Looking for Advice on Case Options

Enclosures and acoustic damping to help quiet them.

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figment
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Looking for Advice on Case Options

Post by figment » Fri Jan 14, 2011 8:37 am

In April I hope to begin a new gaming/development build.

I'm looking for a good case to house an i7-2600K and mid-high graphics card (with luck: GTX-570) for about six years of life (3 years as gaming/development, 3 years as Linux server/development). It will be one of two boxes which sit in my living room, so keeping it quiet (not silent) is a priority. Also, as strange as it is to say this, I need/want it to be compatible with our cats.

Restrictions:
  • ATX form factor
  • No larger than the Antec P18x series
  • Available to purchase in the US


Preferences:
  • PSU on the bottom
  • Power/Reset button on front/behind door
  • Wire routing space behind motherboard


The options I've looked at now:

Antec P183 : Assuming that the new version is available (or that I can still find old stock of the previous version), this is an easy choice. My current gaming box is in a P182 and I found it to be a nice case. It's quiet, but a little warm. However, I'm not planning on doing huge overclocks, so its okay if it gets a little warm. If I go with this case, then it will probably be paired with the CP-850, despite the fact that its overkill for the system.

Fractal Design Define R3 : As much as I'd like the extra intake of the Define XL, it may be too large. The R3 seems almost as good, but I'm still unsure if there is much to be gained by using it instead of the P183.

Lancool K62/K7 : These are both nice looking cases which claim to reduce noise, but they both have open grills at the front of the case. This might be an improvement over the P182 for temperatures, but can they still be quiet?

Silverstone Fortress FT01 : This is probably the most expensive case I've considered, and while its got the SPCR seal of approval, I don't know if its worth the cash to buy a case with a non-replaceable front fan and similar airflow characteristics of cheaper cases.

Is there some other option I'm not considering?

On Cats: Our cats currently love my P182 as it houses a Core2 Quad and an 8800GTS G92, gets rather warm and has a blowhole vent on top. They will often take naps on top of it, especially while I'm playing games. Beyond being larger than I can fit into the space, this makes cases like the Fortress II and the Raven a bad choice, as a napping kitty would block most of the airflow out of the case. They also seem to enjoy hitting the power switch on my Linux box which is in a Sonata case with the PSU main power switch sitting close to the top of the case. I suspect that if the case power/reset button was on the top of the case (as with some Lian Li and Fractal Design cases), I might get some feline-based shutdowns as well.

quest_for_silence
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Re: Looking for Advice on Case Options

Post by quest_for_silence » Fri Jan 14, 2011 9:42 am

Worthy competitor might be the Corsair Obsidian 650D: it will hit the shelves in April, MSRP $199, 0.8 inches larger than the P183 V3.

The otherwise amazing Silverstone might be not the best for a GTX570.
Regards,
Luca

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figment
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Re: Looking for Advice on Case Options

Post by figment » Fri Jan 14, 2011 10:02 am

quest_for_silence wrote:Worthy competitor might be the Corsair Obsidian 650D: it will hit the shelves in April, MSRP $199, 0.8 inches larger than the P183 V3.
Holy crap. Is there anything about that case that isn't great? I suppose we don't know acoustic performance yet, but how bad could it be? In my mind, this sort of destroys the FT01's chances, as this would be everything the FT01 is, but with a number of improvements.

April, huh. Well, I was planning to wait that long, anyway. I wonder what the chances that $199 MSRP turns into $169 actual retail price.
quest_for_silence wrote:The otherwise amazing Silverstone might be not the best for a GTX570.
Agreed, that was why I've only considered the FT01, which (from what I remember) doesn't have the 90 degree rotation of the FT02 and Raven.

