DIY PC sound enclosure

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Chris Tsutsui, Feb 17, 2002.

  1. Chris Tsutsui

    Chris Tsutsui Screenwriter

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    I will be designing and building an enclosure to help quiet my PC which has become the start of my home theater.

    I have access to a professional shop since my friend's a contractor. I've just got to come up with designs and materials.

    I was thinking of using 3/4" MDF lined with dynamat or some type of sound dampener. (any suggestions?)

    The enclosure will also serve as a shelf unit on top, and have a hinged door to access the front of the case. I might use a lexan window for the front. (or other transparent material that's sound proof)

    The system housing will be large with ducts behind it for ventilation. I am just stumped on the design of making it quiet yet ventilated.

    Should the vent holes be on the bottom and have the enclosure raised? Or should the vent holes be on the rear of the box... I think if the holes are on the bottom the carpet helps absorb sound rather than reflecting it like a wall.

    I've already begun to make sketches so any suggestions on design or materials are much appreciated.
     
  2. Charles J P

    Charles J P Cinematographer

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    Since heat rises, I would make the vents on the sides, back or top, not on the bottom. Making vents on the top and bottom would promote airflow. From what I've seen, the basic principle behind quieting fan-cooled electronics is to build a soundproof enclosure. Then use one large, quiet fan to move air, instead of numerous noisy smaller cheaper fans.
     
  3. Patrick Sun

    Patrick Sun Moderator
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    Your best bet is to research for some power supplies with ultra-quiet fans because that's where most of the PC noise is coming from. The only place I know of off the top of my head to look is PC Power Cooling. Feel free to search on Google for "quiet power supply". Also, you'll need to find a super-quiet fan for your CPU's heatsing/fan. That's where you should attack the noise problem.
     
  4. Vince Bray

    Vince Bray Stunt Coordinator

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    All good advice. You should quiet the beast before enclosing it. Sometimes putting a humming pc in a box makes a humming box, instead of a quiet pc. The newer processors run very hot and need agressive cooling, hence some of the very loud fans you hear that are actually little cpu fans running balls-out. Alpha and others make upgrade cpu coolers that cool much better and are quieter, if you use a quiet fan. I use an alpha heat sink with a pc-power and cooling 80mm fan strapped on. It's very quiet and cools as well as the original which was very loud. Hard drives make alot of whirring noise too. Get a few silencer fans from pc power cool and replace the fan in your power supply (don't do this unless you understand electrical work well - it's very simple but don't say I didn't warn you) and get a quieter cpu cooler for starters. The hard driver must be cooled at least by air, so don't just wrap it up, but there are some peltier coolers that will enclose and cool it, but go for the fans first. Also, by using no enclosure and the minimum fans necessary, you will have less noise to worry about...
    http://www.pcpowerandcooling.com/pro...s/silencerfan/
    http://phamcomputer.safeshopper.com/28/cat28.htm?397
    Most of these guys are worried about overclocking, so make sure to look at the db rating, the closer to 20db the better. You also might want to search for "overclocking fans," most of these cooling mods come from this community. If your pc supports it, check the bios cpu temp before and during mods to make sure you're getting enough cooling to the cpu. You don't want to guess here if possible.
     
  5. Chris Tsutsui

    Chris Tsutsui Screenwriter

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    Fan noise isn't a problem.
    I've done my research [​IMG]
    I'll be using Panaflo L1A or Silencer fans which are extremely quiet and I also mounted an external rheostat (variable resistor) using a chrome knob to the front of my case. I can now adjust fan RPM using a manual rotary knob. I've also coated the internals of my case with dynamat extreme, and put large heatsinks on components like my geforce graphics card and took off the higher rpm small fans.
    The hard drive is use is the quietest on the market, a Seagate Barricuda IV running at an ultra low 22db.
    The loudest component is now the Pioneer slot load DVD-rom which spins while playing DVD movies.
    As for vents, I was thinking of leaving the rear end panel of the enclosure open and making one hole in the bottom front (Since that's where my 120mm fan acts as intake)
    Don't know much about sound, but with the front, sides, and top as soundproof barriers, this should help reduce noise a little? I might as well build the thing to try it out... there's lots of scrap MDF to use anyways.
     
  6. Vince Bray

    Vince Bray Stunt Coordinator

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    Sounds like it might be quiet enough already [​IMG]
    If you build a box, definitely line it with eggcrate type foam. A neat but time consuming trick at the fan that exhausts is to build it like a gun silencer. Make a cylinder of cardboard or some tubing oversize from the fan about double the air path in diameter. Make some barriers that reduce the diameter to the air path size again. Use at least three of these, and line each side of them with 1/4" or so foam, space these an inch or so apart so you have a tube about 4-6" long. The sound gets bounced around between all the barriers and gets deadened. I haven't tried it for this application, but you can use it at intakes and exhausts. Works like a charm, I'd guess about -3db improvement.
     

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