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Silent Cases. Are they really silent?

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 
I currently have HAF 912 with two 200mm fans, one 140mm fan on the side, and two 120mm fans exhaust push/pulling a h50 on rear.

But I seem to be going crazy over these humming noises my PC makes. Nothing is vibrating since I've reinforced all of the fans and anything that moves with tiny foams inbetween to reduce vibrations, but it's the fan noises. I thought I could live with it, but I don't think I can anymore.

I hear silent cases like Antec's p280, FD R4, Corsair 550D are good silent cases, but I just want to know if it's going to be worth it before jumping in.
post #2 of 13
An inaudible system is determined first by it's loudest components.

Until you can get rid of high RPM fans with lower RPM fans, bigger fans, more fans, better airflow, and/or bigger heatsinks..... a "silent" case won't help much.

They do help once fan noise is low....
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post #3 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by RickyFromVegas View Post

I currently have HAF 912 with two 200mm fans, one 140mm fan on the side, and two 120mm fans exhaust push/pulling a h50 on rear.

But I seem to be going crazy over these humming noises my PC makes. Nothing is vibrating since I've reinforced all of the fans and anything that moves with tiny foams inbetween to reduce vibrations, but it's the fan noises. I thought I could live with it, but I don't think I can anymore.

I hear silent cases like Antec's p280, FD R4, Corsair 550D are good silent cases, but I just want to know if it's going to be worth it before jumping in.

buying a "silent" case is only half the battle, you will need to purchase "silent" fans and invest in silent cooling options for your CPU and GPU(s). Going completely silent is a big endeavor. But I can say with certainty that it will enhance your sanity in the long run.

The other catch with "silent" cases is that most normal cases can be quieted by taking the same steps I listed above. Getting quieter cooling hardware will help you out drastically without having to buy a new case. However with the addition of sound dampening material it will be less likely you will hear the left over noises. (which would be so quiet anyway).

In the end buying another case or just swapping out existing cooling hardware with quiet versions will be your decision, do what will satisfy your curiosity. Just watch the decibel rating on the hardware you buy. wink.gif
post #4 of 13
The problem with silent cases is that you need holes for ventilation where sound can escape so they're limited in their effectiveness from the start. That said, they do help slightly. I can hear the difference between opening and closing the side fan hole in my case so it clearly does something. They are not silent though. Optical drive vibration is probably the loudest noise in my case, maybe equaled by the GPU fan at full tilt, and it is actually very loud. I also still have to turn down my fans to less than 500 RPM to eliminate wind noise.

Regardless, I like the weight of sound proofing material. Last week, I built a PC in an NZXT Phantom 410 which has a really thin and light side panel in aluminium. It felt really cheap compared to the side panel of my case which I believe is made of steel and which is fitted with really heavy sound dampening material.
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post #5 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by DuckieHo View Post

An inaudible system is determined first by it's loudest components.

Until you can get rid of high RPM fans with lower RPM fans, bigger fans, more fans, better airflow, and/or bigger heatsinks..... a "silent" case won't help much.

They do help once fan noise is low....

Exactly this. Silent cases are really only silent when you aren't running powerful hardware/high overclocks. If you've got a Sandy/Ivy cpu running at 4.5GHz+ and a GTX 680 the silent case isn't going to do much.

However if you're like me running below max clocks with a D14 and a quiet midrange graphics card, its worth it. I have my power config set to aggressively power down my hard drives because when they spin up they're the loudest part in my system.
    
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post #6 of 13
IMHO there is no such thing as a perfectly silent computer, unless you willing to spend HUGE dollars to get there. Even a "silent" case really isn't silent. I got into liquid cooling last year thinking I could conquer the sound - well it does help in some aspects, idle my computer can be nearly dead quiet. It's when I'm doing high performance gaming and things where I need the heat disspertion is where the noise comes in. In fact, it' worse, four 120mm fans running to cool a liquid cooled chip vs. a single 212 heatsink with a single fan. thinking.gif

Best things to do when you want a silent computer:
  • Get fan controllers - these are a GREAT and ideal solution to noisy fans, you can manage the speeds individually
  • Liquid cooling - it does work at least on idle settings, and one of the main culprits at least for me is the graphics card which I have yet to switch out, but really if you liquid cool everything and have a a large area radiator you can easily eliminate high speed fans to keep a case totally cool, besides a rad there are some pretty exotic ideas/solutions to eliminating noise when it comes to liquid cooling
  • silent fans - they come at a price, but they do work, I have the NZXT 140mm's and they are excellent.
  • ??? be creative, find a fanless solution wink.gif

What I DON'T recommend, don't buy sound dampers, soundproof padding, or anything silly/cheap like that. Most of that junk doesn't do much, unless you got vibration problems you really don't need any dampeners or anything.
post #7 of 13
silentpcreview.com is really good


I have a really silent computer look at my sig rig. GPU is silenced, none of my fans go above 1200 rpm and they're all 120mms. No need since they get fresh air directly. had a fractal r3, think this is quieter with the ps07.
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post #8 of 13
Thread Starter 
I think I'm going to replace all of my stock fans and high performance fans to the silent ones. I didn't think it was necessary, but I feel like they're a small price to pay for sanity.

I have a fan controller and all of my fans save for cpu and gpu fans are hooked up to it. I lower rpm, even turn off the ones I don't need during everyday browsing, and only turn them on for gaming or hardware intensive photo/video edit work.
Even then, I still get annoyed by the humming of the hardware.

I guess it's time to work some overtime and get a nice silent case and silent fans!
post #9 of 13
There for a little while I had the same problem with the same case. There was this crazy nerve-wracking tone that was emmanating from my case. Finally I discovered that it was the mesh on the haf 912 side panel that for some reason when air is pulled through it creates this really weird sound. I finally bought a 140mm Cougar fan that is very quiet and it helps, but the best I found was using a shroud between the fan and side panel. I apologize if this doesn't happen to be your specific problem, but give it a go. Try firing up your rig with the side panel fan unplugged and I bet you will find the fan noise is alot less irritating.

By the way, I am not the one that discovered this. I found it buried in the haf series owners club thread.

Edit: Also, the plastic mesh dust filter on the front can be noisy as well. I made my own out of aluminum window screening and it helped not only with the noise but airflow as well.
Edited by z3r0_k00l75 - 1/23/13 at 12:58am
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post #10 of 13
This may sound weird but my advise is go open air (like a test bench). I had the R3, and 550D and both were louder than my setup on my T60. The thing is you gotta know what components to get, for your GPU either get something like the gigabyte 3x cards or go for an after market heatsink (arctic coolings options are excellent). For your CPU get one as big as you can and get some lower speed fans. There's a compromise you have to make with yourself. Either you want silence or better temps, you can't have both unless going water cooling. But a test bench with low speed fans will give you great temps and a very low amount of noise. I personally don't mind the sound when I'm gaming but when I'm just browsing ocn or something like that it would drive me crazy, not since I switched though. The "silent" cases have restricted airflow due to trying to keep as much noise in the case as possible, so they get worse temps, then you try to improve your temps with more airflow, and your back to where you started. You could first try outfitting you case with some really low rpm fans before making another move. For me though, this is my first test bench and I love it, I will never buy a case for myself ever again. Also keep your PC out of line of sight, I used to keep it on my desk about 2ft from me, let's just say no matter how hard you try its gonna be really hard to get something that close to a very low perceived noise level.
Edited by nagle3092 - 1/23/13 at 12:47am
 
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