PartEleven
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Re: Looking for Advice on Case Options

Post by PartEleven » Fri Jan 14, 2011 12:16 pm

Pretty sure that little bit about heat pipes needing the proper orientation is a myth. Heat pipes are not affected by gravity to any significant degree that it would reduce performance.

figment
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Re: Looking for Advice on Case Options

Post by figment » Fri Jan 14, 2011 12:52 pm

PartEleven wrote:Pretty sure that little bit about heat pipes needing the proper orientation is a myth.
From what I've heard, its partially valid in that some very early types of heatpipes were affected by orientation, but none of the heatpipes on the market now (or even within the last 3-5 years) have that issue.

I said I agreed, but in truth I was just trying to avoid that debate, since even if it were true, it wouldn't affect the FT01.

quest_for_silence
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Re: Looking for Advice on Case Options

Post by quest_for_silence » Fri Jan 14, 2011 1:50 pm

PartEleven wrote:Pretty sure that little bit about heat pipes needing the proper orientation is a myth. Heat pipes are not affected by gravity to any significant degree that it would reduce performance.
It's a bit OT, however, those information are supplied by several vendors: the very same Silverstone about the Raven/Fortress, check their site, Prolimatech, I think about their VGA cooler, and even Scythe advise against it on the manual of my Scythe Kabuto (even on their site, I guess).
So I mean it isn't pretty sure it's just a myth.

But as being stated that's fully OT, and moreover as the above mentioned FT-01 has not an rotated motherboard tray, please let's give an end to this argument.
Regards,
Luca

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whispercat
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Re: Looking for Advice on Case Options

Post by whispercat » Sat Jan 15, 2011 4:52 pm

figment wrote:
On Cats: Our cats currently love my P182 as it houses a Core2 Quad and an 8800GTS G92, gets rather warm and has a blowhole vent on top. They will often take naps on top of it, especially while I'm playing games. Beyond being larger than I can fit into the space, this makes cases like the Fortress II and the Raven a bad choice, as a napping kitty would block most of the airflow out of the case. They also seem to enjoy hitting the power switch on my Linux box which is in a Sonata case with the PSU main power switch sitting close to the top of the case. I suspect that if the case power/reset button was on the top of the case (as with some Lian Li and Fractal Design cases), I might get some feline-based shutdowns as well.
Yes but just think of your kitty as helping to silence the fan noise coming from out the top of the case. :)

I would go for either the P-183 or that new Corsair Obsidian.

Jipa
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Re: Looking for Advice on Case Options

Post by Jipa » Sun Jan 16, 2011 1:09 am

The FT01 is a beautiful case. I've used one for a couple of years (now selling it as I suddenly needed hot-swap drive bays). You can easily remove the upper HDD-cage to make room for any graphic card. I flipped the top fan on mine to be exhaust.

Like so:
Image

Personally i just hate the front panel of the P183 with the vents, the R3 to me only makes sense if you have loads of hard drives, so the Lancool would be my second choice from the list.

The Corsair also looks good inside, but I just don't like the boxy design as much as I do like the Silverstone curves.
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figment
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Re: Looking for Advice on Case Options

Post by figment » Sun Jan 16, 2011 8:09 am

whispercat wrote:Yes but just think of your kitty as helping to silence the fan noise coming from out the top of the case.
It's funny, but at the same time, they do cut down on noise while I'm gaming. I suppose if I had an FT02 or Raven and they laid across it, they'd move as soon as it got toasty. Still... not the thermal characteristics I'm looking for in a case.
whispercat wrote:I would go for either the P-183 or that new Corsair Obsidian.
The P183 seems like the easy choice, but my current P182 doesn't do the best at getting fresh air to the CPU. I don't know if thats something to care about or not.
Jipa wrote:The FT01 is a beautiful case. I've used one for a couple of years (now selling it as I suddenly needed hot-swap drive bays). You can easily remove the upper HDD-cage to make room for any graphic card.
Thanks for the photo. I'm surprised that there wasn't more space inside.
Jipa wrote:Personally i just hate the front panel of the P183 with the vents, the R3 to me only makes sense if you have loads of hard drives, so the Lancool would be my second choice from the list.
I don't really like the front panel vents on the P183, but I like the increased air flow. To me, the R3 makes sense if its pretty much the same as the P183 and costs $50 less.

