By Michael Webb, Editor-in-Chief, MikeWebb@CompuServe.COM
You may find it odd that I have dedicated an entire section of this review to the subject at hand (soon to be introduced), but I found it to be special enough to warrant individual attention.
I'll put this simply: The A4000T is Very Quiet!
Yes, that's what it comes down to. Back in the old days, when I used an A500, generally all that I heard was the subtle high-pitched whine of the RGB monitor. Had I installed a display enhancer and begun using a VGA or multiscan monitor then, all would have been quiet.
Then, when I got the A530, computer life became associated with the constant whirrrrrr of a fan and the occasional "chunking" of a hard disk. Not that this bothered me, mind you. In a way, it was like "white noise," and even somewhat soothing. My PC (acquired shortly thereafter) was similar, although it had one obnoxious hard disk. But hey! It sounded powerful. Whenever it was being accessed, I got this mental image of that data really getting ground up and processed in a hurry! Yeah! Well, sort of.
Well, last spring, I replaced the PC's ~200-MB hard disk with a series of disks (a very long story that has something to do with LBA mode, for those so inclined) before I ended up keeping a 4.0-GB Western Digital. I am still displeased with the whole arrangement, because the drive gives off a high-pitched whine, similar to an RGB monitor's but far more shrill, that some people, in fact, cannot hear. But apparently, I have a high hearing range, and it irritates the daylights out of me to sit in front of the PC.
Then one day late this past summer, a certain A4000T came along. I was right at the end of a summer-long headache of trying to upgrade my PC (the big source of problems) and making some modifications to the old A500/A530 system (not too bad). Let's just say, when I turned on the A4000T, well...I wasn't sure I had turned it on! The lights came on, but I didn't really hear anything. Even once Workbench had loaded, I didn't quite believe what I heard/saw before me.
The only sound one hears from the A4000T most of the time is the very soft "whoosh" of a cooling fan. And the hard disk, a Quantum Fireball, is unbelievably quiet. As if on a roll, the machine also has quiet floppy drives, and "no-click" programs work to completion on them (unlike with my A500's internal drive, the sound of which was only reduced to a more faint click).
If I haven't made it clear, I'm very pleased with this aspect of the A4000T. I suppose I might say it's "aurally unobtrusive." All in all, it's nice to have a machine that simply doesn't sit there and annoy me, either by way of a loud fan, whining disk, or hard disk with table-saw-envy. Having a quiet system is even nicer in my situation, because my machine is on all the time, and it's only a few feet from where I sleep.
Sometimes, it's almost as if I can hear the electrons flowing through the circuits...
Well...not really -- but the A4000T definitely is quiet!