Is there a case that gives me everything? Quiet, cool, USB3

Enclosures and acoustic damping to help quiet them.

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s_mack
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Is there a case that gives me everything? Quiet, cool, USB3

Post by s_mack » Tue Nov 22, 2011 9:55 pm

I've been searching for what seems like weeks for the "perfect" case.

My pc was stolen. Insurance is basically paying for whatever I want. So budget really isn't a concern. A long time ago, thanks to advice on this site, I bought a Sonata (original) because I was tired of a loud buzzing system. I loved it and it lasted through 5 systems and would have lasted another 5 until it was stolen. Now I have an opportunity to get a "perfect" case, but can't find it.

I want quiet. That's a must. Not necessarily "silent" - I'm realistic - but certainly quiet for the 9+ hours a day I need to concentrate while I'm coding.

I want cool. I plan on getting a GTX 590 or maybe 580 SLI and a 2700K moderatly overclocked so thermal performance needs to be there when I game for 4-6 hours a week.

I want USB 3 in the front. Not sure why, but I do. Preferably with a proper header, but whatever.
I'd like a SATA dock if possible.
eSata would be nice up front too. Same with audio.

I really REALLY want good to excellent cable management design because I HATED how the Sonata sucked at that.

I want good overall build quality so it can last me another 8 years and 5+ builds.


The only two cases that I've found that seem to do OK in both sound and thermal is the Raven 3 and the (obscure brand) Rosewill Thor V2. The Thor scares me because reviews seem to indicate its build quality sucks - but on paper it seems to be everything I want. The Raven is butt ugly but I don't really care... it does OK in most reviews.

I kind of want to lean toward an Antec again because I was pleased with the Sonata, but I'm by no means married to the brand. None of the current offerings really seem to score well in both cooling and noise.

Thoughts/suggestions? Thanks.

- Steven

ps. On an overclocker forum, I was almost convinced the HAF X was the way to go, but realistically I think it'll be too loud for me, right?
Last edited by s_mack on Thu Nov 24, 2011 7:50 am, edited 1 time in total.

Jim G
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Re: Is there a case that gives me everything? Quiet, cool,

Post by Jim G » Thu Nov 24, 2011 6:53 am

Have you seen the Fractal Design cases? We have an R3 and XL and they're both quiet, run as cool as you could reasonably expect given the focus on silence and the new models have USB 3 + esata on the front.

s_mack
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Re: Is there a case that gives me everything? Quiet, cool,

Post by s_mack » Thu Nov 24, 2011 7:47 am

I had looked at them, yes, but my attention drifted elsewhere. Not sure why but I'll take a closer look.

It doesn't look like the come with USB 3 and eSata though. The new ones with 3.0 drop the esata. That's OK though. I can do without eSata provided there is a external 2.5" option (I have a panel with eSata, card readers, etc). I only use eSata for one purpose and its really not that big of a deal.

Thanks for the recommendation. I'll take a close look at reviews now.

- Steven

bleuiko
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Re: Is there a case that gives me everything? Quiet, cool,

Post by bleuiko » Thu Nov 24, 2011 12:12 pm

Take a look at the Antec Solo II. I just got it for my build and it is pretty awesome. You can loop the cables around the other side of the case and it has hooks for you to loop the cables. It also has USB 3 and sound dampening materials on the panels.

Elcs
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Re: Is there a case that gives me everything? Quiet, cool,

Post by Elcs » Fri Nov 25, 2011 3:41 am

I found my Corsair Carbide 500R a dream to use during setup. Cabling in my cases has always been horrific but this is passable for me :) (Seasonic PSU with 100 cables of which I only use something like 2)

The stock 120mm fans are noisy but easily replaced. The 200mm fan is quiet at startup voltage and is actually quieter than my 120mm Scythe Slipstream 1200 comparing both at full voltage. The 200mm fan can also be replaced with 2 x 120/140mm fans.

I can quite happily have my i5 overclocked to 4.5ghz and run Prime95, keeping temps down to below 65/70C and run a very quite system at ~1m away from me.

If you are into swapping the fans, the Corsair Carbide 500R is a very nice case imo.

kuzzia
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Re: Is there a case that gives me everything? Quiet, cool,

Post by kuzzia » Fri Nov 25, 2011 7:41 am

The Antec P280 might also suit your needs. Very nice cable management with plenty of room behind the motherboard. It bears the Antec P-name which should warrant excellent build quality. Also good thermal performance and vibration from the harddisks are reduced by one of the few good rubber grommets. But you should check whether there's enough room for your video cards.

gregoire.favre
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Re: Is there a case that gives me everything? Quiet, cool,

