bottom of the case – as opposed to closer to the top where the rising heat contributes to the cooling need – further decreases the need for noisy cooling.
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Silent Computer Mouse
A quiet computer mouse can make a big difference, especially when gaming. Incessant clicking and the sometimes noisy movements are a distraction to others. A good solution for running a silent computer setup includes the use of a reliably quiet computer mouse, such as the Microsoft Habu(2) gaming mouse. Laser movement detection, a smooth scroll wheel and Teflon coating ensure quiet gliding and computing.
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Quiet Computer Power Supply
Even as quiet PC cooling fans are considered the most important aspects of running a silent computer system, the power supply actually adds a good bit of noise and heat that necessitates the noisy fans whirring away in the first place. A CoolMax CU-500B(3) is a good mid-range solution.
The experienced PC builder appreciates the choice of connectivity that lets the user connect what he needs while avoiding the superfluous connections. The fan is a 120mm silent model.
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Silent Computer Keyboards
A guide to quiet computing would be incomplete without mentioning silent computer keyboards. Even if the entire setup is running silently and the mouse glides smoothly on Teflon, the clicking of the keys is virtually impossible to muffle.
Not surprisingly, Man-Machine’s Really Cool(4) sealed keyboards, devoid of moving parts, make quiet typing a possibility. Ideal for a medical or moisture-laden environment, these keyboards are sealed touch pads that nonetheless mimic the tactile feedback of a standard keyboard.
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A Guide to Quiet Computing: Maintenance Considerations
It is noteworthy that dust buildup greatly decreases the effectiveness of computer fans. Running the systems over a prolonged period of time without cleaning can clog fan blades and limits cooling effectiveness. Disrupted airflow patterns caused by clogged up grates is another major noisemaker. Invest in a can of compressed air and keep the computer’s interior free and clear of dust to maintain a silent computer.