After months of complaining, researching components, finding good prices, and so on, my computer is now virtually silent… and that makes me very happy. When I built the most recent incarnation of my desktop computer, I chose pretty much the cheapest components available at the time. I even stooped so low as to use a triple-core processor (AMD’s Phenom X3 8650). Choosing components this cheap turned out to be a nightmare.

First of all, the CPU’s fan was insanely noisy. When the computer started up you could have sworn a Boeing 747 was in my bedroom getting ready for takeoff. It settled down after a few seconds, but it was still enough to make using speakers pointless. I resorted to headphones.

I fixed this by buying two components. The first was a rear case fan to exhaust more hot air out of the computer. I chose a Scythe model that ran at 800RPM. They are renowned for being virtually silent. Not without reason, too. The second was a Cooler Master Hyper-212+ heat sink. The heat sink itself is about 600g of solid aluminium with copper pipes running up through it. It’s very good at getting the heat away from the CPU. It comes with a fan attached to it, but I took this off. Since I had the rear case fan, and nothing else that produced much heat in the machine, I didn’t need it. So this solved the CPU noise issue.

The next issue was the power supply. The power supply I originally had was a no-name 550W power supply I bought for $50 AUD. I suspect it was worth about $5. The efficiency of the power supply was also questionable. In the end I bit the bullet and decided to buy a new power supply. I did a bit of research on the PC hardware site SilentPCReview, and found 3 power supplies that fitted the bill. One was Antec’s Signature 650w. This is basically the premium model from Antec. The ‘Signature’ in the name comes from the fact that the quality-control checker signs the power supply when they check it. It was a bit on the pricey side though. A similar power supply from a different manufacturer was  Seasonic’s X-650. This was cheaper, and even quieter, but had a few quirks that I didn’t really like. The final power supply, and the one I chose, was Antec’s Truepower 550w. It was slightly noisier than the other two, but not by very much, and was significantly cheaper.

After replacing these components in my desktop, I now have a machine that I can’t hear over background noise (the nearby highway, birds outside, etc) during the day. I can hear a slight hum during the night, but I usually turn the machine off while I sleep, so it’s not a problem. Overall, I’m very happy! I’ll never again buy cheap computer components… it’s very expensive.

My First Coppermine CPU

Yesterday evening in the mail I received, amongst a whole package of computer junk I didn’t really want, a couple of socket 370 CPUs. Four of them, to be exact. One is a Pentium III Coppermine CPU proper (an SL52R), the others are Celerons of various speeds.

You’ll notice that the SL52R is the same sSpec I was raving on about in my last post on this subject. So why did I rush out and buy one? Because to me, it has beautiful proportions. 1GHz is a nice round number. In my opinion the amount of cache is a nicer number than any other amount (256KiB instead of the 128KiB found in the Celerons and some Pentium IIIs), and the core voltage is nicer (1.75V). I would have preferred a 100MHz bus speed (instead of 133MHz), since that’s a nice round number, but you can’t have everything. Plus, a 133MHz bus does go a lot faster.

Unfortunately the picture isn’t mine; my digital camera has decided not to work in the cold this morning.

Pentium III Coppermine SL52R
Pentium III Coppermine SL52R