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Old 01-07-2013, 11:44 AM   #1
Trinth
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Default Looking For A New Case. Best Noise To Cooling Ratio?

Hi, looking for a new case to replace my Lancool K62. I want to get something a bit more on the quiet route, so I'm looking for a better balance between the two than what I have. I understand this purchase is very much a "side-grade" but I am still looking for the best I can get within realistic spending amounts. $200 for a case is absolutely fine if a near perfect one would exist, but I haven't found any yet that suit my ideas. Mid tower is heavily preferred.


Fractal Design - Define R4
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] 6811352021
Good aesthetics, good performance balance; P280 and Bitfenix Ghost beat it in most reviews it seems?

Bitfenix - Ghost
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] 6811345019
Good aesthetics, good performance balance.

Antec - Solo II
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] 6811129177
Good aesthetics, worst cooling performance, best quiet performance; Probably too much down the silent route?

Antec - P280
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] 9&Tpk=P280
Meh aesthetics, best performance balance?

Looking for opinions on any or all cases. None of my hardware will be changing except possibly lowering my CPU clock a bit to make it work during the summer for a 24/7 permanent solution as a whole.




~ Intel Sandy Bridge 2600k @4.5GHz - ASRock Extreme4 Z77 - Patriot Viper Xtreme 2x4GB DDR3 @1600MHz - Gigabyte Windforce GTX 670 - Samsung 830 SSD - Asus Xonar Essence STX - Antec TPQ 850w - TR Venomous X w/ Scythe GT AP-14 - Lancool K62 ~

Last edited by Trinth; 01-08-2013 at 06:53 PM. Reason: Knocked off a few choices from my list and added thoughts/reasoning for the remainder.
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Old 01-07-2013, 12:29 PM   #2
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I can't speak for the other cases, but I have a Define R4 and found it to be well-made. It does a very good job at muffling high-pitched noise like coil whine (except out the back, but I don't know of any case that has sound damping on the back). Low-pitched and broadband noise, like CD drive noise I guess (I don't have any HDDs or loud fans to compare) is significantly reduced, but the sound dampening isn't magic or anything. It will take a near-silent build and make it silent, but it probably won't make a loud build quiet.

My previous case was a $20 piece of garbage, but it had a fairly open airflow structure (similar to your Lancool, I guess, except much crappier build quality) and I did observe a modest 3-5C rise in temps with the new case. I did move to a hybrid fanless PSU, though, so that might have something to do with it. In any case (pun not intended) I'm cooling about 300W worth of parts (overclocked Thuban hexacore CPU + midrange GPU) with only a pair of ~800 RPM case fans and a CPU fan (GPU and PSU are passively cooled). There are plenty of other places to stick fans if you want to, but if you take all the covers off and put a bunch of fans on it, it kind of defeats the point of a silent case. In particular with coil whine, taking one of the top or side fan-hole-covers off makes a huge difference in the amount of noise reduction created by the case.

The stock fans are in kind of an awkward spot, because they're not spectacular in the airflow department, but they're not quite quiet enough to make me happy, with a little ticking noise at lower voltage and too much airflow noise at full speed. If you have a blower-type GPU you may not even notice them, though. Especially on 5V--it does have a fan "controller" switch that gives you 12V, 7V, or 5V. I say "controller" in quotes because it's just a switch to choose between the voltages the PSU puts out, but it's still kind of handy.

One final note: Make sure you check dimensions, because the Define R4 is rather large. It definitely surprised me a bit when I got it.
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Old 01-07-2013, 01:18 PM   #3
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Tom's hardware did testing on the best noise/cooling ratio silent cases recently. They ended up recommending Define R4.

http://www.tomshardware.co.uk/lian-l...-32596-17.html

Define R4 Titanium Grey Windowed is just $90 on newegg, I'd grab that one

Antec P280 ($93) is another great choice, Antec is probably no.1 in steel case build quality, but Define R4 has a better set of features IMO
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Old 01-07-2013, 02:22 PM   #4
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What graphics card(s) are you using? What drives?

It is a lot easier to make a computer quiet that doesn't need noisy cooling, versus making noise that is already generated to be quieter.

By this I mean you may be able to get incredible gains (losses?) in noise output by just dialing back your clock speeds a hair for reduced voltages, and then you don't need all the noisy fans. For instance I've noticed some socket 1155 CPUs start needing extra voltage around 4.2-4.3GHz. If your CPU is like that, maybe dropping a few hundred MHz until you are able to run at stock voltage will allow you to still be significantly overclocked while being able to reduce the airflow necessary to keep the overclock.
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Old 01-07-2013, 03:41 PM   #5
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@lehtv
How did I miss that..? I'm on Tom's almost every day. Thanks for that. This makes the Antec 280 looks VERY attractive compared to the other cases for me.

@Zap
I had thought of toning my clocks down but I'm really satisfied where my hardware is at right now. Only my 2600k is OCed to 4.5GHz under a venomous X with a scythe GT 1450 on top. My gigabyte windforce 670 is stock, possibly overclocking to max some day with stock volts only. I run a Samsung 830 SSD.

Any numbers comparing P280 vs Solo II?

