Silent Case for 9 Drives

Enclosures and acoustic damping to help quiet them.

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andyb
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Silent Case for 9 Drives

Post by andyb » Tue Mar 18, 2008 12:50 pm

My requirements are very simple.

Not too expensive (as I will possibly end up buying quieter fans and other "stuff").

Not hideously ugly (I havent figured out a way of hiding it yet).

9x 3.5" drives that are soft mounted.

ATX (micro is too small for the mobo that will be used, eATX is OK but not a requirement).

Reasonable airflow accross all drives (ideally via 120mm fans in the front of the case), the rest of the system wont really need any specific airflow as it is going to be used as a server and the power requirements (heat) is going to be quite low for the rest of the system.

--------------------

I have looked at many cases, and many have been rejected stright away for a variety of reasons, but mostly because of a lack of soft mounting facilities or the lack of space for drives, or that I would have to do a lot of modding to achieve my goals.

I am not going to reject the idea that I might have to do some modding or buy additional parts to make an otherwise noisy case silent, I am open to ideas on this, but I am not a boy racer (I dont like polishing turds).

My shortlist of cases so far are the following:

Antec Gaming 900.
Antec xxxxx 1200 (if it is ever released).
Coolermaster (various) that have many 5.25" drive bays.

The best choice would be the Antec xxxxx 1200 as it has space for future expansion - but it is not available currently.

The best of the rest, the Antec 900 wins on price (£69 inc VAT) and huge holes at the back and top (read on for details), Various coolermaster products win on upgradability (more drive bays) but the CM product that really stands out is the original Stacker (STC-T01) as it isnt the bastard ugly offspring of Mick Jagger and Jocelyn Wildenstein (unlike some of the Stacker range).

Below I will explain (using the Antec 900) my ideas.

Antec Gaming 900 - it has the obvious space for 9 x 5.25" drives which means that with the aid of elastic or other soft mounting options it has the capacity to meet my demands. It is also capable of having 3x 120mm fans in the front which would keep the drives perfectly cool. I would remove the rest of the fans from the system and run the case with positive pressure using intake filters - the enormous opening for air to escape would be ideal for a possitive pressure setup. The drawback to this idea is that I would have to either buy 8x "Scythe Drive Stabilizers" (or something similar to reduce vibrations, or use elastic.

http://www.quietpc.com/gb-en-gbp/produc ... stabiliser

The drive stabilizers even if abvailable at £ 5 each adds a noticable figure to the cost of the system.

Elastic is dirt cheap, but it would have to be very reliable as a single breakage could cause mass devestation and the loss of TB's of data :shock: but I am open to suggestions.

I am open to other options and suggestions for cases, mounting systems and anything else that the people of SPCR can suggest.


Kind regards Andy

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Post by Shaman » Tue Mar 18, 2008 3:07 pm

Have you thought of putting the machine in the basement or in some room in your house where noise isn't an issue? That would be alot easier than trying to suspend 9 hard drives. (and silent!)

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Post by andyb » Tue Mar 18, 2008 4:36 pm

I most certainly have, but I dont have anywhere to put it - silencing a server is a damned lot cheaper than buying a bigger house to put a noisy server into :)


Andy

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Post by thejamppa » Wed Mar 19, 2008 7:55 am

Coolermaster Stacker would be rather good. With 12 5,25" you can easily house 9 HDD's. And old stacker prices have come down quite bit.

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Post by jhhoffma » Wed Mar 19, 2008 8:38 am

andyb wrote:I most certainly have, but I dont have anywhere to put it
Not even a small space to tuck it away in a closet?

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Post by andyb » Thu Mar 20, 2008 3:21 am

Coolermaster Stacker would be rather good. With 12 5,25" you can easily house 9 HDD's. And old stacker prices have come down quite bit.
The STC-T01 costs £10 more than the Antec 900, but is not so well suited to a possitive pressure environment, but it is certaily on the list.

More importantly, how do I keep all of those drives from making the chassis vibrate.???
Not even a small space to tuck it away in a closet?
Unfortunately I dont have anywhere to put it except in the corner of my computer room, it will be 6ft away from me when I am using my main PC, so it is going to have to be quiet.

