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 Post subject: P182 -- massive case airflow problem?
PostPosted: Sat Aug 18, 2007 2:02 pm 
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I love my new P182 case. As far as I'm concerned it's the best. case. ever. However, I noticed a few strange video card crashes during gaming, so I investigated.

Note that I have performed a few mods on my P182, so this is a better-than-normal situation. I've already..
  • snipped out the fan grills in the front and rear with tin snips
  • removed all dust filters from the front
  • removed plastic cover from the front middle fan (so it's basically a direct "hole" into the computer when the case cover is oepn)
  • placed all three "standard" p182 fans in the traditional places on low
  • dremeled away the exhaust backplate cover for the 8800GTX
  • removed 8800GTX heatsink, cleaned, and reapplied with Arctic Silver Ceramique for optimal heat transfer
What I found may shock you. I think there's a pretty severe airflow problem with the P182 case as-designed.

RivaTuner temperature graphs for my 8800GTX are below.

Idle -- P182 case door OPEN vs. CLOSED
Image Image

Load (full screen 1600x1200 rthdribl) -- P182 case door OPEN vs. CLOSED
Image Image

P182 case door OPEN

Idle: Ambient 47, core 57
Load: Ambient 67, core 80, fan ~1800 rpm

P182 case door CLOSED

Idle: Ambient 64, core 75
Load: Ambient 71, core 86 (and rising!), fan ~ 2900 rpm

With the case door closed, I can't play games on the 8800GTX without eventually overheating and crashing the video card driver. It's that simple.

I also found that snapping the plastic fan cover over the front fan is almost as airflow-restrictive as closing the case cover (!). On this case, you DEFINITELY want to remove anything blocking that front middle air intake.

And even then you may need to open the front of the case for gaming sessions. However, I'm not a fan of manually opening and closing the case when I do things... it should just work. I'm going to experiment with putting an intake fan in the front middle position and see if that works at all with the case door closed.


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PostPosted: Sat Aug 18, 2007 3:04 pm 
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I mounted a low-RPM 120 millimeter front fan in the front middle fan mount on the P182 case. I left the drive bay enclosure in place, but removed all the slide-in drive bays from it (I already had one removed anyway to make room for the 8800GTX). It makes sort of a nifty little de-facto fan duct that way.

Results?

P182 case door CLOSED, w/front fan

Idle: Ambient 59 (-5), core 68 (-7)
Load: Ambient 68 (-3), core 81 (-5) (stable!), fan ~ 2900 rpm

P182 case door OPEN, w/front fan

Idle: Ambient 50 (+3), core 59 (+2)
Load: Ambient 65 (-2), core 77 (-3), fan ~2100 rpm (+300)

So the good news is, with a front fan, I should be able to keep the front door of the P182 closed. But it looks like I could do almost as well-- and better in some ways -- by just leaving the fan out, and opening the front door when I play a game to let the system vent naturally.


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PostPosted: Sat Aug 18, 2007 4:02 pm 
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Hmm. Even with the front fan, playing Battlefield 2142 was a non-starter.. rthdribl may have worked OK with the front fan and the case closed .. but using the same config in BF2142, temps quickly went up to 85c even at 100% fan ramp! I had one of those framerate "hitches" which is always an impending sign that the card will crash. I quickly opened the front of the case and stabilized temps.

Looks like I'm going to remove that front fan I installed and simply open the front of the case when I play games. Not ideal, but I'd rather do that than increase the fan speeds to ridiculous levels to compensate for the video card load and highly restrictive P182 front cover.


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PostPosted: Sat Aug 18, 2007 4:10 pm 
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The swing-out doors in front of the inlet filters on a P180/182 should always be removed. They cut the air flow almost in half.

If your fans are slow, the front door should also always be left open, since the tiny slots around the door don't have anywhere near the cross section of the inlets. (This is especially true if the case is sitting on carpet, which blocks the openings at the bottom of the case.)

