A new fan

I’ve always been a sucker for quiet fans. For my current PC I have a fanless VGA card, quiet power supply and an Antec quiet case. Even with my two RAIDed Raptors, the noise is hardly noticeable. Well, that was until mid-last week, when suddenly my PC started making an ominously loud noise, akin to the turbine hall of a nuclear reactor.

After taking the side off my case and having a listen, I deduced the standard- issue AMD CPU cooler was the culprit. As I’ve had excellent experiences before with Zalman coolers, I decided to replace the ailing bog-standard AMD cooler with a Zalman quiet fan from Quiet PC.

A few days after making the order the package arrived (it’s so handy working from home when you order stuff online!) Installation was pretty easy, as expected — the hardest bit was just working out which way around to put everything. After carefully checking I’d plugged everything back in where it should be I powered on. Hurrah — the fan span up, the CPU started up and all was well....nearly.

The old and new fans, side by
sideThe fully installed fan

As quiet and wonderful as the Zalman cooler was…the appalling noise remained! I’d completely overlooked the chipset fan when identifying the source of the noise — the real culprit was the cheap-and-nasty fan that cools the chipset! I was annoyed, but not ready to give up that easily. I unscrewed the fan and took it to pieces very carefully. After cleaning the inside bits, and applying liberal amounts of WD40, I reasssembled it, and then span it up to full speed in both directions using my Dyson vacuum cleaner to suck air across it from either side. This loosened and cleared out the gunk, and when placed back on the motherboard the noise had gone — yay!

All in all, I’m still pleased with my new cooler, despite it not really being needed. The LED lights on it are pretty cool, though they contribute signifantly to the light pollution in my room at night — what with the blue LEDs on the motherboard, RAM chip lights and front light on the case! This isn’t such a problem any more since I’ve started actually turning the PC off at night. On a related note while I’m away in New Zealand I’m planning on leaving it off, but using Wake on LAN to power it up remotely when I need to access it — I got that working earlier in the week and it’s pretty damn cool! The laptop can now wake up the main PC from anywhere in the world!

More pics on my Picasa Web Album.

Filed under: Blog
Posted at 13:50:20 BST on 11th October 2006.

About Matt Godbolt

Matt Godbolt is a C++ developer working in Chicago in the finance industry.