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 Post subject: Antec Solo II or Fractal Design Define R3
PostPosted: Wed Dec 21, 2011 10:47 pm 
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Joined: Tue Dec 20, 2011 8:03 pm
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Hi guys, I'm a new poster wanting to build a reasonably quiet PC. I don't have the budget for the quietest components, but I'm choosing a case, and deciding between the Antec Solo II or Fractal Design Define R3. I'm also open to other suggestions.

I live in Australia. Unlike some reviews on the Internet, the Solo II and Define R3 cost pretty much exactly the same here.

The main components of my planned build are as follows:

[*]Intel Core i5-2500K
[*]No GPU - Would be running integrated HD 3000
[*]CPU cooler - Cooler Master Hyper 212 Evo - Not the best, but cheap and effective and quieter than stock fan
[*]PSU - Antec Neo Eco 520C - Relatively quiet on a budget
[*]One HDD, one SSD

Would anyone have any suggestions which case might be better for my needs acoustically?

I like the Define R3, particularly its flexibility to adapt to any future needs with the changing vents. I also like how it includes a fan controller, seems to have less shiny surfaces (that attract fingerprints) and top mounted buttons and ports.

But would the Antec Solo II be better? A lot of reviews complain of its price, but over here, the Solo II and Fractal R3 are equally priced. I heard it may be better quality, but even at the same price, I think it offers less value than the R3, having no fan controller, less flexibility for future changes to the case, and one fan included.

However, I read that it is arguably quieter, and also arguably of better build quality.

The main thing I really am concerned about for the Solo II is the open vent for the PSU at the top of the case. While this may be great for a fanless PSU, how effective would it be for the PSU that I will be using? I'm concerned that the vent will just let out heaps of noise from the PSU fan from a direct path, and furthermore, cause the PSU to get clogged with lots of dust over time. I suppose you can turn the PSU with the fan facing down, but I'm not sure that will prevent noise from escaping either way.

If anyone can provide me with some guidance, and some pros and cons, that would be great. Thanks for your help! Feel free also to comment on my components, though I know they aren't the quietest out there.


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 Post subject: Re: Antec Solo II or Fractal Design Define R3
PostPosted: Thu Dec 22, 2011 1:58 pm 
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Joined: Wed Jun 02, 2010 9:15 pm
Posts: 218
Location: Calgary, Alberta, Canada
I think that you should also consider the Antec p183 v3.

My Main System lives in an Antec P180 spcr_edition Case.

Upper Chamber:
ASUS M2A-VM HDMI, Athlon II X4 640, Scythe NINJA, 2 GBytes RAM, Boot drive is OCZ Solid 3 120 GByte SSD, Backup drive is a Seagate 500 GByte FXD, Optical Disk Drive, Floppy Disk Drive.

Lower chamber:
Corsair VX450 PSU

The 2 noisiest components in this system are the PS and FXD.

I use only one fan in the upper chamber of my P180 case. The top fan position is blocked off and air enters through the filter on the front and exits through the rear fan position. A 3" long ducted fan assembly is constructed from a Scythe 120mm PWM fan sandwiched between two 120mm fans with the guts cut out and is mounted on the rear chassis fan location. This ducted fan assembly aligns well enough for adequate air to be drawn through the Scythe NINJA CPU cooler. The fan is connected to the CPU fan connector and variable fan speed is enabled. The fan runs at around 650 rpm at idle and 1500 rpm when re-coding a video.

This cooling setup compared to normal configurations reduces noise because there is only one fan making noise and the turbulent air from the fan has 1" of space for the turbulence to moderate before hitting that nasty cheap steel stamping rear grill. At idle this computer is silent during the day and when things quiet down in the late evening I can here a very gentle, faint 'whoosh'.


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 Post subject: Re: Antec Solo II or Fractal Design Define R3
PostPosted: Thu Dec 22, 2011 2:13 pm 
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Joined: Fri Jul 02, 2010 4:41 am
Posts: 708
Location: Denmark
For a budget built, you could consider buy a budget PSU and afterwards change the fan. The only drawback of this setup is that the warranty is voided.

What do you intend to use the computer for?

The only thing that I believe is better in the Solo II compared to the Fractal, is the suspension system. Perhaps the single stock fan, but the fans of the R3 are quite good too and there are two of them. Many users have reported of broken power buttons! Beware of this and be sure to investigate this further!