The best way to improve the performance of this case when using slow fans is to increase the inlet cross section, as documented in http://www.silentpcreview.com/article672-page1.html.

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PostPosted: Sat Aug 18, 2007 4:53 pm 
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cmthomson wrote:
The swing-out doors in front of the inlet filters on a P180/182 should always be removed. They cut the air flow almost in half.

No kidding. Those things are CRAZY restrictive in my testing.

Quote:
If your fans are slow, the front door should also always be left open, since the tiny slots around the door don't have anywhere near the cross section of the inlets. (This is especially true if the case is sitting on carpet, which blocks the openings at the bottom of the case.)

Actually it works fine in my system, except when I'm gaming. It's the 8800GTX video card specifically that's reacting so negatively to the low intake airflow; the rest of the system would run just fine under full load with the door closed.

Quote:
The best way to improve the performance of this case when using slow fans is to increase the inlet cross section, as documented in http://www.silentpcreview.com/article672-page1.html.

That's a great mod. However, I don't see where you're "increasing the inlet cross section". Can you clarify this for me?

In fact, you have the dust filters still in place (!) and you haven't used tin snips to clear out the metal grilles that constrict air flow in the front of the case (!!). I bet you could improve your airflow more than 25% if you snipped grills and removed the air filters.. and 25% more airflow means proportionally less noise as documented in this excellent sticky: http://www.silentpcreview.com/forums/vi ... php?t=8493


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PostPosted: Sat Aug 18, 2007 10:46 pm 
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Another semi-interesting data point.

With the front of the case open, (and thus the completely stripped down, no-filter, no-grille hole in the middle exposed to open air), 8800GTX temperatures actually rise when I take off the side panel on the case.

And by quite a bit, too.. 4-5c!

That's one "blowhole" which is doing a great job of shunting cool air directly to the primary video card. :) The P182 has perfect alignment for this.


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PostPosted: Sun Aug 19, 2007 12:36 am 
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cmthomson wrote:
If your fans are slow, the front door should also always be left open, since the tiny slots around the door don't have anywhere near the cross section of the inlets. (This is especially true if the case is sitting on carpet, which blocks the openings at the bottom of the case.)

I wonder if it would be worth enlarging the front vents by hacking out most of the struts (don't know what else to call them), so you have elongated open holes? Obviously you'd need to leave enough in place to retain adequate structural integrity, but maybe five or so groups of three or four struts, equally spaced top to bottom, would do the trick.

The larger and more open the vents, the more chance of achieving some laminar flow into the void behind the (closed) door - at least it might be less of an eyesore than leaving the door open all the time, particularly if you've removed the small inner doors and/or filters, and/or chopped out the fan grilles.

Maybe a stupid idea - I don't have a P182 at the moment, so I'll leave it to someone else to cut up their case... :D


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PostPosted: Sun Aug 19, 2007 1:17 am 
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That's a good idea-- I bet expanding the P18x side ventilation slots would work. I'm not sure how much airflow would improve, but every little bit helps when the front is clearly quite restrictive.

I'm a little hesitant to start chopping away on such a semi-visible area of the exterior of the case, though.

I have no problem hacking away at fan grills hidden on the back of the computer, or stuff on the inside that nobody will see except me.. but these external mods make me nervous.


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PostPosted: Sun Aug 19, 2007 1:14 pm 
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I am in the same boat with an 8800 Ultra. I don't really want to do visible mods either. Having said that, mine is stable at 97C max in ATITool and games.

It would be interesting to experiment with removing the slot covers that cover up the holes leading to the lower chamber of the case. They are only held in with screws. Maybe some more fresh air would get in that way.

Have you tried with the plastic cover removed on the middle bay, but the dust filter still in place?

The case would probably look okay with the front door removed, but for added effect you could spray the metal black to match the plastic and keep the filter, or I suppose just ditch the filter and enjoy nice orange Yate Loons :)

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PostPosted: Sun Aug 19, 2007 1:14 pm 
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PS. is there a safe way to remove the front door without doing any damage?