The fans wont be an issue, 3x <800 rpm fans + a very slow running CPU fan just wont be heard, the drives will be Samsungs, and wont be specifically audable, but vibrations are a very annoying kind of noise, so I am going to have to keep the drives from making any kind of vibrational noises and transmitting it to the case.

BTW, does anyone know if the Antec 900 or the STC-T01 have any kind of design flaws that might be a deal breaker for me.


Andy

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Post by andyb » Thu Mar 20, 2008 10:48 am

UPDATE

After much googling and review reading I have found out a couple of deal breakers and deal makers.

As far as the breakers are concerned, the Coolermaster Stackers front mounted fans can not be mounted on their own as the are affixed to the 4-in-3 drive units that I wont be using as they will be too loud for my needs.

The mounting screw holes also may not be standard, meaning that I might not be able to use Scythe Hard Disk Stabiliser II's in the chassis.

The Antec 900 appears to be more flexible in that the front fans can be used in conjunction with the Hard Disk Stabiliser II's which means that I wont have so much added expence to buy Scythe Kama Bays as well.


Andy

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Post by MikeC » Thu Mar 20, 2008 11:59 am

That HDD stabilizer?

Forget about it -- guaranteed not to work. None of those rubber plugs work, they are ALL way too hard.

You would not believe the enormous collection of useless HDD "silencing" samples I have on hand. Why do you think there are no reviews of such things at SPCR? You know that if it works even somewhat, we'll be into reviewing it... but when the homebrew solution is so much better, easy and cheap, well....

Elastic is not only dirt cheap -- it is simply the best. You choose your own quality, tension, execution.

The trick to not letting them sag at all (over time) is to apply no or little tension. Use relatively thick clothing elastic cord, maybe 3mm diameter or larger. Use 3 loops across for each HDD, and don't apply much tension. It'll be years before you even have to check them -- and only if you are in a hot environment. Your cost is usually under $1/meter + your time.

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Post by andyb » Thu Mar 20, 2008 12:21 pm

Forget about it -- guaranteed not to work. None of those rubber plugs work, they are ALL way too hard.
Thanks for the response Mike, I will have a look at various peoples suspension methods to find one that is suitable for my needs,


Andy

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Post by thejamppa » Fri Mar 21, 2008 4:15 am

Sharkoon has some sub 80 €'s rebel 9-series with 9 meshed 5,25" front panels. Still suspending 9 HDD'sm ight be tricky. Maybe antec 1200 would be better?

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Post by aztec » Fri Mar 21, 2008 4:40 am

Chenbro SR107. Although it can only hold 8x HDs. You can add more if you mount on the 5.25" slots though.

Chenbro cases are top-notch from my experience and very silent at stock.

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Post by kogi » Fri Mar 21, 2008 5:40 am

Have a look at the new antec 300 and the CoolerMaster Centurion 590. Should be plenty of room to suspend drives

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Post by andyb » Fri Mar 21, 2008 12:05 pm

Thanks for the replies.

I have had a look at the Sharkoon cases, both the rebel 9 and 12, reviews are very scarce, but I did find a review of the rebel-9 which did not paint it in brilliant light (it faired well considering its cost).

But again the Rebel 9 has some flaws, some more of a problem than others.

Top mounted PSU (bottom would be ideal, as I am aiming for a positive pressure setup and I dont want the PSU to even approach warm.

Only one front 120mm fan mounting bracket which means that I would have to find a way to mount 2x 120mm fans in the front.

Much of the metal is razor sharp, which is far from ideal as suspension seems to be a must, I dont want rubber being cut (other cases might very well be like this and/or it might not be a real issue, I am new to suspension.

I wont be ruling this case out, but thre seem to be better options available to me.

I had already ruled chenbro out, as I have looked at all of the pictures of their cases and none of the drives are soft mounted and/or they dont have enough 5.25" drive bays.

The Antec 300 looked very interesting right up to the point of the hard drives, it has 3x 5.25" drive bays and 8x 3.5" hard mounted drive bays, this one is not going to be mine.

I have looked at the Centurion 590 and it appears to be interesting, I will look into that case as an option.

