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 Post subject: Silent ATX case with top-to-bottom 5.25" drives
PostPosted: Thu Aug 16, 2012 7:56 am 
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Hello, I'm planning an unRAID build for a machine that (unfortunately) must be located in the living room. I have read through the case recommendations as well as the mini ITX server build thread with the Lian q08, but I think I'm still looking for the perfect case for this project. The server build writeup with the q08 here looks fantastic, but I'm concerned that 6 drives will eventually not be enough.

I've spent a lot of time following builds and recommendations on the unRAID forms as well, and they have a thread listing cases that have 5.25" bays top to bottom which can then be used to hold 5-in-3 cages which greatly expand the drive capacity of a tower, but none of those cases (i.e. AZZA 910, Antec 900/1200, etc.) have any thought put to quietness. I was looking pretty hard at the Fractal R4/XL cases, but with the sideways drive alignment, the HDD capacity is diminished compared to the forward facing 5.25" bays. I.e. R4 can hold 8 (not much more than the Lian q08). The Fractal XL can hold 10 sideways, and perhaps a 5-in-3 up top to get it up to 15. I suppose that couple potentially fit my build, but doesn't look to be a very efficient use of space for a full tower case.

The only one I can see that I'm aware of that has silence in mind but also a large HDD capacity potential is the Nexus Prominent 9. Its cable management doesn't look that great (no space behind the MB), but it appears to have lots of room for drives in the 5.25" bay area and also has been designed with some thought to silence. I can't find a review of it anywhere done by someone with quietness in mind.

So, can anyone recommend an ATX-board capable tower with a high HDD capacity (preferably the 5.25" bays top-to-bottom forward facing) with silence in mind in the $150 or less budget range?


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 Post subject: Re: Silent ATX case with top-to-bottom 5.25" drives
PostPosted: Sat Aug 18, 2012 2:09 am 
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That nexus case seems to be based on the Coolermaster Centurion 590, which is now discontinued, but you might still be able to find it somewhere for less than the nexus prominent case.


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 Post subject: Re: Silent ATX case with top-to-bottom 5.25" drives
PostPosted: Mon Aug 20, 2012 4:33 pm 
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Location: US
I have a Cooler Master Centurion 590 that fits the bill for top-to-bottom drive bays. But it's not designed with much thought to being quiet other than having a 120mm exhaust fan. One of the things about the 590 was that it appears to have been designed as a desktop case, so has a lot of unnecessary fan openings for use as a server. Five of them in all that you'll probably want to cover.

Another thing, which you may run into if using the 5-in-3 drive racks is that with many cases each 5.25" drive bay has (four) metal tabs for supporting an optical drive. You'll need to either bend them all out of the way or remove them with a Dremel too.

If you're in the states, there's someone selling a CM 590 case over on HardForum along with some fanless 5-in-3 drive bays. If you use these bays you'll probably want to use one or two extra 120mm exhaust fans. If it provides sufficient cooling, this may actually work better than the typical 5-in-3 rack that includes a high speed 92mm fan.

http://hardforum.com/showthread.php?t=1666173

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 Post subject: Re: Silent ATX case with top-to-bottom 5.25" drives
PostPosted: Tue Aug 21, 2012 12:26 am 
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JJ wrote:
Another thing, which you may run into if using the 5-in-3 drive racks is that with many cases each 5.25" drive bay has (four) metal tabs for supporting an optical drive. You'll need to either bend them all out of the way or remove them with a Dremel too.

Are you sure? I'd expect the 5-in-3 things to be designed for that.


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 Post subject: Re: Silent ATX case with top-to-bottom 5.25" drives
PostPosted: Tue Aug 21, 2012 6:54 am 
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Location: Germany
http://www.xigmatek.com/product.php?productid=122

http://www.nexustek.nl/nexus_prominent9 ... c_case.htm

That's what i've found on a quick glance.


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 Post subject: Re: Silent ATX case with top-to-bottom 5.25" drives
PostPosted: Tue Aug 21, 2012 8:03 am 
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Joined: Wed Aug 13, 2008 11:45 am
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Location: 128.0.0.1
Olaf van der Spek wrote:
JJ wrote:
Another thing, which you may run into if using the 5-in-3 drive racks is that with many cases each 5.25" drive bay has (four) metal tabs for supporting an optical drive. You'll need to either bend them all out of the way or remove them with a Dremel too.

