CPU fan noise level

It’s all very well having a PC with a variable speed fan that speeds up when the CPU is under high load, but the obvious problem with that is the noise level tend to annoy you very quickly.  And at night, this level of noise might just wake you neighbour!
Yes, I agree when you initially use the PC after rebooting / starting up the fan is very quite and barely audible, but unfortunately, once you start using the PC for extended periods of time, the idle speed of the fan seems to increase to a point where it will start to annoy you…  I’m not sure if you also experience this problem but this is definitely something I wish something can be done about it (without buying new hardware).
(Yes, I’ve already looked at the BIOS and also made sure there’s a nice airflow going in and out of the PC…)
So basically, my 4 year old PC (P4 1.8GHz) with a fixed speed fan is a hell lot more quieter on average…  Just another example where simpler (and older) technology is sometimes better…

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