Whether you are building your own PC or you’ve bought a pre-built rig, you should know how to reduce the amount of noise it makes, especially if you’re going to be doing a lot of resource intensive tasks like high end games.
The tips and tricks in this article will show you practical ways to reduce PC noise, from simple tweaks to hardware upgrades. Regardless of your skill level, you will find a solution here that works for you.
1. Install Quiet Fans
Case fans can be one of the noisiest parts of any computer. They are needed to keep the components cool, but that doesn’t mean they have to be noisy.
Fan sizes 80, 120, 140 and 200mm are included as standard. High performance, premium, silent fans are available, and while they can cost up to $20 or more each, the difference they make over cheaper models can be surprising.
The Noctua 120mm 512 fan is an outstanding, tried and tested model. Switching the case fans to them will provide a significant reduction in volume. If you’re building a new high-end PC, this is an easy choice. But even if you’re upgrading from an older system, it’s worth spending a few dollars on cheaper models.
These fans are designed with silicone anti-vibration pads on the corners. This helps separate the fans from the chassis and reduces the transmission of vibrations to the rest of the machine, helping to reduce overall volume.
2. Install anti-vibration fan mounts
As mentioned above, some fans have anti-vibration pads. They can do wonders, but one important area where vibrations can be transferred between the case and the fan is the mounting screws. It is most often metal and they pair fans with a metal body.
With anti-vibration fan mounts, you’ll be surprised how quiet things can get.
The best part is that these mounts can be purchased for just a few dollars per fan. Now that’s the deal for the quiet PC enthusiast.
3. Use a fan speed controller
The fan speed control is often overlooked when building a computer. Your CPU fan is controlled by your motherboard. It can intelligently speed up or slow down depending on system load and current temperature.
Case fans are not always so smart. They usually run and run at the same speed regardless of system temperature. By installing a fan controller, you can add some intelligence to your system fans.
The SilverStone PWM Fan Hub is a great budget choice. This allows the motherboard to precisely control up to eight fans while taking up only one control port from the motherboard at a time.
Many other fan controllers are available. From intelligent to manual control, along with thermostatic options. The hardest part is choosing the one that suits your color scheme and budget!
4. Buy a Quiet Case
Once you’ve dealt with your fans, you can move on to your business. Many silent deeds work in much the same way. The interior panels are lined with a special noise absorbing material that reduces the overall noise from your machine.
The Corsair Carbide 100R represents excellent value for money combined with excellent noise reduction performance. This case and many others, however, are not 100 percent silent. There are always leaks around air vents, fan mounts, and other parts required for a modern computer. This is good and won’t be a problem when combined with all the other tips and tricks mentioned here.
It is possible to install the sound deadening material on the case yourself, but you will almost always get better results by purchasing a case designed to be silent from the start.
5. Replace quieter components
Many computer components create a lot of noise on their own. Mechanical hard drives, CPU and GPU coolers, and power supplies make a lot of noise.
Switching from a mechanical hard drive to an SSD will make a huge difference. With prices dropping every day, there’s not much reason to keep the spinning disc. SSDs don’t make any noise, and our quick SSD buying guide should help you choose one. You will also get a significant speed boost.
Power supplies can be noisy, partly due to the heat they generate and the giant fan often found on them. Luckily, many power supplies are designed to be quiet, and some even turn off the fan when it’s not needed. A quick search for «quiet PSU» will turn up a lot of results, just make sure you stick with a reputable brand and read our PSU buying guide.
Your CPU and GPU generate a lot of heat, but they don’t make noise on their own — it’s those dreaded fans again! It’s difficult to change a fan on a GPU, but CPU fans can and should be upgraded.
Once again, Noctua make some of the best fans around. Other manufacturers such as Coolermaster or Corsair also make reasonable models. When shopping for a high performance CPU cooler, you can often swap out fans for your favorite quiet models. Don’t forget to read our CPU fan buying guide. for more advice.
When shopping for a GPU, look for models from manufacturers that have tried to reduce fan noise. They will often be marketed as silent or silent models. If you do not need performance, you can purchase passive models that do not have a fan at all.
6. Water cooling
Water cooling is an extreme and often expensive way to cool your components. It can be tricky to install and still requires a lot of fans to keep the tanks cool, but did you know you can buy it all in one sealed system ready to go?
Systems such as the Corsair Hydro Series H60 offer inexpensive, compact units that can easily cool most compatible processors. Designed with a single quiet fan, you won’t have much trouble with this one. It is also possible to turn off the fan; for added peace of mind, you can reduce the noise further.
7. Install custom control cable
This last tip is simple and you may already own the parts needed for this. By correctly connecting the cable to the computer’s internal components, you can increase airflow, reduce heat, and therefore reduce noise.
If cables are bundled together and ignored, they can interfere with components. If they obstruct airflow, your system may run hotter than it should, causing the fans to spin faster (and therefore louder) to remove excess heat.
Using a combination of zip ties, Velcro and cable management, you can easily keep all cables out of the main airflow.
How quiet will you go?
These tricks show how easy it is to reduce the noise coming from your computer. Many of these tips are easy choices when building a new system, but they can be adapted to any existing system.
If this silent machine is your first PC build, check out our guide to avoid common PC build problems.