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 Post subject: Custom Cases for Silence
PostPosted: Thu Apr 05, 2012 9:37 am 
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Joined: Thu Apr 05, 2012 8:46 am
Posts: 3
Location: Paris, FR
Hey all,

This will either be an extremely lengthy topic or an extremely short one, but here's the question, undoubtedly long. So please, bear with me, I feel all of the information is necessary:

I have the opportunity to design and build 2 custom cases for 2 of my own computers with no budget (obviously, the less I spend, the better) and access to all the machine shop tools you can imagine. I want the cases to be simple, stylish and modern (I can take care of this myself), as small as possible, and I also want them designed for optimum silence. Seeing that I am able to built from the ground up around components, I feel I have the best opportunity to plan for foam installation and any other components that would be recommended for the most silent builds I (and hopefully, with the help of this community) can conjure. So here are the cases and what they need to be designed around.

Case 1: (Play Machine)
MOBO: mATX support only
VGA: 2 cards (GTX 680 size)
Storage: 2 2.5" SSDs
Cooling: Support for largest heatsink (Water?)

Case 2: (HTPC and light gaming {IE: JC2, AC, GTA, Dirt, other primarily SP games})
MOBO: miniITX support only
VGA: GTX 680 size? (not familiar with miniITX VGA support)
Storage: 1 2.5" SSD
Cooling: how large do I need to support for this with OCing planned?

So my question to you is this: should I try to tackle this or should I simply pick a case and make a purchase? I'd much rather prefer to tackle this because it'd be more fun, I'd get to share it with many internet communities and my personal friends, and I might be able to do it for cheaper (if not, doesn't matter).

If you think I can tackle this, there are a few more questions: what should I include in these cases to reach silence? How should I design them with airflow in mind? What should I avoid? And any other advice you have for me!

Thank you very much for your time.

Sincerely,
Michael

P.S. Warning: These, if built, will be built over a longer time than most people are probably used to due to lack of funds currently, an unfortunate obstacle soon to overcome once I get a job after I graduate!


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 Post subject: Re: Custom Cases for Silence
PostPosted: Thu Apr 05, 2012 1:19 pm 
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Joined: Thu Feb 04, 2010 6:06 pm
Posts: 3395
Location: US
1. Do it only for fun... and learning.

2. Control your sound by relying on the right components and not on the case.
viewtopic.php?p=556784#p556784

3. If you insist on relying on the case, look here:
viewtopic.php?p=539399#p539399
viewtopic.php?p=539359#p539359

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 Post subject: Re: Custom Cases for Silence
PostPosted: Thu Apr 05, 2012 6:25 pm 
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Joined: Tue Apr 03, 2012 6:57 am
Posts: 19
Figure out exactly what you want/need before you decide what to build. building a case yourself isn't cheap.


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 Post subject: Re: Custom Cases for Silence
PostPosted: Fri Apr 06, 2012 4:41 am 
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Joined: Thu Apr 05, 2012 8:46 am
Posts: 3
Location: Paris, FR
ces wrote:
1. Do it only for fun... and learning.

2. Control your sound by relying on the right components and not on the case.
viewtopic.php?p=556784#p556784

3. If you insist on relying on the case, look here:
viewtopic.php?p=539399#p539399
viewtopic.php?p=539359#p539359


I didn't realize the components played that large of a role on "silencing" a computer until I read a lot of those articles on the front page and the links you posted. So, now I realize that the internal components are more important than the case itself. However, I think that it's very important to design a case for adequate airflow to all of these components. So with that, I ask what I should avoid when designing these cases.

SoulWager wrote:
Figure out exactly what you want/need before you decide what to build. building a case yourself isn't cheap.


Yeah, you're right. It'd be a better idea to decide my components before I decide how to build the case. *goes to the recommendation lists* Time to proceed further with research on "silent" components.

Thanks all!

I appreciate it!


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 Post subject: Re: Custom Cases for Silence
PostPosted: Mon Apr 09, 2012 11:49 am 
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Joined: Sun Jun 21, 2009 1:06 pm
Posts: 11
Location: Chattanooga
If you really want a SILENT case... than you need to look towards having no moving parts. THAT, simply, is the source of all noise.

This was my quest about a year ago. I found the radiators for the task, decided to make them my case material, but ultimately, to move water through a system... a high end system at that... I needed a pump. That meant moving parts, so my quest for NO moving parts ended pretty quickly.

