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 Post subject: Some questions on Fractal Design Core 3000
PostPosted: Mon Jul 22, 2013 12:36 am 
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Hi guys. I've been looking for a case for a home server solution. It sits in my room so it has to be silent. I've had a regular cheap case so far, with a silent fan (ARCTIC COOLING Freezer 7 Pro Rev.2) and PSU (SEASONIC 430W S12II-430 Bronze). It has run pretty silent, the only noise being the HDDs (4 x 3.5" Seagate with software RAID 5 until I get a real RAID card).

I've recently upgraded the CPU and MoBo, and the latter has an ATX form factor and doesn't fit in the old case, so I need a new case.

I've searched for a case and after a while I've decided on Fractal Design Core 3000. It looks like a nice budget case with some dampening included. My criteria include:
  1. Buttons and USB ports at the top (not the bottom or middle). The machine sits on the floor.
  2. 5 or more HDD slots, with some silence features.
  3. Anonymous look (not flashy like so many gaming cases and not mysterious like the Define R4). It sits in the corner and should draw little to no attention to it.
  4. Allows HDD fans on the front.
  5. I don't really need 5.25" bays, though one bay would be nice.
  6. USB 3.0 would be nice. This one doesn't have it.
  7. Damping would be nice as well.
  8. Well within the $100 range.

I had looked at some cases, which were also cheaper, and had only 5.25" slots, and that would have been good for elastic mounting of the HDDs, and those should be fine as well.

My questions are:

  1. The HDD plastic mounting system has some rubber bits under each HDD. Is that the only point of contact with the plastic for the HDD?
  2. If I remove the HDD plastic bits, will there be enough room between the HDD and the metal part for me to suspend the HDD's with elastics?
  3. I haven't found a SPCR review, what are some opinions on this case?
  4. What are some alternatives in the same $100 price range?


Last edited by vampirefrog on Tue Jul 23, 2013 1:36 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Some questions on Fractal Design Core 3000
PostPosted: Mon Jul 22, 2013 6:24 pm 
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Location: Gefle, Sweden
That case has an open mesh front so it's not designed for quiet operation, but if the parts were really low noise it could still work I guess. Otherwise look at cases like the Define Mini or Define R3/R4 for instance.

The drive sleds are metal but yes the rubbery buffers are the point of contact. Don't tighten the screws more than needed to avoid overcompressing the buffers. Suspension inside a drive cage could probably be done but it will be tight so some skill and good straps will be necessary. But if you use low vibration drives (typ 5400/5900 RPM) and the standard mounting will be fine. If the drives motors aren't exceptionally quiet when idling then you should definitely go for a case that does not have an open mesh front.

Another thought, do you really need RAID for home use? One aspect of running a RAID setup is that the drives are likely to be on more or less constantly as opposed to being able to go to sleep when not used. Unless you really do have a huge amount of data that needs to be accessible at all times. A simple backup routine for the really important stuff is usually enough for home users.

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 Post subject: Re: Some questions on Fractal Design Core 3000
PostPosted: Tue Jul 23, 2013 1:35 am 
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mkk wrote:
That case has an open mesh front so it's not designed for quiet operation, but if the parts were really low noise it could still work I guess. Otherwise look at cases like the Define Mini or Define R3/R4 for instance.

The drive sleds are metal but yes the rubbery buffers are the point of contact. Don't tighten the screws more than needed to avoid overcompressing the buffers. Suspension inside a drive cage could probably be done but it will be tight so some skill and good straps will be necessary. But if you use low vibration drives (typ 5400/5900 RPM) and the standard mounting will be fine. If the drives motors aren't exceptionally quiet when idling then you should definitely go for a case that does not have an open mesh front.

Another thought, do you really need RAID for home use? One aspect of running a RAID setup is that the drives are likely to be on more or less constantly as opposed to being able to go to sleep when not used. Unless you really do have a huge amount of data that needs to be accessible at all times. A simple backup routine for the really important stuff is usually enough for home users.


Thanks for the reply.

It's good to know about the open mesh front problem. I've decided I'll keep looking and refining my results, since I'd also like USB 3.0 and some dampening inside the case as well, so the Core 3000 is ruled out at this point. The Define Mini is also ruled out because the MoBo is ATX form factor. I'm still considering the Define R3/R4, I have two things against it - it's more expensive and I'm not sure about the design, it projects a mysterious aura and might draw attention to it.

The drives are already purchased (and filled with data), they are 4 x SEAGATE ST31000528AS 7200RPM (pdf). I believe the rubbery buffers would do a good job, so I'll include that in my searches. I've been able to sleep and generally not mind them running in my room so far, so if their noise is reduced by any noticeable percent it's an improvement.

The RAID is more out of enthusiasm. The machine acts as a web, game and data server mostly.

I'm still waiting for suggestions though, on other <$100 cases. Anyone?


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 Post subject: Re: Some questions on Fractal Design Core 3000
PostPosted: Tue Jul 23, 2013 5:38 am 
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mkk wrote:
That case has an open mesh front so it's not designed for quiet operation, but if the parts were really low noise it could still work I guess.

Another way I would put this is that it will not be good at noise insulation but this is only an issue if you put loud components in it. Slow moving fans in an open mesh case can be quieter than fast moving fans in a very tightly closed case so it depends on the rest of the build, I wouldn't do it with a noisy graphics card for example.

You might struggle on that budget but perhaps look at something no nonsense like an Antec NSK 4000 or perhaps the more expensive Solo II.

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 Post subject: Re: Some questions on Fractal Design Core 3000
PostPosted: Tue Jul 23, 2013 2:01 pm 
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There's the NZXT Source 210/220. You could perhaps also consider the Fractal Design Arc Midi which is practically a R4 without the noise dampening features.

