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Letters Our story NEC puts Transmeta in silent desktop PC raised some fruitful correspondence from readers about quiet PCs. The most interesting comes from Mats Oscarsson, whose company Captech makes dedicated silent PCs featuring both AMD and Intel chips. Writes Mats:-

It's challenging for the title of the world's quietest desktop computer with a noise pressure level of 17.5 dB(A), as measured by the independent laboratory; "SP - Statens Provningsanstalt".

The first generation appeared in 2000, with 16.5 dB(A) noise pressure level and it's the next step in that evolution that we see now.

The Decibel Delta DDR sports a Pentium 4 processor of 1.8 GHz as standard, with options ranging as high as 2.4 GHz, with hard diskdrives with up to 80GB capacity and a maximum of 2 GB of DDR RAM.

There's more info here. From the specs, the Captech PCs are certainly very quiet, and they've gone to some trouble to source quiet components. We encourage you to have a look. The British-based pioneer of low-noise PC components, QuietPC can be found here.

Thanks to Carl Hyslop and others who pointed out that thin clients were even quieter, which is true. But we're specifically looking for x86-compatible standalones.

Axel Spohr writes:-

Check this for another fan-less PC from a Swiss company that originates in the embedded computing market. This has been out there for a couple months at least.

Just shows that the whole idea is perceived as having merit by more than one...

Indeed. The PC in question uses "passiv" cooling and is rated as emitting less than 35dB.

Tim Meadowcroft adds:-

Having built a quieter pc myself recently, I can recommend the Seagate hard
drives as being incredibly quiet - no enclosure needed. Typically noisy drive operations (eg copying ISO images around) are unnervingly quiet, no clatter of heads... it can be un-nerving until you get used to it.

I use this one, which is 7,200 rpm and 80Gb (ie fast and big) but still very competitively priced and, as I said, ridiculously quiet...

no affiliation to Seagate, just a happy hacker...

Which shows that quiet computing is possible out there in Wintel land, if you look hard enough.®

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