Homebuilt quiet PC case
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Author:  grandmasterfuz [ Wed Jul 20, 2011 10:45 am ]
Post subject:  Homebuilt quiet PC case

Hi everyone :)

This is my first ever post on this site, so forgive me if I get something wrong.

I currently have a heavily modded case, which runs ridiculously loud and is not very good at cooling.

I've been thinking about making my own quiet, cool, mid-range gaming case for a while. The basic design idea should be a JPEG in this post.

My current rig is:

CPU: AMD Athlon 64 X2 6000+ Brisbane (which is my main source of heat)
Motherboard: MSI K9A2GM-FIH
Heatsink: Stock AMD am2+ heatsink
GPU: Sapphire Radeon 5750 1Gb o/c to 825mHz clock and 1335mHz memory
RAM: 1x2Gb DDR2 800
Storage: 2x160Gb Seagate ST3160813AS; 1x250Gb Seagate ST3250318AS
PSU: Omega MG-500W

I am planning on upgrading my CPU to a Phenom II x4 955BE, swapping my 3 small HDD's for 1 nice 2Tb HDD, installing 1x2Gb more DDR2 800 RAM and upgrading the stock heatsink.

I have no need to upgrade my motherboard, my graphics card or my power supply (yet).

I am also planning on attaching my screen to the case to make a sort of wooden, Frankenstein MAC. The screen is an Acer G245H, and will be placed behind the motherboard. Unfortunately, there will be a lot of unused space in the case, as a result of mounting the screen into the case.

I live in South Africa, so not all of the parts mentioned on the site are available here.

Any suggestions on: 1. Quiet, cold aftermarket heatsinks
2. Fan size, placement and type
3. Case design
would be greatly appreciated. I will check any suggestions to see what I can get, and will let you know what is possible.

Thanks for the help guys :)

Author:  grandmasterfuz [ Thu Jul 21, 2011 10:30 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Homebuilt quiet PC case

anybody? maybe i have it in the wrong place...

Author:  cordis [ Thu Jul 21, 2011 11:13 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Homebuilt quiet PC case

Well, it looks interesting. So I take it that if you're mounting the LCD on the front, then we're staring at it head on in the picture you put up? I'm worried that I'm misinterpreting it here. It's not a bad way to go, having the fans on the sides so neither is facing the user. Speaking of that, if your upper right corner is basically empty, would it make sense to add another fan there to blow directly across the motherboard? May not be necessary, but if you're having heat issues, some more circulation wouldn't hurt. For the psu, you have it being cooled from the end, but typically the fans for those are on the long side, so it will be pulling air from the bottom of the case or the case interior. With the keyboard under the psu, is that going to be something like a cubby that you can pull the keyboard out of? In that case, it might be ok to pull psu air from the bottom, through that cubby which should be empty when you're using the system. So if that's the plan, then it will probably work, post some pics in the gallery when you're done!

Author:  ces [ Thu Jul 21, 2011 1:27 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Homebuilt quiet PC case

It seems too big

Author:  grandmasterfuz [ Fri Jul 22, 2011 2:14 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Homebuilt quiet PC case

the LCD is going to be on the front. the design in my first post was a view from the back of the case. the back of the lcd would be behind the motherboard
Computer design front.jpg
Computer design side.jpg

the psu is quite old, and it doesn't have top or bottom fans. it only has a fan on the side with the power plug and on the opposite side to that, where the diagram shows air going in.

the keyboard cubby door will be on the front of the case. so, when looking at the screen, the door will be underneath it.

the door to access the internals will be on the back.

it is going to be a very big case, but it has to be that size for the screen to fit. i could always slant in the side edges at the back, but i wouldn't be able to fit the keyboard into it then.

the whole principle of the build is to make it so that i only have to unplug it from the wall and go, without having to worry about monitors, keyboards, mice, cables etc :mrgreen: make it nice and easy for LAN partys, but also get a very quiet case for when i am doing work, or listening to music.

Author:  cordis [ Fri Jul 22, 2011 11:10 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Homebuilt quiet PC case

Ah, I see. Well, then a 2nd fan for the motherboard would probably be a good idea, especially if you are using a dedicated gpu. Not a bad idea all around, I think I've seen something like it before someplace. The keyboard cubby is a cool idea, although that does mean that the depth of the keyboard dictates the depth of your system, I'm not sure if you have a extra small one you're going to use with it. Oh, but you have 200mm fans, so it's at least that deep. Wow, that will be big, you'll definitely have enough room for a decent CPU heat sink. The 200mm fans may be too much, at that size you're limited to only a couple vendors, and not many of them are particularly quiet. You'll need to undervolt them, and that's fine. But if you wind up not needing all that dept, then you should be ok with 140mm fans too. Putting a 200mm fan above the motherboard means you'll have a couple of centimeters under that for the I/O ports too, meaning your depth is at least 220mm or so. Even with a tall cpu heatsink (like 170mm), you'll still wind up with a bunch of dead air in the case. Might be ok, but making it a little less deep might be a good idea.

