3rd party video card cooling
(Arctic Cooling NV Silencer 3 Review)
The cooler on the Chaintech FX5900XT is making quite a bit of noise, so using a third party cooling solution might help. After installing an Arctic Cooling NV Silencer 3 we again take noise and temperature measurements (case fans running at full speed):(number between () is compared to default configuration)
Noise measurement: 38.6dBA
CPU: 56 (-1)
System: 37 (+3)
PWM: 46 (0)
HDD: 30 (+1)
RAM: 38 (0)
VGA: 56.25 (-1.25)
Top: 33.5 (+0.5)
Bottom: 35 (+4)
Swapping out the noisy Chaintech cooler removes the high pitched sound coming from the small fan; however the dBA meter hardly picks up this change as the case fans still account for the largest part of the noise production.3rd party CPU & HDD cooling
(Thermalright XP-90 Review)
The standard AMD A64 cooler is moderately noisy at lower fan speeds, but once the CPU starts heating up then you can hear the 70mm fan very clearly. We decided to swap it with a Thermalright XP-90 and 92mm (very silent) Papst fan.
The HDD was placed in an ACRyan HDD silencer
and placed in a spare 5.25" bay of the Antec Lanboy.
With the case fans at 12v running we obtain these results:(number between () is compared to default configuration)
Noise measurement: 37.9dBA
CPU: 52 (-5)
System: 34 (0)
PWM: 42 (-4)
HDD: 35 (+6)
RAM: 38 (0)
VGA: 54.63 (-2.87)
Top: 33.5 (+0.5)
Bottom: 33.5 (+2.5)
The XP-90 offers quite an improvement, dropping the CPU temp by 5°C, the PWM also benefits from the larger fan. The HDD sits comfy in its new environment, disk access can be heard less, we do see an increasing of 6°C compared to stock configuration, but the maximum tempreature is still well within acceptable boundaries.
The noise reading drops ever so slightly more, yet again caused by the case fans running at full speed... so it's about time we disabled them:3rd party cooling installed without case fans running(number between () is compared to default configuration)
Noise measurement: 33.9dBA
CPU: 55 (-2)
System: 42 (+8)
PWM: 47 (+1)
HDD: 38 (+9)
RAM: 42.5 (+4.5)
VGA: 60 (+2.5)
Top: 38.5 (+5.5)
Bottom: 39.5 (+8.5)
As we saw before, without case cooling all components increase in temperature, except for the CPU temp which still remains lower thanks to the efficient XP-90. The bottom of the case and Southbridge takes the largest bump in temperatures.
Looking at the dBA meter we see an impressive -5.2 drop, which makes the system running relatively silent, the loudest noise is now coming from the PSU's fans.Conclusion: Third party cooling helps reducing noise without affecting temperatures
Cost of the modification: $25-60 for every upgrade.
Not everyone will have a noisy VGA cooler in his PC, making that 3rd party cooling solution only necessary for those running higher end VGA cards. The HDD silencer is most useful if you have only a limited amount of hard drives, if you have 3 or more in your system you should look at alternative solutions
for silencing them; as otherwise it might become very costly.
A CPU cooling upgrade will have the largest impact for most people for reducing noise levels; utilizing a silent fan with a high performance heatsinks.Do it Yourself solutions :
$5 VGA cooler
Home Made Cooling duct or Chill Vent II