I'm scratching my head trying to figure out the advantages of the odd airflow design.
So lets see if I got this straight --
1) There are two side walls on each side, separated by perhaps 1/2" to 1"?
2) The air comes in via the vents near the back of each side panel, then is guided by the inner panel so that it enters the case from the front.
3) The air then flows normally front-to-back before exiting the case.
Possible advantages --
a) The intake air flow might be spread fairly evenly all across the front. I think this might be an advantage...
b) There are no holes in the front for noise to escape and reach the user directly
Disadvantages seem to be many...
a. It's a long way for the air to travel through a pretty narrow passage, especially with a 180 degree turn; in the process, much air velocity will be lost -- that's pretty much guaranteed
b. The benefit of no front holes is probably negated by the aluminum construction (1/3 the density of steel) which is more prone to vibration noise.
c. Higher fan speeds will be needed for the same amount of cooling (compared to straight front-back design).
b. & c. will combine to increase turbulence noise.
How does the PSU get cooled? Is there a top vent and a 120mm fan PSU?
I was previously using an Antec P182 with exactly the same hardware (except for the exhaust fans at the rear) and the overall level of audible noise emitted from both cases are quite similar (i.e. very low).
However, this Soldam case does have an advantage of slightly lower audible noise near the front due to the totally enclosed front panel design whereas the P182 'leaks' noise through the air vents on both sides of the front panel.
Regarding Disadvantage 'a', yes you're right. The overall system temp. does go up by 2 deg C after switching from the P182 to this.
As for Disadvantage 'b', there is no vibration felt on the case maybe because there are rubber trimmings round the edges of the entire case and there are also noise absorbing material used behind the front panel where the fan is located as well as the inner side panels.
This case does have a major drawback though. The hard drive cage doesn't have any noise insulation system implemented like the P182 so hard drives would be highly audible when mounted on the cage. I removed the hard drive cage (it is removable by the way) and used a Scythe fanless enclosure to avoid this weakness and it does help but still couldn't match the almost total hard drive silence of the P182.
Overall, I'm really happy with this case. It does look very elegant and the workmanship (anodized aluminium, joints, beatifully crafted thumbscrews, etc.) is definitely second to none (I used to own Lian Li, Silverstone and Antec cases previously by the way).
I'm a staunch support of SPCR and would love to see this case reviewed here one day