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Note: some of this information may now be obsolete (i.e. cheaper) in the fast-moving world of computer hardware...

PC Building

Cheap /Linux/ Box (last updated 18 Oct 2000, but useful info and links)
The Red Hill Guide to Computer Hardware
Google Directory of computer hardware product reviews
PC Guide on PSU, PSU output, PCI bus, IDE vs SCSI interfaces, and SMP (Symmetric Multi-Processing)
PC 911 HOWTO Build It
140 Chipsets compared at THG
486 discussion at comp.os.linux.hardware
486 fan and CPU-Cool 1.9T for 486 processor
Soldering FAQ
Working With Acrylic
FCC ID database for identifying electronic equipment
The Hardware Book - Internet's largest free collection of connector pinouts and cable descriptions
Upgrading & repairing PCs
Data Docktor's Hard Defrag! ;-)
Slashdot on Getting Help Building Your Computer (aka The Story of Andy L's Computer :-)
Slashdot on Ternary Computing article at American Scientist
Slashdot on LinuxHardware Ultimate System 2001
Slashdot on Linuxwatch Budget System 2001
Eric S. Raymond's Ultimate Linux Box 2001 (see also an edited version at Linux Journal, with insightful comments, also reproduced in pictures)
Linux Journal's Ultimate Linux Box 2002 - What Has 1.1 Terabytes, 9,503 BogoMips and Flies?
Ars Technica: Understanding CPU Caching and Performance
Volume Multi-Processor Systems
Linux SMP Motherboards


Silent PC Review - an awesomely quiet place
The Silent PC - very informative article supply PowerSnooze Acoustic Damping Material
QuietPC Silent Drive installation instructions
Fredrik's Silent PC Guide
How to Quiet the Thing
Of Things Quiet
Make It Simple article on Case Noise Reduction
Bass traps for studios
Tecnifoam, Accumat and Auralex for PC case sound dampening sound deadening materials
Cool and silent hard drive sandwich (big article with pictures)
Silent Hard Drive at First Principles
Silent compooter
GamePC's Silent PC review
Sound On Sound PC Notes about QuietPC
Ask Slashdot: Ultra-Quiet Linux Boxes?
Slashdot on Building Quieter Computers
Slashdot on Constructing a Quiet Gaming PC
Slashdot on How to Build a Fast Air-Cooled Quiet PC
Building a Quiet Linux PC using a VIA C3
Building a Cool and Quiet PC using a passively cooled VIA C3 low-noise, low power system
Goodbye to Hulking PCs: Athlon Mini-PCs Set The Trend with a cool silent Heat Pipe System
Silent and Ice Cold - THG watercooling video
Silencing Your PC
Silent PC project
Silent Wonder: Zalman's ZM80-HP Heatpipe GPU Cooler reviewed at GamePC
Kool 'n Quiet have an informative article about Heat and Noise, and sell Papst fans and Zalman CNPS5100CuAL CPU coolers for £21
Recommended (Quiet) Power Supply Units
Computer Exhaust - R.A.C.H.A.L.
Nexus - The Holy Grail in the Quest for Silent Computing? - Nexus heatsink fan review at Sudhian Media:

Given that exposing prisoners to loud white noise is a standard "interrogation" technique for much of the world's military, however, it is not surprising that many people are beginning to beg for mercy and are looking for an alternative to screaming 80mm Delta fans.


The infamous Smoking Athlon video at Tom's Hardware Guide Thou shalt never remove thy heatsink...
Cooling Basics and General Heat Transfer Guide at
CPU coolers compared at DansData
Arctic Silver thermal compounds for mounting heatsinks on processors
The Heatsink Guide on thermal properties of aluminium
Papst axial DC fans
Kool 'n Quiet have an informative article about Heat and Noise, and sell Papst fans and Zalman CNPS5100CuAL CPU coolers for £21
Zalman coolers and their message board
Zalman CNPS 5100-Cu review
Zalman CNPS 5005-Al measures 91L x 66W x 70H mm and is lighter than copper version, but new CNPS 5100CuAl is better still...

60mm vapo-bearing fan   Thermal resistance ('C/W)
Mode      rpm   dB(A)   5005Al   5005Cu   5100Cu   5100CuAl (3100GP)
Silent    3000   20     0.44     0.40     0.39     0.39     (0.34)
Normal    5200   36     0.27     0.24     0.23     0.23     (0.26)
Processor               1.66GHz  1.73GHz  1.73GHz  1.66GHz  (1.5GHz)
Material                Al       Cu       Cu       Al+Cu    (Cu)
Mass                    230g     430g     344g     180g     (296g)

Athlon 2000+ = 1.66GHz
Athlon 2100+ = 1.73GHz

CNPS 5005 and 5100 can only be mounted on a mainboard having four holes around the CPU socket.
CNPS 5005-Cu and 5100-Cu exceed AMD's heatsink mass specification of 300g, so special care should be taken when moving the computer. Zalman Tech Co., Ltd. is not responsible for any damage to system or CPUs caused by moving the computer after installing the CNPS 5005-Cu.

