Does your computer whine at you? Your computer's fans contribute the most noise. Here is a quiet alternative.
I like working in a quiet environment so I can enjoy the sounds of nature coming in through the window. Conversations are easier in a quiet environment. The normal office desktop computer is drowned out by the noise from people, photocopiers, air conditioners, and dozens of other computers. You do not notice the noise because you become partially deaf.
One step back to a natural low stress environment is to replace those noisy devices with quiet devices. I leave my printer turned off, have the photocopier in another room, and do not use air conditioning except on a few hot days each year. I also replace the noisy components of my computer with quieter components.
The most noise came from the fan on the graphics card so I replaced that fan with a Zalman fanless cooler, which consisted of two giant heatsinks. The overall noise decreased.
The next noisiest part is the chipset cooler fan on the motherboard. Normally I would choose a fanless motherboard but this board offered the Intel 705 chipset with direct connected Gigabit Ethernet. The direct connection doubles the maximum throughput. I will try a fanless Zalman chipset heatsink next week to remove this source of noise.
The CPU fan was quieter than most of the other fans. Intel has producing quiet fans on some models while using real screamers on others. The Zalman fan is quieter than the Intel fan and worth the change. If you are replacing both a CPU fan and a motherboard chipset fan, you may run in to the problem of them not fitting next to each other. If I were changing this model motherboard again, I would replace the noisier chipset fan first.
There is noise from the hard disks and the CD drive. I am using a case with rubber mounts to reduce disk noise. When I play CDs, I copy them to disk then play from disk as that reduces the CD noise. Using the copy on disk also reduces heat damage to the CDs as the CD drive is a lot hotter that the typical CD drive in a sound system.
There is noise from the power supply. Zalman produce quiet power supplies that I have used in some computers. This computer is in an Antec case with Antec's quiet power supply, almost as quiet as the Zalman equivalent.
With the case shut, there is an annoying buzz that does not occur when the case is open. I expect the case is restricting airflow and making the power supply fan work harder. The next step with this case may be to open up the front to let in more air. I will attack that noise after I replace the chipset fan.
My laser printer is far noisier than this computer. I have the computer switched on 50 or more hours per week and the laser printer only one hour per week. A small reduction in computer noise is worth more than a large reduction in printer noise.
There are other approaches to reducing noise. You can place our computer in another room and connect through various types of long cables. The so-called "thin client" computing is based on that approach. In practice each approach limits either your overall speed or the quality of your screen display. I will leave this approach until the video cable is replaced by a fibre optic cable, something that has been feasible and cheap for over ten years.
Another alternative is to place the bulk of your computing power in a server in another room and run only local processes on low powered fanless desktop computers. That approach is not an alternative for me, as I occasionally have to use Java based software and other resource hogs. I need the processing speed on the desktop, not in the server.
My previous desktop computer, a mini tower style computer on the shelf next to my desk, had all fans replaced by Zalman devices and the noise dropped to almost zero. On occasions I left the computer on because I thought it was switched off. That computer had no chipset fan and a Zalman power supply. my current computer looks like reaching the same low level of noise once I replace the chipset fan.
Is the Zalman CNPS7000 a good buy? Yes, if you are replacing all the fans with quiet fans or fanless alternatives. Would I buy it first? No, I would replace the chipset and video card fans first and second. I would replace the power supply as the third priority, unless I purchased an Antec case with a quiet power supply. The CPU fan would be fourth priority.