Fractal however, holds many advantages: good cable-routing options, ModuVent, Door design, design (dependent on taste), PSU on bottom (again, dependent on subjective taste).

For a system like yours, you don't need to worry too much about thermal performance. Both will easily suffice, as the core i5 doesn't dissipate too much heat.

_________________
Cooler Master Elite 341, Athlon II X3 425, Radeon 5750 (passive, fan zip-tied on), Crucial M4 64 GB.
Cooling: AC Alpine 64 Pro, rear exhaust Scythe Slipstream 800 rpm @ ~5 V


"SSD's: The difference between a casual jogger and a dog chasing a ball"


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 Post subject: Re: Antec Solo II or Fractal Design Define R3
PostPosted: Thu Dec 22, 2011 3:12 pm 
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Joined: Thu Oct 06, 2005 4:36 am
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Location: Monterey Bay, CA
Either case is good for your needs. The Antec Neo Eco is made by Seasonic and at your load power, the fan is running ~600rpm. Here's a review.

Regardless of the case, you'll want to replace the fan on the CPU cooler as it'll be the noisiest component.

_________________
1080p Gaming build: i5-4670K, Mugen 4, MSI Z87-G45, MSI GTX 760 2GB Gaming, 8GB 1866 RAM, Samsung Evo 250GB, WD Red 2TB, Samsung DVD burner, Fractal Define R4, Antec True Quiet 140 (2 front + rear) case fans, Seasonic X-560. 35-40W idle, 45-55W video streaming, 170-200W WoW, 200-230W Rift, 318W stress test (Prime95 + Furmark)


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 Post subject: Re: Antec Solo II or Fractal Design Define R3
PostPosted: Thu Dec 22, 2011 4:02 pm 
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Joined: Tue Dec 20, 2011 8:03 pm
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Thanks for the help guys, it's been great advice so far.

What am I using the system for? As far as intensive work goes, quite a bit of video encoding for streaming to my PS3 here and there and some photoshop. I don't do gaming on the PC, at least not currently, hence no GPU. Most of the time however, I use the PC for doing proper work, predominantly research on the Internet and utilising office software. Even though the processor probably exceeds my current needs by a lot most of the time, I'm hoping that this build can last me for a very long time, with only incremental updates as required. Since I don't intend on getting another desktop PC for probably another 5 years at the least, that's why I chose the i5 2500K, so that well into the future, it would probably meet my needs and if it doesn't, I can overclock it a bit.

At the moment though, my main aim is to get a setup that's reasonably quiet so I can concentrate when I do my work on the computer. I don't have the budget for fanless PSUs or CPU coolers though, and I can tolerate a quiet system even if it's not silent.

The Antec P183 seems quite good, but it is also quite a bit more expensive and has a top vent, which I don't really like. An alternative to the Solo II and R3 for about the same price is the new Antec P280. This seems to have much more expandability than the Solo II, but has three fans and two top vents, which I'm not entirely sure would be great for noise either.

At the moment I'm leaning towards the R3, because it seems to have the flexibility to change and be tinkered with if I feel like I need more fans. I do intend to see for the system I get how, loud it is when running and would probably replace some fans with Scythe Slipstream 1200 rpm 12cm fans if needed.


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 Post subject: Re: Antec Solo II or Fractal Design Define R3
PostPosted: Fri Dec 23, 2011 7:59 am 
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Joined: Mon May 16, 2011 11:23 am
Posts: 604
Location: Germany
http://www.aerocool.com.tw/index.php/pr ... q/31-qs200

If your on a budget, you'll need 2 replacement fans and a low vibrating hdd. Agreed, the case is a pain to assemble, because it's rather small. Given your hardware, you might get off with the hyper running w/o a fan as it should be pretty close to the rear fan.

This case has a pretty small footprint and will even cool a mid-class gpu and you always could add a 3.5 USB 3 panel.


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 Post subject: Re: Antec Solo II or Fractal Design Define R3
PostPosted: Fri Dec 23, 2011 8:56 am 
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Joined: Fri Jul 02, 2010 4:41 am
Posts: 708
Location: Denmark
Another problem with the Antec P280 is that the place for the top fans arent structurally sturdy, so the vibrations from the fans will create a lot of noise according to SPCR's own review. Fractal R3 seems to be the way to go.

Even if you're on a budget, a good aftermarket CPU heatsink will bring you much less noise and better thermal performance (good if you want to upgrade).

