June 18, 2019, 07:16:36 PM

Author Topic: Retro pc - noisy fan?  (Read 184 times)

Offline markcwm

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Retro pc - noisy fan?
« on: May 31, 2019, 11:16:47 PM »
Hi all,

I have some old retro P4 towers that I've decided to pimp up a bit, I got some 2nd hand graphics cards and memory basically but now I notice the fans are really noisy, I wonder has anyone solved this in the past and if so how?

It seems the options are: go into bios and set the fan to quiet mode, get a windows app called SpeedFan, or buy a modern, quieter fan. Another suggestion was to dust and then oil the fans. I've yet to try any of these out.

Also, I wonder is the power supply fan noisier than the CPU fan?

Offline markcwm

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Re: Retro pc - noisy fan?
« Reply #1 on: June 01, 2019, 12:06:37 AM »
Okay, so I checked the BIOS and there's not really an option to set a quiet fan, what I have is:

1. ASRock MB: CPU thermal throttling (enabled) and also ICH thermal throttling (auto) [note: ICH is I/O Controller Hub which seems to be old a secondary CPU thing] it is described as a "thermal control mechanism" so surely for the fan speed? The CPU fan speed is 4500RPM, the CPU temp is 35C and MB temp is 27C after a few minutes. So the quiet fan is basically already set.

2. Gigabyte MB: no option to set a quiet fan, CPU fan speed is 2500RPM, CPU temp is 53C and System temp is 25C after a few minutes.

The Gigabyte is the quieter PC, I assume because the RPM is nearly half the speed, but it's still much noisier than a modern pc. Safe temperature seems to be under 60C.

Offline Qube

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Re: Retro pc - noisy fan?
« Reply #2 on: June 01, 2019, 02:55:59 AM »
Ahh the memories... I used to build PC's of this era, I know I'm old :P

Never were they noisy but they did have a fairly constant hum from all the fans.

Those temps seem fine to me and usually noisy fans were due to either clogged up dust or worn out fan barrings. Apart from that there was nothing special to keep the old P4's pretty quiet, even with just the stock fans.

Also the BIOS quiet modes and CPU throttling settings are pretty pointless for this era as the P4 has great CPU throttling which you can see for yourself by turning on a PC without a fan and just wait for it to crawl to a halt and turn off. Try that with an AMD of the day and wait for the smoke ;D

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Also, I wonder is the power supply fan noisier than the CPU fan?
( old knowledge in action alert ) Cheap PSU's had cheap noisy loud fans which were way louder than needed. When they got old they even began to rattle and the best thing for then was to flip the switch from 240v to 110v and let them explode ;D

All in all though you can easily make old P4 systems quiet with simply having slightly better PSU's and quality CPU fans.

I'd definitely clear out any clogged dust from the fans. They may need some shiny new ones though. As said, there is / was nothing special to keeping theses classics pretty quiet.
Until the next time...

Offline Steve Elliott

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Re: Retro pc - noisy fan?
« Reply #3 on: June 01, 2019, 08:11:24 AM »
A case with good airflow and large slow moving fans (and perhaps some sound proofing) makes all the difference.
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Offline Yellownakji

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Re: Retro pc - noisy fan?
« Reply #4 on: June 01, 2019, 09:12:08 PM »
A case with good airflow and large slow moving fans (and perhaps some sound proofing) make all the difference.

If you *really want a simple solution, you could solder a resistor to your fan, which will limit the power to the fan.

Pentium 4s are get notoriously hot.   I honestly don't think it is wise for you to slow down these fans, like.. at all.  They get VERY HOT and even with fans, most pentium 4 machines can be room heaters.. (perfect for the winter, if you hate the cold!)

Just my two cents, as i always build retro machines.

Offline Qube

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Re: Retro pc - noisy fan?
« Reply #5 on: June 02, 2019, 01:56:19 AM »
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If you *really want a simple solution, you could solder a resistor to your fan, which will limit the power to the fan.
Well you really wouldn't want to slow a fan down that's been designed to run at a certain RPM when needed to. All you end up doing is thermal throttling the CPU as the fan can't / isn't doing its job. It's an artificial way to make it quieter but at a big performance loss. Also a lot of heat issues can be down to too much thermal paste ( or too little / cheap / dried up ).
Until the next time...

Offline Yellownakji

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Re: Retro pc - noisy fan?
« Reply #6 on: June 11, 2019, 01:12:24 AM »
Quote
If you *really want a simple solution, you could solder a resistor to your fan, which will limit the power to the fan.
Well you really wouldn't want to slow a fan down that's been designed to run at a certain RPM when needed to. All you end up doing is thermal throttling the CPU as the fan can't / isn't doing its job. It's an artificial way to make it quieter but at a big performance loss. Also a lot of heat issues can be down to too much thermal paste ( or too little / cheap / dried up ).

I'm perfectly aware of this; OP is not.

However, you might have to do this with some fans that require a controller otherwise you'll just get max speed at all times, which isn't quiet.

Offline Qube

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Re: Retro pc - noisy fan?
« Reply #7 on: June 11, 2019, 02:46:50 AM »
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I'm perfectly aware of this; OP is not.
And yet you suggested it as a solution for a quieter PC knowing the downfalls? :o - Not quite sure why you offered this as a solution knowing it would lead to severe CPU throttling ::)
Until the next time...

Offline Henri

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Re: Retro pc - noisy fan?
« Reply #8 on: June 11, 2019, 09:25:08 AM »
Hi,

I just bought some extra mileage to my casing fan by adding some oil (wd-40 or sewing machine oil) in the spindle under the sticker. I don't know if a modern heat pipe CPU cooler would fit into a retro m/b, but would be the most efficient solution. One I just installed was made by Noctua, and the fan noise was almost inaudible.

-Henri
- Got 01100011 problems, but the bit ain't 00000001