Hardware Modifications

Noise reduction

To reduce the noise output of the eBox so that it isn't distracting while watching movies or listening to music, I have made various modifications to the PC's case. Individual modifications alone make a minor difference to the noise level, but the overall effect is quite noticable.

Replace and tune fans

Most computer fans are very noisy. This is due to two things: mechanical issues (poor balance, etc), and air turbulence.

Select quiet components

Other than fans, there are two other main components that contain moving parts in a PC: the hard drive and the CD/DVD drive. My personal preference for a quiet hard drive is the Seagate Baracuda IV series. These drives are practically silent once running (spinning up and down isn't silent which is acceptable, and there is a very slight noise during accessing, but it's barely audible).

Quiet DVD drives seem to be hard to find. The current drive I have in the eBox, a CyberDrive DM-168D is fairly quiet, especially for ordinary CD-ROM discs (which is a problem with most current drives because they spin very fast with ordinary CD-ROMs). It is definitely advisable to get one which honours requests to control its speed (so far, two Pioneer drives I have had ignored the requests). If it does, you can use the following command under Linux to set the drive's speed (there are probably equivalent programs for Windows as well):

hdparm -E speed device

where speed is a number indicating the speed you want to set (experiment) and device is the block device for the drive (usually /dev/cdrom). Most drives that I have tried that support this will reset it to maximum each time the disc is spun up, so you will probably need to run it from a script which you create that also launches the player software. Note that depending on various factors, slowing down the drive may adversely affect performance when playing movies from the drive - experiment.

Install sound-absorbent padding

I've lined the inside cover of the eBox with sound-deadening material, which acts to absorb sound produced inside the machine. [Picture]

Block all small holes in the case

Use duct tape to cover all the screw holes and other openings in the bottom and inner front of the case.

Home | News | Status | Current Hardware | Pictures | Why Linux? | Resources
Playing Movies | Playing Music | Video Capture | Remote Control | Hardware Mods | Software Setup