Besides the Cooler Master EVO that has been mentioned, consider some of Scythe's heatsink or perhaps Gelid Tranquillo. Good budget coolers.
'

_________________
Cooler Master Elite 341, Athlon II X3 425, Radeon 5750 (passive, fan zip-tied on), Crucial M4 64 GB.
Cooling: AC Alpine 64 Pro, rear exhaust Scythe Slipstream 800 rpm @ ~5 V


"SSD's: The difference between a casual jogger and a dog chasing a ball"


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 Post subject: Re: Antec Solo II or Fractal Design Define R3
PostPosted: Sat Dec 24, 2011 8:23 pm 
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Joined: Sun Dec 11, 2011 9:50 pm
Posts: 108
If you aren't using a video card I recommend the Antec Solo II, it's quieter than the R3 and smaller which is easier to tuck away under desks or behind something.

If you plan on putting in a video card later then I'd recommend the R3 just for the upgrade possibility. It also gives you the option of using the top exhausts and/or the side intake.

The Solo is better built though, my R3 had some small things I did not like in it but nothing you can't look past when you consider the features and price.

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i7 920 (no oc) w/ Noctua NH-D14 | Asus P6T | Asus 6950 DC II 2gb | 12gb G.Skill Ripjaws 1600mhz | Intel X-25M 80gb Gen2 | 2x WD Caviar Green 1TB 64m cache |2x WD Caviar Green 2TB 64m cache | Native Instruments Komplete Audio 6 | Seasonic X-660 | Fractal Design R3 + 4x Noctua S12B 120mm


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 Post subject: Re: Antec Solo II or Fractal Design Define R3
PostPosted: Wed Dec 28, 2011 2:53 am 
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Joined: Tue Dec 20, 2011 8:03 pm
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Thanks for the help so far guys, it's been very useful.

Does anyone have any thoughts about my earlier concern, that I talked about in my original post? Namely that the top vent of the Solo II combined with the PSU I have chosen will lead to the direct release of noise into the environment?


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 Post subject: Re: Antec Solo II or Fractal Design Define R3
PostPosted: Wed Dec 28, 2011 8:33 am 
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Posts: 685
Location: Gefle, Sweden
Probably not much from inside the case since the PSU body blocks off most of that area, but any noise coming from the PSU itself will of course be much more noticeable. One that is only relatively quiet on overall could be near inaudible in a Define R3 but quite possbily audible in a Solo 2. Personally I'd consider just as much the idea of having the PSU unprotected from anything that might drop onto the rearward area of the case, and add some sort of protection there unless bolted under a desk or likewise. It's a potentially unsafe design if not taken into consideration.

_________________
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: Antec Solo II or Fractal Design Define R3
PostPosted: Wed Dec 28, 2011 8:57 am 
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Joined: Wed Jun 02, 2010 9:15 pm
Posts: 218
Location: Calgary, Alberta, Canada
spcw7 wrote:
... any thoughts about my earlier concern ... that the top vent of the Solo II combined with the PSU I have chosen will lead to the direct release of noise into the environment?
Quieter PS's are available or the PS can be mounted with it's fan sucking from the CPU area.


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 Post subject: Re: Antec Solo II or Fractal Design Define R3
PostPosted: Wed Dec 28, 2011 9:11 am 
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Joined: Tue Nov 02, 2004 12:22 pm
Posts: 1714
Location: Guatemala
Out of the list you have, i would probably go with the Define R3, not sure how quiet is the Antec Neo Eco 520 + Coolermaster 212, so having it on the top with it open might be much more noticable on the Solo II than on the R3, with quieter PSU n heatsink, i would go with solo II.

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DESKTOP >> MSI Z87-GD65 | Intel Core i7-4770K | Thermalright Silver Arrow IBE + 3x Noctua NF-A15 PWM @325rpms | Crucial Ballistix Sport 32GB DDR3 1600 | nVidia GTX780 + ARCTIC Accelero Xtreme IV | Samsung SA850 27'' 2560x1440 | Samsung 840pro 512GB | Hitachi 7K1000 1TB | Fractal Design Define R4 + 4x Noctua NF-A14 PWM @225rpm | SeaSonic SS-860XP2
Other builds ---> Server | HTPC | Download Station


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 Post subject: Re: Antec Solo II or Fractal Design Define R3
PostPosted: Wed Dec 28, 2011 10:24 am 
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Joined: Tue Jul 10, 2007 10:35 pm
Posts: 488
Location: Israel
Abula wrote:
Out of the list you have, i would probably go with the Define R3, not sure how quiet is the Antec Neo Eco 520 + Coolermaster 212, so having it on the top with it open might be much more noticable on the Solo II than on the R3, with quieter PSU n heatsink, i would go with solo II.


