Quiet Gaming Cases, Part 3: Lian Li, Nanoxia, And SilverStone

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My brother has the older FT02B with the red inside and I have the P280. I'm super happy to see how these cases performed
He is running dual AMD 5850's with axial fans and a Corsair H50 water cooler cooling an AMD 8150, it's very quiet even at full fan.
In my P280 I have a OC Intel i7-3770k with an Antec 920 water cooler and 2 scythe 2k rpm fans, with the scythe at full power and the 920 on aggressive thermal settings it keeps he 4.7ghz oc under 50 deg c under almost all loads while not being excessively loud.
 

Onus

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The Define R4 appears to be lacking a HDD activity LED; baffling. Those who don't like it wouldn't have to use it, but what about those who do?
It would be interesting to repeat the tests with an axially-cooled graphics card. After all, that style of cooler would be the choice of someone building for low noise. Of particular interest would be the resulting temperature differences, especially of the Silverstone.
 

1369ic

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I ordered an R4 yesterday before finding these articles and was happy to see it get the approved award. Now it wins a recommended buy award and UPS tells me it's on the truck to be delivered today. First time in my life I've had such luck. I am replacing an aging Antec P180, and almost got the 280, but went with the R4 because I liked the look better -- and it's currently $80 with free shipping on Newegg.
 

cknobman

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As nice as the Fractal R4 is I still would go with my Antec P280 case especially considering after discounts I picked it up for only $80.

Toms, thanks for doing this series it was really nice to see the time and in depth detail put into this. I will be bookmarking these for reference on my future builds.
 

Au_equus

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[citation][nom]1369ic[/nom]I ordered an R4 yesterday before finding these articles and was happy to see it get the approved award. Now it wins a recommended buy award and UPS tells me it's on the truck to be delivered today. First time in my life I've had such luck. I am replacing an aging Antec P180, and almost got the 280, but went with the R4 because I liked the look better -- and it's currently $80 with free shipping on Newegg.[/citation]
Half finished building with it last night. Once you get th R4, you can tell that a lot of thought went into building this case. I'm still a novice when it comes to cable management, but FD makes it real easy. For $80, IMO, you're getting a steal.
 

tripkick

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Is there any chance that you could review the NZXT H2 in the future? I was hoping to see it on your review list and how it compares to the R4. I am looking to upgrade my old Antec P180 and wondered how those two cases stack up against the P180 and its newer version P183.
 
The PC-B12’s rear duct / fan situation. I found that if you remove the fan grill from the rear fan and leave the duct attached but take the back off(the part that you can adjust the angle on) that I get good cooling , better noise reduction and the fan duct sides help keep wires and fingers out of the fan.
 

laststop311

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[citation][nom]1369ic[/nom]I ordered an R4 yesterday before finding these articles and was happy to see it get the approved award. Now it wins a recommended buy award and UPS tells me it's on the truck to be delivered today. First time in my life I've had such luck. I am replacing an aging Antec P180, and almost got the 280, but went with the R4 because I liked the look better -- and it's currently $80 with free shipping on Newegg.[/citation]

Yea this competition combined with the killer R4 price is a no brainer for me. I was going to get the corsair 550d but not now.
 

stratosrally

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I'm assuming that if the Define R4 did so well that the new and revised Define XL R2 full tower should handle a dual-SLI GTX580 GPU very well. It's identical in design except for 9 expansion slots vs 7 and 4 ODD bays vs 2. With 2x front 140mm, 1 bottom 140mm, and 1 rear 140mm fan locations loaded with some top-notch quiet fans it should do nicely - especially for someone like me that needs the extra expansion slots to use the bottom PCIe mobo slot for a dual-slot GPU. Coming in 2013!

I'm disappointed that the Corsair did so poorly with noise reduction, I thought from previous tests elsewhere that it did fine with that but had some cooling issues that could be resolved by removing the HDD cages and loading up all the fan postions. Unfortunately it seems that it would be louder still in that configuration.

Nice review, guys. I appreciate it...
 

