Temporarily turning off the fans in your computer?
Old 26th March 2009
  #1
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Temporarily turning off the fans in your computer?

How long would it take the average PC tower to overheat if you temporarily turn off the fans in it? I'm going to probably be stuck with recording in the same room that my tower is in for a while, and the thing is just sooo damn noisy. Yesterday I stuck my finger in the fans just to see if that was what was making the bulk of the noise, and it was almost silent when I did that.

I got to thinking, is there some sort of program out there that would allow me to turn off the fans in my computer temporarily? I'm considering just making something that I can just stick in the tower when I'm actually recording, maybe as simple as sticking a pencil in there. After I record the take, I'll let the fans start turning again. Is this a really bad idea? Chances are the most I'll be shutting them off for is a long 6 minute take. It would be really cool if someone could design a code that shut off the fans every time you press record.

Overall, I guess I'm just wondering if I'm going to fry my computer doing this....
Old 26th March 2009
  #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by andersmv View Post
Is this a really bad idea?
Yes.
Old 26th March 2009
  #3
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Yeah, not a great idea.
Your components, if they last the six minutes will not take much cooling and heating before they wave the white flag and die on you.

You can replace various fans with larger, slower moving fans or get a soundproofed box with ventilation to put your tower in.
Anything but the pencil!
Old 26th March 2009
  #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by andersmv View Post
How long would it take the average PC tower to overheat if you temporarily turn off the fans in it?
If you turn off the processor cooler, just a few seconds. The best option is to replace the noisy fans with (preferably) larger ones that can run slower and can be controlled.
It's not not just heat that wrecks your components, but also big variations in temperature of the metal parts (heating up, cooling down).
Old 26th March 2009
  #5
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Always put the computer in out side the room and use long cables to attach KB, monitor, and mouse.
Old 26th March 2009
  #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by docbop View Post
Always put the computer in out side the room and use long cables to attach KB, monitor, and mouse.
Ya I know but in my living environment that is not practical. It would cost me about $400 in cables, I looked... Ok I will not mess with the fan, good to know. Thanks guys.
Old 26th March 2009
  #7
js1
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Get a quiet case and power supply, Zalman cooler for the CPU, and a fanless video card.

When I had my mixing desk built, I had a soundproof (but ventilated) compartment for the Mac I was using at the time. Totally unneeded with my current computer - it sits beside me, and the noise level is really low.

js
Old 26th March 2009
  #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by js1 View Post
Get a quiet case and power supply, Zalman cooler for the CPU, and a fanless video card.

When I had my mixing desk built, I had a soundproof (but ventilated) compartment for the Mac I was using at the time. Totally unneeded with my current computer - it sits beside me, and the noise level is really low.

js
Exactly. The only fan you need running in your computer is the cpu cooler, that's it. Run you computer in a temperature controlled environment and you'll be good. Don't overclock the cpu and memory. It is not needed. You're not trying to build a super computer. I use a Antec P180 case and an Antec Earthwatts 500. Can't even hear it really.
Old 26th March 2009
  #9
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I built a computer for the office with the stock dual core AMD fan and an 80 plus certified power supply (a cheaper one) and I can't hear it under the desk.

You don't have to spend much to get a quiet computer (to a point).
Old 27th March 2009
  #10
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Originally Posted by andersmv View Post
How long would it take the average PC tower to overheat if you temporarily turn off the fans in it?
If you open the case and leave it open you might be fine. A few years ago the power supply fan in my Dell died. So I left the case (wedge style) open halfway for the three days it took before the new power supply arrives. It was fine the whole time running all day long.

--Ethan
Old 27th March 2009
  #11
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Originally Posted by Ethan Winer View Post
If you open the case and leave it open you might be fine. A few years ago the power supply fan in my Dell died. So I left the case (wedge style) open halfway for the three days it took before the new power supply arrives. It was fine the whole time running all day long.

--Ethan
OTOH, some computers (I'm thinking some Mac towers over the years, specifically) are so tightly designed with integrated air flow cooling that, seemingly paradoxically, running them with the case open can actually cause them to overheat because the airflow is no longer directed across the CPU chips. I had a buddy back in G4 days who, annoyed by the loud whining sound of his Dual Mirror Door, took the case off to see if he could get the thermo-controlled fans to back down. But it didn't help and within 40 minutes or so, IIRC, the CPU had burned out. (Apple actually covered it on warranty. I believe he forgot to mention he'd been running with the case open.)


I got some relief on one of my old home-built boxes by replacing the cheap generic power supply with a thermo-controlled fan PS. And, of course, most well-designed PCs in recent years have incorporated thermo-controlled fans in the PS as well as on the CPU and sometimes graphic chips.