I used the Neo 520W on a few builds. Subjectively, it looks and sounds much like a Seasonic S12II 520 (I wouldn't be surprised if its identical). Most of the time with the system specs you are planning I'd expect PSU fan speeds to be at its minimum (~500RPM? my educated guess). In Solo II the PSU can also be mounted like in original Solo so that the fan is facing down and effectively blocking the top.

I like the way R3 looks, but not the door and Solo build quality seems ever so slightly better IMO... Its really up to your preference in terms of looks and usage.

As for the 212 evo I think it is an excellent cooler especially if you consider the price, but even compared to coolers that cost twice as much. It cools SNB very well and comes with a fairly quiet fan. Fan speed can typically be controlled in the BIOS depending on MOBO, both Asus and Intel (that I know of) have option to dial down the speed to ridiculously low speeds with added control of automatic ramping if it gets too hot.

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DAW - Antec P150, i7 2600K @ 4.4 GHz , Intel DP67BG, Crucial C300 SATA 3 SSD, Passive Geforce 8500GT, Samsung F1 1TB audio drive, Seasonic S12II520, TRUE+AC PWM@500RPM, Noctua 120@700 RPM
Video Edit- Antec P183, i7 2600, Intel DP67BG, Quadro 2000, Samsung 500GB system, 2*WB 1TB RAID 0, TRUE, Seasonic S12II620


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 Post subject: Re: Antec Solo II or Fractal Design Define R3
PostPosted: Tue Jan 03, 2012 12:25 am 
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Posts: 4
I think I shall go with the Fractal R3, as it seems more flexible for anything in the future I might want to put in it.

Having looked at components and my budget, I think I can stretch it just a little bit further, around $40 AUD. (That's around $40 USD, but component prices cost different) In the interests of silence, what components could I change? I'm not even sure for fans which would be the noisiest component of the case - the PSU, the case fans, or the CPU fan.

Some options for around $40 AUD include, among others:

1. Changing Cooler Master 212 Hyper Evo to Noctua U12P-SE2 ($35 more). I like how it has two fans, and I'm guessing you could use one and reuse the other one on the case if you want, or just not use the other fan. I'm quite inexperienced at computer building, so how does a motherboard handle a non-PWM fan (Noctua) for the CPU cooler as opposed to a PWM fan (Cooler Master 212)? Do both scale their speed depending on temperature? If it helps, the motherboard I am thinking of buying is the AsRock Z68M/USB3.

2. Changing fan on Cooler Master 212 Hyper Evo (various prices). Noctua 120 mm fans come at around $25 each and are pretty much the most expensive fans that are available. Scythe 120 mm fans come at around $15 each.

3. Changing case fans (see above on 2).

4. Changing my PSU model from Antec Neo Eco 520C to something else (e.g. Seasonic S12-II, with change to spare, but a lot of information points that this is the exact same thing as the Neo Eco). Fanless is of course out of the question for this kind of money.


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 Post subject: Re: Antec Solo II or Fractal Design Define R3
PostPosted: Tue Jan 03, 2012 1:53 am 
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Joined: Fri Aug 05, 2005 3:29 am
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Location: UK
spcw7 wrote:
2. Changing fan on Cooler Master 212 Hyper Evo (various prices). Noctua 120 mm fans come at around $25 each and are pretty much the most expensive fans that are available. Scythe 120 mm fans come at around $15 each.


Replacing the 212 fan with a Scythe Slipstream PWM is a fairly common practice. The Scythe PWM model most often used is probably this one http://www.gamehead.com.au/Computer-Components/PC-Cooling/120mm-Slipstream-PWM-Function-Max-Speed-1300RPM-Fan/7016205. I assume that there are other stores locally which might have this at a better price. PWM fans will automatically vary their speed according to system load and/or ambient temperature. Check out what BIOS fan control your motherboard has, because this could give you options for controlling the PWM function if you prefer not to just leave it on an automatic setting.


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