Crashman

Polypheme
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[citation][nom]tripkick[/nom]Is there any chance that you could review the NZXT H2 in the future? I was hoping to see it on your review list and how it compares to the R4. I am looking to upgrade my old Antec P180 and wondered how those two cases stack up against the P180 and its newer version P183.[/citation]Good news is that it got tested in last-year's version of this series. Bad news is, last year was a different platform:
http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/rv02-e-lian-li-sonata-iv,2946-6.html
 

hannibal

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[citation][nom]tripkick[/nom]Is there any chance that you could review the NZXT H2 in the future? I was hoping to see it on your review list and how it compares to the R4. I am looking to upgrade my old Antec P180 and wondered how those two cases stack up against the P180 and its newer version P183.[/citation]

P183 ould have been interesting alternative. It should be more silent than p280? but harder to build because of dual chamber solution. Still it would be nice to see it compared to P280, if there are any real differences. If I am building silent gaming machine the case can be even a little bit more expensive if it can achieve good results. You can get gaming casis really cheaply, but they are definitely not silent...
 

bit_user

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I wish they'd have tested a normal Lian-Li aluminum mid-tower, like the PC-9F. The design is very similar, but it's cheaper, more capable, and lacks most of the drawbacks they noted in the PC-B12. It's plenty quiet for me, and I'll bet a good bit cooler.
 

bit_user

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[citation][nom]freedom4556[/nom]Lord, italics much?[/citation]
Maybe ask for your money back?

Sorry, but it bugs me when people whine so much about such minutiae. You're getting a lot of informative content for free. How do you think they feel after doing all this testing and writing to see snarky comments like these?
 

jginnane

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Re: Lian Li B12 --

Anyone who has owned Lian Li cases over the years is likely to keep buying them. No matter whether there's a premium to the all-aluminum construction -- Lian Li just works better.

My latest build in a B12 case continues the same tradition of a half dozen previous builds, all in "silent" cases. Sure, the aluminum feels a little thinner than the V1100, V1200 models, but the interior design has been improved, and it's nice to have quick-change/removal options for drives. The reduced weight is welcome, since LL no longer puts wheel casters on their cases. One SSD and two HDs is enough -- I haven't found a reason to have a second SSD beyond the boot drive, but have 32GB of RAM in my latest build (with half of that configured for a RAM drive).

The only place I'd fault the B12 is the two (only) external drive bays. I prefer separate burners for DVD and Blu-Ray media. I also require an independent fan controller, but there's no room (unless I machine out an additional mounting slot in the aluminum.)

To get around this I bought the "NZXT Sentry XLE" controller, despite a lot of negative comments about construction quality. Hope this dongle lasts, and works better than many other people have advised. Someone is shortly going to come up with the idea of a mini-USB port for an Android tablet, which can access/display/control PC internals such as fan speeds, temps, OC settings and the like. (Beats trying to use a tablet for something beyond its horsepower. And you can easily develop verbose Android software that's better than most BIOS screens. :)

Another note -- This Toms Hardware review attempts to correlate between case heat and noise, but to me there's never been a correlation. Noise is the only issue, because four "silent" desktops in close quarters still make a bit of a hum. Heat, such as it is, is better solved by liquid cooling, anyways -- especially if you can route the waste water's heat completely out of the room.
 

enobiko

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I thought it would have been nice to have mentioned the results from the regular gaming cases. I see that the winner (out of 15) was the NZXT Phantom 410, with temps of 52/38 (CPU/GPU) vs. the 58/43.6 of the Define R4. However, the noise for the Phantom 410 was 44.3/34.9 (load/idle) vs. the 40.3/30.9 for the Define R4.
So, there is some trade-off between temps and noise. Sure, no surprise here, that's what we suspected. I only post them here so that we know HOW MUCH of a trade-off there is. It seems like a fair trade-off. My Storm Enforcer is somewhat more noisy than I would prefer, but the Hyper 212+ is sitting under the unobstructed grill on the top, so I can see and hear it running. Different placement might help, I may work on that... Cooling hasn't been an issue for me, but summer temps in that room can reach 80 F., so we'll have to wait for summer to see.
 

RedJaron

Splendid
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Strange that Silverstone didn't learn from the Raven 2 and the problems a reversed rotated layout brings ( optical bays impinging on the bottom card slot and others. ) The Raven 3 fixed this and got some decent praise doing it around $160. Match the front drive cages here with the rest of the Raven 3, add in some acoustic foam and paneling, and you've got a very quiet, cool running computer.

All through this series, the R4 really impressed me. Looks like a very sturdy, well thought out case.
 

stratosrally

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RedJaron - if you use the slot-loading Silverstone ODD bay I imagine the overall intrusion into the bottom slot area could be mitigated. Alternatively, there are some really nice external ODD's out there that only require a single USB connection for both power & data - even BluRay burners! I still consider the Silverstone as a possibility but I would need to remove/modify the panel blocking the 8th expansion slot.
 
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