Warning: Technology changes very quickly so it is always recommended that you look at the date when the article was last updated. If you have any questions feel free to contact us.

Article Date: 06-08-2014

Decibels dBA

In your search for the quietest computer parts (or in your search for a well designed Quiet PC), it is important to know something about bels and decibels (a decibel is a 10th of a bel). For the purposes of this article, we will briefly explain the concepts behind decibel ratings, and then provide some practical information on how to use the decibel scale. The internet is rich with information about the decibel scale, if a more technical description is desired.

What is a Decibel?

Decibels - Decibel Levels

A decibel itself is simply a logarithmic unit to measure the ratio between two numbers used primarily to measure power or intensity. For this article we will talk about decibles in the context of sound. Sound decibels are known as dB SPL or the Decibel Sound Pressure Level.

Each step up the decibel scale represents a doubling of the total sound pressure levels. So, for instance, a twenty decibel sound is ten times louder than a ten decibel sound, and represents a hundred point jump up the decibel scale (10x10=100). A thirty decibel sound is a thousand point jump up the scale (10x10x10=1000). You can see from this even small differences in decibel numbers represent a large difference in overall sound pressure levels.

Decibel Ratings

dBA

For most of the quiet products we sell an A-weighting is applied. A-weighted decibels are abbreviated dB(A) or dBA. The A-weighting curve has been widely adopted for environmental noise measurement, and is the standard in many sound level meters (dBA meters). A-weighted sound level measurements are numerically adjusted to reflect the frequency-dependent nature of human hearing at low sound levels.

dBA (Decibel) Scale Examples:

A Decibel meter used to measure the decibel level of a product

How loud is my computer part?

In the real world finding out how loud one product is when compared to another, can be far trickier than an equation.

There are many factors inside your PC which will influence noise, these factors include your case's potential either to dampen (quiet) noise, or to increase the vibration of a particular device. It is wise to search for a case that hinders vibration, dampens noise, and yet still provides for ample airflow.

Another factor which makes it difficult to accurately pinpoint how much louder one component will be in comparison to another, is the fact that accurate and consistent decibel ratings are hard to come by. Not all manufacturers give scientific or accurate decibel ratings at all. Many decibel ratings are simply estimates obtained by comparing one product to another. Other decibel ratings are nothing more than overly optimistic marketing slogans, which don't turn out to be accurate. And, even when manufacturers give a standard by which their decibel measurement was obtained, those standards vary widely.

Finding the decibel rating of multiple parts

Also, the total decibel level of a PC is more than that of a single part. There are many individual parts which contribute to the total sound level of your PC. The total sound level is the level of one sound source, plus the increase of the level of the second source.

There are also other factors to consider like the performance of the given part. In the case of a cooling fan, you should also reference the amount of airflow it produces to see if the fan will cool the PC.

How are we different?

While we have no affordable means by which to scientifically test the decibel levels of all products we sell, we do have an entirely unique perspective in the quiet computing market. Because we build all of our Quiet PCs using the parts we sell on our website, we regularly do head to head comparisons of the products we sell. Because manufacturer claims of decibel levels are not the only consideration when building a quiet PC, we can offer tried and tested advice. For novices or experts we make an effort to clearly weigh the advantages and disadvantages of every product we carry (price and performance versus decibel level). We can give practical real world advice when it comes to the parts in action and our experiences with them, feel free to Contact Us.
 

Related Systems


Some of our systems related to this article

Raptor Lake FC8 Fanless PC

Raptor Lake FC8 Fanless PC

  •   Intel 14th Generation up to 24 cores
  •   Max 96GB DDR5
  •    9.5in W x 9.9in D x 3.9in H
  •   Our most popular fanless system!
    Ideal for industrial applications
    Supports 1 Half height card

Starting at $1,625.00

Raptor Lake Fanless PC

Raptor Lake Fanless PC

  •   Intel 14th Generation up to 24 cores
  •   Max 192GB DDR5
  •    8.5in W x 16.3in D x 17.8in H
  •   GTX GAMING Video Card Options
    full-sized ATX motherboard
    Easy Upgrades

Starting at $2,365.00

Raptor Lake Fanless 1U Rackmount PC

Raptor Lake Fanless 1U Rackmount PC

  •   Intel 14th Generation up to 20 cores
  •   Max 64GB DDR4
  •    19in W x 10.9in D x 1.7in H
  •   DUAL 2.5 Gigabit LAN
    1U rackmount case

