difficult to decide...
I have a Lian LI A05-NB, which uses very thin aluminium, so i know the R3 or Solo II will beat it in noise levels, but it's still very hard to choose.
I'm leaning towards the R3, but i don't know... Anyone want to convince me the Solo II is wroth going for?
Noise is key, but i do run a 6970, so got to think about temps here.
This is something I've considered, so I did a quick comparison of the specs. The Solo II is roughly double the weight but not much bigger in volume, whereas the R3 would triple the weight and introduce a noticeable increase in volume. Depending on where you keep your case and how often you move it, that could already be reason enough to choose the Solo II over the R3, unless you absolutely need the extra space and mounting points of the R3 - or want your case in a colour other than black. I like mine smaller for easier regular cleaning.
If size or colour are not reason enough, we can move on to user ergonomy.
Outside, the R3 has the Solo II beat: the ports and power button are on top for comfortable reach at floor level and the filters can all be accessed externally. If only the door could cover the LED(s)...
Inside it's a toss-up: the R3 has more moving parts per se, but the installation customisation and cable management options can make up for it. The Solo II is more straightforward in layout and air path, but doesn't feature as many options for cable management and has a trickier access for the 3.5" bays. Solo II's HDD suspension could be a nice perk to have if you use noisy HDDs. The PSU mounting is up to personal preference, but the Solo II favours compatibility and passive PSUs in my eyes, whereas the R3 is better for any reinstallations or bigger PSUs - just make sure your cables (ATX) are long enough for the R3. The Solo II is more appealing for simpler and smaller installations, whereas the R3 can accommodate most if not all configurations, but both are very clever with no major shortfalls.
As both cases have good basic ergonomy and if these differences in features are not argument enough, we only have your original criterion and the reason we're all here for: silence.
Assuming similar performance to the R2 (from the SPCR review of the R3
), the R3 and Solo II are a close match overall. Whereas neither seems to clearly top the other in the SPCR reviews - in other words they are as good as they come in their category - both have their unique thermal and acoustic advantages. The R3 features lots of ventilation, a front door and removable covers for the intake fans, which may give an edge in thermal performance but compromise acoustics, whereas the Solo II can better accommodate a passive PSU and features built-in HDD suspension for improved silence. The R3's ventilation leaves more room for experimentation, but is also problematic: the front intake is restricted by the huge sideways HDD cage and the rear bottom is a hotspot if the GPU dumps exhaust in the case. This may be made moot by the side intake, but this introduces yet another path and source for noise. The Solo II is more contained noisewise, yet still has good cooling capability.
If I were to sum these findings up and exaggerate slightly, the R3 would be ideal for double GPUs and multiple RAID arrays, special scenarios where you'll want the ventilation and mounting points for sure, no question. It will even take your huge kilowatt PSU and hide all the cables. However, if you are after the ultimate quiet solution and run a single GPU - from the looks of it any GPU
- with no more than three HDDs/SSDs, the Solo II is the better option in my eyes. Its features are geared towards ultimate silence, yet its cooling efficiency remains high and it can thus accommodate most single-card builds without a sweat. The price difference where I am is minute, and if looks don't matter much to you, the Solo II could very well be the better choice in typical scenarios. It's even easier to live with over a longer period of time thanks to taking up less space and weighing much less than the R3.
tl;dr - Solo II for ultimate silence and easy living, R3 for dual-GPU/multi-RAID behemoths and/or if you want more colours.