Here's our Hardware Tip for.. June 22, 2007
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Quieting your PC
As new PCs run faster and hotter, they require more and larger cooling fans, which can be very noisy. Modern CPUs and operating systems automatically reduce power during inactive times, helping cooling, but they rarely throttle back noisy fans.
Some PCs can control fan speed (check your BIOS for "Smart Fan Control" or "Noise Control"), but if yours doesn't, you can still enjoy some quiet with free software like SpeedFan ( www.almico.com/speedfan.php ).
SpeedFan reads the temperature sensors built into modern CPUs and motherboards, then alters fan speeds, based on the temperatures. However, the program requires three elements to work: Your hardware must support fan-speed changing, the hardware temperature sensors must let software read their values, and you need to configure SpeedFan yourself. You'll want to research safe operating temperatures and get a sense of the temperatures at which your computer runs.
Though slower fan speeds will lead to hotter-running machines, as long as your processor, hard drive, and other equipment stay within the manufacturer's acceptable operating temperature range, your hardware is safe. Safe operating temperatures are around 70*C for processors and 55*C for hard drives.