Understanding Noise Level

Noise level has become more of a major concern in today’s system. With more and more PCs becoming the centerpiece of people’s entertainment centers, the need for a quite system has grown. There are a number of options to quiet your PC but there is only one item that is the main contributor to noise. That of course is each and every fan in your system. Of course to meat the needs of the consumer more and more quiet fans are available for your system. You may or may not have seen the various noise ratings of these fans. So what do those numbers mean and what is "dBA"?

Well dBA is short fro Decibel. A Decibel, for PC purposes, is a unit of measurement used for measuring sound levels. Loudness is measured using a Logarithmic scale. This means that a 10 decibel increase does not simply add 10 to the previous level. In fact it multiples the previous level by 10. Much like the Richter scale does with earth quakes.

Now that we know a very brief explanation of the Decibel, it's time to get an idea of what it really is. When you see that a fan has a noise level of 34 dBA, what does that really mean. Well below is a small chart of relatable situations and what there common noise level is.

Threshold of Hearing............................... 0 dBA
Human Breathing.................................... 10 dBA
Whispering.................................................. 20 dBA
Quiet Room ............................................... 45 dBA
Conversation.............................................. 55 dBA
Car (50 mph at 50 ft).................................. 65 dBA

Now how does all of this relate to your system's overall noise level? If you have three 120mm fans running at 36 dBA, what is your total noise level? Well because of the way the noise level is measured, combining these 3 noise levels is not achieved by simple addition. In fact the noise level will only be about 40 dBA tops.

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