How To: Make a super duper quiet PC

How to make your PC quieter you ask? Move it into the basement with this hack!

So you have a computer you want to use as a simple home theater solution. Or perhaps you just have a computer that you want to be able to control while in your family room. It works with most computers and very little hardware change is required (if any at all).

That’s the kind of thing I ran into. We wanted to stream some content to our old TV in the family room. We have our old modded XBOX which can be used a media center but that wasn’t successful due to constant buffering. We needed a different approach. My Dad suggested we use our spare computer which just sat in the basement, install an OS on it, bring it into our family room, hook it up to our TV and remote control it from our laptop. Great, we had created a simple home theater system. The computer had a very simple and cheap Asus V9400-X graphics card which you can now get for around $33. The reason it worked well was because it had a simple composite output, which made it super easy to plug it into our not so new TV. The computer had on-board stereo sound card which was transferred to the TV with a simple Y-Adapter which cost about $8. Everything was great about the setup, except that the computer was just too loud and because of the cables connecting it to the TV it could only be moved so far away. After a few weeks of drowning out the noise by raising the volume on the TV, I had a break through idea.

Asus v9400-x Y Adapter RCA

I had read before in various DIY articles about different ways of sending stuff over CAT-5 network cables. Even at work in our lab I saw a bunch of cat5-to-vga+keyboard+mouse adapters. So I figured why not send our composite video and stereo audio all through a network cable?! Yes it was a great idea!

So here was the plan. Move the computer downstairs, into the basement. Since we had network cables in our walls the hard part was done. The thing to do was to buy the parts and assemble the boxes. Here is what we bought (we bought two of everything because we need to make two ends of the system):

  • Mount Box 4 Port Surface Mount Box – 2782093
  • Cat 5 Snap-In Cat 5 Module – 2782024
  • RCA Yellow Snap-In RCA Yellow Module – 2782075
  • RCA WhiteSnap-In RCA White Module – 2782067
  • RCA RedSnap-In RCA Red Modules – 2782071

Next we assembled the two boxes. It is good to have a spare cat-5 network cable handy, one which you can cut up for making the in-box connections. The connections require simple soldering at two points of each connector to complete the circuit.

Open Box

As you can see from the above image, we selected the same colored wires for each RCA module. Remember to do the exact same thing for the other box, maintaining the color patterns and the placement in the CAT-5 module.

The end results,

Finished Box

A solution that is good for some 100ft.

The best part is that all the components can be purchased at your local RadioShack or The Source. Most of the parts I listed, we already had lying around the house from previous DIY home project and you might too. It is important that the network cable that is going to link the two boxes be tested to make sure that no cables are broken. On our first attempt, we found out the hard way about a faulty cable.


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