Great series of articles, so much work and so much info. Tough to do everything everyone would like.
Anyway, the HTPC assembly has ~8degC lower HDD temps with the front door open. Interesting, but certainly not asthetical pleasing.http://www.silentpcreview.com/Testing_t ... ome_Server
Any chance of telling us what noise increase would be if the front fans RPMs were raised enough to give similar temp drop? Maybe this noise delta would be less than the 2dBA penalty of opening the door.
Not now; that system was disassembled just around xmas.
I am glad someone appreciates just how much work our silent build guides are!
A far cry from the usual shopping list that other sites call build guides, eh?
Getting back to your question... if you used smoother, quieter fans than the old 80mm Panaflos (which is definitely possible these days, tho 80mm fans are much harder to find than before), you could probably get some kind of reasonable balance between better HDD cooling and minimal noise increase.
There are also more serious mods you could to to improve airflow for the HDDs. The most ovbious is to open up the bottom of the HDD cage and case floor -- create a bottom vent underneath the HDDs, perhaps a a wide rectangular hole. Then the back mounted fans would tend to draw air in from those holes, and in the process, cool down the drives. It does not take much airflow to cool a HDD -- the WDs barely pull 5W each in typical use.
I first used this idea in the Antec P180. Back when the case was first designed, there were no 120mm fan PSUs, they all used 80mm straight through. By putting the HDDs in front of the PSU in a tunnel with vent in front, the PSU fan drew the outside air past the drives, which were deliberately spaced with enough room in between them. In my original testing, HDD temps dropped >10C in the tunnel w/ a Seasonic Silencer 400W PSU -- compared to the HDDs in free air.
Similar design in the Fusion and Fusion max -- there is no fan near the HDDs in the front, but the HDD area is vented below. The back exhaust fans pull the air in from the vents below the HDDs, and a "wall" or baffle that extends up from the bottom to about 75% the case height forces the air to flow across the drives, cooling them very well in the process.
See the SPCR reviews of the above case for full details. (PS -- the reason those cases were not used in the home server build guides is that they cannot hold more than a handful of HDDs.)