Quiet E-ATX Case for Music Studio

Enclosures and acoustic damping to help quiet them.

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Trailerman
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Quiet E-ATX Case for Music Studio

Post by Trailerman » Tue Jun 30, 2009 9:36 am

Hi - I wondered if I could beg some help.

I was wondering what the current thinking was on the best (quietest) E-ATX case. I'm spec'ing a new dual Xeon machine for our music studio, and the case which is being recommended, although it looks great is a little large for the space available:

http://www.coolermaster-usa.com/product ... ct_id=2870

Is anyone aware of another similarly quiet E-ATX case, preferably with large, slow fans (the case above has 230mm fans), but which is perhaps a little less gargantuum? It needs plenty of space and cooling as I think the proposed CPU coolers are passive, but I'm hoping there might be a slightly smaller alternative available.

Many thanks for any help or recommendations.

Jules
http://www.trailermen.com

LodeHacker
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Post by LodeHacker » Tue Jun 30, 2009 10:02 am

Hello!

It's an honour to meet you and I'll be glad to help! I have my own "Treenikämppä" (poor man's studio :P ) and at my Treenikämppä we have a dual Xeon system housed in this case: http://www.lian-li.com/v2/en/product/pr ... s_index=61

I'm sure it'll line up nicely next to Pro Tools HD equipment :mrgreen:
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Trailerman
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Post by Trailerman » Tue Jun 30, 2009 11:24 pm

Many thanks Lodehacker.

I've added that and a couple of other LIan-Li case to a short list from research around the web.

The cases that seem to be possibilities are the Lian-li V2110 and V1110, Silverstone TJ10 and Raven, and the Lian-li PC-A20B, although a couple of those are also on the large side.

Can I ask how quiet you find the V2110, and if you have any other comments about it?

Many thanks again

Jules
http://www.trailermen.com

LodeHacker
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Post by LodeHacker » Wed Jul 01, 2009 1:46 am

Let me say it straight: the V2110 is very easy to work with. Not only is it quiet, but it is easy to transport as well. On top of this the HDD mounting system is extremely secure and reduces vibrations to some point, but is still more bullet proof than HDD suspension. The case has plenty room inside to allow optimal airflow even with low amount of cool air. Our dual Xeon at the Treenikämppä has a single fan for intake, no other fans. We still haven't upgraded to SSDs, which makes the HDD RAID the noisiest part in the system. Still the overall noise output is inaudible in normal conditions making it a perfect companion for serious scoring or authoring of media content. I highly suggest the Lian Li V series. Construction is rock solid, aesthetics are top notch and overall the case is great for every use. I must say it again though, it is very easy to work with :P
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Trailerman
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Post by Trailerman » Wed Jul 01, 2009 1:51 am

That's extremely helpful. I'm going to take a look at the V2110 and V1110 and perhaps the PC-A20 today, and see if I can get a spec nailed.

I have used Lian-li cases in the past and found the aluminium very thin and not so gooud at keeping noise in, but it sounds like they've really improved build quality with these newer boxes.

Thanks again

Jules
http://www.trailermen.com

LodeHacker
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Post by LodeHacker » Wed Jul 01, 2009 2:03 am

Hi Jules,

Yes the aluminium construction is very solid. Also, the intake fan is huge (140mm) allowing for more air to be pushed at lower speeds; a perfect and important aspect for quiet computing.

Here's a review of the case: http://www.ultimatepc-reviews.co.uk/PDF ... eviews.pdf

Really special and well worth the money.
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Houd.ini
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Post by Houd.ini » Wed Jul 01, 2009 2:10 pm

I just got a Lian Li PC V-1110 that I will be assembling with motherboard et al tomorrow probably. It will be used for studio/ recording purposes also, although with Logic Express :)
I am a silence freak, so I find the bundled fans too noisy for my tastes, even with the "low" setting on the fan controller in the back of the case (I suspect the controller sets 12v/9v/7v for high/mid/low settings). Luckily, I anticipated that, so I ordered a few replacement fans together with the case; a 600 rpm 140mm fan that I will put in the front, and an 800 rpm 120mm fan that will replace the one on the support bar in the middle, perhaps undervolted (the stock one is far too noisy). The 120mm in the back sounded ok on the "low" setting, so I will probably use that, although I will remove the fan guards that look a little bit restricitve to me, and only use one less restrictive one on the outside.
I have two Lian Li cases from before, a Lian Li PC 6277A and smaller one that has gone out of production, cant' remember the model. I love the minimalistic aesthetics, but in general they are a little too flimsy and rattly. But as I am quite picky, I could not find any other cases that looked good enough, and at least the V1110 seems sturdier and less rattly than the two other models I have. It also comes with sound dampening foam, so together with the thicker panels I think I will be satisfied. With the door and low rpm 140mm fan in front, sound dampening foam and no holes in the top or side panels, the main noise source will be the back of the case, pointing away from me and about 2 metres away.