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PostPosted: Sat Sep 01, 2007 8:59 pm 
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I think the key thing that you guys are getting at is that the P180 series is not designed to accommodate high wattage video cards.

The video card can now be the hottest thing in the computer, so it really needs special attention. On some cases this is done with an intake/output right over the card slot.

IMHO the optimal case has cold air blowing onto video and CPU, with output passing hard drives and PSU.


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PostPosted: Sat Sep 01, 2007 10:38 pm 
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Luminair wrote:
I think the key thing that you guys are getting at is that the P180 series is not designed to accommodate high wattage video cards.

I think the key thing is that it's hard to build a quiet system with a high wattage video card.

I've got an 8800 GTS factory overclocked 580 MHz *and* a Q6600 overclocked to 3.0 GHz in my P182SE with S-FLEX E's and front panel controlled S-FLEX F's. There's no problem with the fans set to high or with the fans set to low and the door open. It's even ok with the fans set to low and thee door closed, but I'd like to try to increase service life of my CPU by keeping the temps a little lower.


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PostPosted: Sat Sep 01, 2007 11:57 pm 
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Luminair wrote:
I think the key thing that you guys are getting at is that the P180 series is not designed to accommodate high wattage video cards.


I wouldn't say that. There is, after all, a fan directing blowing onto the video card area, which can be tunneled even more with the drive bay enclosure. If anything, the P180 lacks adequate air intake for the CPU. Many have found that having the rear fan sucking in or installing something like a Kama Bay at the front really helps.

The biggest issue is that, despite this generally good design, it is massively let down by the amount of airflow restriction at the front of the case. The fan grills and particularly the door really lower CFM. Without them, it's a good case.

It's the sort of case that really benefits from removing the fan grills etc. I am trying to work out if it can be done easily and neatly at the front, without leaving a nasty hole. Some kind of fan hole template may be in order to mask the cuts.

There is definitely demand for a better after-market door on the P180.

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PostPosted: Sun Sep 02, 2007 3:49 am 
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MoJo wrote:
The biggest issue is that, despite this generally good design, it is massively let down by the amount of airflow restriction at the front of the case. The fan grills and particularly the door really lower CFM. Without them, it's a good case.

It's the sort of case that really benefits from removing the fan grills etc. I am trying to work out if it can be done easily and neatly at the front, without leaving a nasty hole. Some kind of fan hole template may be in order to mask the cuts.

There is definitely demand for a better after-market door on the P180.

I wonder why there seem to be no complaints about the Solo/P150's airflow (at least not that I've noticed)? There's even less total door "slot area" than the P182, so theoretically it should be worse still.

Could it be that the two 92mm fan vents in the Solo are less restrictive than the single 120mm opening in the P182 upper chamber? This would imply it's the inner vent that's the main bottleneck, not the door slots themselves. Or is it simply that the P182 tends to get chosen over the Solo more often for high-power systems, so the problem gets noticed more?

Personally I couldn't really see leaving the P182's door open all the time as an option, unless the case were completely out of sight - IMHO the inner facia is a horrible, ugly mess at the best of times, and opening it up in various ways to improve airflow just fuglifies it even more... :(


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PostPosted: Sun Sep 02, 2007 2:11 pm 
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I was a bit worried about airflow prior to buying this case. I ended up watercooling the 8800 GTX, and as a result the CPU is really cool.

1 Scythe S-Flex E at 600 RPM on the heatsink and 1 in the rear of the case, same RPM.

If you remove the massive amount of heat generated by a high end video card, the airflow is plenty to cool the rest of the components.

This is ofcourse no cheap solution, but the P182 was built with silence in mind. Some other cases might get better results cooling the 8800, but will not be as quiet. It is all about the balance of things, better cooling vs quieter PC and workarounds if you need both.

There are some weird (different) results from people with the same setups.
With the stock 8800 GTX cooler, my results were:
idle: 60 / 50 °C (core / ambient)
load: 83 / 67 °C (core / ambient)
With door closed and the fans at 600 RPM.
Front grill doors and the main door closed, dust filters in place, I only removed the fan grills.