Author:  grandmasterfuz [ Fri Jul 22, 2011 12:16 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Homebuilt quiet PC case

thanks :) the sketches aren't quite to scale though. the external measurements of the case are gonna be about 64cm wide, 30cm deep and about 44 cm high. it's gonna be made from MDF, with a veneer over that for the classy look. the internals are going to be significantly smaller, as it's 16mm MDF that i'm using. internal measurements are gonna be more like 60cm wide, 27cm deep and about 40cm high. some of the depth will be taken up by the screen, which will be about 6 or 7 cm. the motherboard and the standoffs will take up another 1 or 2 cm. so thats about 19 cm (about the same as my keyboard) internal depth, which should be a bit better.

i'm thinking of using all that extra space for another cubby to hold my headphones. they're Roccat Kave's, so they're quite chunky. they should take up most of that extra space, and i can add a panel to direct the air towards the motherboard and isolate some of the dead air.

oh yea, just an idea. if i'm going to be including al this stuff in the case, would it be a good idea to move the motherboard further into the case so all the cables can be kept on the inside? cables like the monitor cable, the 5 cables for the headphones, the cable for the wireless receiver etc. i'd like to keep the exterior as minimalistic as possible.

thanks for the responses, i can see i didn't put nearly enough thought into it :)

Author:  capoeira [ Fri Jul 22, 2011 1:37 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Homebuilt quiet PC case

wanna see that, when it's built

Author:  cordis [ Fri Jul 22, 2011 2:32 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Homebuilt quiet PC case

I like the storage thing up top, that's cool. And putting the fan deeper in the interior should keep it more quiet, good plan. As far as moving the motherboard back and not having all the ports on the side, that's not a bad idea. With the monitor and keyboard built in, it starts looking like a laptop in some ways. You have the psu on the side, so power should be taken care of, although you may want to move it in a little and do some fancier wiring so that you wire the LCD and the PSU to a single plug. You can drill a hole and hook the LCD video up directly, so you don't need a port for that. There's the headphone and sound jacks, you could probably put those connections in the cubby so they're hidden until you use the system. If you go with WiFi for networking instead of cable, you don't need that one either. I suppose you might want a couple USB ports, but for that you could also just put a small usb hub in the cubby, and only plug stuff in when it's parked. You may want an eSATA port, but that's only if you need it. Actually, you may want to put a hinged door behind the motherboard, so if you do need to hook something random up, you can just open it up.

And as a general aside, for a home made system, do spend some time thinking about how you can assemble it so you can still open it up and do any upgrades you need to. When I made my wooden cube-ish system (http://www.silentpcreview.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=14&t=61400&hilit=smaller+wood) I made sure that most of the panels opened up pretty easily. That may not be too desirable for a case that's meant to be portable, you may want to have some nuts and bolts holding panels in place that you can open up when you need to but are pretty solid otherwise. But think about some options.

Actually, what this really reminds me of are some old briefcase mods I saw years ago. They would take a briefcase, put the LCD in the lid, the rest went in the body of the case, usually with a panel with the keyboard on top. Your architecture is somewhat similar, although it's more like putting the LCD over the guts in the body of the case and having the keyboard in the lid. Might want to google for briefcase systems, could get some ideas or tips.

Author:  Just an ordinary rabbit [ Fri Jul 22, 2011 3:30 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Homebuilt quiet PC case

If you moved the HDD closer to the PSU then you could lose the lower intake fan (and possibly also install a noise-reducing barrier).
Make sure all the PSU cables are long enough when designing and building the case. I know its common sense but its easy to overlook the difference a wee bit of cable routing can make.

I'm not sure how effective the ducting panel in front of the motherboard would be if it didn't extend across the motherboard. It might be better with 2 fans in front of the motherboard, blowing onto CPU and GPU. You could also then install a noise-reducing barrier between those fans and the outside of the case too if you wanted to, depending on how quiet you want it.

