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 Post subject: Antec Mini P180 vs Fractal Design Define Mini
PostPosted: Wed Feb 06, 2013 3:26 am 
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Joined: Wed Feb 06, 2013 3:15 am
Posts: 3
Hello,

I am building a small home server in one of these cases in the next few days, and wanted to gather some opinions on which one will be better in terms of overall silence. I also have some concerns over the health impacts of the bitumen materials Fractal Design uses - I have heard they emit quite an unpleasant odour.

I will be using 5 standard hard drives and 1 SSD, which the Define has proper mounts for (the P180 is missing an SSD slot, from what I understand). An additional benefit to the Define is that it would be possible to rubber mount suspend all the drives, whereas the drive cages on the Mini P180 preclude this for most of the drives. I will be using an AMD A10-5800k with a Corsair H60 and silent Gelid fan; I currently have this setup on another computer in my household and find it quite satisfactory.

If there is anyone here who has owned both the P180 and the Define Mini, could you speak to the silence characteristics of each case? I can pick up the P180 much cheaper than the Define, but I'm willing to pay more for silence.

Edit: I should probably also mention that I intend to use the 2 stock 120mm fans that come with the Fractal as intakes to cool the hard drives, and the H60 as exhaust. If I ended up going with the Mini P180, I would also add 120mm front intake fans to cool the hard drives. In both cases the fans would be slowed with a fan controller to their minimum speed possible.


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 Post subject: Re: Antec Mini P180 vs Fractal Design Define Mini
PostPosted: Wed Feb 06, 2013 8:56 am 
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Joined: Fri Jul 02, 2010 4:41 am
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Location: Denmark
The unpleasant odour could only be found with the Fractal Design R2. As the Fractal Design Mini was released around the same time as the R3, the problem should be resolved. I have never heard of any Fractal Design Mini owners who have complained about an unpleasant odour from the sound dampening material so this shouldn't be an issue.

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 Post subject: Re: Antec Mini P180 vs Fractal Design Define Mini
PostPosted: Thu Feb 07, 2013 10:16 am 
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Joined: Wed Feb 06, 2013 3:15 am
Posts: 3
Thanks for the reply kuzzia, that's good to know.

Can anyone comment on the silencing characteristics of these cases in comparison? The P180 seems to be much more 'open' with the 200mm fan at the top, but I wonder if the 3-ply construction of the P180 outweighs the silencing foam + vinyl covering of the Define. I also suspect that the Define would be much easier to work in, considering it is a much more modern design.


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 Post subject: Re: Antec Mini P180 vs Fractal Design Define Mini
PostPosted: Thu Feb 21, 2013 4:12 am 
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Joined: Tue May 15, 2007 1:39 am
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Location: Finland
Just FYI it was the rubber gaskets that caused the smell. Fractal changed those and the problem was eliminated from later production runs.

I can only comment on the difference of the FD Define Mini and my old Antec P180B. The Mini is definitely sturdier and the heavy, textured FD material silences noise and vibrations better than the multi-layer Antec panels did. The Antec didn't do a bad job, certainly, but the FD is just absolutely solid - I would describe it as absorbing sound compared to blocking it.

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 Post subject: Re: Antec Mini P180 vs Fractal Design Define Mini
PostPosted: Sat Apr 06, 2013 2:33 pm 
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Joined: Wed Feb 06, 2013 3:15 am
Posts: 3
Hello everyone,

I apologize for the delay in getting back to you all, I've had a very busy few months. I ended up buying both the P180 and the Define Mini so I could do an in-person comparison on noise levels, and ultimately I decided on the Define Mini over the P180. Both of the cases were very quiet, but the Define Mini simply blended in to the background noise when fully loaded with hard drives and fans, whereas it was always possible to hear the Mini P180 when in use, however slightly. I am being fairly nitpicky however; both of these cases fully loaded were substantially less noticeable than the buzz from my LCD monitor's power brick (which, I will admit, I can only hear because I'm young and have sheltered my ears from loud noises my whole life - no rock concerts, loud bars or subway rides without earplugs!). To anyone who was wondering, 99% of the smell from the Define Mini dissipated within an hour of opening the case, and I now cannot detect any foul odours from the sound insulation or the rubber grommets unless I stick my nose right on them.

The Mini P180 was very solid, but despite its build characteristics and silicone mounts for the hard drives, the Define Mini had much less pronounced seek chatter and 'whirring' from the hard drives - I attribute this to the Mini P180 having an open top to the case (for the 200mm fan), whereas the Define Mini has a solid top and a cover over the vent. The Define Mini did have a bit of an echo problem with the Corsair H60 I mounted (buzzing mechanical noise reverbrating off the roof of the case), but this was solved by running the pump at the 'auto' fan setting instead of 100% (temperatures are the same under load testing, so there is no downside to running the pump slower). My only complaint noise-wise with the Define Mini is that the top panel of the case is not fastened to the chassis as well as it should be, and it rattles substantially if you tap it. It does not rattle from hard drive vibration, however. To fix this problem in future revisions of the case, I would add two more rivet points on each side of the panel towards the middle to better secure it to the chassis. Additionally, adding sound dampening insulation to the roof of the case would be a much appreciated change, although based on my experience it isn't strictly necessary.

However, both of these cases were very good for my use. I did run in to one problem, however: the silent Gelid fan I have been using straight off the motherboard apparently has an incredibly high startup voltage. The two 120mm fans that Fractal includes with the case will start with the included fan controller at the minimum fan speed setting, but the Gelid will not start at anything less than 80% fan speed. This is a minor annoyance; I just crank the fans to max when I turn the computer on, then turn them down to minimum to keep all three fans running silently. I will likely look in to a low-voltage startup silent fan in the future, but for now, this is quite satisfactory.

Tl;dr: both the P180 and Define Mini are good to great, both have minor quirks that could easily be fixed by the manufacturer in future revisions, and both were very unobtrusive when fully loaded. The Define Mini 'aired out' quickly. I chose the Define Mini for my purposes and sold the Mini P180 to a friend building a small server.


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 Post subject: Re: Antec Mini P180 vs Fractal Design Define Mini
PostPosted: Sun Apr 07, 2013 12:08 am 
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Joined: Mon May 16, 2011 11:23 am
Posts: 603
Location: Germany
Mini Antec is older than the Define.

If Antec had chosen to modernise the Mini-P, things might turn out different. But as long as Antec doesn't correct the existing flaws, the Mini-P is nowhere to recommend since the Define Mini came out.


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