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PostPosted: Sun Sep 02, 2007 2:35 pm 
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So does removing the fan grills make things quieter along with improving airflow or does it not affect noise? And what tool should I use to remove the grills?


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PostPosted: Sun Sep 02, 2007 2:55 pm 
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Removing the fan grills in itself does not make the system more quiet (see link in Wumpus' 4th post).
It does make it possible to achieve the same amount of airflow at lower RPM, therefor being more quiet.

If your case has no fan filters, it will become more dusty if you remove the fan grills (maybe it hardly makes a difference at all though).

Tin snips are a cheap solution to remove the fan grills (that's how I did it).


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 Post subject: Antec P182 airflow mods that work...
PostPosted: Sun Sep 02, 2007 3:12 pm 
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I went through the same exercise with my Antec P182 case as several of you have, including cutting away the middle front intake metal grille, and "thinning" with a dremel tool the plastic horizontal grille bars that severely restrict air flow through the middle front intake fan door. Even with these finicky mods, I found that having a medium/high speed 120mm Antec Tricool fan installed in the middle front intake spot was absolutely essential to adequate ventilation and cooling with my overclocked PC heated by a Gigabyte P35-DQ6 motherboard, Thermalright HR-01 passive-cooled Intel E6420 at 2.67Ghz, core/mem-tweaked ATI X1900 Radeon, and 4GB of Crucial Ballistix Tracer DDR2 pushed to 1066Mhz/4-4-4-12 at 2.20v.

Like the others in this thread, I quickly discovered that opening or removing the P182's upper fan door and opening the outer door while gaming is the only way to guarantee the high airflow needed by a high performance PC under load. I don't mind opening the outer door when occasionally playing games, but the noise tradeoff is too much with any other activity. The P182's sandwiched aluminum-and-plastic door design is a marvel of sound suppression, and opening it unnecessarily or removing it defeats one of the best low-noise “silent PCâ€


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PostPosted: Sun Sep 02, 2007 9:13 pm 
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It seems like having a single, low speed front intake fan is not really an option with the P182. You need either a higher speed/CFM fan or two (say with a Kama Bay.)

Maybe the Solo fares better because it has two 92mm fans, which probably push a lot more air than a single 120mm fan.

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 Post subject: Re: Antec P182 airflow mods that work...
PostPosted: Sun Sep 02, 2007 10:00 pm 
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[quote="dsjonz"]I went through the same exercise with my Antec P182 case as several of you have, including cutting away the middle front intake metal grille, and "thinning" with a dremel tool the plastic horizontal grille bars that severely restrict air flow through the middle front intake fan door. Even with these finicky mods, I found that having a medium/high speed 120mm Antec Tricool fan installed in the middle front intake spot was absolutely essential to adequate ventilation and cooling with my overclocked PC heated by a Gigabyte P35-DQ6 motherboard, Thermalright HR-01 passive-cooled Intel E6420 at 2.67Ghz, core/mem-tweaked ATI X1900 Radeon, and 4GB of Crucial Ballistix Tracer DDR2 pushed to 1066Mhz/4-4-4-12 at 2.20v.

Like the others in this thread, I quickly discovered that opening or removing the P182's upper fan door and opening the outer door while gaming is the only way to guarantee the high airflow needed by a high performance PC under load. I don't mind opening the outer door when occasionally playing games, but the noise tradeoff is too much with any other activity. The P182's sandwiched aluminum-and-plastic door design is a marvel of sound suppression, and opening it unnecessarily or removing it defeats one of the best low-noise “silent PCâ€


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 03, 2007 3:14 am 
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IMHO.....there seems to be many problems with the front vent openings on this case (with the door closed). Perhaps a front fan just gets in the way of the airflow. I'd probably try running with rear/top exhaust fans only, after opening up the front vents and removing the filter.

Somehow I get the impression this case setup just cannot handle the heat from a high-power system......without major modifications. Perhaps it's time for a new "favorite" SPCR case.