Author:  grandmasterfuz [ Sat Jul 23, 2011 1:36 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Homebuilt quiet PC case

All great ideas, thanks guys :)

I don't need it to be super quiet, but I would like it if its not loud for when I'm gaming, and fairly quiet when I'm not. I currently have to share the room with both parents, who work from home, and they are getting a little bit irritated with the portable cyclone I have on the desk next to me. Well, its not really portable either :mrgreen:

hopefully this idea will work. my old man and I finally reached an agreement on a case design.
I'm thinking of: foam mounting the CD drive, to prevent vibrations
suspending the HDD, also to prevent vibrations
foam mounting the PSU, yet again to reduce vibration
mounting a big fan to deliver air to the CPU and the GPU
mounting 2 smaller back fans to take heat away from CPU and GPU
placing a noise reduction barrier at each entrance and exit to the case

The room my pc is in is quite dusty. would filters be a bad idea? I've heard they affect airflow, and as a result they affect the noise from the fan, but that would mean less general maintenance on the internals.

Lastly, how can you build a "noise reducing barrier"? i have no clue where to start with that.

As soon as I get a decent table saw, production shall begin :) going to be a very interesting few weeks. hopefully, i'll have it finished by the end of August

Author:  grandmasterfuz [ Sat Jul 23, 2011 3:22 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Homebuilt quiet PC case

right, got some fan prices and ideas

for the big fan : coolermaster megaflow 200mm
upgraded cpu fan: nexus ds12l 120mm
back fans: coolermaster sickleflow 120mm x2
cpu h/s: coolermaster hyper 212 plus

sound like a good combo? i'm also contemplating a fan controller for the 3 non-cpu fans

edit: for fans, cpu heatsink and controller altogether it is going to cost about R664, which is about $95. the extra RAM and 2Tb HDD are gonna cost R1050, or about $150. the foam is gonna cost about R200, which is about $25. so, in total, its gonna cost about R1920, or $274. the prices here are ridiculous, i know

right, i'm not going to get the big coolermaster or the nexus. i'm just gonna get 4 sickleflow 120mms, link two of them together and plug the whole lot into the fan controller

Author:  Just an ordinary rabbit [ Sat Jul 23, 2011 4:17 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Homebuilt quiet PC case

I was thinking along the lines of wooden barriers. Somebody used them before in a HTPC build that was built into a TV unit, but I can't find it to give you a link. They probably wouldn't be of much use unless your system was pretty quiet (all fans <1000RPM), but in that case then the HDD would be louder (and it's probably got enough dampening as its surrounded by wood anyway). You might want to consider lining the inside of the system with foam to dampen noise reflections though.

I put my abysmal photoshopping skills to use and drew this instead just to give you an idea of what I meant:

Author:  grandmasterfuz [ Sat Jul 23, 2011 8:54 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Homebuilt quiet PC case

ah, that makes sense :) allows air through but slows down transmitted noise, cool :)

and don't worry, most of the designs i've posted have been quick sketches with powerpoint shapes :mrgreen:

i probably won't need my "noise reduction" on the back end of the case then, just filters on the intakes.

right, now for a sketch of proper proportions, without the horrible lime green and with the correct fans

Final idea and airflow.jpg

personally, i think the noise reduction isn't too necessary. most of the fans are going to be at a low rpm most of the time anyway, or even turned off, and when i game my headphones can block out the noise. any noise that is made should be dampened by the foam. the foam lining the storage areas is only there to protect the headphones, the keyboard and the mouse when i move the case around. if it does get too loud, i'l try installing the noise barriers and see how they affect temperature

by rubber mounting the fans, their vibrations will be minimalized. the hdd is suspended, the cd drive is foam mounted and the power supply is foam mounted.

i think the internals are now sorted :)

thanks for all the help guys. any further tips are greatly appreciated

Author:  Mr Spocko [ Mon Jul 25, 2011 5:19 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Homebuilt quiet PC case

I might be alone in this but I'm not convinced of the benefits of a bottom mounted PSU as it won't help at all removing hot air from the system.
On the coolermaster HS/Fan I've used a few including the slightly smaller TX-3 one and they're pretty good for the money though I replaced the fan with a Noctua to cut noise down even more. At low to medium speeds the stock fans are fairly quiet at high speeds they will be audible more than I am happy with.

Author:  boost [ Mon Jul 25, 2011 11:04 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Homebuilt quiet PC case

There is a case similar to what you want to build: Chieftec BL-01B.
Here's a review by overclockersclub. In summary: interesting case, loud fans.
Modding a case took me quite some time, building one from scratch could be a major project. I don't want to discourage you, just a heads up.

Author:  Just an ordinary rabbit [ Mon Jul 25, 2011 1:20 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Homebuilt quiet PC case

boost wrote:
There is a case similar to what you want to build: Chieftec BL-01B.
Here's a review by overclockersclub. In summary: interesting case, loud fans.
Where does it say loud fans? 800RPM should be fairly quiet.
I doubt that case could manage the heat of a high end gaming PC though, it appears to be designed for much lower heat output.