The Antec 1200 looks superb, but I dont know when it is going to be released - Antec often show cases off more than 12-months before they are available, my timescale for a new server is 2-3 months. If the 1200 looks like it will arrive soon I might just hang on for it.

Just like its little brother (the 900) the 1200 looks perfect for a positive pressure setup once the top and back fans are removed, or indeed just the back fans and the top hole blocked off so dust does not get in.

Thanks again for the suggestions, keep them coming, and feel free to dish-dirt on the Antec 900 and the original Stacker.


Andy

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Post by aimfox » Sun Mar 23, 2008 4:33 pm

9 drives, sounds like Cosmos 1000 will do the job

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Post by thejamppa » Thu Mar 27, 2008 12:27 pm

Nzxt Tempest might be intresting. It has place for 8 HDD's and 3 5,25" expansions ( 9th could be suspended there )

It's price is estimated 99$. Fans which include the case:
1x 120mm exhaust rear
2x 140mm fan top
1x 120mm on side panel
2x 120mm fan on front intake.

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Post by Wibla » Wed Apr 02, 2008 1:31 pm

The Stacker with 4in3 modules and Scythe S-FLEX fans at low speed behind the filters will not be noisy, your main issue will be vibration noise.

With the right disk drives this wont be a big issue.

With abit of work you could make your own softmounts, scrapping the current tool-less system in the stacker and fixing the suspension strings directly to the frame of the 5.25" bays :)

Mounting fans isnt -that- big an issue if you put your mind to it, you could also use kama bays with stock fans...

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Post by andyb » Wed Apr 02, 2008 3:33 pm

Thanks again for your help finding me a case.

I have looked at reviews of the Cosmos 1000 and I wasnt very impressed with its HDD cooling and HDD noise reduction, sorry to say that one is out.

The Stacker with 4-in-3 modules was my original plan (some months ago) but vibration is the main issue and I am far from a fan of WD - so thats out unless I use suspension...... read on.

The NZXT Tempest also looks interesting, but to be honest I am going to hold out for the Antec 1200.

The Antec 1200 when its released meets all of my demands out of the box, bar one - no standard way of keeping many HDD's quiet, but none of the other cases do either, this has an edge simply for the dust filters and an extra drive bay.

As suspension is very cheap and other pre-made options are far from perfect, all I need to do is to use some suitable elastic and put the thing together with minimal effort and modding needed.

I am after a possitive pressure case - this is perfect, it has dust filters on the front, a 200mm hole in the top, and a 120mm hole in the back and space for 12x HDD's should I need them, and the PSU is in the bottom with a supply of cool air.

All I now need to do now is wait, and save up some money.


Andy

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Post by VanWaGuy » Wed Apr 02, 2008 7:41 pm

MikeC, regarding your comment about the HDD stabilizer above, if you have a collection of items that do not pan out, why not do a quick summary of the names and very brief info? The positive reviews are great, but also helping folks avoid bad purchases is valuable too.

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Post by thejamppa » Thu Apr 03, 2008 10:27 am

Andyb: I so want to see your 1200-rig when its done. Remember to post pictures ASAP when you get done ^^

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Post by Cistron » Thu Apr 03, 2008 11:35 am

Forget about the Rebel9 if you want to suspend 9 drives. It sitting under my desk and even though it isn't tiny, it is still far too small for your plans. The Rebel12 seems to be good value for money though. It also accepts 140mm fans and one can buy another movable mounting frame for the front of the case.

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Post by walle » Thu Apr 03, 2008 1:36 pm

I went with the Chieftec WH-01 Miniserver (housing 6 harddrives) for my build, the only downside (IMO) was/is the position of the power supply, apart from that it’s great...also, it doesn’t look like a Swiss cheese. :)

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Post by andyb » Sun Apr 06, 2008 8:01 am

Hopefully the Antec 1200 wont be much longer.

Here is an official flyer.

http://www.antec.com/pdf/flyers/1200_flyer.pdf

Sweet :twisted:


Andy

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Post by nick705 » Sun Apr 06, 2008 1:40 pm

andyb wrote:Hopefully the Antec 1200 wont be much longer.

