This looks like an interesting case for a quiet htpc, if I can justify the expense. In the interest of quiet and reliability (hdd coolness) I'm wondering if a few mods might be worth considering. I'm not worried about hacking at the case... Comments welcome:
[list]Use an upward blowing cooler with a duct directly to the vent above, to ensure all the warmed air blows straight out. If necessary cutting a hole and using a free-flowing fan grill if airflow seemed too restricted
I did. The Alpha 8952, with it's fan sucking off the mobo and blowing out the top vent of the case. Also tried a conventional Zalman 7000. Quoted from my review:
Ralf Hutter wrote:
With the Zalman 7000, idle temps were a few degrees warmer but load temps were about the same as with the Alpha 8952. Another effect of the Zalman was that the HDD ran noticeably warmer than with the Alpha in the system. Apparently the additional intake airflow of the Zalman disturbed the case pressure enough to reduce the airflow around the HDD. My theory is partly correct in that even though the CPU temp remained unchanged, the overall case temps were higher with the Zalman blowing down, versus the Alpha blowing up.
Having the side 80mm fan blowing out - this seems to make more sense to me, so encouraging fresh air to come in around the HDD, which I wouldn't have thought it would do with an inward blow. If the incoming vents prove to be too restrictive with all three fans blowing out, then they might have to be opened up a bit, or an additional vent cut in the bottom of the case.
I had it blowing in as both the CPU and PSU fans were blowing out.
To silence the hard drive - either mod the bracket for soft mountings, or if that proved insufficient, given a small mobo (you can only use 2 slots anyway), perhaps a dangling horizontal mount for a HDD partially under the optical drive could be achieved. Possibly putting cooling fins
down the side of the drive
Decoupling the drive would be highly desirable, but there's definitely not enough room to shoehorn it even partially beneath the optical drive. Vertically mounting in somewhere near it's original location is the only way to do this, I think.
Finally, if necessary, a little bit of creative ducting to persuade the incoming air to do more of a tour of the components before exiting through the fans. I can imagine some of it might just go straight back out