Indistinct -

It purrs on my desk now, the upgraded desktop PC.


In my post about the Guitar I mention that I want to replace my desktop PC. I considered adding water cooling to my old PC, but figured it would be too hard and decided I'd rather try to sell it. I was set on the path to full replacement.

Then I discovered that most of the components in my desktop PC was worthless. So if I wanted to replace it I had to toss it, and that is no fun. With a few upgrades I could extend the life of this thing with a couple of years, maybe. I wanted water cooling to get a silent build. What I had forgotten to consider is how older tech tend to get smaller and expand less heat to fit in laptops.

A little bit of research led me to a GeForce GT 1030 that only has a heat sink. And much lower sound than that I can never expect to get (because there is none). It's not the best thing out there, for sure, but buying the latest and greatest in GPUs is close to insanity. I'm not in conflict with my money and in urgent need of getting rid of them. My previous GPU was a GeForce GTX 660Ti, so as far as I'm concerned this was a notable upgrade.

The only other thing I changed this time was the CPU heat sink w/ fan. During my last PC upgrade I replaced the case and added a new SSD drive. I went from a standing tower to a HTPC form factor one. And the CPU fan I had for the last case sent the air out the sidewall. In this new cabinet it went into the top, not in any way ideal.


I had forgotten how much work there can be. To remove my old CPU fan I had to get to the backside of the motherboard. And to get to the backside of the motherboard I had to take it out of the case. The HTPC form factor puts the motherboard all the way at the bottom, so everything above it had to go out. Every cable disconnected.

The patent for attaching my new CPU fan is… unique. That is not a good thing. There is a plastic ring that mounts to the LGA-1155 socket on the motherboard. It is big and I had to force a bit in place between various heat sinks on the motherboard. And getting the fan connected to that plastic ring is finicky, at best.

While the case was almost empty I decided to remove the wall mounted fans. I wanted a silent build and figured stopped fans would likely be in the way of any air wanting to flow in there.

After this everything had to go back in again. My new graphics card does not need external power so I was hoping to get rid of some more cables. Alas, the modular PSU I own has these cables hard wired.

I managed to squeeze it all back in there with a bit more room to spare. The new components are smaller and I removed 2 fans.


The night and day difference is immediately clear. On boot the sound from the PC is indistinct from the other sounds in the room. And only on the most work intensive tasks (eg. loading the next level in Dishonored 2) it seems to whirl up a bit. I'm very happy with this solution.

I'm not super happy about the new CPU heat sink and fan. The mounting was harder than needed, and I'm pretty sure it is louder than the advertised 21DB at times. This is nitpicking.

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