I'm open to better suggestions suitable to my needs. Keep in mind that I'm from Australia, parts are hard to source and I don't plan to buy from overseas.
How are the stock Tricool fans in the Antec case? Should I swap these out with some quieter fans? Or can I simply lower the fan speed using the controller to the point where I can't hear them?
I agree with you about getting parts locally - it can be a real pain. If you haven't found this site already, Static Ice
is great. PC Case Gear
is where I do a lot of my shopping.
The Antec TriCools that come with the P182 don't have a 3-pin connector for fan controllers. You can turn them down with the included switch but even on the low setting it is audible, although reasonably quiet.
If you feed the fan 7V through the molex connector rather than a full 12V, apparently the fan can then run fairly quietly, but I haven't tried this myself. Buying some good Nexus or Scythe fans would be an easier better solution.
If you only have one or two fans, a fan controller may not be necessary, just buy a few Zalman fanmates or hard-wire the fans to a set voltage.
If the Ninja 2 comes with a fan included (I think it does), I would just mount the included fan as the rear exhaust but leave it connected to the CPU fan header so that the rear fan varies according to CPU temperature (if the fan will vary speed that way). I would block off the top fan exhaust area and maybe use a front intake fan in the middle of the P182 because your graphics card is passive, but this may not be necessary.
If you seal off the exhaust vents around the PSU, you won't need a lower chamber fan as the PSU fan will keep your hard drives cool. Both HDDs should be mounted in the lower HDD area.
One thought occurred to me though - an Antec Solo might be more suitable to your needs than a P182. It has built in suspension option for the hard drives. It's cheaper too - $50-$80 or so.
Just use the CPU fan from the Ninja 2 to replace the rear exhaust fan in the Solo as suggested above. If the temps on your passive graphics card get too high, include a Nexux 92mm front mounted fan intaking air near this card.
Another alternative that could cut your costs would be going with a NSK3480 mATX case and changing your motherboard to something like a 780G or 740G mATX mobo. Change your CPU cooler to a Ninja Mini and use the included 80mm fan to do a fan swap with the included Earthwatts power supply (if you're comfortable doing this).
You'd probably save at least $100, maybe $150 or so even, going with this last option. If you don't have an optical drive permanently connected, there would be room to suspend both hard drives in the upper area of the 3480.
Parts for all of these suggestions should be available in Australia, although you may have to get some shipped from inter-state shops depending on where you live.