Sunday, 15 February 2015

The Pursuit of Quietness

Since MediaServer8 now lives in my Home Theatre, I'd like to make it as quiet as possible. The current set-up employs 3x Silverstone 120mm fans working as intakes in the base underneath the hard drive cage, (these came with the SST-GD07B Case and are very quiet),  as well as 2x Noctua NF-S12A PWM Case Fans  working as intakes on the side. These are all controlled from a NZXT Sentry Mix 2 Fan Controller.

This is reasonably quiet, but I think it could be better. I ordered some Noctua NF-R8 redux-1200 by mistake, thinking they were 120mm when in fact they were 80mm so I had to get a few more Noctua NF-S12B redux-700 as well.

 I'm very impressed with these Redux line units. Even though they're bare bones (with just the fan and 4x fan screws in the box), the packaging still has a premium feel (with not a bit of clear plastic in sight). And are they quiet!

I swapped various fans around inside the case and removed a couple of redundant hard drives that were not needed;

3x Noctua Redux 120mm fans in place underneath the (removed) drive cage (intake)

2x 80mm fans exhausting at the back

2x Silverstone Fans mounted on the side texts, the one to the front of the CPU cooler is intake, the one to the rear is exhaust

Putting everything back together and powering up, I'm VERY impressed at how quiet the system is now. The airflow seems to work much better than before - I had to run an unRAID parity check since I'd removed some drives and re-configured the storage array - drives all stayed under 30 degrees celsius which hadn't been the case before. 

Those two 80mm exhaust fans seem to really help, and they are almost silent. Even bumping them up to full-speed on the fan controller makes no different to the noise levels.

I also added a set of AcoustiFeet Anti-vibration Case Feetwhich have greatly reduced system vibrations being transferred to the supporting shelf.

Now, the system is not silent. You can certainly hear its running but from across the room, it's barely noticeable which I'm pretty happy with.

Here's everything assembled in my diy lack rack;

MediaServer8 in Lack Rack with A/V Receiver and DVD/DVD-Audio/SACD deck underneath. New B&W 803n speaker also pictured (sublime!)

Lack Rack Close Up

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