We’ve rambled on about silent products a lot lately at Tech-Reviews. One product we’ve tried to avoid is sound dampening – due to rumours of the rather time consuming installation this product entails. However, without using sound dampening, we’ve found it nearly impossible to silence our rig completely. Given the chance to review some of Acousti Products’ latest acoustic material kits, the AcoustiPack Ultimate, we simply couldn’t turn the offer down.
About Acousti Products
“Acousti Products began because we set out to reduce the noise emanating from our own computers! Noise in our own (otherwise fairly quiet) working environment was irritating and distracting. As Quiet PC say… we needed to ‘hear ourselves think’!
We first replaced noisy components with quiet equivalents (like silent PSUs and quiet processor coolers, silent hard disk drives etc.). We had caught the quietness bug. Not satisfied, we then tried looking for some suitable sound-proofing materials to line the inside of our PC cases…”
- 2 x Acoustic Composite sheets – 4mm thickness (1mm Acoustic Barrier Mass and 3mm Acoustic Foam)
- 1 x Acoustic Composite sheet – 7mm thickness (2mm Acoustic Barrier Mass and 5mm Acoustic Foam)
|Mat dimensions, mm (each)||432 x 457|
|Pack Weight (3 pieces)||1.3 kg|
Click here for more information.
*As our AcoustiPack Ultimate is a review sample, the packaging of the actual release may be somewhat different to the samples packaging.
Our acoustic materials arrived in a thick cardboard box with a sticker located in the top right hand corner – listing the products features and specifications. This packaging was sufficient as it didn’t allow the AcoustiPack ultimate to bend or take any beating from ruthless delivery men. However, the brown cardboard box isn’t the most eye-catching, but its mostly only enthusiasts who’d be buying the AcoustiPack, so eye-catching it doesn’t really need to be. This packaging would be fine for the actual product, it uses only cardboard and so helps to save the environment – an important matter at this point in time.
Removing the AcoustiPack from the box reveals the three acoustic sheets. Two of the sheets are 4mm thicknesses and one is 7mm thickness. These are both 2 and 3 layer composite sheets for effective sound dampening. Each sheet is quite large – measuring in at 432x457mm – this is plentiful for most Midi ATX cases, but should also be sufficient for some Full ATX cases, such as the Cooler Master Cosmos S.
All three sheets from the AcoustiPack Ultimate contain self-adhesive backing. This should hopefully make installation a lot simpler.
The 4mm composite sheets contain 3mm of foam at the top, 1mm of Acoustic Barrier Mass and then the self adhesive backing. These sheets are to be installed on case sides, top and bottom – particularly areas which aren’t adjacent to sources of high volume (e.g. Fans).
The thickest of the three sheets (7mm) is to be installed adjacent to sources of noise (e.g. Adjacent to graphics cards, hard drives, CPU Fans). This sheet is built up of 2.5mm foam, 1mm Acoustic Barrier Mass, 2.5mm Foam and then a further 1mm Acoustic Barrier Mass. Fortunately this sheet also has self adhesive backing.
All three of the sheets are reasonably heavy; this is normally a good indication of quality. If you managed to use up all three of the sheets during installation, you’d be adding 1.3kg to your case’s existing weight. However using up every single piece of the sound dampening is near impossible with the quantity provided.
Appearance wise, the AcoustiPack Ultimate is shiny black foam. It’s obvious the foam is of quite high quality because of its appearance and weight.
When bending the acoustic material, a fold line is revealed in the foam. However given 30 seconds or so, the foam reforms and the fold lines are no longer visible. To give the sound dampening a durability test, I purposely tried to scratch away the foam from the 1mm layer of acoustic barrier mass. This proved to be very difficult as the foam did not want to shift from the acoustic barrier mass. This proves the composite layers of acoustic material to be very durable also.
The case I used to install the sound dampening into was the Lian-Li V1000 Plus- an all aluminium case in desperate need of silencing. I installed the sound dampening whilst the PC was in the case – to test ease of installation.
To install the sound dampening, it was fairly simple. The first task was to measure out the placements for the acoustic material and then cut it using scissors. You can of course cut it with a scalpel are similar knife, but I found using scissors to be much quicker. With cutting things that have to be exact, remember to follow the rule: Measure twice, cut once.
After cutting the AcoustiPack to the correct proportions, I peeled back the adhesive backing and stuck the sound dampening in the favourable positions. The adhesive is incredibly sticky and adheres very well. If you mess up whilst sticking down the acoustic material, you can however remove the AcoustiPack and relocate it several times before is loses its adhesiveness.
After stuck down in the specified places, I firmly pressed down the sound dampening to make sure that it was well adhered.
I was tempted to install the AcoustiPack all over my hard disk, however after reading the FAQ on Acousti Products’ website, the foam shouldn’t be installed to components which need vast cooling and which are in contact with electricity.
Testing a product like this is quite difficult. The only effect this product has is on the noise output of your case with the dampening installed, so that is really the only thing that can be tested. Unfortunately, equipment to measure dBA at below 40dBA tends to be incredibly expensive so this test will have to be by ear. We’ll compare the noise levels of the case with sound dampening applied to when no sound dampening was applied.
All results are calculated from the setup below:
|Processor||Intel Core 2 Duo E6750 @ Stock|
|Motherboard||Asus P5K Premium|
|RAM||2x 1GB Corsair XMS2 6400|
|HDD||Western Digital SE16 500GB|
|Power Supply||Kingwin Mach 1 1000W|
|Operating System||Windows Vista 32bit|
|Graphics Card||Vivikoo 9600GT W/Zalman Cooler|
|Case||Lian Li V1000 Plus|
|Fan Configuration||1x Rear 120mm Noctua|
With the AcoutiPack Ultimate installed I was pleasantly surprised by how much it had dampened the noise. It didn’t silence my computer completely, just dampened all the whirring from fans to a very soft low tone which was no longer an annoyance. Also, installing the AcoustiPack above and below my had drive cage seemed to take the humming away from my hard disk which – with the racket it made – I didn’t think was possible.
There isn’t a lot more on noise levels to say, just that this product really does work.
However, with all the foam installed, I was a little sceptical of how much the foam had affected my computers temperatures.
Taking readings from my CPU’s diode (using Intel Thermal Analysis Tool) the idle temps were reported at 32 degrees C, this is about 3 degrees above the temperatures when no sound dampening was applied. To me, this seems like a very good temperature – a small price to pay for a drop in noise levels.
The AcoustiPack Ultimate is on sale for £26 and QuietPC, which in comparison with the current AcoustiPack Deluxe which retails at £34, it’s a great price. For a few less bits of sound dampening for £8 less it’s definitely worth considering.
As the AcoustiPack Ultimate works very well with a quick easy installation, it’s a suitable buy for anyone wanting to remove the hum from their computer. But also, its not an expensive buy, priced at only £25.99, it’s a bargain compared to Acousti Pack’s deluxe sound dampening.
In summary, if you’re after some sound dampening to take away the annoying whirring from case fans, don’t think twice, just buy the AcoustiPack Ultimate – you won’t regret it.