My current, super cheapo Dell tower (c. 2005 build) uses a quiet fan combined with a fairly elaborately engineered convection cooling set up -- there's a big hole in the sides of the tower case with a grill-covered air intake inside that directs all incoming air across the CPU. It's very quiet -- but then it's not very powerful. (Still, it's pretty darn quiet for a P4 of any power. The first time I turned it on I got all pissed off because I didn't hear the fan at all at first and thought it was dead on arrival. Then I saw the Win logo on the screen and for a second I was literally in disbelief. Then I leaned my head down by the case, heard the quiet whir of the fan and thought, I'm in love.
Old 29th March 2009
  #12
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Originally Posted by theblue1 View Post
(I believe he forgot to mention he'd been running with the case open.)
LOL, how convenient to omit that key bit of information.

Quote:
tightly designed with integrated air flow cooling
Yes, and that Dell I left open also had channels and tunnels etc. Yet it ran fine when left open with no fan.

Quote:
Then I saw the Win logo on the screen and for a second I was literally in disbelief. Then I leaned my head down by the case, heard the quiet whir of the fan and thought, I'm in love.
Yep, Dells are great, and very quiet.

--Ethan
Old 29th March 2009
  #13
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Well... I've had quite good luck with the 3 laptops and one tower (all refurbs) that I've been responsible for buying from them.

But I've certainly heard Dell (along with HP, Sony, Apple, etc) horror stories.

Dell's likely to the first place I look for a non-specialty, store-bought machine. (And the refurb store is always worth keeping an eye on, though sometimes a new machine can actually be a better deal.)

But if I was a commercial studio owner looking for machine(s) for my studio, I'd either build or go to a specialty boxmaker.
Old 29th March 2009
  #14
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CPU Fans must run or you have less than 5 minutes..

Get long cables from here: My Cable Mart and move your CPU to another area.... BTW these are excellent triple shielded cables, are cheap, and will easily go 25'. I am using 50' cables right now and they are great.. Use the USB2 extension cables and DB15, triple shielded, analog video cables..
Old 29th March 2009
  #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by andersmv View Post
I got to thinking, is there some sort of program out there that would allow me to turn off the fans in my computer temporarily?
Speedfan is your friend:
Speed Fan 4.33 Download

cheers!
Old 30th March 2009
  #16
Quote:
Originally Posted by duvalle View Post
Speedfan is your friend:
Speed Fan 4.33 Download

cheers!
Zalman and various others also make hardware fan speed controllers (very cheap too) so you can undervolt your fans with a turn of a knob and then monitor with something like CPUID or Speedfan if you can't get it to work with software.

If you have great airflow there are one or two pure heatsink (no fan) CPU coolers out there, scythe comes to mind
I've never tried them though the thought makes me nervous
Old 30th March 2009
  #17
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How about a completely fanless PC...using heatsink fins for cooling, like a power amp ! Here's one...and I'm sure they wouldn't sell them to hospitals etc if they were going to burst into flames after a few minutes !

http://www.transtec.co.uk/doit/loadv...710MTA45-A.pdf

and

- The transtec AG - Customized Hardware & Complex IT Solutions#

Uses Windows XP Prof which is a good platform in my experience, though I don''t see why you couldn't upgrade to Vista if required ?
They are available from this retailer in both Celeron and Intel Core 2 Duo variants.

Pretty low power consumption too:

http://www.transtec.co.uk/doit/loadv...anless_co2.pdf
Old 30th March 2009
  #18
Gear maniac
 

If you can't get heatsink/betterfan/sound insulation around computer etc etc, why not consider building yourself a little vocal baffle to go near your mic? or even two- one nearish to the pc and one for the mic stand?

Couple of bits of mdf, a few hinges, some foam, fairy dust and a spot of love and harrow happy cheap days?
Old 30th March 2009
  #19
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Most new computers will shut off if the fan for the CPU turns off or you manually disconnect it. But depending on the size of the heatsink and the thermal capacity of the CPU, you may be able to run it without a fan. With a stock cooler, probably not. Look at fans from a company called Scythe, they make quiet fans. I have Noctua fans in my computers but they are expensive ($30 for a fan) but my computer is as silent as it can get on air cooling. My Core2 duo is overclocked to 4Ghz and runs at 52 degress celsius at load. I also use an Antec P182 case which is good on airflow and dampening vibrations and noises. In most store bought computers the loudest thing will be the power supply fan but replacing that fan yourself can be dangerous because usually you have to open up the power supply so make sure you know what you are doing.
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