The computer in my living room has been an annoyance for quite a while because one of its fans started making loud resonant noise. Not to mention the computer has four fans: CPU, GPU, northbridge and OTES1, so it was, for a recording gear, extremely noisy to begin with.
Then when I got home yesterday, I found the computer turned off while there was no sign the power had gone out. I turned it back on, and found out why in 5 minutes: The strange fan noise all of a sudden became twice as noisy, then a loud siren-like M/B alarm (which, later, cynand called “Interpol raiding the house”) went off. And the computer began to shut itself down.
I turned it back on, went to the health monitoring screen in the BIOS setup and left it there. After a while the loud noise came back, and voila, the RPM for the northbridge fan plummeted down to zero! R.I.P. _-_
The northbridge fan doesn't cost that much because it's a much smaller fan than, say, a CPU fan, but you know what, this is a perfect excuse :D to go for a Zalman, that is:
[ Reserator 1 Plus ]
Before anyone asks, this thing really works. My ex-roommate had one, and it was super-quiet and virtually hassle-free; he didn't have any heat-related problems ever since he got a Reserator, and his room faces south so it gets pretty warm in summer too. But for me the main point would be the near-silent noise level because it's my music recording/production box—I wouldn't have to turn up the speaker volume anymore just to mask the fan noise out! It'd be even like a health insurance for me 'cause my ears aren't so healthy either with chronic tinnitus. :D
I'm gonna get one for this computer, and if I really like its noise level, get another one for my bedroom server, which is even worse with 6 fans (two Xeons, one GPU, one northbridge, and two case fans) and 9 harddrives. Although Reserator cannot do any good to the harddrives, it would be so awesome to get rid of the 6 fans; 4 would be on the Reserator, and the two case fans can just go away because they were there just to exhaust hot air from the other fans.
1 Outside Thermal Exhaust System. It's what ABIT calls its way of putting a shared heatsink and fan on other components on the M/B that get hot.