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 Post subject: Re: Some questions on Fractal Design Core 3000
PostPosted: Wed Jul 24, 2013 1:11 am 
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Thanks for the replies guys. I am currently undecided, like a woman.

edh wrote:
Another way I would put this is that it will not be good at noise insulation but this is only an issue if you put loud components in it. Slow moving fans in an open mesh case can be quieter than fast moving fans in a very tightly closed case so it depends on the rest of the build, I wouldn't do it with a noisy graphics card for example.

You might struggle on that budget but perhaps look at something no nonsense like an Antec NSK 4000 or perhaps the more expensive Solo II.

I'm slowly reconsidering the Core 3000, since it is cheaper than the Define. But overall it's still expensive compared to other cases I've seen and which (with some luck) might work just fine in my situation. An example I'd like to throw in is the InterTech SY-608, which is cheaper (~$45), has most of my requirements, and it only sports 5ΒΌ" drives. For drive mounting I can use elastics, and for a HDD fan, which the case does not support directly, I could either stick a fan at the back somehow, even though the case is not designed for it, and maybe even poke some holes in the front panel for extra ventilation (if you take a look at the pictures, it has some holes that resemble ventilation holes in the design of the front panel, maybe I can "reuse" those); or I could just somehow add a fan at the back of the HDDs. Should be possible. This case is much cheaper and I think it might be worth the modding fuss, since it wouldn't take long. Thoughts?

I've taken a look at the Antec NSK 4000, and it doesn't meet my requirement of having the USB ports at the top of the front panel. Same goes for Solo II, and it only has 2 drive bays out of my required 5. Plus they're both just as expensive as the Fractal Design cases.

kuzzia wrote:
There's the NZXT Source 210/220. You could perhaps also consider the Fractal Design Arc Midi which is practically a R4 without the noise dampening features.

The NZXT Source 210 and 220 look fine as far as design goes, they're relatively cheap, but I've noticed the drive mounting system is plain metal on metal, with no vibration dampening, which I'd like to have. Is it possible to mod it somehow?

I've taken a look at the Arc Midi as well, and it looks nice, but it turns out it's just as expensive as the Define R4 :(

I'll wait for more case model ideas and opinions.

Cheers!


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 Post subject: Re: Some questions on Fractal Design Core 3000
PostPosted: Wed Jul 24, 2013 1:15 pm 
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Wait until you find a good deal on a Define R4. :lol: Or even an R3 if any are still around on sale where you can get cases.

Some old Antec NSK design could certainly work in this system where power consumption will be low. But I don't like to encourage that ancient case design's existance on the market personally. An inexpensive power supply can often be made to remain quiet as long as it doesn't have to fight the system heat.

On another note there's no need for airflow as high as would require a mesh front for the intake fans to run quietly these days, bar extremes like a 3-way SLI rig perhaps. There may be a few cases with actually problematic intake airflow like the NZXT H2, but they're few and easily avoided unless the buyer is tricked to buy crap. And all cases with metal-to-metal(or hard plastic) drive mounts are so crappy they could be banned through some future environmental standard. Noise is pollution too. :roll:

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 Post subject: Re: Some questions on Fractal Design Core 3000
PostPosted: Thu Jul 25, 2013 5:45 am 
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Well, as it turns out, I lost my job today (don't worry, I'll be fine), so I'll have to go with the cheapest option, I'll just get the $55 InterTech SY-608, rip the elastics off some old underwear to mount the HDD's, and just chill. I won't add a HDD fan right now, since there is enough space in the case to leave lots of room between each HDD. I'll post pics soon enough.

Even if there was a deal on the Define R4 (which in the meanwhile I had accepted as being the best choice), it would still be double the price of the InterTech case, I should think.

Thanks for the help guys!


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 Post subject: Re: Some questions on Fractal Design Core 3000
PostPosted: Thu Jul 25, 2013 7:44 pm 
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That InterTech SY-608 looks like a good candidate for some slight modding and suspension, so it should be a fine choice in the end. :)
And yeah, adding a fan for those drives won't be needed at all. Block the side panel vent and any top vents the case might have. It's got some excessive perforations at the back as well that I'd look at too. Overall design is not bad at all.

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i5-3570K at 4 GHz Turbo, HR-02 Macho w/o fan, MSI R9 290 Gaming, Fractal Design Define R4, 2 front fans, 1 exhaust. 2 SSD's and a quiet Seagate 4TB (ST4000DM000) HDD, Seasonic P-460FL (no squealing).


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 Post subject: Re: Some questions on Fractal Design Core 3000
PostPosted: Tue Jul 30, 2013 4:33 am 
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Joined: Tue Oct 04, 2005 6:10 am
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vampirefrog wrote:
I've recently upgraded the CPU and MoBo, and the latter has an ATX form factor and doesn't fit in the old case, so I need a new case.


Why didn't you get a mATX board?


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 Post subject: Re: Some questions on Fractal Design Core 3000
PostPosted: Tue Jul 30, 2013 12:03 pm 
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Olaf van der Spek wrote:
vampirefrog wrote:
I've recently upgraded the CPU and MoBo, and the latter has an ATX form factor and doesn't fit in the old case, so I need a new case.


Why didn't you get a mATX board?


I wanted extra RAM slots and some extra SATA and this is all they had. it's a good mobo, MSI 760GA-P43 FX Socket AM3+.

I picked up the case today, and am in the process of putting things together ^^


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 Post subject: Re: Some questions on Fractal Design Core 3000
PostPosted: Wed Jul 31, 2013 1:31 pm 
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Alright, here are the build pics.


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