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Old 09-21-2009, 02:30 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default How Much Noise Should a Desktop PC Make?

Hi all,

This weekend, I picked up my first desktop. I've been looking for one for a while but at the moment don't have the means or the time to build one. I found a factory-refurbished HP that comes with an AMD Phenom II X4 processor, 8GB of RAM, 1TB hard drive, and an AT Radeon 4350. The most demanding thing I'll be using this for is Photoshop CS4.

Not having owned a desktop before (only laptops), I don't have a point of reference for how much noise a desktop should make. Some reviewers stated that this particular model is very quiet. When on, I can certainly hear it -- a low-level hum/noise, which I'm assuming comes from the fans, though I'm not certain if it additionally comes from something else.

So here's my very basic question -- invariably, desktops will produce some noise that's fairly constant, correct? And I should only be concerned if the noise is excessively loud? Any suggestions for "problem" noises to listen for?

Thanks for your help, and sorry for the newbie questions.

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Old 09-21-2009, 02:54 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: How Much Noise Should a Desktop PC Make?

A low-level hum is normal, except during gaming when the fans (especially the GPU fan) kick the speed up a notch. And during anything which requires a lot of processing power.

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Old 09-21-2009, 10:46 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: How Much Noise Should a Desktop PC Make?

Thanks for the reply. I wasn't sure if some hum/noise was normal, as I'm only used either to laptops or to (at work) recent iMacs, which are silent when running basic apps. I haven't loaded any games or pushed the processor on my new HP yet.

Out of curiosity, does the GPU fan always run, or does it only kick in when the GPU is pushed?
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Old 09-21-2009, 11:14 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: How Much Noise Should a Desktop PC Make?

The GPU fan will be on almost all the time. It stays at a low level until pushed then goes higher. This is to keep the GPU in a decent temp range. Without a fan on at all times you would quickly reach the temp threshold and the card would quite responding. Which would lead to more problems and possibly GPU failure.

Yes there is always some noise from a desktop. Depending on the make and model some can have more than others. I know that mine makes a lot more noise than my previous system cause there are more case fans and i push my system with Folding @ home at all times. So my fans are always going at least 80% usage.

Yeah for sure it makes more noise than a laptop. I wouldnt be too worried about the noise. If you hear something other than fans, then bring it up.
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Old 09-22-2009, 07:06 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: How Much Noise Should a Desktop PC Make?

Thanks for the reply. It's helpful -- and educational, as I didn't know GPUs had fans directly on them. The side of my HP has sort of a grated section to it (with holes, for venetilation), and I can definitely see one of the larger fans. It sits at the very rear of the unit. When booting up, the fan kicks in a bit loud, but then settles down immediately and hums along.

And, thanks for the advice -- I won't worry too much about the noise unless I hear something really odd. I think I was curious at first because this is my first desktop and it's also a refurbished model. I've never bought anything refurbished before, and so I'm checking everything to ensure it all works properly.
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