Case or no case?

Enclosures and acoustic damping to help quiet them.

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Case or no case?

Post by Rotten » Fri Oct 30, 2009 8:45 am

I've been wondering. If the goal is a silent PC, why even have a case?

The last months I've been running a rig that soon will be my studio rig (for recording sound). The only thing that makes any noise to speak of is my HDD. This will be replaced by a SSD drive in a couple of months, making the only fans running the one in my PSU (Corsair TX650) and a Noctua 120mm on my Thermalright HR-01 (running at the lowest RPM possible). This is pretty much inaudible without a case, and I'm wondering, do I really need a case?

The alternative, for anyone wondering, is the Bzerk Acryl "case". I can't like to it because of the silly "3 posts before URL" thing. Google it, and you'll find images of it.

With a case, I will have to add fans to my setup, not to mention I have to put the motherboard vertical, and I don't like having large coolers hanging off the PCB, warping it.

I mean, I don't like most cases. Sure, I've had a few Lian Li cases with padding that have been alright, but they still have fans in them that I dislike. Is it really worth it?

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Post by Fëanor » Fri Oct 30, 2009 9:10 am

A case with airflow will keep components cooler than an open case. It also protects them. Also, personally I think that the open-style cases (like the "Bzerk" case or the Antec skeleton case) look terrible (I prefer a clean look).

If you moved the Noctua 120mm on the case near the CPU, then the HR-01 would probably still do a fine job. That way you wouldn't even need to add fans. I'm assuming you're running integrated video since I can't imagine most passively cooled video cards being okay in an open case.

Who says the motherboard has to be vertical? There are plenty of horizontal cases. As long as you don't block too much airflow most vertical cases can be set on their side, too.

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Post by Rotten » Fri Oct 30, 2009 9:20 am

Protection: non-issue.
Looks: non-issue (ie. it looks better than 90% of the cases out there, imho).

Do you have any specific cases in mind that has a horizontal design, and has an useable air-flow with just the 120mm on very low RPM (or a 140mm) that doesn't cost an arm and a leg?

BTW, the video card is a ATI 3450, that's also a non-issue. If I was running anything hotter, I'd use third party and set up a low RPM fan on it.

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Post by Olle P » Tue Nov 03, 2009 7:03 am

Rotten wrote:Protection: non-issue.
In a studio for sound recordings I'd say that protection is very much an issue!

Protection from:
- Dust.
- Mechanical interference.
- Liquids. (Coffee, beer, water, soda and what else might be present.)
- ESD.
- EMC. (The computer electrically influence and being influenced by the other electrical equipment nearby.)


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Post by MikeC » Tue Nov 03, 2009 8:06 am

There can actually a bit of acoustic benefit to running w/o a case -- no cavity air resonance. This is not audible all the time: When you have very loud components, it's also loud, but tends to be perceived as part and parcel of the noise. When you have much quieter components, then it can be perceived more separately, as a kind of "mmmmmmmm" caused mostly by vibrations <300Hz, spec. the HDDs. Fans can do it too, particularly a fan that's semi enclosed, as in the PSU. Subtle but there.

I have to agree with Olle P that there are risks.

It sounds like Rotten has been running the system w/o a case already, tho, and if he doesn't have audio/EMC issues and is OK with the other obvious risks....

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Post by Rotten » Tue Nov 03, 2009 8:28 am

Yeah, like I said, it's a non-issue.

I think I'll go with this setup, unless I find the perfect case, and I'm guessing I won't.

Can't wait to get the SSD's. Close to total silence.

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Post by Rebellious » Tue Nov 03, 2009 2:52 pm

I feel the same about furniture and decor in my house, I'd rather have it empty than fill it with ugly things. And most cases are ugly, but there comes a day when you have to vacuum...

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Post by Mr Evil » Tue Nov 03, 2009 6:33 pm

Olle P wrote:Protection from:
- Dust.
Dust. It gets everywhere and it's really hard to get it off of computer parts because of all the little fiddly bits.

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