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If there is anything that can ruin a PC entertainment experience, it is distracting noises coming from vibrations in PC fans. Unfortunately this happens all too often in new and older PCs, but especially older PCs. The most common causes of fan vibration and noise comes from improper installation of case fans, loose screws (over time), a poor fit due to the computer case, or a fan jostling other components. The good news is these issues are easy to fix with a simple silicon dampener gasket or silicon fan mounts which are used in place of case fan screws.
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Silicon Noise-Reducing Fan Mount Screws
The fan screws are a simple solution that gets by with the bare minimum of material. These mounts work in place of metal screws and secure the fan to the case with tension to “plug” the hole and separate the plastic fan casing from the metal case to eliminate vibration. They only come in one size for a variety of fan sizes. Note that they only work on 25mm thick case fans (standard depth). If you need a vibration reduction solution for thicker fans, get the dampening gaskets.
Pictured: Nexus Fan Mounts
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Silicon Dampener Gaskets
Silicon vibration dampening gaskets wrap completely around the frame of the fan providing a cushioning surface around the entire edge of the fan where it comes into contact with the metal case. These are also more versatile than fan mounts because they will work on any thickness of case fan. The most common size is 25mm, but some are 38mm for extra air pressure. With standard fan mounts, 38mm is too thick and it will not even fit. Since you still use metal screws, you can be guaranteed a tight fit over the silicon fan mount screws.
Pictured: Vantec Fan Vibration Dampening Kit (Comes in 4 sizes, includes screws, 2 silicon gaskets, and 8 silicon gromet o-rings for further dampening).
Vantec also makes a special dampener gasket for power supplies.
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For a cleaner look, the fan mount screws may be less noticeable and convenient, but for a more quieter route the gasket would probably reduce most vibrations spreading it out over a larger surface area. Whichever method you use, be sure to only use one for a secure fit and purchase a corresponding size if you choose the gasket (120mm, 140mm, 80mm, 92mm, etc…). Stacking the gasket with the fan mounts will probably be too tight and not physically mountable. With either of these two methods, the fan’s vibration (even though it may not be audible) will be reduced and dampened which increases the longevity of the case fan.