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Not a top performance pc but not a low end pc either. I guess you can get a passively cooled video card and a ssd drive, but what about the cpu and the power supply?

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You ought to check out Thermal Right Ultra Extreme 120 or Noctua. –  Sathya Apr 14 '10 at 15:56
    
You can also get a hybrid active/passive solution by using thermister-controlled fans: the fans' RPM ramps up with the temperature of the case and they can shut off when the case is cool enough. –  Leftium Apr 18 '10 at 7:41

5 Answers 5

up vote 6 down vote accepted

Silent PC Review is an excellent resource on this topic.

They reviewed a completely passively cooled PC: Fanless Ultra Powerhouse PC by EndPCNoise.

Also, they list two fanless PSU's on their Recommended Power Supplies article and at least one CPU heatsink that works without a fan on their Recommended Heatsinks article.

If your objective is a quiet PC, I recommend pairing a large, high quality fan that spins at low RPM with a high quality PSU and heatsink. The air circulation will be barely audible, but add significant cooling to your system.

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+1 for Silent PC Review. Check out their forums. –  Bratch Apr 14 '10 at 4:10

Yes. I ran a 2.4GHz Core 2 Duo off a solid-state heatsink (albeit a fairly expensive one) and a passive video card, and it was fairly high end (at its time). There should be no problem doing that.

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Can you give me a link to the heatsink i would be interested to see it. –  ULTRA_POROV Apr 14 '10 at 3:24

A ULV CPU won't need anything beyond a large heatsink and a modest, fanless PSU. If you're willing to go beyond x86 then there are lots of decent, low-power CPUs, such as the ARM family.

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I did it sometime in 2004 or 2005 with a Thermalright XP-120 for the CPU and a Aerocool VM-101 for the video card. It has to be possible these days, but my newer Antec 900 has very quiet 120mm fans. A more modern version should still be based on heat pipes (good for cooling satellites too).

I've never seen a passively cooled power supply in a normal tower case, but there are smaller cases now with external AC-DC converters, so I wouldn't be surprised to see a case with a fan-less power supply.

This size comparison from Gruntville.com shows how much larger the XP-120 is (especially with the fan attached) when compared to a stock fan from the P4 days.

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There's the TNN-500 from a while back.

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What a monster. –  ULTRA_POROV Apr 14 '10 at 3:48

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