Quiet Workstations



6 Steps To Make A Quiet Computer Workstation


It is one thing being able to build a powerful computer workstation that gives users all the performance you could need. We help our customers achieve this every day, but we don't just stop there. In addition to maximising performance, we also strive to make stable, high quality and long-lasting solutions as well. One of the most difficult challenges to overcome when designing a solution for our customers is controlling excessive system noise.

To make a quiet system seems like a simple concept, but it is more complicated than you may think. With high performance comes high energy requirements, and where there is energy, there is heat. Trying to dissipate this heat away from critical components can be a challenge in itself. Doing so without creating noise makes it extremely difficult to achieve. In this article, we explain all the techniques we deploy to make our solutions as quiet as possible.

1. Choosing the correct cooling solution for the CPU.

It is a common misconception that liquid cooling solutions are always quieter than air-cooling however, this isn't necessarily the case. Liquid cooling solutions have a pump built into them that circulates the liquid around critical components and the radiator. The radiator uses fans to dissipate the heat, meaning that there are more moving parts in a liquid cooler compared to an air cooler. Moving parts naturally create noise. Therefore, a single air cooler fan on a CPU can be a quieter configuration for your computer workstation.





In certain situations, however, liquid-cooled systems are indeed quieter than an air-cooled solution thanks to the larger radiators they provide. A larger radiator is more efficient due to its increased surface area used to cool your processor. The additional surface area allows fans to run at a much slower speed, which results in keeping your system quieter. During the development of a new workstation, we test all CPU's on different cooling solutions to find the quietest solution for that particular processor.

In contrast, we commonly find that processors that require less power and generate less heat are best cooled by air. The fan on the comparatively small radiator is still able to spin slowly and effectively cool the system. As a result, an air cooler is by far the best option in this scenario.

2. Use high-quality fans.

Selecting the correct fans for your workstation solution is vitally important. They not only need to be reliable; they also need to be able to push enough air at slow speeds to cool your system. Finding this balance can be difficult, but with good old fashioned research & development and extensive testing it can be achieved. If extremely quiet fan noise is paramount for your system, speak to our technical consultancy team to find out the very best fans for you.





3. Never Underestimate the Importance of PWM Fan Control.

PWM stands for Pulse Width Modulation, which sounds very fancy and high tech. The mechanics of it maybe, but the finished result is fairly straightforward. It enables our workstations to monitor temperatures automatically, and as it gets hotter, it increases its fans speed to aid in cooling. As it gets cooler, the opposite happens and it slows them down to keep things quiet.

The result ensures your systems fans are never spinning faster than they need to be. PWM control can increase the lifetime of your computer workstation and just as importantly can keep the system as quiet as possible while maintaining stable system temperatures.

4. Reduce dust as much as possible.

You may be thinking, how does dust make my Workstation louder? Dust build-up will get into your radiators, making it harder for air to pass through them. It therefore makes the cooling less efficient. As a result, your processors and graphics cards will get hotter and cause the PWM fans to work harder to cool the system, and this generates noise.

If you keep your Workstation clean of dust build up as much as possible, then fans speeds can be reduced making for a much quieter workstation. We achieve low dust levels in our systems but employing a few techniques. Firstly, as mentioned above an optimised PWM fan profile keeps fans running as slow as possible which pulls in less air and therefore less dust over time.

Next, we configure our workstations to have more fans pulling air into the system than exhausting out. It may sound counter-intuitive, but it really does work. The air going into the system is forced to pass through a filter that blocks most of the dust. The higher input of air compared to exhaust creates what is known as positive air pressure. In this configuration, air will try to escape from all the cracks and exhausts in the chassis to equal out the pressure, and the escaping air will take the dust away with it.

The final thing we suggest to customers is to clean your system regularly. All these techniques put together not only keeps your system nice and clean. It ensures it stays as cool, stable and as quiet as possible for years to come.

5. Sound deadening. Does what it says on the tin.

It is impossible to make a 100% silent high-performance Workstation, but that doesn't mean you have to hear all the noise it creates. We line our chassis with specially designed sound deadening material which acts as a shield by absorbing the sound before it escapes the chassis. Anything that defends my ears from irritating humming noises sounds like a good idea to me.





6. Reduce moving components.

We configure computer Workstation solutions to have as few moving parts as possible and therefore generates as little noise as possible. A straightforward solution is to remove your noisy optical drives and change mechanical Hard Disk Drives (HDD) for a silent Solid State Drives (SSD) where possible. Depending on the rest of your configuration, we may offer a fully passive Power Supply Unit (PSU). These PSU's does not require a fan for cooling and are therefore silent. Speak to our technical consultancy team today to find out the quietest configuration for you.

Guaranteed solution to making a silent computer Workstation

All the steps above will dramatically reduce the noise a computer Workstation will make; however, it may still not be silent when operating.

One solution to this problem is to remove the Workstation all together! Ok maybe not fully remove it but send it far away. If you take advantage of technologies such as those made by Teradici or NVIDIA GRID. Users can have their high-powered Workstations set up far away and connect to it via a silent thin client over your network. See our full write of this solution for more information.

Interested in finding the quietest computer Workstation perfect for your needs? Contact Our Technical Consultancy Team Today.


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