[SOLVED] silent case for ATX with 170 mm (6,7 inch) CPU cooler

EmmaDobozi

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I would be grateful if you would kindly advise me.
My older case has to be replaced : the cooler does not fit and I had to let it open. I was searching for a quiet case that would fit :
  • 5,25 inch bay (one is enough)
  • ATX form MB
  • height of CPU cooler : 170 mm (measured for real) : ThermalRight True Spirit 140 BW (the older version)
No need for glass window, no lights ; just sturdy & simple silence.
No need for extra ventilation : it is an "everyday" older PC (just to show how basic is : my video card is AMD Radeon HD 5570) -- but I use PC a lot during late hours and I would spend some more on silence.
OK, maybe 1 additional ventilator.

It seemed that Gamemax Silent Max would be good ; some sites give a 170 mm clearance for the CPU
cooler.
https://www.alzashop.com/gamemax-silent-max-m903-d5756752.htm
But some other sites show only 165 mm:
https://www.gamemaxpc.com/product/showproduct.php?id=568

Could you please help me to clarify ? I think I would need only 1 mm over the tips of the cooler heat pipes.
Could someone help : could the effective distance from chassis to lateral wall be measured ?

I would be grateful if you would kindly suggest a solution ; maybe other case with similar features and 170 mm space for cooler.
 
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Darkbreeze

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There are multiple VERSIONS of the Gamemax Silent Max. So there are probably different CPU cooler height allowances for each different sub model of that case. You would need to know the EXACT version of the case you are looking at.

For the M903, which is the model you linked to, the manufacturer says it has 170mm clearance.

The Thermalright True spirit BW is 170mm tall, so that case will not work with that cooler.

You MUST have at least 1mm clearance. If the cooler says it is 170mm tall then you want a case with AT LEAST clearance for a 171mm cooler.

I would seriously consider getting a different cooler, whether you replace the case or not, because finding a case that supports coolers 170mm tall is going to be very hard, and it will not be cheap. You will PROBABLY need a full tower case. There are not many cases that are mid tower that support coolers larger than 170mm.

There are some however, and this is one. It also happens to be an excellent choice of case.

https://www.bequiet.com/en/case/1854

But that may be hard to come by in Romania. Are there other online shops besides alzashop you can order from that might carry Be Quiet products? There are a number of other cases as well but looking at that online vendor I don't see any of them there.
 

Darkbreeze

Retired Mod
And that case IS available through that retailer, BUT, it is rather quite expensive. Almost twice the price of the one he was looking at. Still, it's a very good option if the budget would allow it.

So is the Define S2. The Phanteks Enthoo pro (Available on that site, BUT, it's a full tower case) and Enthoo Pro M, not available on that site, but both support massive coolers up to 194mm. If you look hard enough, you will find cases that will accomodate a cooler that big, but they will probably not be budget cases and will not be cheap.

That is why I say getting a CPU cooler might be a better idea. It's probably cheaper AND you will probably end up with a much better cooler since yours is many years old and is a very old design. Now, there are coolers between 155 and 165mm that seriously outperform that one. And in most cases, they are probably less expensive than a new case, so that's an option anyhow.
 
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EmmaDobozi

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There are some however, and this is one. It also happens to be an excellent choice of case.

https://www.bequiet.com/en/case/1854
You are right, the budget is limited. I was even thinking of cutting myself a window for PSU clearance in my actual case, and add a mesh + put some insulation -- but to pay some 40 USD only for two insulations for the side panels seems not the best option.
I accessed the link, but to me it seems that this case does not have ODU bay.
 

Darkbreeze

Retired Mod
Most, the VAST majority of cases these days, do not have optical drive bays. Very few still have them. Mostly older or cheaper cases do and a small handful of modern ones.

Like I said, getting a different CPU cooler rather than a different case, might be the much wiser option. You'd end up spending less and probably get a cooler that is a lot more efficient and performs better than your very old Thermalright unit. Don't get me wrong, I'm a big proponent of Thermalright products especially their coolers and fans, but their more recent offerings are a pretty moderate step up from what they used to sell.
 

EmmaDobozi

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I'm a big proponent of Thermalright products especially their coolers and fans, but their more recent offerings are a pretty moderate step up from what they used to sell.
Thank you for dealing with my question !

As you advised me, I made a quick check for newer coolers :
  • Thermalright True Spirit 140 Power would cost the equivalent of 65 - 70 USD and seems to be 171 mm high
  • Thermalright Macho 120 Rev. B would cost about the same : indeed, this is 150 mm high
  • Thermalright Silver Arrow ITX would cost the equivalent of about 96 USD ; this is 165 mm / still higher than my actual case would take.
I would be glad to get a cooler with the same cooling effect as Thermalright True spirit BW.


Meanwhile, I have to check the effective size of Gamemax Silent Max M903. I wrote during last week, I just hope they will answer.

I was thinking on cutting a window, putting some mesh and somehow add a sound-dumping padding.
The cork that is available is very frail -- so again I am stuck.
 
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It seems that this case does not have a bay for DVD unit / seems to be expensive.
I know about ODU ... most of my music is on CDs.
The R5 has two 5.25" drive bays.

