Hi. This is going to kind of long but please bear with me.
I want to transfer my system in a desktop (horizontal) case that will sit quite close to me (below my desktop, on a shelf).
I currently own an Antec NSK4480 case which was the home of a Socket 939 AMD kit with passively cooled graphics card. The motherboard had the option to completely turn the CPU fan off if the temperature was below a certain threshold. Needless to say, when idling, the computer was almost silent (only the HDD noise was audible, since the Tricool fan switch was at low and the PSU has a thermally controlled fan).
There are two or three issues, however:
- The case sits on its side, so the optical unit also sits vertical. Needless to say I can't use miniCDs or miniDVDs (not a big issue, since I don't use them frequently)
- There are no audio ports in the front (I connect my PC to an AV receiver via SPDIF and the monitor speakers, but need to use headphones from time to time)
- I have upgraded my PC and the GPU airflow is not sufficient any more.
Recently I've upgraded my system to an Intel Core i5-2500K CPU on a Z68 microATX motherboard with an AMD Radeon HD4850 GPU. The latter GPU is the old single slot design (similar to http://www.silentpcreview.com/article851-page1.html
), which uses a small high rpm fan to blow air over a small heatsink and exhaust it to the side of the card, away from the motherboard (straight into the side panel). When idling the fan is inaudible, but when starting any kind of 3D application it starts piping up. This wouldn't be so bad, but I hate the idling and load temperatures of the card (80 and 90 degrees Celsius) and the fact that the area where the air is exhausted becomes too hot to touch comfortably.
I have tried tinkering with the front 80mm intake fan, but the restricting front bezel and small size of the fan mean that it doesn't really do anything. I've really not seen any improvement of the temperature and/or fan speed of the GPU by turning the fan to 100% (right now it's modulated by the motherboard at 50%). I'm thinking about converting in into an exhaust fan so more fresh air can be drawn in through the opening near the GPU but I'm not getting my hopes up.
I am looking into buying an Arctic Accelero L2 Pro (link http://www.silentpcreview.com/forums/viewtopic.php?t=57589
) VGA cooler but I'm not too happy with the fact that this would obstruct my remaining 2 PCI-Express slots (the 4th slot is occupied by my sound card; I know - I could always use the onboard one).
Because of the aforementioned conditions I'm looking into buying a new case. I've set my eyes on the two cases in the title: either the Antec NSK2480 "Fusion" (http://www.silentpcreview.com/Antec_NSK2400_Fusion
) or the Silverstone GD05 "Grandia" (http://www.silentpcreview.com/silverstone-gd05
). Both have pros which I won't go into (for example silicone gromets for HDDs) and the price is about the same. The Fusion costs about $170 here (with included PSU - http://www.silentpcreview.com/article592-page1.html
), while the Grandia is about $125. If I'm buying the Grandia I'll be using my PSU which is the same as the one in the Fusion (but won't be able to sell the NSK4400 at the same price)
I've looked at extensive reviews for both and I've come to this pro/con list for my specific system:
- Good wire management
- Airflow guidance
- Chambered design
- No intake for GPU
- 3rd HDD/SSD (I already have two) must be fit in 5.25" bay
- Hard to match optical drive with front bezel color
- Fan that blows air directly at GPU region
- Exhaust grill where current GPU fan exhausts
- Nicer front bezel design
- Can fit a 3rd 2.5" storage device along my 2 HDDs
- Hard to do wire management due to small depth
- All extra PSU cables have to be stacked in front of the GPU intake (sort of nullifies first pro)
- PSU inake opening has no effect since I don't have a PSU with 120mm fan design (also has the potential to waste cold air that would otherwise go through the PSU or through the GPU)
- Not too crazy about the optical drive cage design (although I'm not planning to use an aftermarket CPU cooler ATM)
I'd like to hear your input, especially regarding GPU cooling since right now that is the hottest component in my system.