Here is my post on my rig:
viewtopic.php?f=14&t=62992

I recently updated (this week) with an i7-2700k running at 4.8Ghz at 1.365V, so it runs slightly cooler, but most importantly, it's completely quiet

To summarize my moving parts:
2x Noctua 140mm fans at bottom, running at less than 50% (~600rpm) rated at under 10dB
Seasonic X-850 PSU with hybrid fan that only starts turning at medium loads (silent to inaudible until system (video and CPU) are at full load
2x MCP655 pumps at level 2.5 (out of 5) - again, inaudible.

The core component of my cooling is passive - and natural convective air-flow to cool the radiators. When under load, the PSU right on top of the CPU creates additional cooling for the chipset surrounding the CPU and the memory.

But, as others have mentioned - your components will determine what steps you need to take to silence anything.
For me, I happen to have plenty of access to tools for cutting metal, rivetting and shaping the parts that I needed. So that is another factor along your path of what mods and/or creation you want to attempt.

Good luck!


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 Post subject: Re: Custom Cases for Silence
PostPosted: Mon Apr 09, 2012 12:50 pm 
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Joined: Sun Sep 05, 2004 1:51 pm
Posts: 685
Location: Gefle, Sweden
One simple yet effective idea when designing a fully customised housing is to have any openings facing away from the user where the system is positioned. Especially if the interals will require more than a whiff of airflow. I'd put that in the initial design rules.

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 Post subject: Re: Custom Cases for Silence
PostPosted: Wed Apr 11, 2012 4:13 am 
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Joined: Tue Oct 04, 2005 6:10 am
Posts: 370
SI51 wrote:
VGA: 2 cards (GTX 680 size)

What cards would you like to use? GTX 680 class? Your videocards would be the primary source of heat and noise.


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 Post subject: Re: Custom Cases for Silence
PostPosted: Wed Apr 11, 2012 10:32 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jul 25, 2005 8:56 pm
Posts: 45
Location: Swden
I'm also in the process of building something silent (and all custom made). Htpc based on mini-itx and i3-2120T. System will be without fans and use the case as cooling. It will be quite small (98x186x232 mm). For cad-image see below (seen from the side, with the slot-in bluray visible).

Image

I'm fairly certain cooling will be sufficient for the 35 W i3, but it might even handle higher thermal loads. Are there suitable cpus where I could adapt the load by undervolting (intel or amd)?

Regards,

/jon


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 Post subject: Re: Custom Cases for Silence
PostPosted: Thu Apr 12, 2012 4:42 am 
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Joined: Mon Jul 16, 2007 2:35 pm
Posts: 808
Location: Greece
Building a case yourself is certainly not cheap, especially if you factor in the time spent. But it can be lots of fun and more rewarding than building a computer the normal way.

After having built a few cases on my own I though I`d share a few tips:

Case design can be a significant factor when it comes to noise. The choice of components is certainly important, but the layout has to be such that quiet components (with big heatsinks and fans) can fit in the first place. Like others suggested, a good way to keep noise down is to have any openings facing away from the user. This way you can limit the amount of noise reaching your ears without compromising airflow. As an example: intake fans could be placed at the bottom instead of the front, exhaust fans at the rear rather than the top.

On the other hand, you should take into account the airflow pattern generated by the coolers you`ll end up using. It often pays off designing the case around this pattern even if that means compomising in other regards. Again an example: if you use a top down cpu cooler it might be worth having an intake vent on the side, even if that breaks the rule of keeping vents away from the user.

Regarding acoustic foam: I`ve used it extensively in the past and I don`t think it would provide a perceivable benefit. It`s pretty ineffective against the low/mid frequency noise produced by large, slow moving fans. A better solution would be to line the case with a high density material. Bitumen sheets are probably the best but vinyl tiles are also effective (I`ve used them and they provided a perceivable benefit). Vinyl tiles are also cheap and less likely to release toxic substances when heated up.

A must for a really quiet case is a way to decouple vibration produced by the hard drives. You could place the drives on a thick piece of acoustic foam (or similar material like for example a kitchen sponge) or design a more elaborate suspension system like that found in the antec Solo.

Finally, test often! It might sound like extra work but it can save you a lot of time (and frustration!) in the long run. Build mockups so you can see how your chosen solutions work in practice. This is especially important when it comes to cable management and vibration reducing features. It`s hard to anticipate how these will work until you put everything together so make sure you test before finalizing the case design.

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My PCs: Workstation : HTPC in a CD player case : Custom Mini ITX projects


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