Anandtech Cooler roundup September 2001 says:

Alpha 8045 with Papst 8412NGL fan = 35dB(A)
ZALMAN CNPS3100G in Silent mode = 33dB(A)
Papst 8412NGMLV fan is temperature controllable
Papst 8412NLM fans quietest 80mm fans: 12dB at 12V
They have sintered sleeve bearings which are much quieter
than ball bearing fans. They do 19dB ball bearing fans as well.

Controlling Computer Fan Noise Emissions with Panasonic FBL series Augmented Fans
Panasonic Panaflo axial fans

L1A 24CFMs at 21dBAs;
M1A 32.1CFM at 28dBA;
H1A 39.6CFM at 32dBA;
U1A 46.9CFM at 38.2dBA.

Techwatch review of Panasonic Panaflo 92mm fan

Fan                      CFM  dBa  RPM
80mm Sunon               42.5 36.5 3200
92mm Sunon               50   35   2700
120mm Sunon             108   42   3100
60mm Delta               37   46.7 6800
92mm Panaflo (low speed) 42   27   2100
92mm Panaflo (hi  speed) 56.8 35   2850

Alpha PAL8045 heatsink mounts through motherboard holes, sadly won't fit Tyan Tiger MP
Alpha Z Series low-profile passive heatsinks
Swiftech MC462 monster heatsink reviewed at and was once reviewed at FrostyTech
Verax P14 Silent Heatsink reviewed at FrostyTech uses Verax CAIRdB TYP80251231-KT2 fan (1600-3100RPM 18CFM 12V 0.62A) Fan: 25x80x80mm Heatsink: 63x80x80mm 310g Al, available from
Verax fans
Slashdot on new magnetically driven fan
Fan noise reduction
Case Fan Over/Under Clocking and PSU tricks, but note this warning against meddling with voltages...

+5V is not ground. Don't use it as such. Using +5V to sink current can cause havoc with power regulation. A much safer way to regulate voltage is to get a few power diodes (3A rating should be enough for just about any kind of reasonable fan rig) and put them in series with your fans. Each diode (if it is a Si device) will reduce voltage by 0.7V.


Care and Feeding of Floppy Disks
What auditors should know about media failures has lots of links and scripts
Linux Complete Backup and Recovery HOWTO (single 104KB HTML file)
Creating Filesystem Backups with 'rsync'
Slashdot on Easy Automated Snapshot-Style Backups with Linux and Rsync (Google cache of article)


Printer Compatibility Database and Suggested Printers for Free Software Users (luckily my old Canon BJC-4300 should work)
SANE (Scanner Access Now Easy)
Jonathan Buzzard's USB Scanners under Linux page

Input Devices

Slashdot on Virtual Keyboards, which are great but not as tactile as...
IBM Model M keyboards - the original and greatest (as used here!)
Happy Hacker Keyboards
Kinesis Ergo Keyboards
Logitech trackballs
Wacom graphics tablets


UKLINUX.NET Internet Service Provider
Broadband - What do I do? and an informative PCMagazine article
UK Broadband
Old PC => router
Linux Router Project 486 Firewall
FREESCO is a free replacement for commercial routers (manual)
Setting Up IP Masquerade

"Though it's commonly believed that NAT serving is a bandwidth-intensive process, the truth of the matter is that the slowest 486-class machines can saturate a 1.54 Mb/s T1 connection." [...]

"Believe it or not, it's easy to run 25 to 50 hosts behind a 66 MHz 486 Linux IP Masq server with as little as 16 MB of RAM. I even have a buddy who runs a small Masqed LAN behind a 40 MHz 486 with 8MB of RAM. And his network is connected via a 5Mb/s cable modem. Did I also mention that it's running a number of other services including DHCP, SMTP, DNS, POP-3, SMB, and NFS? So really, you should be fine with a decent 486-class or better machine."


ComputeAid 2002 model 4U rackmount $138
American Media Services CF439 Aluminium 4U rackmount
Enlight 8950 5U rackmount
Painting CD drives to match a case and more bezel painting
©Box IV nice Swedish case
Slashdot on Prism tabletop PC
Personal Computer Security ;-)
Toilet PC (!)

Hardware Monitoring

Reply to my question about thermal monitoring on Dual Athlon motherboards, from Kelledin on Tom's Hardware Guide CPU forum:

For that, you want the lm-sensors and i2c packages. Version 2.6.1 was recently released and adds improved AMD southbridge support (you should be very, very interested in this with the Tyan 760MP mobos). You should also get your hands on SensorsWatch.