Starting at $2,280.00

Raptor Lake Thin Mini Fanless PC

Raptor Lake Thin Mini Fanless PC

  •   Intel 14th Generation up to 20 cores
  •   Max 64GB DDR4
  •    9.2in W x 7.4in D x 2.4in H
  •   DUAL 2.5 Gigabit LAN
    Thin Mini-ITX
    small enough to fit almost anywhere

Starting at $1,900.00

H5 Fanless GAMING PC

H5 Fanless GAMING PC

  •   Intel 14th Generation up to 24 cores
  •   Max 96GB DDR5
  •    16.9in W x 14.0in D x 4.3in H
  •   Fanless Nvidia GTX Video
    600W Internal Power Supply

Starting at $2,880.00

H5 Fanless Xeon Server

H5 Fanless Xeon Server

  •   Intel Xeon E (2300 Series) up to 8 cores
  •   Max 64GB ECC DDR4
  •    16.9in W x 14.0in D x 4.3in H
  •   Half Height or Full Height card support
    600W Internal Power Supply

Starting at $2,450.00

AMD Ryzen FC8 Fanless PC

AMD Ryzen FC8 Fanless PC

  •   AMD Ryzen 7000 up to 12 cores
  •   Max 64GB DDR5
  •    9.5in W x 9.9in D x 3.9in H
  •   AMD Radeon Graphics
    Ideal for industrial applications
    Supports 1 Half height card

Starting at $1,625.00

AMD Ryzen Fanless Tower PC

AMD Ryzen Fanless Tower PC

  •   AMD Ryzen 7000 up to 12 cores
  •   Max 192GB DDR5
  •    8.5in W x 16.3in D x 17.8in H
  •   GTX GAMING Video Card Options
    full-sized ATX motherboard
    Easy Upgrades

Starting at $2,020.00

Fanless Micro-ATX Tower PC

Fanless Micro-ATX Tower PC

  •   Intel 14th Generation up to 24 cores
  •   Max 192GB DDR5
  •    9.1in W x 15.2in D x 15in H
  •   Video Card Options
    Micro ATX motherboard
    Easy Upgrades

Starting at $1,790.00

AMD Ryzen Micro-ATX Fanless Tower PC

AMD Ryzen Micro-ATX Fanless Tower PC

  •   AMD Ryzen 7000 up to 12 cores
  •   Max 192GB DDR5
  •    9.1in W x 15.2in D x 15in H
  •   Video Card Options
    Micro ATX motherboard
    Easy Upgrades

Starting at $1,750.00

HD Plex H1 Fanless Mini PC

HD Plex H1 Fanless Mini PC

  •   Intel 14th Generation up to 24 cores
  •   Max 96GB DDR5
  •    11.3in W x 10.6in D x 2.5in H
  •   Tiny, but powerful Fanless Mini ITX PC

Starting at $1,675.00

Akasa Maxwell Fanless PC

Akasa Maxwell Fanless PC

  •   Intel 14th Generation up to 24 cores
  •   Max 96GB DDR5
  •    11in W x 8.2in D x 4.3in H
  •   Black anodised aluminium body with diamond-edge finish

Starting at $1,565.00

Fanless Waterproof PC

Fanless Waterproof PC

  •   Intel 14th Generation up to 20 cores
  •   Max 64GB DDR4
  •    9.3in W x 13.4in D x 3.0in H
  •   TOTALLY SEALED Waterproof IP65

Starting at $2,500.00

Streacom FC5 Fanless Slim PC

Streacom FC5 Fanless Slim PC

  •   Intel 14th Generation up to 24 cores
  •   Max 96GB DDR5
  •    17.1in W x 12.8in D x 2.4in H
  •   Supports 1 Full Length cards
    Perfect fit for a component stereo cabinet

Starting at $1,700.00

Streacom FC9 Micro ATX Fanless PC

Streacom FC9 Micro ATX Fanless PC

  •   Intel 14th Generation up to 24 cores
  •   Max 192GB DDR5
  •    13.7in W x 11.4in D x 4.3in H
  •   Supports 3 Half height cards
    Ideal for industrial applications

Starting at $1,685.00

Streacom FC10 Fanless Heatpipe PC

Streacom FC10 Fanless Heatpipe PC

  •   Intel 14th Generation up to 24 cores
  •   Max 96GB DDR5
  •    17.1in W x 12.6in D x 4.3in H
  •   Supports full height cards
    Internal 240w Power Supply
    Perfect fit for a component stereo cabinet

Starting at $1,805.00

Newsletter


Subscribe to our newsletter and get the latest on product releases and helpful tips and tricks.