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How I Reduced Fan Noise in a Quicksilver G4 Tower:
By Rob Huigsloot
Published: 8/13/2001

Disclaimer/Caution: This article is for entertainment purposes only. The author nor the site publisher assumes any liability for modifications you make to the original system, cooling, wiring etc. which voids the warranty and may affect short or long term reliability. Incorrectly done modifications may cause immediate system damage or injury.
Quick Silver's noisy? Hell no!

When I first fired up my new 867 at the office I didn't understand why people were complaining about the noise these Quick Silvers produced. It seemed like a nice quiet machine so I put it back in the box and took it home. After I fired it up there it seemed like it wanted to take off, man this thing was loud.

The noise started to bug me so I opened the case to see what was causing all this noise. The big outtake fan made a lot of noise, so did the fan on the Geforce3 and the fan in the PSU. The fan next to the CPU was not loud but made an annoying sound. Damn, you buy an expensive machine and you get a noise-box. I really think Apple should pay more attention to this. If I want noise I'll buy a PC! ;-)

I went out and got me a 12cm Papst 4312M fan because they move a lot of air and are pretty quiet. At least, that was what the guy who sold it to me told me. When I connected it to a 12V transformer it blew me out of my socks, this thing was moving AIR and wasn't as quiet as I thought. I changed the transformer to 6V (it is a fan that can handle 6-15V) and the fan was still moving lots of air and was really quiet, eureka! I went out, got me a thingy [Voltage regulator-Mike] (takes 12V in and gives 7.5V out), a small printboard, cable, heat shrink sleeving and a few male/female molex connectors.

I dismantled my machine, first took out the CD writer so that I could remove the powersupply. The fan in the PSU was blowing air against 2 fingerguards, the one in the PSU itself and the one from the Apple-case so 1 of them had to go. I removed the fingerguard from the PSU so the machine would still look original from the outside. This made a real difference in noise.

PSU fan mod

(Note: Although Rob didn't comment on how, I think cutters are the only way to remove the fan guard, since they're often an integral part of the PS metal housing. Another option that's easier is to just remove the rear plastic cover completely, which also solves the outlet mismatch without any cutting required and is easily restored to stock configuration if you need warranty work by Apple.-Mike)

The CPU fan was next, I noticed when I pinched the sides of the rubber housing that the irritating noise was gone. I removed the 2 screws (1 was touching the heatsink btw..) that kept the fan in the rubber housing and placed a tie rap over the fan/housing combination. The buggin' noise is gone, it's a delight ;-).

CPU fan mod

The soldering part, I soldered the voltage regulator to the board, attached a molex with 12V-in to one end and a molex with 7.5V-out to the other.

Vreg wiring

I connected both the big fan and the GF3 fan to it, closed the case and fired it up.


GF3 fan wiring

The TV set was on loud enough to hear the boing but not the fans so I quickly opened the case to see if all fans were running and luckily they were.

The stress test, it is nice to have a quiet machine but if it isn't stable...
I played all Quake3 levels in a row and never saw any GF3 overheating signs. I left dcnet running for an 8 hour night and the CPU heatsink felt warm but not hot at all. I carefully checked if the seconds in the menu bar clock were ticking away without hiccups and they did.

It has been running all day today, it is 25C in my living room and it is spinning like a cat. I think I can safely say I reduced the total noise produced by my machine by about 35% and in the process eliminated all irritating noises.

Me is a happy camper again ;-)
(Rob later sent info on an Quicksilver Adjustable Fan Speed Mod.)

Inside View After Mods:
Overview inside case

Other Fan/Noise Related Articles:

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