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Looking for a great mid-tower case to house 7700k 1080ti, air cooled, no optical/mechanical drives, quiet operation, no price concern.

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 
I'm sketching out a build for a new gaming/general/coding rig that will replace my current 4790K w/ 970 SLI. The old rig will be going into service as a streaming rig in a two-PC live streaming setup.

This new system will be:

  • 7700K
  • 1080ti (Likely the EVGA FTW3)
  • 32gb memory (filling all four slots)
  • Maximus Code IX or *possibly* a Hero, unless I find a convincing reason to go with something else later on.
  • I'll be sticking a large air cooler on the CPU - perhaps the Cryogen R1 Universal or the Noctua D15S (the one with the more accommodating profile for memory clearance).

I may do some light overclocking, but I'm not aiming for big gains here. Especially given the heat the 7700K puts off when overclocking.

My last/current rig is in a Phanteks Enthoo Series Primo, which is great, but enormous and heavy. Since I wont' be using any optical or mechanical drives in the new rig, having a full tower seems excessive. I also don't plan to do water cooling or use an AIO. So I'm looking for a very high quality mid-tower that
  • Is great for air-cooling.
  • Serious about noise mitigation.
  • At least 4 front-panel USB. (preferably)
  • Has room for a large heatsink and fan.
  • Has room for a large GPU (300mm to 305mm, I believe)
  • Has room and airflow to accommodate 1080ti SLI (I'm tired of slacking SLI support in games these days, so it's unlikely I'll go SLI again, but I do want to keep the option).

Budget: My last few cases were balls-out full tower cases that ran $250-$350 USD, so as long as the case is great, price isn't really an issue, here.

I'm considering the Fractal Define R5 and the NZXT H440. I find the removable external fan covers on the R5 to be kind of ugly, but it seems the R5 is better for silence than the H440. Also, I'm uncertain if the top optical drive pay can be removed from the R5. From some other builds I'm looking at, it appears it can be completely removed so there are no cages anywhere. Yay!

Some have suggested I consider the Fractal Define C or S and it appears they have no locked-in drive bays whatsoever, but... are they otherwise exactly the same as the R5, really? I notice the C has a pretty limited front IO panel with only 2 USB.

I was interested in the newer Enthoo Evolv, but it only has 2 front USB ports and isn't particularly quiet, with the all-tempered side. The BeQuiet mid-towers seem fairly nice, but don't review nearly as nice as the Fractals or NZXTs. I would like it to be nice looking, but performance, noise-mitigation, and air-flow remain the priority. I don't care about windows, RGB crap, or anything else. The other mid-tower Phanteks don't really seem to be high end products (as far as I've seen) and I'm not sure that they're really competitive with even the R5 or H440?


Can anyone help me make up my mind? Or offer me better solutions that I haven't considered? And given that these will be in proximity to audio equipment, so I'll want as little noise as possible, is a mid-tower even going to fit the bill these days?

Thanks and best regards. I appreciate any input!
Edited by pstack - 4/30/17 at 1:52pm
post #2 of 13
Fractal Define R5.

I've built dozens of computers and this is my favorite case, full stop. A bunch of coworkers use this case now as well.

Excellent cooling capacity and very quiet.

I removed all of the covers and use mostly Cougar fans except on my heatsink (Noctua) and the thing is super quiet with great temps.

I overclock an i7 6700k and 1080 Ti in mine.
post #3 of 13
Thread Starter 
Yeah, I'd probably replace all the stock fans and fill it full of Phanteks of Scythes or something, for sure. Do you use the R5 with closed panel or windowed panel? I haven't seen any clear demonstrations online between the two that I can really tell much from, but I have to assume the windowed version does have significantly more noise?
post #4 of 13
I like to let my components be the best I can find and mismatch them rather than worrying about cosmetics these days, so I went with the non-windowed version. I have the Fractal Define R5 Blackout Edition. The window is certainly louder as the side panels have some acoustic padding on the inside that you won't get with the window.
post #5 of 13
FD Define line, pick your poison but R5 and the Cs have better features than the S and older R4. Only older R4 may fit EATX though, not all fit into the recessed mobo bay.

Maybe some other noise friendly cases but not so popular. Most cases these days are full on RGB with a window not a closed dampened case.

Try checking BeQuiet Dark Base 900.
Reviews.

Overall you're more likely to find a well built quieter case from EU makers than elsewhere.
post #6 of 13
CoolerMaster mastercase series?
post #7 of 13
You said naught about presentation appeal. If that's a consideration and you're proud of your cable shaping and management abilities, the Thermaltake View31 hides nothing and looks gorgeous kitted out. Basements seem popular these days, but there are some pretty power supplies out there...