Post by gregoire.favre » Sun Nov 27, 2011 2:22 pm

What about http://www.lian-li.com/v2/en/product/pr ... dex=61&g=f ?
I think the X2000F from Lian Li is quiete expensive but I really like this one (only read reviews of it).

s_mack
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Re: Is there a case that gives me everything? Quiet, cool,

Post by s_mack » Sun Nov 27, 2011 7:15 pm

Hi all. I did some Black Friday shopping. I ended up taking a chance on the Rosewill Thor V2. It caught my eye when I saw it topping the charts on some benchmark/review sites in terms of both thermal AND acoustic performance. I actually found very few reviews of the case itself, but I kept seeing it in the charts of other cases being compared and it was always the quietest and coolest. Plus (on paper at least) it has EVERYTHING I'm looking for. One review I did read scared me away a little, because it complained of poor physical design features and quality. So yeah, I'm worried about that. But I got it on a very good BF sale so I won't be wasting much if it sucks. I'm hopeful though. I'd like to see a full review done here because the other site (I'd link but I doubt that's allowed) that ranks it at the top doesn't use the same methodology as SPCR, which I respect quite highly.

I think the main reason for its low noise and high cooling performance is its use of three massive 230mm fans at the front, top and side.

I can't wait for it to arrive. It'll be awhile, unfortunately. I'm in Canada and they wouldn't ship to me so I have to go pick it up from an address in the US and I won't get a chance for a couple of weeks.

- Steven

ps. My final shortlist was down to the Antec P280, Corsair 650D, Rosewill Thor V2, Raven RV03, Coolermaster HAF X and the Phantom.

Erelyes
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Re: Is there a case that gives me everything? Quiet, cool,

Post by Erelyes » Sat Dec 10, 2011 12:28 am

Where is the case located when you're using it?

I have a Phantom (old version), which sits on the floor next to me (on my left). Due to the dual fans in the top of the case there is a direct path from the CPU cooler fan to my ear, so would not recommend any case with top fans (such as either the old, or the new, Phantom), if you are going to have the case in a similar position. Otherwise the Phantom is reasonably good, though I'd get something different if I was buying again.

s_mack
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Re: Is there a case that gives me everything? Quiet, cool,

Post by s_mack » Sat Dec 10, 2011 11:31 am

That's a good point. I'll find out soon enough as I finally get my new case on Monday. I *think* having 230mm fans should keep things nice and quiet, but we'll see.

Mr Spocko
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Re: Is there a case that gives me everything? Quiet, cool,

Post by Mr Spocko » Sat Dec 10, 2011 4:02 pm

I always liked the Sonata cases and the builds I did for clients it was easily one of the most liked cases I've ever used. Classy was a phrase people used with those cases.

I still have one in use today looks good too.
But as time has moved on the Sonata range did show me a few flaws..one obvious one was cooling performance which became more of an issue with newer machines. The Sonata isn't the best case for airflow this might not be a problem, but it's one Antec have never really nailed down. The other is that the series has not really moved on enough over the years, with the latest model not really taking things far enough..least not for me. So I lost interest in them and tried a few CM Sileo ones recently.

Bar some niggles..I can honestly say I like that range quite a bit clean and simple..the pre fitted foam is a great time saver too. As for USB 3 that should not be a problem it's easy to fit a bay to a any pc case.

decapitor
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Re: Is there a case that gives me everything? Quiet, cool,

Post by decapitor » Wed Dec 28, 2011 8:27 am

I owned a Raven RV02 and was able to passively cool an HD5850 with an arctic cooling aftermarket heatsink and an E8400 with a large heatsink. The rotated mobo design of the Raven is simply excellent for cooling graphics cards. If I had a bit more money before I would definitely have bought an FT02 instead, which has the same internals but looks awesome on the outside. In my opinion your USB3 and sata dock requirements should be secondary when choosing a case since they are so easy to add using a 5.25" front panel addition. I found the noise levels of my RV02 to be very good with the AP181 fans on low setting. Like you said, I was also looking for quiet, not necessary silent. The fans are buried deep in the case so their noise levels are dampened, plus with an FT02 you would also be getting foam padding on the walls so it would be even better. You could also leave the AP181 fans on high speed and connect them to a fan controller for times when you need the lowest fan noise possible (i.e. lower than the "low" setting on the fan switches). Cable management was a total breeze with the RV02. Take my opinion for what it is from somebody that has owned an RV02 and was very satisfied with it but at the same time as somebody that has not built systems with some of the other high end choices that you may be looking at. Also keep in mind that I'm somebody that is posting on SPCR, so my reference frame for "quiet" is more in line with audio recording standards than with gaming standards; I know firsthand it can be maddening to buy fans or cases based on recommendations from gamers who say they are "whisper quiet".

