Recently we have changed our method of measuring noise levels. We have built a system inside a Lian Li chassis with no case fans and have used a fanless cooler on our CPU. We are using a heatpipe based passive power supply and an Intel SSD to keep noise levels to a minimum. The motherboard is also passively cooled. This gives us a build with completely passive cooling and it means we can measure noise of just the graphics card inside the system when we run looped 3dMark tests. Ambient noise in the room is 23dBa.
Why do this? Well this means we can eliminate secondary noise pollution in the test room. It also brings us slightly closer to industry standards, such as DIN 45635.
Today for testing we have placed the Mercia laptop on a table in our controlled environment and are measuring noise from a distance of 0.5 meters to reflect real world conditions.
KitGuru noise guide
10dBA – Normal Breathing/Rustling Leaves
20–25dBA – Whisper
30dBA – High Quality Computer fan
40dBA – A Bubbling Brook, or a Refridgerator
50dBA – Normal Conversation
60dBA – Laughter
70dBA – Vacuum Cleaner or Hairdryer
80dBA – City Traffic or a Garbage Disposal
90dBA – Motorcycle or Lawnmower
100dBA – MP3 player at maximum output
110dBA – Orchestra
120dBA – Front row rock concert/Jet Engine
130dBA – Threshold of Pain
140dBA – Military Jet takeoff/Gunshot (close range)
160dBA – Instant Perforation of eardrum
Considering the high power of the onboard hardware the machine is relatively quiet, only under extended load does the fan noise become apparent. We wouldn't say it was a loud system, but you can certainly hear it when gaming.