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DIY-Sound Absorption Box for an Intel NUC and Its External HDD

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At home, I'm running an old intel NUC i5 from 2015 as my main computer as described in this article.. It is also serving as a 24/7 home server. The NUC has a minimal SSD with the operating system and the rest of the data resides on an external 3,5" hard disk.

Since it is running all the time, I don't want to be disturbed by noise when I try to concentrate in my home office. The only noise sources are the fan of the NUC and the noises from the external hard disk. Both are quite silent, when I compare them to the really loud computers I was using more than a decade ago.

However, the disk emits noises on read/write access and the NUC fan occasionally speeds up. To optimize my subjective noise level, I decided to apply some DIY noise-reduction ideas.

NUC-in-a-box

From IKEA, I already got cardboard boxes in my office. From a previous DIY-project, I got more than one square-meter of 5cm thick noise-absorbent mat left.

On the bottom of the box, I put some mat where I placed the external hard disk on-top. I added some cheap cooling fins in order to maximize the surface of the top for helping with the heat emission.

At the sides, I added more noise-absorbent mat up to the top end of the cardboard box.

On the external hard disk and its cooling fins, I placed a stylish separator on top:

A DIY-separator between the external hard disk and the NUC.

This separator is the pillar for my intel NUC computer which resides above it:

The box with the mats, the hard disk at the bottom, the separator and the intel NUC on top.

I slid the whole thing in my shelf:

The whole setup on its way in the shelf.

To maximize the noise reduction even more, I put some additional mat material between the top of the box and the shelf. This does cover only the front part of the box to insure that the whole system has enough air to breath from the sides and the back.

alterantive-text for the image
NUC-in-a-box in my shelf with the top map applied as well.

So far, I'm very content with the result. The subjective temperature has not risen much with this new setup. The NUC fan does not spin up all the time. Unfortunately, I'm not able to determine the HDD temperature in the external case.

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