This site best when viewed with a modern standards-compliant browser. We recommend Firefox Get Firefox!.

Linux-HA project logo
Providing Open Source High-Availability Software for Linux and other OSes since 1999.

USA Flag UK Flag

Japanese Flag


About Us

Contact Us

Legal Info

How To Contribute

Security Issues

This web page is no longer maintained. Information presented here exists only to avoid breaking historical links.
The Project stays maintained, and lives on: see the Linux-HA Reference Documentation.
To get rid of this notice, you may want to browse the old wiki instead.

1 February 2010 Hearbeat 3.0.2 released see the Release Notes

18 January 2009 Pacemaker 1.0.7 released see the Release Notes

16 November 2009 LINBIT new Heartbeat Steward see the Announcement

Last site update:
2019-12-10 01:38:01

Quiet PCs

AlanRobertson has an interest in quiet(er) PCs. As you can tell, he has a lot of them, and having the ones near humans be a little quieter would be a good thing. He also is thinking about making a personal video recorder, which would probably wind up in the living room, and noise would be quite annoying.

The basics are:

Quiet Hard Drives

There are basically three things that make a hard drive audible:

  • Motor Noise

If the drive is spinning, the motor typically makes a little noise. In some circumstances (like a TiVo, you can't spin it down, and it needs to rotate to be read or written. And, even if you can spin it up and down, it's generally thought to be hard on the drive.

  • Seek Noise

As the drive heads move around, the actuator mechanism makes some noise. Most applications that use the hard drive will seek occasionally - and some applications will do this a lot. It may be a clicking, or clunking or other intermittent and not-quite-repetitive noise. Seeking the drive may result in vibration of the case, which can cause noise of its own.

  • Single-tone Noise

This can be one of the most annoying features of a disk drive. It is usually described as a whine. Most commonly it occurs at higher rotational speeds (10K RPM and above), but some brands of drives whine even though they run at slower speeds.

Quiet Fans

Generally, slower fans are quieter than faster fans. Higher speed fans typically cause air turbulence which greatly increases the noise made by the fan. No fan at all (passive cooling) is best when you can do this. Improving heat sinks sometimes allows for passive cooling, and sometimes it simply allows you to run a slower (quieter) fan. Switching to a larger fan typically allows for a slower fan speed as well. Slowing down CPU speeds (underclocking) typically generates less heat as well. For most CPUs, it's the CPU speed (not the bus speed) which determines heat generated. Most power supply noise is fan noise. You may be able to replace the power supply fan with a slower one if you aren't using the power supply to its full potential and the environment you're using it in a fairly cool room. Some power supplies do not require fans - but they're typically expensive. Quite power supplies with fans when done right, are typically power supplies with good heat sinks which run fans at slower temperatures.

Good Ventilation

Slowing down fans typically increases the temperature of components. This is why in such PCs doing things like switching to round cables instead of flat cables can help improve ventilation, which may allow you to run a slower fan speed.

Quiet Cases

Quiet cases are cases that have some or all of the following features:

  • shock mounting for hard drives - which keeps their vibration from being passed on to the case, hence reducing noise.
  • quiet (probably 120mm) case fans, perhaps running at lower RPMs.
  • case noise dampening insulation
  • quiet power supply
  • good ventilation (reducing the need for fans)

Quiet PC Information Sites

Commercial Quiet PC Sites

Alan's Thoughts