Absolutely. Silent PC enthusiasts are relatively low spenders. While SPCR are may consider $300 to be a lot for making their overall PC more quiet, graphics enthusiasts will shell out $1400 for SLI graphic cards alone.
There's a difference between paying premium and wasting money: $1400 for a PC component is ridiculous, $1400 for a high-end or silent PC is acceptable. For most people that's a month's wage for something that'll be outdated in about two years. Making that sort of exaggerated comparison to say the silent users don't spend enough to be a viable target group is wrong. Silent components cost premium, be it cases, coolers, fans, PSUs, motherboards, processors, VGA or HDDs, so the profit margin and extra spending is certainly there. The fact that the majority has been buying flashy shiny things with big numbers, or just getting the cheapest option, has more to do with the current state of affairs than the readiness of your silencing enthusiast to dig in their wallet.
But think beyond the money factor. We have the technology to make sound proof ultra-quiet cases. But they're not going to be cheap. Do you see the typical silent PC enthusiast paying $1400 for a truely soundproof modern PC case made of double walled, vacuum sealed composites and high strength anti-vibe alloys?
Well considering that most people here seem to think the $80 Antec P180 or solo is at the cutting edge of PC sound proofing technology, the answer appears to be a resounding "no". In fact, the sad thing is, the $80 aluminium Antec P180 is at the cutting edge of PC sound proofing technology (along with the TNN's).
So let's look beyond the money issue: why isn't there a magnetically latched titanium-lead alloy case that is sure to kill vibration and has sealed vacuums for soundproofing? How about all the red tape and ecological aspects... or how about the fact that you don't need one?
With proper components and high-grade cases you can already achieve what is essentially a completely silent computer. Those components won't cost you $1400, and that's simply because they are not made to rip you off with promises and sparkle, but to provide improved functionality with smart engineering.
The 89â‚¬ price tag on a P150 variant is double the money you'd pay for a basic steel ATX tower case. The 120â‚¬ price tag on the P180 variants is triple that, so they are not cheap or anything to sneer at. They are at the "cutting edge"(more like top of the line) as there is little or no competition, and people are swallowing them up: the initial hundred-or-so Solo cases went in a week from the distributor I was considering buying from, so there is demand. There's also certainly willingness to invest, as the Lian Li price tags can tell you, and that money is paid for appeal and badge alone, not actual improvement in functionality. Assuming that people see Performance One as the ultimate soundproofing solution is dead wrong: what they are described as is the best enclosures to start building your silent PC in. You're quite right in people not wanting to pay thousands for a case -- why would they when there's no need?
Fact is, manufacturers do not think people will pay for it. And they're right. So manufacturers will not waste their time.
Perhaps I'm mistaken, but I believe that the silent pc enthusiast market is in its infancy. Eventually more premium manufacturers will offer more technologically advanced (and more expensive) products, but there is absolutely no reason to at the moment. They'd simply lose money.
Fact is neither of us know what the manufacturers think. Also a fact is that in a market economy the majority dictates the profits, be it by spending or demand, and that majority has been concentrating on aspects other than silence. The reasons are mostly ignorance(why should I pay premium when I can save money, they wouldn't sell me complete shit would they?
ohhh yes they would) and enthusiasm(new Radeon/GeForce/e-penis with bigger numbers and a new trick feature that needs double the investment? WOW!
) What you are right about is the relative freshness and novelty of the "silent" market, and I think quite a few manufacturers are taking advantage of that by selling less-than-perfect products to garner profits before releasing the next improved-but-not-yet-quite-perfect product. The rest aren't bothering as long as their existing stuff keeps selling, as the silent market already has established competition that would cut initial profits and raise initial investment.
Hail the almighty buck!