Here is an official flyer.

http://www.antec.com/pdf/flyers/1200_flyer.pdf

Sweet :twisted:


Andy
I think it's a butt-ugly bastard, but I suppose it's all in the eye of the beholder. :D

Have you not considered ye olde P182? You could have six drives in their designated spaces - OK, they're not suspended, but the grommets are pretty damn good, and you could suspend another three in the upper bays with a Kama Bay in front of them. The front door makes a *big* difference even with only a couple of drives in the lower bay - at a distance of about 1m, I can hear the two Samsungs in mine hissing faintly with the door open, but the sound disappears with it closed (no noticeable vibration noises either BTW). I really doubt if the open-front designs would be remotely tolerable with nine drives whizzing away constantly...

Cabling might be a bit, er, challenging, but it's definitely doable.

You could make it positive pressure easily enough, with two intake fans in the upper chamber, and provided the lower chamber is sealed off, the centre fan won't pull in air from anywhere except through the front filter (if you wanted, you could remount the fan at the front if you don't mind doing a bit of modding).

I reckon it's about the best you'll do from a quietness POV, and it'll certainly be better out-of-the-box than the "Swiss cheese" designs you're considering...

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Post by andyb » Sun Apr 06, 2008 1:54 pm

I think it's a butt-ugly bastard, but I suppose it's all in the eye of the beholder.
I think that the top is hideous, but the front looks fine to me, and yes your point about the P180/2 being quieter - I aggree that it probably would be.

I am going to put the case as far away from me as possible so I cant hear or see it if possible (looks are far from the top of the priority list for me).

RE 6 drives in a P180, I had problem when I had 4 HDD's in the PSU section, and I had to ramp up the fan speed of my Nexus to compensate. I doubt it was the extra ~20W of heat that caused the problem so much as the even more constricted space for airflow.

Antec could easily create a P180 based file server that is designed specifically to keep many many HDD's cool and quiet - I have a couple of designs should Antec need some help with the matter :lol: Makes the Titan look pathetic - only 6 HDD's - shameful :wink: My designs cater for 16 drives in a Titan sized case :)


Andy

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Post by mascotzel » Fri Apr 11, 2008 1:48 pm

antec 1200 review

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Post by mascotzel » Fri Apr 11, 2008 1:49 pm

http://www.hexus.net/content/item.php?item=12726

it surely doesn't seem silent,but neither are 9 HDD's,right?

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Post by xan_user » Fri Apr 11, 2008 2:01 pm


andyb
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Post by andyb » Mon Apr 14, 2008 3:53 pm

http://www.hexus.net/content/item.php?item=12726

it surely doesn't seem silent,but neither are 9 HDD's,right?
Thanks :P

And a very warm welcome to SPCR

Ive read the review and it is everything I was expecting, although I got very excited (sad arent I :roll: ) when for a moment I thought that the HDD caddy's used silicone grommets. The picture doesnt show that it doesnt, but the words say everything. Suspension it will be 8)


Andy

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Post by andyb » Tue Apr 15, 2008 5:21 am

Available soon (eBuyer are quoting 10-12 days) at a cost of £110 inc VAT (I expect it to drop to around £100 after a while).

http://www.ebuyer.com/product/143852

As is uses the same 120mm fans as the P180/2 and mini P180 which individually measure 22Db @ 1m, I would expect 3 of them to measure no more than 24Db @ 1m.

What would the equivalent Db be at 2m.??? I would guess 20-22Db, which is what the drives and PSU will weigh in at. All in all, the light from the LED's in the fans will probably be more disturbing than the noise signature.


Andy

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Post by Tsorovan » Thu Apr 17, 2008 10:57 am

I wonder if you can put some of those 5-in-3 or 4-in-3 modules in this case... if so, it'll be really good for the price (it's popped up in online store databases here and there already). If I understand it correctly, it's doing 3-in-3, yes?

Looking to upgrade my server case, and I'm very close to buying a Lian-Li PC-A70B (10 drives out-of-the-box), but holding out for this one might not be a stupid thing to do since it'll have better airflow over the drives than the Lian-Li.

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