I'm thinking about getting the NZXT H440 Black (windowless for full sound dampening instead) to replace my Antec P100 which seems to have become too inconvenient and loud for my demands.
I'm extremely sensitive to unwanted noise from my PC, and loud fans or loud pumps are the worst. It's an almost always on PC, used for everything, in my living room, so quiet is a must. I also want loads of gaming performance though, so it's a bit tricky. With SLI I have put an Arctic Cooling Hybrid watercooler on my top GTX 970, since that was too loud for me with a card under it. I have that rad at the back, as an intake, sandwiched between two Noctua NF-F12 in push/pull, with dual 140mm exhausts in the top instead. Currently with my Corsair H110i GT rad underneath. Dual 140mm fans as front intakes.
Since I don't overclock too badly, I can run all fans nice, slow and quiet. Detailed custom fan curves on all fans through Speedfan, so they all do about 600 rpm in idle/browsing/media. Problem is that the 110i GT pump is a bit loud. It's like a buzzing noise that drives me insane. Had the H60 before and that was whisper quiet by comparison. That didn't have close to the same cooling performance as the H110i GT though, and wasn't as happy to be the only exhaust.
Since the NZXT H440 can handle a 280 rad as front intake, I thought about that first, and put the two 140mm Noctua (I use all Noctua) case fans as top exhausts. Problem with closed coolers like the H110i GT though is that the pump is on the CPU, and with the rad as front intake, the pump would be the highest point in the loop. Bad idea right?
I care more about low noise than keeping everything as cool as possible, so I will use the top exhausts with noise dampening in place, and let the vents on the sides of the top part be enough. This must be a bit quieter than my P100 which has nothing above the top fans, and only a very thin sheet of metal as a wall. All in all the P100 is a poorly built case, clearly cheap to make, very thin and pointless dampening materials. Also prone to vibrations.
If you have other ideas that could be worth thinking about before buying a new case, or even better, a case that would be quieter while still being able to handle my cooling, please share! Is there a well dampened, quiet, sturdy case out there which could have a 280 radiator in the front, but with the top of it a bit higher than the CPU for example?