Sunday, September 5, 2010

Terms silent and quiet in marketing computers

Hello World, this is my first ever blog and thereby my first ever blog sentence! I start with an article about two mixed up terms "silent" and "quiet".
My name is Simo, I'm a finnish teacher of mathemathics, physics and music. (Nice combination?) I'm from a musical family and sound surrounding has been important for me since I was a little boy. That's just one of the reasons I moved to countryside nine years ago. I live in a middle of swampy area in western Finland, in a tiny village called Suojoki. It's quiet here. Not silent, but nice and quiet. It would be quiet enough to easily put up an Anechoic chamber for noise level measurement purpose. Thought of it has passed my mind already few times, but so far I've been happy with building up few quiet and silent computers for me and my friends.

In all my following texts "silent" should be read as "inaudible to the listener" and "quiet" as "not disturbing the listener". But even a loud computer might be considered quiet in some places, audibility of one noise source is always dependent on all the other sounds - and surrounding can be pretty noisy in some houses. How is at your place? "quiet computer" for myself, here, would mean a computer where you need to put your ear an inch away from it to hear anything - and do this in really quiet place too. I'd say the term is quite relative... No wonder that it's misunderstood in manufacturing and marketing components and computers. And usually it's misunderstood so that's it's pretty quiet in the shop and pretty loud when you bring it home. "Silent" is a bit more common to undestand, everyone knows that it's not making audible sound. But when talking about computers, it is, at least some coil whine. When there's move, there's sound... So that's pretty relative too.
And I will not use term "absolutely silent" at all, there's no such thing with temperatures above 0K.

That's why we need standards... like ECMA-74 (109 page pdf-link just for an example) , three more of those and few ISO standards based on those... Too much? You might say so when even one big manufacturer have mixed one standard about measuring sound level to one about declaring it. Sound and noise are another pair of terms, maybe i'll get to that some day too...

But enough of technical bullshit, time to start to do something. I have heard so many noisy computers that I want to do something about it - and my way is to start this blog and from here i'll try to help all the people who have too loud computers in their home. I have some knowledge to share about choosing component, ventilation of the case, thermal loads, acoustics etc... - and as a teacher I must share it??? I will also write to you about my own projects, every now and then I start with a passive cooled gpu or cpu and start to gather components around it. I'm just starting with a new build of fanless HTPC (Home theater computer) and i'll keep my readers updated about it. All quiestions, comments and suggestions are welcome, so far I really don't know if anyone will ever even read this.




1 comment:

  1. Hi, thanks for the good feedback on AVS forum. I read your article about silent and quiet, could they be determined like this:

    RELATIVELY QUIET = adds max 2dB to ambient noise. Ambien noise could be any, even loud.

    REALITIVELY SILENT = inaudible in its surrounding. Doesn't add dB:s to ambient noise. Ambient could be any, even loud.

    QUIET = adds max 2dB to quiet (<15-20dB?) surrounding.

    SILENT = inaudible in quiet (<15-20dB?) surrounding. Does not add dB there.

    ABSOLUTELY SILENT = 0.0000000000dB. Not possible to measure.

    Something like that... The question remains: What is a quiet surrounding. That should be left subjective, it depends on so many personal stuff... (ears, childhood experience, current "normal" noise around you...)