I've had some big hardware failures of late in my computer infrastructure. My previously rather good and quiet IBM Intellistation (dual Xeon) MythTV server's power supply died. The PSU, being IBM, is completely proprietary and so the machine is now essentially defunct. Real shame as it was a nice piece of kit.
I ended up buying a Dell Precision workstation as its replacement. This is another dual Xeon machine, but this one was rather noisy, with two big, loud fans drawing air over the CPUs. I tried replacing these fans (which required me to resolder the proprietary Dell connectors) with two 92mm Zalman fans and a potentiometer. Unfortunately these Zalman fans are absolute crap! The idea with this kind of mod is you can turn the fan speed down and get dramatically less noise while only slightly less airflow. These Zalman fans basically can't have their RPM reduced by anything significant, so they only run at full pelt, producing more noise than the fans they replaced!
Holly got the shits with this situation and authorised me to spend some bucks on the problem. Fortunately Danny had recently done all the research I needed and so I, somewhat cheekily, nabbed much the same setup as him. Only difference with my kit is a different, and cheaper, motherboard and a slower CPU. I also have the hard drives I need.
I'm still waiting on the power supply and passive heatsink, but as soon as they arrive we'll have silence again in the back half of our house. If this is successful, I'm tempted to build myself a similar box as my desktop.