If you’re using a Power Supply that came with your PC, chances are it is too loud, AND too weak for your needs…
One easy and quick way to judge the quality of your power supply is to pick it up and see how heavy it is. The heavier a power supply is, the bigger the heat sink inside, and usually other components are top notch as well. (to be sure, this should NOT be the ONLY way you judge a Power Supply, keep that in mind!).
If you have a flimsy little 300W power supply with a stamped air intake, and a single fan whizzing away at a high speed to keep it (and only it) cool, you need to ditch it. There are much better alternatives.
The Best Solution
My top pick for a quiet power supply, and the one I am started using about 3 months ago, is the Enermax ECO80+ 500W. It comes in several wattages, and are all 80PLUS certified. They are all SLI and CrossFire ready, and fully compatible with all systems up to Core i7, so you know they will have enough power and connections to run whatever you throw at them.
The ECO80+ has Enermax’s famous MAGMA fan that spins only as fast as it has to, and thanks to clever design, Enermax was able to significantly reduce air turbulence. What that means is, even though your fan is spinning, it will be nearly impossible to hear. Ever. This is easily the best choice for a power supply. Best of all, it is very affordable!
Just Another Option
If you need something with a bit more power, then consider the TX series from Corsair. With a similarly designed low-turbulence 12cm fan that spins only as fast as it has to, the Corsair is nearly inaudible. It is only slightly louder than the Enermax above, but still very quiet. I used this one for a couple years, and was very happy with it (so should be quiet enough for just about everyone else!).
Keep in mind that having sufficient airflow is quite important in a silent PC, because you’re likely to have very few fans on the individual components. Your CPU and your Video Card are going to heat up the case something fierce, and you need to expel that heat. Usually you would count on the power supply to help out, but remember that these are low noise power supplies, that move very little air. You ARE going to need a fan or two in your case, and you will have to pay close attention to what you put in there, and what kind of case you use.
Speaking of which, now’s the time for us to discuss PC cases, and what kind you need to maintain a silent PC!
Next Page: Silent PC Enclosures