a powersupply's main source of noise is the fan it comes with and the way the voltage to it is managed. the fan it comes with and the power managment to it is more often than not, the reason its being reviewed in the first place. its a little different than a system enclosure and you know it. its not even a fair comparison.
A case is nothing more than sheets of metal. unless that metal is adding additional reverberation, then one case will do nothing to aid in quieting the noise producing components in it more than another one. the only exception i can think of is stock suspension on hard drives, and that is a very short list of cases.
you guys really need to have a "standard" system that you test all enclosures with that have identicle noise signitures and levels. its really not fair to put an 18dbA system in one case and review it and say its "SPCR Approved" and then put a 28dbA system into another case and say its way too loud and crappy.
Fan swaps in a computer enclosure for a review are not beyond the realm of possibilites. Its done on ALL of your SPCR approved cases. So what, you took one look at this case, decided you didnt like it for the price, and decided it wasnt worth the same consideration as the rest of your approved list enclosures? it was half ass'd and you know it. you should of at the very least attempted to mount some 120mm nexus fans on the intake/exhaust points that you can OBVIOUSLY tell by looking at are meant for a fan to be there even if they didnt come with fan mounting holes.
All you gotta do to rectify this is go back, put the same quiet system you put into your P150/solo, or P180 reviewed cases, and then do your best to show possible ways to mount a 120mm nexus fan to the side locations, undervolt them, check temps, and see how good it really is.
I really dont think asking for a fair and thorough review is too much to ask from SPCR. In fact, i dont think i should have to ask for it at all, thats why i come here in the first place. Because you guys usually do these sorts of things without being asked to when other sites dont.
Sure- testing a PSU and a case are different. I was pointing out the fact that extreme modifications isn't really something we try to do here. you mentioned fan swaps. That is something that has been done before, but adding fans where there were none before is different. If there aren't any mounting points on the case for 120mm fans, it wasn't designed to have any. We try to test the case within it's design specifications. If the design includes a place to mount a fan, we'll consider put a quieter one there if it would help reduce the noise. The vents on the HD135 seemed to be just that - vents. Not fan grilles.
If you take an outside view - yes, a case is simply metal. If you look a bit closer, there's a whole lot of thought that is needed to go into a good
case. Look at all the DIY cases that have been made by SPCR members. Stylencio by Hyphe
and Doug's Quiet Wood Case
are just two of several that you can easily find around here. Granted, the two aren't made of all metal, but metal work is typically more difficult than wood work (not sure about acrylic - never used the stuff myself).
A case is designed to be able to mount all of your components in such a way that it can expel whatever heat is generated inside. The small fan provided and it's location simply don't allow for this. If the case obviously was meant to have 120mm fans, couldn't Zalman have installed them for you? For $300, I'd expect them to. I don't think it's unreasonable for us to not do something that the manufacturer didn't do in the first place. We review the products - not fix their problems. It's rare that we come across a case that isn't able to prevent the system from overheating (see my next point).
A standard test system would help level the playing field a little bit, but if you look at the systems that we've used in the past, they've all used about 200W of power at load (give or take). Have a look at the Zalman HD160
case. Config #2 actually drew more power than the system we put into the HD135, and the HD160 handled that configuration better than the HD135 did its. I'm still sctratching my head as to how Zalman was able to take such a step backwards in terms of thermal design.
As a last note - the same system in another case can produce different sound characteristics. If you look at the SilverStone Temjin TJ-07 case, there was a humming noise that the case produced - even after a Nexus fan swap.