Step-By-Step: Easy Ways to Cut Computer Noise

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Silence is Golden--With the Right Parts

These parts and installation steps can help bring peace back to your workspace.

Photograph: Kevin Candland

A wide range of PC-quieting products are available. They can be used singly or in combination. See the vendor list in "The Top Down" on the preceding page for sources. Note that Quiet PC also sells all-in-one kits that contain combinations of PC-quieting components.

1. Acoustic insulation ($40 to $85): Sound-absorbing foam, installed inside the case, turns your PC into an almost-soundproof miniature room, though it can make your PC run a bit hotter. (Shown: AcoustiPack Deluxe version 2.)

2. Hard-drive enclosure ($32): Dampen the whine of your PC's hard drive by enclosing it in an isolation chamber. Note: This requires a free 5.25-inch drive bay for installation. (Shown on top of case: Molex SilentDrive.)

3. Silent case ($100): If you're building your own PC, consider a case designed with a quiet power supply, quiet fans, and large air vents. (Shown: Antec SLK3700-BQE.)

4. Case fans ($7 to $25): Specially designed and thermostatically controlled case cooling fans can move enough air to keep your system cool, while keeping noise to a minimum. (Shown: Antec SmartCool Plus and Fortron 9cm fan.)

5. Quiet power supplies ($45 to $150): The power supply may be the noisiest component of your PC. Quiet power supplies can dramatically reduce the clatter. (Shown: Fortron Source 300-watt power supply with 120mm fan.)

6. Gasket kits ($10 to $15): Gaskets and insulated mounting washers for power supplies and fans can help reduce vibration. (Shown: Antec PC NoiseKiller Kit.)

7. CPU coolers ($20 to $50): If your existing CPU cooling fan sounds like a miniature vacuum cleaner, consider fans with larger heat sinks and quiet rotary blades; these can virtually eliminate CPU cooling noise. (Shown: Fortron Source Pentium 4 CPU Cooler.)

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