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Small Form Factor Help me silence a Dell Optiplex GX280 SFF!

Discussion in 'Hardware' started by stu_69, 2 Feb 2005.

  1. stu_69

    stu_69 New Member

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    Hello All

    We use Dell PC's in work ( :( nothing I can do about it!!) and I have to setup an Optiplex GX280 SFF for our Chairmans office but it has to be whisper quiet as he freaks out about noise and cables (he once kicked a hole in a pc because it was annoying him) so I have to try make it as quite as I possibly can.

    I have linked some pics below so you can see what I have to work with, I have never really tried to make a pc quiet before so this is a first for me so all help is appreciated. I know I could go out and get a different PC but he wants one of these (he is actually quite PC savvy so I think this is his way of challenging me!!)

    So what can I do to make it quiet? The Specs are:

    Intel® Pentium® 4 Processor with HT Technology 530 (3.0GHz, 1MB cache, 800MHz FSB)
    512MB DDR2 SDRAM (2*256MB PC400 Non-ECC) Memory
    160GB (7,200 rpm) Serial ATA Hard Drive
    Intel Graphics Media Accelerator 900 supports up to 128MB with 512MB (Although I could upgrade to a ATI Radeon X300 128MB PCI-Express x16 VGA Graphics Card according to the Dell website)
    48X/32X CD/RW/DVD Combo Drive with SW Decode for WXP
    Integrated Sound Card (I'm not too sure what I can do to upgrade this)
    Win XP Pro

    Thats about it, he will mostly be using it for Email, Web Browsing, Photoshop, a good bit of DVD Viewing (he is the chairman ;)) and the usual day to day stuff. These pc's seem to get quite noisy especially watching DVD's the fan really ramps up and also the can be a bit noisy.

    I am thinking this could be a decent project but is it worth it? Am I peeing in the wind?

    Well on to the pics:

    [​IMG][​IMG]

    [​IMG][​IMG]

    [​IMG][​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  2. CyberSol

    CyberSol 1337 Pants

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    one of the things you can do is remove the fan grill from the powersupply on the inside.

    I would look into buying a silent cooler for the cpu, like a zalman
     
  3. Tulatin

    Tulatin The Froggy Poster

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    Your squirrel cage blower is the problem here. Just replace that and the cpu cooler.
     
  4. Zephyr

    Zephyr Go V-Boy, Go!

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    Try a good low-profile cooler, I know Zalman has a few.

    May also look into adding some undervolted case fans somewhere, see if you can't use those to help run the CPU fan at a lower voltage.
     
  5. Vochraye

    Vochraye New Member

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    I'm surprised your having trouble with noise - the sff Dells I've worked with at my work place have all been exceptionally quiet, except for the occasional cheap HDD noise.

    Is it unusually loud already?

    Be careful removing the squirrel cage blower without doing a lot of planning first for two reasons: blowers move a good bit of air for the noise they make (so you might not end up ahead of the game by much) and also because I have had first hand (bad) experience with replacing cooling components in a small footprint Dell before. Do not be fooled by the apparent simplicity – they have carefully planned the flow of heat in their high end cases. Especially true on the smaller enclosures. Even something innocuous like fiddling with cable placement can cause pretty bad hot spots (esp. around the hard drive).

    My personal belief is that that thick blackish gray plastic they use has some acoustic dampening qualities. And like all acoustic dampening material, that energy goes somewhere (primarily, gets turned into heat). Plus the stuff holds in heat like crazy.

    I second the recommendations on removing the grill(or at least opening it up a bit) and maybe looking at some quieter fans. But if it were me I'd be sure to do some temp probes at multiple locations before and after the mod.
     
  6. RotoSequence

    RotoSequence Lazy Lurker

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    GX-280s are horrific heat producers and noise makers. My school has GX-260s, 270s and 280s; GX-270s are definitely my personal preference for how quiet they are. But as for my reccomendations, here goes.

    1. Remove the grills in the back.
    2. Remove the gray plastic in this image:
    [​IMG]
    Im talking about the gray plastic that the Windows Label is attached to-or at least remove some of it-its not doing a very good job venting the case.
    3. Remove excess metal around the intake areas
    4. Replace the Heatsink/Fan with a more efficient model.
     
  7. Cipher_UK

    Cipher_UK New Member

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    We use GX2x0 series Dells at work and found them to be extemely quiet.

    If your chairman still thinks its too noisy he may be willing to buy a proper custom case like a Hush.

    Mini-Itx hush Business PC
     
  8. stu_69

    stu_69 New Member

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    Can any of you guys recommend me a decent CPU cooler that will fit in this case?
     
  9. Cipher_UK

    Cipher_UK New Member

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    Could always put in a Zalman Resevator passive watercooler!
     
  10. Froggy

    Froggy New Member

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    The flow meter makes a constant clicking sound. I find it more annoying that fans. but thats just me.
     
  11. stu_69

    stu_69 New Member

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    thats something extra outside the PC. I want to keep it quiet but simple.

    thanks for the suggestion though.

    Stu
     
  12. stu_69

    stu_69 New Member

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    The what?
     
  13. Froggy

    Froggy New Member

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    [​IMG]

    That black fan thing
     
  14. ouija

    ouija Trust me, I am doctor!

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    Some rubber feet underneath also might help prevent unwanted vibrations. The GX280s and previous have plastic feet moulded from the case.

    You can get cheap stick-on feet from loads of places.
     
  15. Leeum

    Leeum New Member

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    I'd try hooking the fan up to 7V instead of 12, should quieten it down :)
     
  16. Tolsk

    Tolsk New Member

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    could also mount the cd drive/hdd with rubber eliminating the vibration noise
    and replace the dvd drive with a high quality one like a pioneer so it doesnt make as much noise, cause ive found dell drives to be louder then normal.

    and you could change the pans in the psu with something like vantec stealths. (have 3 in my case and i dont hear em)
     
  17. Haddy

    Haddy World Domination

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    Any kind of passive cooling in that unit would be a problem as that would leave zero air flow from the look of it as I dont see any other fans about in there?

    Have you let him try it the way it is yet? He might be statisfied with it as is..
     
  18. stu_69

    stu_69 New Member

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    It's too loud as it is I have had them in the office for a couple of weeks building them and sending them out to the users. They are fine for a normal office with loads of people and office noises but the chairmans office is soundproofed so he hears all the noise from this thing. He is a prima donna and he expects the IT department to be able to do anything he asks (luckily he likes us and treats us well but he expects a lot) and he wants it to be quieter.

    I am going to take the grill of the PSU fan and I was going to replace the PSU fan but I am a bit worried about it over heating once I take it of.

    Would something like this work in this PC: http://www.quietpc.com/uk/materials.php#apsff (sorry if I'm not allowed to link that here)

    Any other suggestions?


    Stu
     
  19. RotoSequence

    RotoSequence Lazy Lurker

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    Like I said before; in addition to acoustic foam (which does work wonders);

    Remove extra grills, expand ventilation area, replace the stock heatsink or fan if you can, and put in a different ventilation system for the PSU, put rubber rings around anything attached by screws that vibrates, and anything else good that other members have posted.
     
  20. Tulatin

    Tulatin The Froggy Poster

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    Basically just do what everybody else has said but you can kick it up a notch by: replace psu fan with a silenX one, replace the dell blower with one off of a VGA silencer (any will do), replace the HDD with a samsung spinpoint, and then just about wrap every spare inch of metal in pax mate :).
     
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