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#4 - The Power Supply

This one isn't as obvious, because most of the time you won't hear a thing from your power supply. But once you start swapping out other components - the ones we're going to talk about later in this article - the power supply WILL become an issue.

Every PSU manufacturer claims that their products are silent - from the $100+ high end power supplies to the grey boxes that come with cases. They are true to a certain degree; keep the temperature down, and the fans will spin at a relatively low speed, not making much noise. But get your CPU or graphics card working, and it will start to make a racket.

In the past, completely fanless power supplies have been an option. This is usually done by taking a 500W high end power supply, and rating it at 300W. This is what Silverstone did with their SST-30NF. However with the needs of today's systems like ATX 2.0 and EPS, fanless power supplies are mostly a thing of the past, at least in the mainstream.

What you need to do is find a power supply that is designed most of all to be silent, while still meeting the needs of your PC. There are some great units out there that ramp up nicely; in particular the Seasonic S12 series and Antec NeoHE are great.

It should also be noted that the better your system is cooled, the less work your PSU has to do to cool it. So try to install some fans if your case has room for them; just make sure that they are silent ones.

#3 - The Case & Fans

If you're using a case that has two or three 80mm fans handling air intake and exhaust, it might be time to look for a more silent solution. There are some extremely silent cases, like the TNN 300 and TNN 500 from Zalman. However, not everyone wants to spend $700-1000 on a PC case. The alternative is to buy a case that isn't so radically engineered, but still designed with silent computing in mind. Good examples of this include the Antec P180 and Lian Li PC101. Both of these cases have unconventional designs, in order to have air flowing across the installed components.

If you are attached to your current case, and aren't ready for such a big change, another good idea would be to replace the fans with silent versions. Some of the best silent case fans are from Nexus. Look for the orange Real Silent versions; the 120mm version goes for about $15.

Next Page: (Video Card Cooler; CPU Cooler)