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These recordings were made with a high resolution, lab quality, digital recording
system inside SPCR's own 11 dBA ambient anechoic chamber, then converted to
LAME 128kbps encoded MP3s. We've listened long and hard to ensure there is no
audible degradation from the original WAV files to these MP3s. They represent
a quick snapshot of what we heard during the review.
Each recording starts with ambient noise, then 10 second segments
of product at various states. For the most realistic results, set
the volume so that the starting ambient level is just barely audible, then don't
change the volume setting again while comparing all the sound files.
Comparable System sound files:
While not the fanciest, or sturdiest mini-ITX case, the Apex MI-008 represents
an excellent value. For $45 US you get a nice looking enclosure that can, with
a few modifications, house a very quiet low-end system. It is an attractive,
and cheap alternative to a Shuttle or a luxury product like the mCubed
HFX Micro. The machine we built runs only 1 dBA higher than the HFX Micro
and can be built for a little over $200 (not including the operating system).
As a bonus, everything inside is built from off-the-shelf parts if you've
ever been in the position of needing to find a replacement for a proprietary
Shuttle motherboard, you'll know that this is a good thing.
For those hoping to get a bit more computing power by using an AM2 or LGA775
board with a more capable CPU, the MI-008 still has some potential if the power
supply is replaced with something like a picoPSU
with an external power brick. This opens up a lot of space enough to
house a moderately sized, quiet CPU cooler. You won't be able to fit a monsterous
tower cooler inside, but a modest heatsink like the Arctic
Cooling Alpine 7 Pro or something similar should do well, especially if
you add a side fan.
All in all, if you're willing to experiment just a bit, the Apex MI-008 is a surprisingly effective case for silent mini-ITX system.
* Very affordable
* Quiet power supply
* Potential for a quiet system
* inefficient power supply
* light/flimsy construction
* 4cm CPU cooler clearance
Recommended by SPCR
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Articles of Related Interest
Cases: Basics & Recommendations
Antec Fusion Remote Max HTPC case
Silverstone GD01 and LC17 HTPC Cases
mCubed HFX Micro S13 system: Atom 330, Silenced
Zotac GeForce 8200-ITX WiFi: A Compact AM2 Solution
Intel DG45FC: Loaded LGA775 Mini-ITX Board
Intel D945GCLF m-ITX: Atom For The Desktop
* * *
this article in the SPCR Forums.
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