Author:  grandmasterfuz [ Tue Jul 26, 2011 1:21 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Homebuilt quiet PC case

the reason for bottom mounting the psu is to lower the centre of gravity, and so that there is more available air around the cpu h/s. plus, the fans on this psu are quite weak, so they wouldn't help much even if it was top mounted. i don't want to go through the hassle of replacing the fans, so i'll just bottom mount it.

the chieftec case is very similar to what i want to build, but it doesn't have the storage places for keyboards and headphones that i want.

i've been needing something to take up my free time lately, and i've always been unhappy with my current case and setup. so, i figured, join everything together in one case. problem solved :) i know it's going to be difficult, but there are some DIY speaker builders i know that are very experienced with cabinet construction. so if all hell breaks loose, i can just shout for help :mrgreen:

Author:  grandmasterfuz [ Fri Jul 29, 2011 8:21 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Homebuilt quiet PC case

just talked to the guy at the computer shop. he thinks 4 120mm fans, 2 blowing onto the motherboard, cpu and graphics card and 2 exhausting the air is a bit of overkill.

is he right?

would be nice if he is, means less money that i have to spend.

the fans are deepcool windblade 120mm 1300rpm

here is an upgraded idea, with 2 fans in total instead of 4.
2 fans.jpg

here is what i think is a better idea
3 fans.jpg

this will create a low pressure system, making for better cooling. the filters will handle any dirt.

so, which of the 3 designs?

2 fans, 3 fans or 4 fans?

Author:  cordis [ Fri Jul 29, 2011 11:00 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Homebuilt quiet PC case

The 3 fan design seems solid, although I'd be tempted to put the two fans in the middle and the single fan on the back. That's more of a positive pressure design, but it keeps more fans in the interior, so it should be less noisy. The big reason to use more fans is so that you can undervolt them, and keep them quieter, while still moving enough air. I'm not familiar with the brand of fans that you're using, so it's very possible that you may need to undervolt them to keep them quiet. But it depends on how quiet you want the system to be. Typically, you can shell out money for quiet fans that run at higher speeds, or you can get cheap fans and undervolt them down to where they're quiet. If you can get some cheap fixed resistor fan cables, that might be a cheap way to slow cheap fans down, or if you can do any soldering you could make some yourself. You'll probably have to test the fans and see how noisy they are for yourself.

Author:  grandmasterfuz [ Sat Jul 30, 2011 2:04 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Homebuilt quiet PC case

got a fan controller and one of the fans today. it is wonderfully quiet, so i think i'll get 2 more of them, and use the heatsink fan as the "4th" fan.

Author:  grandmasterfuz [ Mon Aug 08, 2011 12:23 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Homebuilt quiet PC case

still haven't been able to start building this, as my dad is insisting that i finish repairing my bike...sigh.

i have almost all the parts of the build that i need. just 2 more fans left.

Author:  fork8210 [ Tue Sep 06, 2011 7:14 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Homebuilt quiet PC case

you can make a replica out of cardboard or Styrofoams. Wiring's can be a little to messy if you dont have a plan for them, fixing it on an actual replica can help.

Author:  capoeira [ Tue Sep 06, 2011 5:14 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Homebuilt quiet PC case

grandmasterfuz wrote:
my dad is insisting that i finish repairing my bike..

repair your bike

Author:  cordis [ Tue Sep 06, 2011 11:54 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Homebuilt quiet PC case

fork8210 wrote:
you can make a replica out of cardboard or Styrofoams. Wiring's can be a little to messy if you dont have a plan for them, fixing it on an actual replica can help.

Good advice, for my big brass box (http://www.silentpcreview.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=14&t=59803) I used cardboard first and then cheap galvanized steel to work out how to build the sides before the I started in on the brass. And having the wiring worked out will be very helpful. I suppose it depends, if you're going to go with wood ultimately, then it might be good to just start with some cheap wood, plywood or particle board, and then build it with some nice wood. But cardboard would be good just for getting the layout down nice and solid. Guess it depends on how much of a craftsman you are. ;)

Author:  grandmasterfuz [ Fri Sep 30, 2011 9:04 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Homebuilt quiet PC case

well...that was a resounding failure. made the cardboard model, sorted out wiring etc. everything seemed as if it would fit, so i cut the mdf to the "correct" size...

mocked up the box, and i discovered, much to my dismay, that i had forgotten to include the width of the mdf in my measurements. so it was 4 cm too short and too thin... :x

well, after i've saved up, i can go and get some more mdf and try this all again :lol:

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