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I've been waiting to ages to ask this question on (site-that-is-not)stackoverflow.com!

My PC is a bit of a beast. I use it for everything, including development (my day job) and gaming. It's a bit noisy though. I've tried using larger, slower fans where possible but it still hums a bit, and I'm a bit nervous of using the totally passive heat dissipation options.

Can anyone recommend any good sources for information on water cooling aimed at technically competent but ignorant noobs?

Any preference as to the fully integrated solutions (like the Zalman Reserator) versus the all-parts-in-main-case options?

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closed as off topic by Skyhawk, Scott Pack, sysadmin1138 Dec 1 '11 at 18:54

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Do you intend to overclock? –  Dani May 1 '09 at 11:28
    
Not especially. I currently have a Q9450 processor and an Sapphire HD4870 Toxic gfx card. The prroc is at standard settings and the gfx card is at factory settings (which are marginally oc'd anyway). I'll probably stick with that unless my alternative cooling solution turns out to leave me with lots of headroom. –  Damian Powell May 1 '09 at 16:28
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4 Answers

http://www.silentpcreview.com is a site dedicated to building silent PCs.

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the forums on bit-tech and hard ocp are probably your best bet. watercooling is still very much a niche enthusiast segment. the maintenance/fiddle factor is simply too high for most corporate envrionments. I have heard that the Zalman reserator is very blingy, and not too hot performance wise (sorry no hard data to back that up, just what i hemember reading somewhere, prob a forum post...)

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I also recommend silentpcreview.

I build my own silent PC last year using the Antec P180 cabinet, and if you just search for "Antec P180" you will get tons of reviews and user stories about people that have build their own silent pc. I am satisfied with the case, although it probably is not the simplest case to use for building your own pc (I have only build that one myself so I cannot compare to others, but it was not super straight forward). But the result was very good.

Lessons learned:

  • whenever you feel like physically modifying the case to fit what you are trying to do, it is a sign that you are doing it wrong.
  • make really, really, really sure that your CPU fits your motherboard so you do not have to return it and exchange it with a new one... Most motherboard manufacturers have lists/query functionality on their web pages, use those.
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Thanks for the comments, hlovdal. The machine I currently have is in a P182 case. Very nice case, actually. Quite pleased with it. Didn't go the trouble of foam coating it (like Jeff A did for Scott H). I suspect that'll help quiet the thing down but I wonder what it'll do for internal temperature? –  Damian Powell May 1 '09 at 16:32
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Hush make very nice silent PCs. Although they aren't user serviceable.

Tip, don't get a card reader. The holes look ugly, and it will be out of date in a few years when faster cards are available.

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Thanks for the input, Sam. They look very nice indeed. Perhaps when I'm looking for a media PC for the lounge I'll consider them. Right now though, I'm looking to silence my existing (self-built) PC. –  Damian Powell Apr 30 '09 at 11:49
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