If not, the Fractal Define series are solidly built, stately (some would say plain) and functional.

AFA quiet goes... that's far more about your fan speed profiles than anything else: Go big and slow. I've had my ear right next to a Core P5 I couldn't hear. Get a high efficiency PSU that runs passive until it hits high load. I have a Seasonic Prime Titanium; They're pricey, but the fan doesn't even spin up unless I'm pushing furmark and prime95. Same with the graphics card: The Aorus and Strix (and a few other) 1080 Ti's will run passive till you start gaming.
post #8 of 13
I would avoid BeQuiet - they are alright but overpriced and a little too restrictive for hot setups. I would avoid the H440 for the same reasons.

Fractal is of course a good option.

I am not sure how you got the impression that Phanteks cases were noisy, but they're not.

Acoustic foam is mostly a marketing gimmick - planning airflow will have a more significant impact on noise than the 2mm foam most manufacturers use.

If you are considering SLI, I wouldn't consider anything less than the FT02/FT05 on air if noise is a concern.
finally quiet
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Peggy
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Samsung 840 Pro 128GB OCZ Agility 60GB Spinpoint F3 1TB Noctua NH-U12P SE2 
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2x NF-P12, CPU OS X 10.10, 8.1 Ultimate Asus VW246H Ergotron Neo-Flex 
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CM Quick Fire Rapid EVGA Supernova G2 850W Silverstone FT-02W CM Spawn 
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finally quiet
(20 items)
 
Peggy
(11 items)
 
Betty - WIP
(17 items)
 
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
i5-760 3.8 + turbo MSI P55-GD80 MSI GTX 970 Golden Edition 16GB Tactical LP 1600 c8 
Hard DriveHard DriveHard DriveCooling
Samsung 840 Pro 128GB OCZ Agility 60GB Spinpoint F3 1TB Noctua NH-U12P SE2 
CoolingOSMonitorMonitor
2x NF-P12, CPU OS X 10.10, 8.1 Ultimate Asus VW246H Ergotron Neo-Flex 
KeyboardPowerCaseMouse
CM Quick Fire Rapid EVGA Supernova G2 850W Silverstone FT-02W CM Spawn 
AudioAudioAudio
Sony TA-AX380 Sennheiser HD 280 KLH 911B 
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
i3-2125 GA-H61N USB3 HD3000 8GB Samsung Miracle RAM 
Hard DriveHard DriveHard DriveCooling
Kingston 60GB 3ware/LSI 9750-4i Hitachi 5k3000 2TB x4 RAID 5 Intel for now 
OSPowerCase
OS X 10.8.2 Corsiar CX430M Fractal Design Node 304 
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
i3-2100 ASUS P8H67-M PRO/CSM ASUS Passive GT 440 4GB Dominator 1600 c8 
Hard DriveOptical DriveCoolingCooling
Hitachi 120GB 2.5" LG BR-RW CM GeminII S + NF-P12 2x NF-R8 - Intake 
CoolingOSMonitorKeyboard
NF-B9 Windows 7 Sony KDL-46NX700 MK700 
PowerCaseMouseAudio
Antec EA-650 Zalman HD160XT, Modded MK700 Yamaha RX-V373 
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post #9 of 13
I'm partial to Phanteks and Fractal Design. be quiet are likely a little quieter but at the cost of a little less airflow.

With the proper component choices / good fans a near silent system can be built in a open benchtop. Big coolers on CPU and GPU are key .. and vent fans that are speed controlled to cycle with component airflow needs. Vents are where most noise is heard from .. it is simply openings that flow air well also allow noise through them.
You might find "Ways to Better Cooling" link in my sig of interest. 1st post is index, click on topic to see it. 5th is a good place to start.
post #10 of 13
TT Suppresor F31 gets my vote. I'm about to change out some components so I'll create a thread with some pictures in a few days. But all the HD racks you see can be taken out and you can mount 3 HDs on the back side of the mobo tray. Under $100 that had sound dampening material and lets you choose how many fans you want.
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Firefly
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Hard DriveHard DriveHard DriveCooling
BIOSTAR G300 240G SSD Samsung Evo SSD Western Digital Black TT WATER 3.0 Triple Riing 
OSMonitorKeyboardPower
W10 Pro x64 Acer XB280HK Razer BlackWidow Chroma EVGA SuperNOVA 850 G3 
CaseMouseMouse PadOther
Thermaltake Suppressor F31 Razer Naga Epic Chroma Razer Vespula Razer Orbweaver Chroma 
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