At best they're an annoying distraction, and at worst can affect your productivity when working or make you miss an important audio cue when playing a game. Our engineers pride themselves in building some of the quietest PCs in the world, letting you get on with using your PC.
Understanding PC Noise
Before delving into the details on how Scan builds such quiet PCs it's important to define quietness.
We use the international standard of dB (decibels), which is a logarithmic scale, so a 5dB difference is perceived by the human ear as clearly noticeable, while a 10dB change is perceived as twice as loud.
The table below compares the noise you can expect from a Scan 3XS PC with typical everyday objects.
|3XS Water Cooled PC||35|
|3XS Air Cooled PC||40|
|Generic Air Cooled PC||50|
* 80dB and above can cause permanent hearing damage with extended exposure
Modern CPUs consume a lot of power, up to 140W, and so it's important to keep them cool with a heatsink and fan or water cooling loop. This is particularly true for an overclocked CPU, as these consume even more power so need more effective cooling to prevent overheating.
While the standard Intel boxed CPU cooler does an adequate job of cooling a non-overclocked CPU it can get very noisy, reaching as much as 50dB. For this reason we recommend air coolers made by companies such as Be Quiet! and Noctua as these are much quieter, emitting around 35dB. Alternatively you may wish to consider a closed loop all-in-one Corsair Hydro watercooler which produce around 37dB but provide slightly better cooling than an air cooler.
Quiet Graphics Cards
Gaming and professional graphics cards are the most power hungry component inside a modern PC consuming as much as 300W. The most popular graphics card for a gaming PC is an NVIDIA GeForce GTX and the standard cooler used by most PC manufacturers can produce as much as 41dB when gaming.
For this reason we recommend EVGA graphics cards in our gaming PCs, as these have special ACX coolers that are much quieter, emitting around 38dB when gaming. What's more, the ACX cooler features intelligent control that automatically turns off the fans when the GPU is at 60C or less, making the graphics card silent when not gaming.
Choosing the right blend of components only gets you so far, so our engineers also customise the BIOS of each and every PC we build. The custom BIOS profile sets all the fans in the system to run at the minimum speed possible while still keeping all the components inside your PC nice and cool.
Quiet Hard Drives
The platters in most hard drives spin at 7,200rpm and so can be quite noisy when powering up and seeking data, making up to 34dB. This noise can be greatly reduced by opting for a Western Digital Blue drive which are much quieter at up to 28dB. While not quite as fast as louder drives, for the ultimate performance you should choose an SSD instead, making a WD Blue drive ideal for low noise bulk storage.
Even the quietest hard drive is still relatively noisy, while a typical hard drive has a maximum transfer date of around 150MB/sec. In contrast, a SSD is much faster, with speeds in excess of 2,000MB/sec possible. What's more, with no moving fasts, an SSD is silent and so will add no extra noise to your PC.
Your PCs case is much more than just a box to hold all the components. Its shape also determines how much cool air reaches the components inside and how easy it is for hot air to escape outside. We handpick all the cases on our configurator as they provide the best balance between cooling, upgradeability, built quality and of course noise. We recommend Corsair's range of cases in our gaming PCs as some of these are available in special low noise editions.
Quiet Power Supplies
Every component inside a PC requires DC current to function, and the job of converting the 230V to DC current is the job of the power supply. Upgrading the PSU will help to make your PC quieter, as the more expensive PSUs have a higher efficiency rating (Bronze, Silver, Gold, Platinum, Titanium) and thus consume less electricity and so are easier to keep cool.
Some PSUs also feature intelligent fan control that means the fan only starts spinning up when the PSU is under heavy load, meaning that when performing less intensive operations such as web browsing and word processing the fan will not spin at all.
A PSU with modular cables also allows our engineers to only fit the cables required, improving airflow through the case and thus reducing noise. We recommend Corsair PSUs in our 3XS PCs as they run cool and quiet and are available in a wide range of wattages to suit every type of system.