The Lancool looks like it would work, but I'd feel a lot better about it if I saw more information about it on SPCR, namely how quiet it is.
Jipa wrote:The Corsair also looks good inside, but I just don't like the boxy design as much as I do like the Silverstone curves.
I actually like the boxy design. For what I can see, that case is almost perfect. My only concerns are the fact that it doesn't really have much in the way of built-in silencing, and there are already reports from owners of the 600T that the 200mm fans aren't the best. And since there aren't many brands making 200mm fans, I wouldn't have many options for replacing them.

quest_for_silence
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Re: Looking for Advice on Case Options

Post by quest_for_silence » Sun Jan 16, 2011 10:41 pm

figment wrote:there are already reports from owners of the 600T that the 200mm fans aren't the best. And since there aren't many brands making 200mm fans, I wouldn't have many options for replacing them.

They are somewhat better than Antec's BigBoy, IMO/IME, and if in case you should be able to swap it with 140mm ones.
Regards,
Luca

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Jipa
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Re: Looking for Advice on Case Options

Post by Jipa » Mon Jan 17, 2011 3:49 am

figment wrote:
Jipa wrote:Personally i just hate the front panel of the P183 with the vents, the R3 to me only makes sense if you have loads of hard drives, so the Lancool would be my second choice from the list.
I don't really like the front panel vents on the P183, but I like the increased air flow. To me, the R3 makes sense if its pretty much the same as the P183 and costs $50 less.
The thing about the R3 that bugs me is the fixed hard drive cage. It would be even better case if they made the drive cages more flexible and you could remove part of it when not needed to make room for graphics.

Other than that I can't think of any reason why you'd get P183 over the Fractal... BTW I'm currently reviewing the Define XL, which is also a worthwhile option if you don't mind the size.
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figment
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Re: Looking for Advice on Case Options

Post by figment » Mon Jan 17, 2011 7:00 am

Not to sound overly noobish, but could you be more specific on how you'd replace 200mm fans with 140mm (or even 120mm) fans? Zip ties? Adapter plates? Foam?

I've looked at the Define XL, and it seemed nice, but a little too big. Of course, its only about the size of the Corsair 650D, so perhaps I should stop being a hypocrite there. The Define XL might give me the extra airflow I'd like (by putting in the optional 120mm intake in the 5.25 drive bay area). All of the Fractal Design cases suffer from having way more drive bays than I need. This current build will start with 1 SSD and 1 HDD, eventually adding another HDD in 3 years.

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Re: Looking for Advice on Case Options

Post by quest_for_silence » Mon Jan 17, 2011 7:58 am

figment wrote:Not to sound overly noobish, but could you be more specific on how you'd replace 200mm fans with 140mm (or even 120mm) fans? Zip ties? Adapter plates? Foam?

Nothing exotic, there are the mounting holes for those who use radiators for liquid cooling (but not for the front intake).
Regards,
Luca

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deevo101
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Re: Looking for Advice on Case Options

Post by deevo101 » Sat Jan 22, 2011 9:37 am

i'm in the same position as the OP and i've narrowed my choices down to the P183 and this, the bitfenix survivor. (although i'm now adding the corsair 650D to my list haha)

here's a pic: http://www.hardwarecanucks.com/wp-conte ... ivor-1.jpg

as far as i can tell, the bitfenix survivor checks all the boxes:

-no excessive ventilation allowing noise to escape
-nice large fans, similar to the FT01 setup
-psu has it's own direct intake at bottom of case
-thick plastic veneer all the way around, acting as a secondary insulating wall for noise

in theory, this case looks like it could make for an incredibly silent pc. i'm finding it hard to pick any faults, although it may not be possible to suspend 3.5" hdds with elastic or what have you, and the smallish size of the case could be cramped. however, positive airflow setups work better in small cases.

i'm keen to hear other opinions!

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