The many DIY cases I've built, all have a much bigger intake opening/s.......and never at the front of the case. To have sufficient airflow from the front requires a less restrictive bezel......no door, and more noise.
My setups have the intakes at the bottom or rear of the case, and no airflow from the bezel area. I never tried a p180 for this reason...

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PostPosted: Mon Sep 03, 2007 11:30 am 
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<Is your middle intake at the front of the case (without the upper cage) or attached to the rear of the upper cage?>

I use only the front fan position with the upper cage acting as a duct, even though airflow is hampered by the filter immediately in front of the fan. I’m leery of the rear fan position (inside the case, clipped to the drive cage) because of a past hard-to-pin-down problem in another PC with erratic southbridge/hard drive performance that seemed to be caused by magnetic interference caused by a too-close 80mm cooling fan in the vicinity. Sounds unlikely, but there it was.


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 03, 2007 11:33 am 
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<Somehow I get the impression this case setup just cannot handle the heat from a high-power system......without major modifications. Perhaps it's time for a new "favorite" SPCR case.>

I bought an Antec P182 for myself at the same time I got a new Antec Nine Hundred for my avid-gamer teenaged son. Both were to be housing high performance PCs, so I got a good opportunity to compare the two cases in terms of cooling vs. noise.

I knew that the Nine Hundred was the best choice for cooling SLI/Crossfire dual-GPU gaming graphics, but the big surprise was how quiet it is when all those 120mm fans (and the enormous 140mm top fan) are set to low speed. Tremendous airflow, and absolutely no mods needed for improved cooling. Forget trying any kind of dust filtration, however, as the entire front of the case is open mesh grille. If your priorities put massive cooling over noise suppression, this is the case for you.

In contrast, the P182 is clearly not a purpose-built “gamer case,â€


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 03, 2007 2:46 pm 
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Aren't we losing the design borders of the P180/182 out of our sight?
The case was meant to be quiet with sufficient airflow.

For high end PC's the 900 may be a good option.
If however you are living in a dusty environment, you can still take the P182 as a basis, but need to mod a bit to it to make it work.

Bluefront, this is almost the same question (other thread) before I bought my case: "Perhaps it's time for a new "favorite" SPCR case."
There didn't seem to be a lot of alternatives...
Building a complete DIY case is a good option but not possible for everyone :(

Or maybe it's time to go the hybrid way: aircool the CPU with a good heatsink and (in case of high end) watercool the video card.
There aren't many options for people who want high end and quietness, but I'm happy with my temperatures.

Antec may still be improving some things on the case, but unless they leave the concept and idea behind the case, I don't think there will be big improvements on it.


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 03, 2007 7:12 pm 
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To be honest I am thinking of switching to a Nine Hundred.

The P180 is, in theory, a brilliant idea, but in practice I think the Nine Hundred is actually closer to the mark. Rather than worrying about trying to dampen noise with special side panels and doors, or trying to be clever with cooling chambers etc, the best option is simply massive airflow.

My ideal case would have open fan holes with no grills. IMHO fans actually look quite cool and I'd be happy to have them exposed at the front of the case. Dust is an issue but it just means keeping the case off the floor and cleaning it a bit more often.

There is really nothing wrong with having loads of fans. One of my systems has 2x92mm Papst and 3x120mm Yate Loons all running at 4.5V. Loads of air flow and completely silent from >30cm, except for some gentle HDD seeks.

That system is in a server case has doors, but they are not very restrictive. The holes are large but overhung, so you don't really see in but they don't offer much resistance either.

Back when HDDs and fans were loud, the P180 was a good idea, but now... I am seriously thinking of swapping to a Nine Hundred. It's either that or water cool. The Nine Hundred, with front covers removed and HDDs suspended should be an amazing case.

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PostPosted: Mon Sep 03, 2007 8:59 pm 
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I had a 900 and switched to the P182SE. I'd say it's much quieter and with a little tweaking, will be fine even with my overclocked Q6600.

