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DJ_Farid

My cheap case acts like an amplifier.

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I made this super silent computer out of some parts I already had and got for no money at all.

It's a P3 450 with a Samsung V80 160GB harddrive. The machine has only one fan. I replaced the fan in the PSU to a supersilent one. No CPU-fans. The machine works like a charm in my closet.

The other night I noticed that I can hear the harddrive seeking during the night when it is quiet in the house. I took a look today. It seems that the cheapass case that I have is amplifying the vibrations from the harddrive.

I have the harddrive mounted on a plastic 5,25" -> 3,5" converter. I tried to absorb the vibrations from the drive with some paper and some other soft stuff I found around. No luck.

It doesn't make any vibrating noise when the cover on the side is off. As fast as I put the cover on, it starts humming and the seek noises are loud.

The case is made of a very thin metal. If the case would be more solid, I guess I wouldn't have this problem.

I don't want to buy a new case. I had to modify this one to suit my airflow needs. I don't know how many hours I spent on it with my dremel and a drill.

Does anyone here have similar experiences? Any tips and tricks on how to make it silent (without spending any money)?

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Go to a hardware store, and buy some rubber gromets. (they maybe in the electrical supply or plumbing supply areas) and remount your hard drive, with the screws thru these gromets. This will reduce or eliminate the vibrations.

You should be able to get a few, for a buck, so they're not expensive.

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Look around at SilentPCReview for elastic suspension techniques -- the ultimate vibration isolator for hard drives. Basically, the concept is to suspend your drives via bungee cords or something similar. Done correctly, this poses no risk temperature- or handling-wise.

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I had the same problem in my last tower case - not because it was thin (it was anything but!), but because it was Extended-ATX size, and had huge expanses of non-braced steel. These side panels really picked up all the noises in the case and rebroadcast them...

I used Dynamat noise dampening materiel to line the sides and top/bottom of the tower. To get an idea of what this stuff is like, imaging a thin sheet of metal backed by thick, sticky roofing tar. REALLY took the noise down - like dramatically. Expensive, so you may want to try the bungies and drive suspentions first, but if nothing else works I endorse this stuff...

Also, this Dynamat is HEAVY - the removable side panel from that case now weighs a ton, as does the case itself (and it was a monster to begin with, like 50 lbs. empty!). It's due to that mass that it absorbs vibrations so well, unlike the thinner, foam stuff. But you do pay for it, in cost and weight...

BTW - they sell a special roller to apply this stuff - don't buy it. I used a large cylindrical glass candle, you should use a rolling pin or something similar. You just want to make sure it spreads the "tar" properly under the metal topsheet and it adheres...

Future Shock

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For a makeshift solution that works as long as there's no risk of the case getting knocked over, put the hard drive on the bottom of your case, with the sides of the 5.25->3.5 adapter propped up with thick pieces of foam. Does a great job of reducing the noise. And if you did this with a metal drive cage, you wouldn't lose the heatsink properties of the metal cage like you would if you went with rubber grommets or suspension. Another benefit is that the bottom-front of the case is usually where the cool air enters the case.

I've seen good results with this sort of setup, in both drive temp. reduction and significant noise reduction.

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I can't have the disk on the bottom of the case. I have no airflow at all on the bottom of the case. I drilled an air-intake hole on the bottom-front. Then I mounted a aluminium pipe (sparepart from my Volvo) that goes up a bit, just besides the cpus-enormous heatsink. This way the cool air from outside goes directly to where it's needed and not going around the cpu directly to the PSU.

I was thinking of getting some kind of material to make the case sound "dead". It is way out of my budget though. For that money I could probably get a better case to start with.

I thought that the plastic convertor would take up some of the vibrations. It showed that it did not. I will have to come up with something...

Thanks for the replies.

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