Computers can be pretty noisy, depending on what your setup is. Most of that noise can be attributed to your computer’s fans, as everything else is pretty quiet. Thankfully, there are a few easy (and relatively low-cost) methods to help you quiet down that noisy computer. Follow along below and we’ll make things a little less noisy in a jiffy.

Clean your PC

Your first step to a quieter computer is to clean out, especially if that’s something you haven’t done in a long, long time. Dust can build up on your fans and heatsink, thus causing your PC to run a whole lot hotter than normal, causing an extra and unnecessary loud on your fans. Because of this, your fans can (sometimes) sound a lot louder than they actually are.

The best way to go about cleaning out your PC is with a can of compressed air and possibly a microfiber towel if there’s really some gunk you need to clean out of the case.

Heatsinks

Heatsinks are the devices that basically absorb excessive heat and blow it away from your important hardware with a fan, such as your processor and video card. Stock heatsinks can be pretty loud — at least the fan can — so you might be better off purchasing an aftermarket heatsink with a quieter fan. And, before jumping on a purchase, be sure to do your research — many people have different opinions on the quietness of certain coolers. However, to get you started, one of the more popular ones seems to be the Hyper 212 Plus from Cooler Master.

Buy it now: Newegg ($30)

Water cooling

Now, if you really want to quiet things down, consider setting up a water cooling system for your PC. You’ll still need a couple fans, but less than you’d normally need on an air cooled system. The radiator you’ll need for your water cooling setup will use fans, too; however, these are generally pretty quiet, depending on the brand or product you go for. With a water cooled setup, you can even run your fans at lower speeds because of how well your hardware is kept cool with water cooling alone.

There is, of course, a downside. It is a little pricey to get into — you’re looking at around $200 for an all-in-one system with a very basic and simple setup. But, quality matters big time when it comes to liquid cooling — so you don’t want to cheap out on something like this. You want quality parts that aren’t going to leak and damage your expensive components.

Take your fan quality to the next level

If you don’t want to spring for a water cooled setup, your best option is going to be to replace your fans with better units (that being a relative term). If you’re looking for better fans for cooling, you’ll find this measured in CFM (cubic feet per minute). The higher the CFM rating, the better cooling you’re going to get. If you’re looking to lower down on noise levels specifically, you’ll find this measured in dBA.

dBA is how loud the fan is going to be at maximum speeds. If you’re goal is to find something quiet, about 20 dBA is the way to go. 25 – 30 dBA is when things start getting pretty loud. Your best bet is to see if you can’t find the model of the fans currently in your PC, see what their dBA rating is, and adjust it accordingly with new fans (or lowering the fan speeds, if you can).

What’s the deal with laptops?

When it comes to laptops, you’re not going to have much luck with the above steps for reducing noise. Your best bet is to keep it as clean as possible and/or make sure you have a well-designed laptop. For example, the MacBook Pro is extremely quiet when kept cool, as the fans only go into high-speed when things are getting hot.

You might also want to hedge your bets on a cooling stand. It will keep your laptop cooler, reducing the load needed on its internal fans. But, then again, you’re essentially replacing them with the cooling stand, which will emit its own level of noise.

Closing

These are some of the major ways you can reduce computer noise. What it comes down to is reducing heat so that fans aren’t working as hard or purchasing fans with a lower dBA rating. But, if you really want to dive into making things cooler and quieter, going for liquid cooling can be a great option.