I think he refers to the Air Penetrator version of Silverstone`s fans, essentially a regular fan with a grille added which focuses airflow. If I`m not mistaken, later revisions of the FT02 include those.
Now, any of those cases should do the job with ease so you might as well pick the one you like the most.
Having said that, I think that the p280 is lacking a little in build quality compared to the rest and to Antec`s own p183. By the way, have you thought about the latter? It`s one of the best damped cases on the market (if not the best) and while you will probably need to replace the stock fans, it`s also cheaper than the Silverstone or Lian Li.
It can`t match those two in airflow but this is probably a non issue considering your needs. If the door is not a deal breaker (unlike the p280 the power button is behind the door) I would give it a good look.
So how about the Silverstone? You get a very effective positive pressure setup out of the box, good dampening and solid construction. I wouldn`t worry too much about the non standard size fans, they are fairly smooth and quiet and buried deep inside the case. What puts me off about this case is the size and more specifically the depth which will make it impossible to fit under some desks. The other thing I don`t like is having ventilation at the top of the case. There`s lots of it in the FT02 which means you should keep liquids away from it.
As for the Lian Li, it`s arguably the best looking of the three and probably the best in terms of finish (though not as tough). You get a positive pressure setup out of the box at a much smaller footprint compared to the FT02. I also like the fact that there are no ventilation holes at the top or sides of the case (if we don`t count the front intake) resulting in very clean looks. Unfortunately, the relatively thin aluminium construction means this case will be more likely to suffer from cavity resonance requiring additional effort and expense to make as quiet as the best. Which is a little hard to swallow when it`s so expensive to begin with..
By the way, have you looked at the X500F? It`s identical to the X2000 only a little shorter. It also lacks the hot swap hdd cage but it retains the built in fan controller. There`s no harm in saving some money and personally, I prefer the proportions of the shorter model.
The size of the cases doesn't really bother me at all. I have my current one sitting beside my desk, there is nothing around it really, and nothing above it, so it doesn't really matter how tall or long it is. I saw a guy standing next to the X2000F, and I was like, holy crap, that thing is even taller than I imagined. Came about halfway up his thigh!
I wasn't aware of the X500F model, and after a little research, I think I know why. It doesn't appear to be available anywhere... That thing would probably be ideal for my setup, although I liked having the 3.5" external bay, but could probably use one of the 5.25" bays for my card reader, since I really only need one optical drive...wonder why it's so hard to find?
If there is a case on your list that would make it as a 10 year buy I would say the Lia Li is the one. It has the latest features such as USB 3.0, and the only issue may be whether the 140mm fans will be quiet enough when turned down to 800 rpm with the in-built fan controller. I would think probably yes bearing in mind that the X2000F has features such as 2mm thick panels aimed at making it a quiet case. So there is a prospect that you could use this case straight out of the box with no need for fan swaps at all.
My original plan was to swap out the 140mm fans with 120mm Noctua fans (and the below adapters), however, I just noticed that Noctua also makes a 140mm fan, so I could use that instead.http://www.frozencpu.com/products/9004/duc-49/Bitspower_Low_Profile_140mm_To_120mm_Fan_Adapter_-_Black_BP-FA140120-BK.html?tl=g47c121s262#blank
All three cases are overkill in terms of what you need to do with this machine. The FT02 in particular is no only huge in size but it's advantages are mostly for gamers who need to cool hot GPUs.
The X2000F is great, but the price... it might cost more than the components you'll fit into it. Since you seem to like it so much you might as well go for it if price was not an issue at all (are you really that rich?
). Disregarding price the X2000F is way too tall IMO. With all that room its more suited for a workstation with high workloads and tons of drives than an Internet/photo editing home PC. It looks good in pictures but like anything it grows on ya.
If price IS an issue why not take another look at Antec SOLO II. It is ideal for a silent low power rig and easy to turn into a positive pressure setup.
You have persuaded me to not get the FT02. Along with my own dislikes about the 180mm fans, and my concerns about having the I/O ports on top, I do not think I will ever own a top of the line GPU ever again, and while I think the cooling is a great idea, I'm not sure it's that necessary.
Price is an issue, which is why it has kept me from pulling the trigger on the Lian Li, otherwise, I would have already done so...just trying to justify it in my mind, I guess. Rich, well, most of us that can afford to even buy a computer should be considered rich... (http://www.globalrichlist.com/
The Solo may be a decent case, I just can't seem to like the way it looks. Maybe seeing it in person would help, but I'm not sure of any computer stores that carry cases in my area...
It seems as though you like the lian-li case best but I agree that it is crazy overkill and you would not be using most of its features. I would check out other Lian li cases, since you won't be worried about a graphics card anyways you really don't have any concerns sound wise so anything with decent design will work. Without the graphics card the pca05fn would actually be a great choice. I have a pc-9f and its great and way smaller then that monstrosity.
IMO I would go with a PCA05FN, invest the money saved in a larger ssd so you don't need a mechanical drive (since your main storage is a nas anyways), buy 2 noctuas or whatever your favorite fan is, use a seasonic x-560 and use the onboard graphics or a passive 6670. That will be a completely silent system. Parts choice > case choice for silence.
For sure, going to check out these other cases. Problem with Lian Li, is they have so many cases to choose from...