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Post by MikeC » Wed Jul 01, 2009 5:04 pm

The Silverstone Raven, despite its gaming appearance, is amazingly quiet and provides excellent cooling. Great fans. Two newer versions of this rotated mobo case (with ports on top instead of back) were shown at Computex; one is a more conventional understated Silverstone box. The Antec P193 is also a contender. All the features of the P183 w/ EATX mobo support. Heavy steel and plastic/aluminum composite panels.
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Trailerman
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Post by Trailerman » Thu Jul 02, 2009 12:03 am

Mike, that's extremely helpful.

The Raven was already on the list, but I'm going to check out the Antec P183. The Raven is very big and may not fit in the studio.

My system builder feels strongly that the Coolermaster ATCS 840 is the safest bet, primarily because the system will have two W5580 Quadcore Xeons at 3.2GHz which will need a lot of cooling. The ATCS looks like it has two massive 230mm fans and venting on the top of the box, which he feels is the most effective way to deliver ventilation wihtout introducing noise.

The Silverstone Kublia was the original choice, when we were using an ATX/i7 configuration, but we felt it might not handle the dual Xeon setup quite so well.

We're going to get this decision nailed today so the build can start, and as soon as we have some results I'll post back here.

This is a fantastic resource by the way.

Thanks again

Jules
http://www.trailermen.com

EsaT
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Post by EsaT » Thu Jul 02, 2009 5:46 am

Trailerman wrote:will have two W5580 Quadcore Xeons at 3.2GHz which will need a lot of cooling.
Total amount of heat produced isn't any higher than in typical gaming PC and high end gaming PCs leave that far behind into dust cloud in heat output.
So don't worry much about that getting hot in todays cases.

MikeC wrote:The Antec P193 is also a contender.
And very strong one for "drop parts in" quiet case.
Such vibration resisting/noise containing panel construction isn't found on elsewhere.
Houd.ini wrote:I love the minimalistic aesthetics, but in general they are a little too flimsy and rattly.
Bitumen/vinyl mat is easy way to take away that problem caused by lightness of aluminium.
it also comes with sound dampening foam
That foam is that same generic far too light, way too thin and has too low a density Akasa/Spire etc crap which is just in the way of installing some actually working stuff.
So just another bogus feature of case manufacturers.
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jimmyzaas
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Post by jimmyzaas » Thu Jul 02, 2009 6:45 pm

MikeC wrote:The Silverstone Raven, despite its gaming appearance, is amazingly quiet and provides excellent cooling. Great fans. Two newer versions of this rotated mobo case (with ports on top instead of back) were shown at Computex; one is a more conventional understated Silverstone box. The Antec P193 is also a contender. All the features of the P183 w/ EATX mobo support. Heavy steel and plastic/aluminum composite panels.
It's a shame they changed the appearance completely with the Raven 2. All I really wanted was more ports in the front and a front door that slides without noise. An esata port in this day and age would be a nice addition.

I loved the look of the original Raven. Raven 2 just looks like any other case. Internally, a winner.. very interesting. For 150 bucks, I might very well pick one up. Just wish it had more edge to it like the original.

ntavlas
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Post by ntavlas » Thu Jul 02, 2009 10:06 pm

I agree that the antec p1x2 series are hard to beat.
A Lian Li could do the job but it would need some work before it offers comparable results to the Antec. Not sure about cases with bigger fans as most big fans remain audible even at the lowest voltage possible.

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Post by MikeC » Fri Jul 03, 2009 12:09 am

ntavlas wrote: Not sure about cases with bigger fans as most big fans remain audible even at the lowest voltage possible.
Except the recent Silverstones we reviewed -- their big fans undevolt well and are among the quietest we've measured/heard -- never mind the size. In both the Raven and the FT01, the 120mm fan was clearly more bothersome noise-wise than the big fans.
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Trailerman
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Post by Trailerman » Fri Jul 03, 2009 2:24 am

I don't think bigger fans means more noise at all.

We have a Dell Precision 8core Xeon box here, and although I'm not a huge Dell fan, it is super quiet. It uses one massive cooling fan and clever internal layout, and because the fan spins at low RPM you never get that penetrating higher-pitched sound that smaller fans make when they're spinning fast. In fact it's as close to silent as any system I've heard - and that's with no specific noise treatment.

The plan is to go with the Coolermaster box and to replace all the 120mm fans with quieter Noctura alternatives, and use voltage reducers to keep the speeds low.

I'll report further once it's built.

Thanks again for all the help and suggestions.

Jules

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