The P280 design is a bit more truthfully oriented towards relative quietness with details like better drive grommets and material applied to the panels. Side vents aren't much use on a case like this which is so easily cooler withoit it, and would be a big tradeoff when it comes to noise. The vent covers are also thin which means they won't block noise as well as a solid panel, and the foam on the panels by the looks in their video appears to be more of a feature-checkbox material. If you aren't going to have several mechanical drives in there then the 550D might be a good choice too, I'm just convinced the P280 is even better.
On a side note I think the P280's front is quite ugly, not that that's important here.
You say side vents aren't much use on a case which is so easily cooler without it - You mean I will be able to make the P280 a lot cooler by installing some fans in the optional slots even though it's not gonna be on the side? My only real concern with the P280 is how much better the airflow could get if I at some point decide for sli or just want it to run cooler, and then go for maximum cooling instead of silence.
I only have one hdd and one ssd at the moment, but when I get some more money (and hdd prices go down) I will add some more for increased safety if a disk will die
I haven't seen a P280 in real life so maybe I will get negatively surprised when seeing one, but based on pictures I wouldn't be bothered visually by having that case under my desk as I think it looks fine, simple and.. yeah simple
Sorry - I always ask why when people want to go with an i7 SNB or SNB-E. Most of the time, it's overkill for their apps. In your case, fast multicore is good stuff. Don't know if the SNB-E will provide benefit over SNB for Maya. Initial reviews were mixed
. Don't know if it's due to early drivers/bios/memory controller.
Don't be sorry
I based my decision on the fact that I see a 100% load on even a dual quad-core pc with ht when I render with mental ray in Maya, I guess that's a good indication of nice scaling with cores. So with a 3930k and a 2600k at the same clock speed I guess that would translate to a 50% increase in render speed for the 3930k?
I'm not sure about how they did their benchmarks, so it's difficult to translate it directly to what I will use it for, as it doesn't seem they did benchmarks with mental ray. There are of course cases where I don't get 100% utilization of all the cores when rendering, but it's a really nice boost when I do - and a boost of "only" 25-30% would also be very nice I think