There were a couple of problems I found with the 900:
1. It's hard to get that big 200mm top fan quiet. I put it on a fan controller though even that was a chore because it has a molex connector. It's hard to set it to a level that's both quiet and "startable".
2. The HDD mounts are all hard mounts. You'd have to suspend in the optical bays and there are only 3 of them. With one taken up by my optical drive and one taken up by my fan controller, that leaves only one open bay. HDD noise was the most annoying part of my 900 experience and is ultimately what drove me to the P182.
3. The side vent does make up for the lack of an extra intake. There's still no intake fan for the CPU/memory - though with the grille on the unused optical bays passive flow through there is fine, I guess. If you suspension mount the HDD's there it would both restrict airflow and heat up that airflow.


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 03, 2007 11:45 pm 
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Lensman, can't you remove the HDD bays to give you more empty 5.25" bays? It looks like you can remove them but I was not sure if you can still mount a fan after they are taken out.

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PostPosted: Tue Sep 04, 2007 12:15 am 
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Guys-- you have to realize that the 8800GTX is a beast. It pulls down upwards of 130 watts under load all by itself. Even an overclocked quad isn't going to get close to that. (and the GTS uses much less power, too. That's why it only has one power connector)

At least with the CPU, we have the option of relatively inexpensive, massive heatpipe tower aftermarket coolers that are outstanding. The 8800GTX has only one very expensive aftermarket cooler that also exhausts all that heat inside the case!

My comments about the P182's suffocating lack of intake airflow is specific to the 8800GTX's prodigious heat. I doubt you'd have a problem with video cards that dissipate <100w or so.

That said, I totally agree with MoJo. At a certain level of system wattage (and thus heat output), open airflow will get you a quieter system than attempting to dampen will. The problem with the Nine Hundred is that it's open on all sides; the thing is all mesh. I'm not sure you need to go that far. I think simply having a front panel with more open airflow on the P182 would do wonders. (Well, in addition to changes to those crazily restrictive fan covers). The front cover snaps in, so a mesh aftermarket front panel would be a fantastic addition to the P18x family.. with an aftermarket mesh front panel, you could actually put a SLI rig in a P182 case, which is completely out of the question right now.

Everyone contact their Antec reps and beg! :)


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 04, 2007 12:40 am 
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I agree with you too wumpus :)

I'm not sure why you think the large amounts of mesh in the Nine Hundred will be a problem though. With that 200mm fan and a rear 120mm, it will all be cool air coming in and hot air going out.

Now I just can't decide if I should water cool the P182 or get the Nine Hundred. If you can mount the front fans without the drive bays the Nine Hundred would be ideal, as I don't find the soft drive mounts in the P182 to be as quiet as suspension.

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PostPosted: Tue Sep 04, 2007 12:52 am 
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MoJo wrote:
The P180 is, in theory, a brilliant idea, but in practice I think the Nine Hundred is actually closer to the mark. Rather than worrying about trying to dampen noise with special side panels and doors, or trying to be clever with cooling chambers etc, the best option is simply massive airflow.


I also believe that as many giant slow fans as possible is really the way to go. Cases need increased flow volume so that fan speeds can be dropped. How else would you increase cooling without increasing the noise!

The cooler master 690, a smaller case than the p182 that costs half as much, has twice as many useful fan spots. And 4 of them support 140mm fans. And two are directly over the two hottest parts of the case, the CPU and the GPU.

It is a cheap case with its share of problems, but I think in many ways it is an evolution beyond the p182. (More than just the extra giant fans too, it also has tool-less bays and slots, screw caddy holes built in, plastic cage hard drive suspension...)

PS: re: the dual output but single input of the p182. To me it is obvious that the front needs to be rigged with an extra input, ambient or otherwise, else you'd have to run the front fan twice as fast, or have wasted rpms on the back side. The p180 series is an advanced case and IMHO it should be reviewed and assumed to have the airflow optimally set up (such as with that scythe kama bay).


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