Abula
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Re: Is there a case that gives me everything? Quiet, cool,

Post by Abula » Wed Dec 28, 2011 9:05 am

s_mack wrote:That's a good point. I'll find out soon enough as I finally get my new case on Monday. I *think* having 230mm fans should keep things nice and quiet, but we'll see.
So what case did you went for? im guessing 230mm was the HAF X?

s_mack
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Re: Is there a case that gives me everything? Quiet, cool,

Post by s_mack » Wed Dec 28, 2011 10:19 am

Abula wrote:So what case did you went for? im guessing 230mm was the HAF X?
s_mack wrote:Hi all. I did some Black Friday shopping. I ended up taking a chance on the Rosewill Thor V2.
And I still don't have a thorough write-up to present. With the holidays, and our 4-month old son, I haven't had a lot of time with my new stuff. But I can say that this case is WELL worth the price! Granted, I got it for $99 shipped on Black Friday rather than $129 regular price, but still.

I agree with the somewhat negative comments people have had about this case in the past (less than great physical build quality, silly grommets so flimsy they pop out with an ugly stare), but I also don't think it would change my decision. If I had to do it over again, I'd choose the same case. What I really like are (in no particular order):
  • The 230mm (x3) fans are SUPER quiet. I can't hear them at all, even when they're spinning at full speed.
  • The 140mm fan at the back is reasonably quiet as well.
  • The cavernous amount of space makes assembly so stupidly easy it was almost comical.
  • Plenty of room behind the backwall for cables to run. You can barely see a cable in my setup now!
  • USB 3... by all accounts it was a passthrough and not a proper header, but I was very pleased to see it arrived with a proper header! The ONLY reason that wasn't entirely welcome news, was that I was planning ahead and I got a 3.5mm USB 3 to use with the mobo's header :) Oh well.
  • It has eSATA on the front - although after I get a USB3 external HDD, I won't use it going forward. Still, my current HDD enclosure uses eSATA so I wanted it... and got it.
I can't comment on the overall silent-ness of this case though, because I haven't finished building. I keep getting distracted. At the moment I have a HDD hanging out the side, my video cards haven't arrived, and my power supply had one cable too short to reach its spot on the mobo AND run via the back, so I had to buy an extension. Once I get everything fitted, I'll be sure to make a more indepth report and provide some pictures.

Regardless, I strongly urge SPCR to consider testing this case. It has the potential to be bloody quiet I think, simply by virtue of its huge fans if nothing else. And its cheaper than the competition with more features.

- Steven

Ihmemies
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Re: Is there a case that gives me everything? Quiet, cool,

Post by Ihmemies » Thu Dec 29, 2011 10:16 pm

decapitor wrote:I owned a Raven RV02 and was able to passively cool an HD5850 with an arctic cooling aftermarket heatsink and an E8400 with a large heatsink. The rotated mobo design of the Raven is simply excellent for cooling graphics cards. If I had a bit more money before I would definitely have bought an FT02 instead, which has the same internals but looks awesome on the outside. In my opinion your USB3 and sata dock requirements should be secondary when choosing a case since they are so easy to add using a 5.25" front panel addition. I found the noise levels of my RV02 to be very good with the AP181 fans on low setting. Like you said, I was also looking for quiet, not necessary silent. The fans are buried deep in the case so their noise levels are dampened, plus with an FT02 you would also be getting foam padding on the walls so it would be even better. You could also leave the AP181 fans on high speed and connect them to a fan controller for times when you need the lowest fan noise possible (i.e. lower than the "low" setting on the fan switches). Cable management was a total breeze with the RV02. Take my opinion for what it is from somebody that has owned an RV02 and was very satisfied with it but at the same time as somebody that has not built systems with some of the other high end choices that you may be looking at. Also keep in mind that I'm somebody that is posting on SPCR, so my reference frame for "quiet" is more in line with audio recording standards than with gaming standards; I know firsthand it can be maddening to buy fans or cases based on recommendations from gamers who say they are "whisper quiet".
The 18cm fans are pretty decent around 600rpm. With good heatsink you can passively cool the cpu too at least during winter :)

The steel used in Silverstone's cases is extremely thin and some "foam" isn't going to help much. Luckily it's easy to add some bitumen mat bought from car parts stores to reduce vibration and bouncing sound waves.

HD damping properties is nonexistent so either you need very low-vibration, low-noise HD's, preferrably 2,5" and/or ssd's. Otherwise you need to suspend them yourself with elastic cord.

Speaking of cords, the case is 60cm deep and psu and hd's are on opposite ends, so you need very long cables or cable extensions for HD&optical drive power.

Cooling performance is excellent and I doubt you can get better aircooling than with Raven 2 / Ft02. Ft02 may be better thanks to the U shaped aluminium thingy circling the case, but Raven 2 flexes a lot so you need to be careful how you turn and carry the case.

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