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Offline MattD

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silent PC
« on: July 11, 2003, 02:37:55 AM »
Anyone use a silent PC as their audio source in a home system? I'm thinking this might be a better choice than getting a CDP, DVD-A or SACD player. I can rip all my CDs to FLAC and also store shows on there.

I'm thinking the new VIA EPIA motherboard in a Mini-ITX case with Seagate Barracuda V drives. This is the quietest setup I can think of. I'd put a 24/96 sound card in the PCI slot and perhaps set up a router with wireless capability so I can control the thing from a palm interface or something. I'd use the digital out on the sound card to feed a DAC, etc.

Has anyone built a silent PC that they use as their source? How are you controlling it, if not with a keyboard and mouse?

Thanks,
-Matt
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Offline Nick in Edinboro

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Re:silent PC
« Reply #1 on: July 11, 2003, 09:07:39 AM »
What defines a "silent PC"?  Just curious, not being a dick in anyway it's just a term I never heard before...  Does this involve just buying what you think are quiet components or does it have to do with shielding/RF noise, etc. as well?

I know atleast one person posted on Oade prolly close to a year ago about the PC he built so he could play 96k stuff on his home system..
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Offline mirth

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Re:silent PC
« Reply #2 on: July 11, 2003, 10:28:10 AM »
A silent PC tends to have no fans and extremely quiet hard drives. If done right, you don't even know its there, soundwise.
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Offline dmonterisi

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Re:silent PC
« Reply #3 on: July 11, 2003, 11:53:11 AM »
Anyone use a silent PC as their audio source in a home system? I'm thinking this might be a better choice than getting a CDP, DVD-A or SACD player. I can rip all my CDs to FLAC and also store shows on there.


i don't know if you'll be able to use a pc to play sacd.  i think you can play dvd-a with some soundblaster variant.  what i did was connect my pc from the next room to my receiver with a 25 foot coax.  the receiver has a decent 24/96 DAC in it (alot of receivers that do dolby digital/dts deconding have them i think).  then i use winamp's directstream output (or something like that, but you have to increase the buffer if you get static) via athe digi-out on the prodif plus soundcard.  the only problem with this is i have to walk into the other room to hit stop, play, etc.  but now (thanks largely to wes) i have over 200 gigs of music on my various HD's...some of which will be burned to dvd-a, but all the 16/44 shns and flacs will stay on there and play through winamp.  however, none of this answers your silent question, sorry i'm no help with that one.  good luck

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Offline MattD

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Re:silent PC
« Reply #4 on: July 11, 2003, 12:34:20 PM »
We have the same soundcard :)  I know I won't be able to play SACDs, but in non-scientific tests (just listening to one format and the other), I can't tell the difference. I have a Denon receiver of the type you mention and I do almost the same thing you do now, but I can't set up in another room just yet.

I'm saving up a few grand for a good audio system and want a source that's equally good. Keeping it in the same room would be a priority because of logistics, which is why I want to go silent. I also like the idea of having it as a system component that is used exclusively for music, than as a PC that just happens to be hooked up to my system (what I have now).

To further answer the earlier question about what a silent PC is, it's defined as having a noise level below the ambient noise in a room - usually around 25-30 dB or something like that.

Thanks for the input.
-Matt
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jpschust

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Re:silent PC
« Reply #5 on: July 13, 2003, 11:39:23 AM »
why bother with a silent pc, why not just get an iso case and throw your pc in it?  seems to make more sense and be more versitile

Offline MattD

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Re:silent PC
« Reply #6 on: July 13, 2003, 04:18:24 PM »
My current CPU is an Athlon 1.4 GHz with a fan that's loud as all hell and CPU temperature is still up in the 50-60C range. My case fan and PS fan are noisy as well, but not as much as the CPU fan.

To quiet and keep that system cool would probably cost almost as much as building a silent system. I think I can do a silent system for around $350 if I just get the bare minimum (board/CPU, sound card, drive).

-Matt
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jpschust

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Re:silent PC
« Reply #7 on: July 13, 2003, 06:59:21 PM »
you try using a liquid cooling system rather than fans?

Offline MattD

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Re:silent PC
« Reply #8 on: July 13, 2003, 07:06:07 PM »
What kind of costs/considerations are associated with those?
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jpschust

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Re:silent PC
« Reply #9 on: July 13, 2003, 08:22:37 PM »
i dont remember what the athalon socket is but you are looking at 60-100 bucks for the cooling unit.  when done right they are pretty quiet and keep the cpu very cool.  i know fry's carries them

Offline Nick's Picks

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Re:silent PC
« Reply #10 on: September 15, 2003, 09:10:35 AM »
one thing to consider when buyng "microcase" PCs that are smaller than standard....their low profile will not allow any "normal" sized PCI/AGP cards.  Only 1/2 height.
good luck finding a 1/2 height sound card (a good one).

Offline MattD

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Re:silent PC
« Reply #11 on: September 15, 2003, 08:21:49 PM »
Yup ... that has been my problem. This project is on hold for now, as I decided to just add a hard drive and a 20' SPDIF to my current system. I also got a quieter case fan - one that I can't hear from over 3' away!

-Matt
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