But honestly, this is 2020 and you can convert the music to mp3 and also play from your phone and use a USB DVD drive for the occasional need. I listen to all my music in the car, or on BT headphones from my phone. Modern amplifiers also have BT and you can play over the home stereo from your phone. I converted my CDs almost 20 years ago. Before smartphone I put the mp3 on a CD to play in the car (when cars had CD players, some played mp3) and then on the phone when that became an option like 10 years ago. Never looked back. Yesterday I sold one of my last DVD writers, only have one left for legacy reasons.

The new cases all don't have 5.25" anymore. I hate to tell you, but there also is a shortage of 5.25" floppy drives, they were replaced by the much better 3.5" floppy drives :)
 

EmmaDobozi

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The R5 has two 5.25" drive bays.

But honestly, this is 2020 and you can convert the music to mp3 and also play from your phone and use a USB DVD drive for the occasional need.
Sorry, but I almost never listen to mp3 ; I shall consider your advice -- although I would convert only to FLAC or APE.
I kept the optical drive so I can sometimes boot from it.
I have doubts about my PC booting from USB -- it seems that there are some issues even with USB mouse recognition.
 
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Sorry, but I almost never listen to mp3 ; I shall consider your advice -- although I would convert only to FLAC or APE.
I kept the optical drive so I can sometimes boot from it.
I have doubts about my PC booting from USB -- it seems that there are some issues even with USB mouse recognition.
I'm surprised there still are CD/DVD for installation of OS. Maybe MS still sells some.... All OS installation are from a USB flashdrive nowadays. I'm not saying DVD is not available or possible (don't know if that is an option for W10), but if it is, it is really uncommon. Just the speed advantage, and you are not limited to 4GB. Nowadays when you buy an OS, you just get a download link and a serial#.

Some years ago i also ripped my DVDs to mp4. got rid of a whole shelf, and now can watch them on any of my media PCs. Some of my DVDs I wasn't able to rip (some DRM issue) and still have them as actual DVD. My living room PC has the last DVD drive for the off-chance I want to watch one of the 3 DVDs.

Also annoying the startup sound of DVD drive. Especially when you left a DVD in it. In a silent PC this really annoys me to have the one mechanical drive make noises.

I have the R5 and if I recall correctly, one of the reason to buy that was to have DVD and more than 2 HDDs (it holds 8 3.5" drives). Nowadays I wouldn't mind downgrading to a smaller case since I got rid of HDD and DVD. There is a lot of space wasted to accommodate DVD/HDD. But it isn't financially worthwhile to sell the R5 and buy a Define C or similar.

Just something to consider, obviously my advice is to buy what meets YOUR needs now and in the future. New case is just a great opportunity to modernize since holding on to old things requires compromises.
 
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EmmaDobozi

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If you can find a used Fractal Design R4 they have 170mm clearance and space for an ODD also pre-installed sound damping foam
As far as I can see, you use this type of case. I would be very grateful if you would let me know :
  • insulation looks on images as kind of polyurethane foam ; I think this type of material might age and develop loss (I saw such material becoming so frail that would disintegrate at the slightest contact)
  • clearance at CPU would allow a cooler with effective height of 170 mm to be used – leaving some 0,1 mm above – so that would not touch the side panel (by the way, please kindly let me know if side panel is insulated, too)
 
As far as I can see, you use this type of case. I would be very grateful if you would let me know :
  • insulation looks on images as kind of polyurethane foam ; I think this type of material might age and develop loss (I saw such material becoming so frail that would disintegrate at the slightest contact)
  • clearance at CPU would allow a cooler with effective height of 170 mm to be used – leaving some 0,1 mm above – so that would not touch the side panel (by the way, please kindly let me know if side panel is insulated, too)
The foam still seems to be ok on my R4 after 7 years. It does have some on the side panel. The CPU cooler clearance seems right although I'm not sure I would go higher than 165mm
 
Jul 12, 2020
54
10
35
2
As far as I can see, you use this type of case. I would be very grateful if you would let me know :
  • insulation looks on images as kind of polyurethane foam ; I think this type of material might age and develop loss (I saw such material becoming so frail that would disintegrate at the slightest contact)
  • clearance at CPU would allow a cooler with effective height of 170 mm to be used – leaving some 0,1 mm above – so that would not touch the side panel (by the way, please kindly let me know if side panel is insulated, too)
I have the R7. The insulation is some sort of fiber/weave material and nothing degrades. Very high quality. that case or insulation won't degrade before the whole ATX layout will be outdated. Don't worry about it.
The left side panel is covered. I'm not sure about the right hand side (behind mobo) but that is shielded by the mobo anyway.
 

EmmaDobozi

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Finally I made an effort and took a decision to buy Fractal Design Define R5 ; I did not made the replacement yet, but I hope will be good.
I am thankful for all your help !
 
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EmmaDobozi

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I finally moved parts from the old case. I even added one more HDD.

Fractal Design Define R5 is indeed very quiet -- even at night noise became almost totally inaudible.
Outside of the wooden frame (where the PC seats usually) the sound was even weaker ; I suppose the wooden frame and the back wall somehow resonates and amplify sounds.
The cables & everything else was easy to install.
I am happy : silence is gold.
 

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