(hope I got the right category)
Since listening to music over my normal pc is kind of unpleasant(cooler is louder than my music), I decided to build a cheap linux sound & file server, where priorities are silence and reliability, not speed. I found noise rating on HDDs, but i'm still unsure what processor to use.
I heard celerons require less cooling (which drops the noise level - or is this irrelevant if i don't wanna overclock ?) but on the other hand durons are cheaper and faster. What about reliability ?
Theoretically an used PC would be fine for linux, but old PCs tend to be very noisy, and muck around with big HDDs.
Any recommendation for silent cpu/tower coolers ?
What else do I have to care about ?
The processor will indirectly affect noise, but mainly it is down to your choice of cooling fan.
If you get a slow enough CPU, you can just run wth a heatshink, but we are talking 1st generation pentiums here.
Saying that a P90 running linux would probably file serve as fast as you need. You could also buy the cheapest Duron you can and UNDER clock it to the point were it needs very little cooling. It'd probably still need a fan though...
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I had AMD K6-2+ running with passive cooling (heatsink without fan). Together with (pretty old) IBM's quiet HDD and noisekiller case, system was almost inaudible. Still missing it's silence, new duron-box is unbearably loud comparet to it. If you can find any, get some K6 from "+" series with cheap working SS7 mobo: that should be more than fast enough for you.
OK, there is a way to build a noise free PC, but you probably won't like it What you do is this - buy a Coppermine P3 1000MHz with a 133MHz bus (very important!).
Then, put it on a 815 or 810 motherboard, and clock the bus down to 66MHz. It will run at 500MHz, but won't even need a fan (just a heatsink). Keep an eye on your temperatures, mind.
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You ever consider water cooling? It would be perfectly silent. Just a thought.