Gaming models outperform other PCs in terms of performance. However, for some dedicated gamers, this increased performance comes at a cost: added noise. That brings us to today’s question: are gaming PCs supposed to be loud?
Gaming PCs aren’t supposed to be loud. The quieter your computer is, especially during a high-intensity gaming session, proves cooling system and configuration superiority. If your gaming PC is too noisy, consider installing a quiet fan case, a fan speed controller, or vibration-resistant fan mounts.
This article will explore whether a gaming PC should be loud and how much noise is “normal”. We’ll also walk you through tips on how to silence a noisy gaming PC!
Note: It is tough to keep most gaming computers cool if used in a hot room. The external ambient temperature will greatly determine your computer’s cooling results and how noisy it will be.
Is a gaming PC supposed to be loud?
When idle or during regular use, an optimized PC build should be near silent. The only time excess noise is normal is during a period of intense gaming.
However, some gamers overlook silence to keep the PC’s internal temperature as low as possible via the fans. By raising the speed of the PC fan to its maximum potential, the PC will become noticeably louder.
Also, your processor (and how it cools) will partially impact your PC’s volume. For instance, a PC equipped with the most powerful Intel or AMD model processor in conjunction with an air cooling system would almost certainly be noisier than a less demanding model.
This sound happens because the mechanics need to work harder to support enhanced graphics, thus creating more vibrations and noise.
How noisy are gaming PCs?
Except for a few typical sounds, gaming PCs are mostly quiet. Depending on the age of your computer, an audible initialization noise can occur.
Other common, harmless noises you might hear from your gaming PC include the following:
- Occasional fan whirls: Modern computer fans have eco-friendly features that allow them to operate almost silently most of the time. However, on a humid day, the fan is likely to be noisier.
- Hard drive hums: A stable hard drive operates with a gentle yet consistent tone.
- Optical drive spinning: When you insert a CD into your optical drive, it’ll begin spinning, which you can hear as long as the disc is in use.
- Internal speaker pops: When the woofers of some speakers startup, they make popping noises. You can reduce the amplitude of this sound by lowering the volume upon starting up the PC. You can also avoid this by changing to a digital audio signal from your computer to your speaker system, as long as everything is properly grounded.
One way to deliver a clearer explanation using an example is by taking my personal gaming computer and sharing some observations.
I took dB readings of my gaming rig that currently has high-end hardware in it. At idle, it measured an average of around 42dB. I recorded an average of around 45dB with the sound on my speakers turned off while I was gaming.
As you can see, there are plenty of cooling fans, and yet, the system is remarkably quiet.
The primary reason for this is the fact of having so many fans, which seems the opposite of what you might initially be thinking.
Plenty of fans means that they do not have to spin up as much to give me outstanding airflow through the system. The bottom line, they can provide plenty of airflow at lower RPMs.
Don’t tolerate excessive or loud noises, as this often signals damage. If you hear any of the following sounds, it’s concerning:
- Continuous fan whirls: This sound is an indication that the computer is overheating. Also, this is a warning that your machine is in desperate need of a thorough cleaning. The continuous fan whirls typically appear when the air vents are blocked or if you’re gaming in a hot room.
- Abnormal hard drive noises: Dying hard disks make clicking noises as the needle component of the hard disk reader skips around. A high-pitched moaning sound will often follow because the hard drive is rotating at an unusually high speed.
- An optical drive that does not automatically shut down: If your disc drive is audibly turning constantly, there’s an issue.
- Numerous beeps: The BIOS repeatedly beeps to communicate an audible error message.
What causes the most noise in a gaming PC?
Fans and the hard drive are the two primary sources of excessive noise in a gaming PC. Fans create ventilation, allowing the heat produced by the mechanics to escape. If the fans are unsecured, too small, or insufficiently powered, they can become noisy.
Hard disks will generate noise when the platters rotate and the head searches for information.
However, gaming PCs can be noisy if any parts fall loose or shake against the device’s casing. And as machines mature, they collect debris, preventing fans from operating correctly and causing additional noise.
Ways to silence a loud gaming PC
If your gaming PC is abnormally loud, you might wonder how to silence it! That’s especially true if you have an upcoming tournament or hours-long tournament, which can put extra strain on the system, causing more noise.
And that also goes for gamers like myself who take a whole day off work from time to time just to play some of the latest AAA titles in single-player mode.
Here are a few tips to quiet your loud gaming PC:
Remove loud components
Mechanical hard disks, GPU cooling systems, and power supply units all create significant amounts of noise.
Switching from a mechanical hard drive to an SSD can dramatically improve sound quality. SSDs are entirely silent, and they can even increase the speed of your PC.
PSUs can be very loud because of the heat generated and the large fan used for cooling. Fortunately, many PSUs are now programmed to be silent. Some even shut down their cooling fan when not in use.
A brief web search for quiet power suppliers will turn up countless results. Of course, it’s best to stick with a trusted brand when purchasing computer gear.
Your GPU also generates a lot of heat, which causes the GPU fan to be very loud when it attempts to cool your system. If changing the GPU fan proves impossible, try adding a brand new graphics card.
When shopping for a GPU, look at vendors that have made an effort to minimize fan noise. If efficiency isn’t a primary consideration, consider a passive model with no fan. However, I recommend against this option for most systems.
Utilize quiet case fans
Case fans are one of the most audible components of any device. Although they’re necessary for cooling the mechanics, they don’t have to be loud. However, the bigger the fan, the noisier it is in general.
Fans come in regular sizes of 80mm, 120mm, 140mm, and 200mm. You’ll need a case that suits your make and model.
The Noctua NF Premium Case Fan is an exceptional noise-reducing model. In the corners of these devices are silicone anti-vibration pads. These parts reduce motion distribution to the rest of the machine, resulting in lower volumes.
While the most common sized fan is 120mm. And installing larger fans where possible contribute to the less overall noise.
How? By requiring fewer RPMs to move the same amount of air. The larger fan blades will move a greater air volume, making the total demand speed up considerably less.
I discuss how you can add fans to your computer in this article, if you need to know more.
Add a fan speed controller
Your motherboard controls the fan on your CPU, increasing or decreasing its speed in response to the system’s temperature. However, not all case fans are this adaptable. Instead, they’re usually switched on and operating at the same rate regardless of the device’s temperature.
By installing a fan controller, you can help your system fans function more efficiently and quietly. By setting up a fan curve profile using the controller’s software, you can achieve a harmonious balance between fan speed and noise.
Install vibration-resistant fan mounts
As stated previously, some case fans have anti-vibration pads. These pieces can be very efficient, but they don’t target other components that could produce loud noises.
One significant area where vibrations can be transmitted is through the mounting screws. By mounting your fans on anti-vibration fan mounts, you can effectively quiet your PC.
Manage your cables
Cables that aren’t well-arranged can get in the way of other components. If they block airflow, your device can become hotter than necessary, requiring louder fans to remove the excess heat.
By handling your computer’s internal cables correctly, you can improve airflow, minimize heat, and thereby reduce noise.
To keep all cables out of the central airflow route, use various zip ties, strings, or cable routing.
Suggestion: If you want more information about making your gaming PC quieter, please read the other article I wrote, giving you some tips to get your computer quieter.
Although gaming PCs are powerful, their fans don’t have to be excessively noisy. In fact, a noisy computer is often indicative of damage or something that isn’t happy.
In certain instances, placing the unit on a metal surface will create noise. If it’s something that simple, choose a new playing desk! Or relieve the device with sound insulation.
For additional advice and helpful tips on how to silence your gaming PC, Optimum Tech has produced the following video: