PCs can make quite a lot of noise for various different reasons. While it’s rare that this noise becomes extremely loud or distracting, it can be an endless hum or the noise of spinning fans that get to you after an hour or so.
There are a whole lot of ways to reduce the noise your PC makes but before we start making changes to settings and changing the hardware around, it’s worth trying to treat the root cause of the problem before we start addressing the symptom.
Keep your PC cool to keep noise low
If your PC’s fans are making a lot of noise then it’s likely because they’re trying to keep the components in your system cool. You can find out how warm your components are by downloading Core Temp, which is a lightweight little program that allows you to see your CPU’s temperature from your desktop.
From the screenshot below you can see that the CPU cores are sitting between 37 and 45 degrees which is an acceptable range – if your CPU is idling at over 60 degrees than you could have a cooling problem which could be causing your fans to work overtime.
Do note that it’s best to take this reading when your machine has been ‘idling’ for a time, so not running any strenuous programs such as games, Photoshop or video editing software.
If you think your PC is running a hot, then making some changes to keep it cooler will reduce how hard the fans need to work, which will then reduce the amount of noise they make.
If you haven’t cleaned the dust out of your PC in a while, then this is a good place to start – clearing the debris from your PC’s fans and removing any dust from inside the case shouldn’t take you too long. If the room you’re using your PC in gets warm, then taking steps to make the local atmosphere cooler will help too – finally, make sure your PC’s intake fan (which is usually at the bottom of the front panel) is clear. If your machine is resting on carpet, try putting some cardboard under the front of it so the intake fan isn’t pulling in dust from the carpet.
How to reduce the noise from your PC
Lower your fan speed
If you’re sure that your PC is running at a reasonable temperature then you can tweak the speed of your fans, by raising the maximum target temperature in your BIOS. Your system will then allow your components to idle at a higher temperature so the fans won’t have to work so hard, reducing the noise.
We wouldn’t suggest that your temperature idle anywhere above 60, and under load anything above 85 is getting very hot indeed.
Change your case fans
If you’re convinced your fans are making the majority of the noise then replacing them is a relatively cheap and easy way of getting a more silent system. Both Noctua and Be Quiet! create extremely powerful and silent case fans and are two of the most respected brands in the cooling industry. Make sure you’re buying the appropriately sized fans that will fit your case, and you could even check if your case has an additional fan slot that isn’t being used and purchase another fan – just make sure your system has room for it.
Change your power supply
We’re now getting into the more expensive options but power-supplies have been known to cause a fair amount of noise within systems. Replacing your power-supply is relatively easy, but it won’t be cheap, unfortunately –once again Be Quiet! makes some fantastic quiet running PSUs with the other market leader being Corsair too.
When purchasing a new power supply, make sure it will supply the power needed to run your system effectively – the wattage shouldn’t be lower than your current PSU.
Change your PC case
Not all PC cases are made equal, with certain makes being much better constructed than others – a more expensive and well-made case is less likely to rattle and will be better for keeping your components cool, which will make your PC’s fans work less hard and so generate less noise.
Change your CPU Cooler
The CPU cooler will be one of the fans working the hardest within your system. Most CPUs will come with a ‘stock’ cooler that is usually not of the best quality and so will usually be louder than an aftermarket one. If your CPU fan is making too much noise then replacing it with an aftermarket model is a great idea, once again Noctua and Be Quiet! are great choices here.
Replacing the CPU cooler gets a little bit involved because you’ll have to apply thermal paste between the CPU itself and the cooler’s heat-sync – if this is something you’re considering dong then make sure you take a look at our guide.