About a year ago, I put together my first PC, using an Antec Super Lanboy case. I was pretty happy with the results, but the case wasn’t quite up to snuff for my uses. Since I didn’t move the PC around much, the low weight of the Super Lanboy really didn’t do anything for me, and it struck me as being kind of fragile and not very quiet, even when using fairly slow 120mm fans. Also, I wanted a quieter power supply than the TrueBlue 480 that I used, which seemed to be my biggest source of noise under load. Finally, I wanted to set my PC up for future upgrades by having an ATX 2.0 power supply, and a case with a ton of room and cooling capacity to spare.
Enter the P180. On paper, it looked like a dream come true. That was an easy choice.
For a power supply, I decided to try the 500 W SmartPower 2.0. It looked like it was made for the P180, with straight-through airflow instead of a big fan on the bottom, and I hoped that with the big lower-chamber 120mm fan blowing on it that it would run much quieter than my last power supply, a TrueBlue 480. I also liked the fact that it came with modular, sleeved power cables like the NeoPower 480, which would make cable management less of a nightmare.
The end result:
The rest of the specs:
Asus A8V Deluxe 2.0
AMD Athlon 64 3500+ Winchester @ 2.2 GHz w/ Thermalright XP-90
2x512 MB OCZ EL Platinum Rev2 PC3200 RAM @ 2.0-2-2-10 1T
BFG 6800 GT OC @ 400/1100 w/ NV Silencer 5
WD 120GB 7,200 RPM IDE hard drive
Memorex dual-layer 16x DVD-RW drive
The cable managment gave me fits in this case, but I was able to get things to what I think is a fairly decent state of affairs. The vga duct seemed more trouble than it was worth, so I dumped it. There are a total of 4 Antec TriCool 120mm LED fans in this caes (intake, exhaust, top, and 1 on the XP-90), plus the big lower chamber fan that came with the case, all set on low. Operating temps seem to be pretty good (room temp was about 20C, all fans on lowest setting, from left to right idle/cpu load/video load):
The CPU is about 5C cooler than it was under load in the Super Lanboy, and the GPU is about 3C cooler. 12v never went outside 11.855-11.795 range.
As for noise... well, it isn't silent
by any stretch, not surprising with no fewer than five 120mm fans running. But it is surprisingly quiet for the amount of air that it is pushing around, noticeably quieter than the otherwise identical system in a Super Lanboy with only three fans blowing at equal speeds. Two extra fans running and less
noise is not a bad bargain. Next step is to start turning off fans to see what combo gives me the most cooling with the least noise.
Another upside is the Smart Power 2.0 + lower chamber fan combo. The idea of a power supply with 2 fans blowing straight through the PSU, that spin up sequentially only as needed, seemed to fit the P180 design very well. And as it turns out, PSU noise is very low under load in this system; apparently, the 120mm fan provides enough airflow to limit the fan speeds the SmartPower 2.0 hits. In a normal case, I would have gone with a PSU with one 120mm fan on the bottom, but in the P180 the SmartPower 2.0's setup seems to run very quiety.
Any suggestions are welcome, but I probably won't spend alot of cash on this system till next year.