Last edited by Trinth; 01-07-2013 at 08:43 PM.
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Old 01-08-2013, 06:40 PM   #6
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Knocked off a few choices from my list and added thoughts/reasoning for the remainder.
Fractal R4s looks, Bitfenix's overall everything, P280's performance, or going off the deep end with the Solo II is where I seem to be at right now in thoughts.
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Old 01-08-2013, 09:12 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Trinth View Post
Hi, looking for a new case to replace my Lancool K62. I want to get something a bit more on the quiet route, so I'm looking for a better balance between the two than what I have. I understand this purchase is very much a "side-grade" but I am still looking for the best I can get within realistic spending amounts. $200 for a case is absolutely fine if a near perfect one would exist, but I haven't found any yet that suit my ideas. Mid tower is heavily preferred.


Fractal Design - Define R4
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] 6811352021
Good aesthetics, good performance balance; P280 and Bitfenix Ghost beat it in most reviews it seems?

Bitfenix - Ghost
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] 6811345019
Good aesthetics, good performance balance.

Antec - Solo II
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] 6811129177
Good aesthetics, worst cooling performance, best quiet performance; Probably too much down the silent route?

Antec - P280
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] 9&Tpk=P280
Meh aesthetics, best performance balance?

Looking for opinions on any or all cases. None of my hardware will be changing except possibly lowering my CPU clock a bit to make it work during the summer for a 24/7 permanent solution as a whole.




~ Intel Sandy Bridge 2600k @4.5GHz - ASRock Extreme4 Z77 - Patriot Viper Xtreme 2x4GB DDR3 @1600MHz - Gigabyte Windforce GTX 670 - Samsung 830 SSD - Asus Xonar Essence STX - Antec TPQ 850w - TR Venomous X w/ Scythe GT AP-14 - Lancool K62 ~
If you don't mind headphones, try getting a good pair of those instead, to cut down on fan noise.
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Old 01-08-2013, 09:16 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blastingcap View Post
If you don't mind headphones, try getting a good pair of those instead, to cut down on fan noise.
Have a pair of HD598s, to be honest this is more of "because I haven't tried it yet" sort of thing and I have some money to throw away (not enough to put into a WC custom loop, though).

Last edited by Trinth; 01-08-2013 at 09:18 PM.
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Old 01-09-2013, 11:21 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zap View Post
It is a lot easier to make a computer quiet that doesn't need noisy cooling, versus making noise that is already generated to be quieter.
Totally agreed with this. This time around I loaded my case up with large fans that were reviewed to be quiet (Scythe Slipstreams), and splurged on a fan speed controller. I set them all at an RPM just below where I can hear them. The CPU cooler runs off PWM but everything else is through the controller. Even at low speeds, the fans are big enough and there's enough of them that I'm moving a pretty good amount of air through the case. While it's not technically silent, realistically from a few feet away I can't hear it at all. I love it.

Doing a quick Google search on your case, my suggestion would be to keep it and instead of replacing it get 4 new fans and a fan speed controller instead. You may find you don't even need new fans.

After that if you still have noise, have a look at a different CPU cooler and / or video card fan setup.
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Old 01-09-2013, 12:52 PM   #10
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tracerbullet - can you share the exact Scythe fans you're using and the RPM or voltage they're set to? thanks
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Old 01-09-2013, 02:38 PM   #11
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Sure thing. I have these fans: Scythe Slip Stream 120mm 1200 RPM (SY1225SL12M)

Mostly because of this review: Fan Roundup #5: Attack of the 120 Scythes

Using this fan controller: BitFenix Recon Fan Controller

They are labeled as 1200RPM fans, and I am running them at 700 RPM. At 900 I could hear them, nothing bothersome but I could clearly hear them. At 800 I was on the fence about it. At 700 I definitely can't at all. Well not from a few feet away w/ the PC under the desk.
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Old 01-09-2013, 03:12 PM   #12
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Ah, same ones as the PWM fan on Scythe Mugen 2. Great performance per dBa on a heat sink, and seems like they're nice case fans as well. I had the PC on my desk next to me and could hear the single fan at 700RPM but not at 500-400 RPM.
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Old 01-11-2013, 08:12 PM   #13
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The fractal r4 is on a combo deal with the seasonic 520w fanless platinum. SPCR has a further $20 off code. can a 520w fanless run this system? Would I be cutting corners too close? I will absolutely run my CPU overclocked on stock volts for this to happen if so. What about overheating under my 670? I posted in the PSU forums with much more details on plans with this rig and what I want out of it in the future if more information is needed.
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Old 01-12-2013, 03:09 AM   #14
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Can you link that combo please, and what's the $20 off code? thanks

Seasonic 520W, in fact any good quality 500W unit, will run your system fine. With a fanless unit under the GPU, I'd check how the temps react first and if needed, I'd install a slow RPM 140mm side panel exhaust
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Old 01-12-2013, 04:55 AM   #15
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http://www.silentpcreview.com/news1328.html
Ah, it is only $20 total off for the combo. The way they worded it "for SPCR audiences" made it sound like both of them had codes instead of just the PSU. Regardless, I'd like to pick these up if my system for sure won't overheat it. ill have my R4 with the two extra top exhaust and second front intake most likely, no side or bottom fan.
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