Cases

2009-Dec

Objectives

  • file server / HTPC
  • quiet/low noise
  • capable of hosting at least 4 hard drives, elastic-mounted. This means 4 or more 5.25" bays.
  • tempered look; no fan LEDs or side windows please (fortunately, these can be fixed aftermarket)
  • future-proof

Education

Some cases come with hard drive dampening mounts. Those are good, but the best hard drive noise and vibration dampening is achieved by using elastic mounts.

Candidates

The best performing cases for quiet systems are made by Antek and SilverStoneTek.

Antec Twelve Hundred Gaming Case ★

Silverstonetek

Fortress FT01

  • - Antec 1200 has better cooling for the same dBA
  • + side window is optional

Fortress FT02

  • bays:
    • external: 5.25" x 5
    • internal: 3.5" x 5 , 2.5” x1
  • fans:
    • Top: 1 x 120mm exhaust, 1200rpm, 19dBA
    • Bottom: 3 x 180mm intake fan 700/1000rpm, 18/27dBA
  • 212mm (W) x 497mm (H) x 616mm (D), 15kg
  • aluminum unibody frame, foam padded interior for noise absorption

KL03

  • Extended ATX
  • 4 internal 3.5" bays, vibration dampening
  • fans:
    • 1 x 120mm intake fan, 1200rpm
    • 1 x 120mm exhaust fan, 1200rpm
    • 2 x 120mm fan(optional for graphics card cooling)
  • 220 mm (W) x 524 (H) x 594 mm (D), 14kg

RV01 - SilverStone Raven EATX Tower Case ★

  • SilentPCReview - good, but too big, with wasted space
  • 29 dBA@1m SPL under full load, 100% CPU
  • "It should also be noted that the sound of the fans in the Raven was judged to be very smooth, better than the Antec's fans." -- SPCR
  • links to lots of reviews
  • fits all motherboard form factors: SSI EEB, SSI CEB, Extended ATX, ATX, Micro ATX
  • bays:
    • external 5.25” x 5
    • internal 3.5” x 6, vertical
  • fans:
    • top: 1 x 120mm exhaust fan, 950rpm, 18dBA
    • bottom: 2 x 180mm intake fan, 700rpm, 18dBA
  • 280(W) x 616(H) x 660(D), 15kg
  • - side window
  • + no funky fan LEDs
  • odd, complex construction

RV02

  • vs. RV01: "Compatibility with Extended-ATX motherboard and server level storage capacity were sacrificed in favor of a more compact dimension and consumer oriented design."
  • - "The hard disk drive cage only holds three 3 ½” hard disk drives, being the number one drawback from this case. You need to install screws to hold the hard disk drives, but the advantage here is that the bays use rubber shock absorbers to reduce the noise produced by the hard disk drives. Differently from Raven RV01, RV02 does not come with hot-swap connectors for hard disk drives." -- hardwaresecrets.com review
  • SSI CEB, ATX (maximum 12” x 11”) , Micro ATX
  • bays:
    • 5.25" x 5 or 8 (without hard drive)
    • 3.5" x 3 (w/ suspension system), 2.5” x 1 for SSD
  • fans:
    • Top: 1 x 120mm exhaust fan, 950rpm, 18dBA
    • Bottom: 3 x 180mm intake fan 700/1000rpm, 18/27dBA
  • 212mm (W) x 503mm (H) x 643mm (D), 12.5kg

TJ10 (Temjin)

  • SSI, Extended ATX, ATX, Micro ATX
  • bays:
    • external: 5.25” x 4, 3.5” x 1
    • internal: 6 3.5" bays, with vibration dampening
  • used by EndPCNoise for a Quiet server
  • good reviews at Newegg and Virtual Hideout
  • fans:
    • Front: 1 x 120mm fan slot
    • Rear: 1 x 120mm exhaust fan, 1200rpm, 21dBA
    • Side: 1 x 120mm mid-section fan, 1200rpm, 21dBA
    • Top: 2 x 120mm fan slots
  • 207 mm (W) x 521 mm (H) x 644 mm (D), 13kg
  • "Finish on the case does not leave fingerprints"

TJ10 ESA edition

  • Enthusiast System Architecture

TJ10 Nvidia edition

  • same bay configuration as the TJ10: 5.25 x 4, 3.5 x 6+1
  • officially certified for 3-Way SLI
  • SSI, Extended ATX, ATX, Micro ATX
  • fans:
    • 2 x 120mm 1200rpm fan with green LED
    • 1 x 120mm exhaust fan, 1200rpm with green LED
    • 1 x 120mm mid-section fan, 1200rpm with green LED
    • 1 x 120mm 1200rpm with green LED
  • 207 mm (W) x 521 mm (H) x 644 mm (D), 13kg
  • review - no cons
  • - hard drive cable management a real pain
  • top of the line quality

We have a winner

Not a clear one, but Antec 1200's simple construction with 12 bays, combined with its excellent cooling, sets it apart from the rival SilverStone Raven RV01. With custom silent aftermarket fans (the stock ones have QA issues, and LEDs), elastic hard drive mounts and blacking out the side window, this case looks like the winner.

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