Slashdot on Google "Re: TigerMP (2460) and lm-sensors, anybody care?"
lm-sensors useful addresses
Temperature Sensors - all you need to know
Digital Doc 5 Fan controller

BIOS (Basic Input/Output System)

BIOS Survival Guide
BIOS beep codes articles on system optimization
LinuxBIOS article at Linux Journal about booting in 2 seconds! [JAVA]
Wim's BIOS page

PSU (Power Supply Unit)

Enermax PSU with quiet Papst fans modded by NoiseControl (Warning: German site 'translated' by Google!)
NMB SD025A460WSW PSU designed for Tyan Thunder K7 with NMB 12V DC 80x80x25mm 44cfm 36.5db(A) fan
300W Fanless Power Supply
PC Power & Cooling Silencer 400 ATX power supply and Power Supplies for Dual CPU and Speciality Motherboards
PC Power & Cooling PSUs and info on Power usage of PC components (to work out how much juice you need)
Foot-powered and Solar-powered and Clockwork and Water-cooled laptops [JAVA]
Seagate Barracuda IV ATA makes whining noise due to current harmonics in QuietPC 250W PSU (made by Q Technology)
QuietPC Ultra-Quiet 400W PSU
THG Compares of 21 Power Supplies and finds Verax and Engelking the quietest
Engelking AP2-6300SFC-A provides 30/28/11 A for +3.3/+5/+2 V with max 339W output, yet is only 33.2dB under load, has 5HDD/1FDD 60cm cables, active PFC, and is fitted with a passive heat sink at the back as well as a fan. Engelking says that it will operate at up to 49°C without the fan. $235! Available from silentmaxx
Verax FSP300-60ATV provides 30/28/15 A for +3.3/+5/+2 V with max 390W output, yet is only 34.6dB under load, has 5HDD/2FDD 45-59cm cables, passive PFC, damped oscillation and 30% overload cutout, uses Verax CAIRdB exhaust 80x80mm PRO silent fan, and is available from

UPS (Uninterruptible Power Supply)

UPS Systems UK have a list of UPS manufacturers
Linux UPS documentation
Network UPS Tools for safe shutdown
Belkin UPS Regulator Pro Gold Series 625VA (model F6C625u220v) costs £120 at and is reviewed at Virtual Hideout
Belkin Regulator Pro 1400VA NetUPS reviewed at NewsForge - with interesting comments at the end
Tripp Lite UPS selector
Opti-UPS 2U rackmount with Linux downloads
MGE-UPS Pulsar Evolution 500 1U rackmount with Linux support

Graphics Cards

Open Graphics Project - Free/Libre Open Source graphics card :-)

Matrox G550 has dual DVI, sharp image clarity, no fan, and is supported by XFree86
Matrox G450 DualHead PCI 16MB (I just got one for £15)

LCD (Liquid Crystal Display)

Richard Smith talks LCD interference on LAD - does anyone experience this?
EIZO FlexScan SlimEdge LCD monitors are designed with ecology and ergonomics in mind. I bought a lovely pair of EIZO L685s; see also Tom's review of dual EIZO L675's with Matrox G550 Dual Head DVI, and a handy Calibration chart in Tom's review of EIZO L885 vs. Philips 200P4 IPS-type panels
Dual side-by-side LCD arm, because two LCDs are better than one ;-)
Matrix Orbital 4x20 LCD reviewed at Bit Tech


alt.comp.periphs.mainboard.tyan newsgroup
Quiet MP Dual-CPU Workstation
Ultimate Linux Box 2001 article.

IPoX M762B - Industrial eATX Board for Dual Athlon + U320SCSI + GigE
IPoX M762U/VN - Micro ATX Mainboard for Dual Athlon

How to fry an egg on an Athlon XP1500+
Toms Hardware Guide review of Athlon XP2100+ has an informative table of the heat produced by each AMD processor
Anandtech, GamePC and other reviews of 0.13-micron Thoroughbred Athlon XP2200+
AMD releases Athlon MP2100+
AMD continues its server push - Athlon MP 2200+ released
2CPU review of Athlon MP 2200+
AMD Athlon MP 2400+ is reviewed at AthlonXP
AMD's "Venus" SledgeHammer looms into view
Fanless Athlon TB-A 1700+ underclocked at 833MHz (5x166) @ 1.1V giving out 13W max, with 333MHz DDR memory and 333MHz FSB
High Breds and Low Breds - How to tell Athlon generations apart

RAM (Random Access Memory)

Corsair Registered ECC DDR266 SDRAM modules as recommended for use with Tyan Thunder K7; be sure to check Corsair's Tyan Thunder K7 Support Page and Tyan's Configuration Matrix (7KB .pdf file) for issues about using only 6 banks of memory:
- CM73SD512R-2100 single-sided 512MB (1454KB .pdf file) and
- CM74SD1024R-2100 double-sided 1024MB (24KB .pdf file)
CAS Latency: What Is It, and How Does It Impact Performance?

This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike v3.0 Licence © The right to copy is left with the user copyleft Malcolm Smith 2002-04-22 - last updated 2002-10-19 - links verified 2002-04-22