In August of 2004, I built a mighty fine computer from the ground up. It had everything I needed, and it served me well for three years.
But boy was it loud. Jet engine loud. A fanless video card and an insulated case didn’t achieve the level of quiet I was hoping for. Turning the fans down helped a little, but if I wasn’t careful it would get really hot. Sometimes spontaneous reboot hot. So I cranked the fans back up and soldiered noisily along.
I used two internal hard drives in a RAID 0 configuration, and two removable SATA hard drives for music and video storage. That worked OK, but in hindsight I should have used RAID 1. Over time, I started feeling nervous about data loss. A couple of months ago, I started to have hard drive and boot configuration issues. I started thinking about a new computer.
Then, as fate would have it, both of my computer gurus, Ed Bott and Adrian Kingsley-Hughes, bought and/or started to build new computers. Both based on the Intel Intel Core 2 Q6600 chip. Quad core, 2.4GHz. Hmmm.
This past weekend, I had more boot configuration problem. I can fix just about any computer problem, but when I spend too much time fixing something that ought to just work, I get irritable and frustrated. Call it the Car Rule. Application of the Car Rule to my loud, boot-challenged computer mandated- mandated I tell ya – that I get a new one.
I didn’t want to wait for the parts to arrive, and I was a little worried that if I built one from scratch I might end up with another jet engine sounding box. So I did it the lazy way.
I bought an HP Pavilion m8150n. I switched out the video card in favor of a GeForce 8600 GT card, for the dual DVI outputs (I am a devout believer in the dual monitor efficiency advantage). I added an HP personal media removable hard drive (which slides into the slot to the left of the HP logo in the picture) to give me a almost a terabyte of storage, and to allow for hassle free back up.
Presto, I have a new computer that works like a charm. And it’s very quiet. As I type this, the only sound I hear is from the fan inside my AV cabinet 10 feet behind me. The computer at my feet is virtually silent.
It wasn’t the cheapest way to go, but for a little over $1700 I have a new, quiet computer.
Now, about that fan in my AV cabinet…