Originally Posted by lagittaja
In part, I understand what you're getting at, as my ears are also very sensitive. No, it's not a medical condition. That's largely why I don't play super intensive games like BF3 anymore, and why I quite playing BF4 almost before I started; my 280X is super loud and I have to dial back the clocks all the time. Compared to the noise in my rig with @ 1500 rpm and 280X > 50% rpm, this is all making a big deal out of nothing. It's not a drone; it's a satanic shriek, guaranteed to cause hearing loss upon prolonged exposure.
I also don't understand why you seem to make a (comparatively) big deal out of the type of noise emitted by the A14. I know someone with an air-cooled rig who has 2 A14s, and they are real quiet throughout their entire RPM range (god, WHY doesn't the Mini R2 take 140mm fans?!?!). I know exactly what you are referring to as a "drone"; my F12s have a lot of this at full speed, since they are probably (at full RPM) the loudest fans that Noctua has to offer. However, this doesn't bother me (ok, it does, but not nearly as much as my 280X), although I know that it might not be the same for you; all I can say is that I'd take the "drone" of Noctua fans over the "buzz" and "whine" of my Cougar Turbines or "hollow roar" of Silent Series R2 120mm/140mm any day. When you go up the RPM range, it's only natural for these sounds to manifest and unless we live in an ideal world (which we don't), we have to live with these. Noctua's already taken a step towards making the sound a bit more pleasant. Unfortunately, fan noise is very subjective, and people with sensitive ears are often at the mercy of manufacturers that seem to employ deaf fan designers and testers, all the while proclaiming that their products are "silent". I'm looking at you, Fractal Design, with those garbage Silent Series R2 fans.
I normally only use Gigabyte SIV for fan control and the Performance and Full Speed settings are noticeably different from Standard and Quiet. There's a notable drone in the upper half of the spectrum.
I'd poke around and see if you can get a hold of other A14s; if they don't sound the same way, yours might have a problem.
If they sound the same...well, you get the idea.
Noise-cancelling headphones would be a start; I don't have any, but noise-isolating headphones are good enough for me. You could also look towards another case (if the A05 is a personal preference, then so be it, but know that it's not making it any easier for you if you're trying to silence your rig since there's not a lot of room and direct path for airflow) that doesn't rely on a single 140mm for intake all whilst forcing air through a radiator.Edited by tabascosauz - 4/11/15 at 8:02pm