Are you sure? I'd expect the 5-in-3 things to be designed for that.

Most are. But not all. I angrily attest to that. :)


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 Post subject: Re: Silent ATX case with top-to-bottom 5.25" drives
PostPosted: Tue Aug 21, 2012 6:27 pm 
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Joined: Fri Mar 04, 2005 9:07 pm
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I haven't seen one that is designed to be quiet, but if you choose the right components it doesn't matter. I use a RC-590 with 5 drives suspended inside and it's pretty quiet.


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 Post subject: Re: Silent ATX case with top-to-bottom 5.25" drives
PostPosted: Thu Aug 23, 2012 10:09 am 
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Thanks for the points everyone. After posting this, I discovered the extended server-build writeup here using the NZXT Tempest EVO case - a gaming case, but it looks like it was made into a silent case pretty easily, so I ordered that one. I did consider the 590D and had the same thoughts - it doesn't look to be designed "silent", but could be converted. I ended up going with the Tempest EVO because it sounds like its in that same bucket, but I have the benefit of at least having somewhat of a guideline to follow (i.e. this writeup here shows that it has been done before successfully).

http://www.silentpcreview.com/NZXT_Tempest_EVO_Case

So, I'm going to try and follow those guidelines as much as possible. For those that have done a similar HDD suspension mod, how well does that hold up over time? I'm a bit afraid of the elastic snapping and dropping drives on-top up each other and corrupting data.

I'll be running unRAID, so I won't be able to take advantage of SpeedFan, so I also ordered a Scythe fan controller to experiment with airflow blocking, fan speeds and resulting temps. I realize it will take up one of the front 5" bays, but I figure that once I find a winning combo, I should be able to remove it and replace it with a/multiple manual fan controllers that can be installed within the case. That's the theory from this silent-pc newbie anyway :)


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 Post subject: Re: Silent ATX case with top-to-bottom 5.25" drives
PostPosted: Mon Aug 27, 2012 9:25 am 
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Remember that SILENT and QUIET are two different things. Both are relative to the environment.

However, if you are loading any case up with hard drives in 5x3 enclosures, the resulting effect will be anything but SILENT, even if they are 5400rpm "Green" drives. You'll need to cool those drives, which requires fans, and you'll need to power them, along with the controllers you'll need/want.

Of course, there's always this...maybe you could use it as an end-table for your living room???

That's was mainly for jest, but seriously, with 15 hard drives, you may want something on wheels...

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 Post subject: Re: Silent ATX case with top-to-bottom 5.25" drives
PostPosted: Mon Aug 27, 2012 10:40 am 
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jhhoffma wrote:
However, if you are loading any case up with hard drives in 5x3 enclosures, the resulting effect will be anything but SILENT, even if they are 5400rpm "Green" drives. You'll need to cool those drives, which requires fans, and you'll need to power them, along with the controllers you'll need/want.


One thing to keep in mind is that a home file server with 15 drives is generally nothing like a file server of the same capacity in most other environments. I have a similar server and 99.9% of the time (probably an underestimate) all but one or two drives are spun down. So drive noise is minimal, and power and cooling needs are much less that they'd be if this were a file server in an office or a data center.

_________________
Motherboard: ASUS P8Z77-M PRO CPU: Intel i5-3750K CPU Cooler: Scythe Mugen 3 Rev.B Memory: G.Skill Ares DDR3 1600 16 GB
Boot Drive: Samsung 830 SSD 128 GB Work Drive: WDC WD1001FALS 1 TB 7200 RPM Optical Drive: Samsung SH-222BB DVD-RW
Case: Fractal Design Define Mini Fans: 2 x FD 120mm front, Scythe 120mm PWM rear Power Supply: SeaSonic M12II 620


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 Post subject: Re: Silent ATX case with top-to-bottom 5.25" drives
PostPosted: Sun Sep 02, 2012 3:39 am 
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Location: Grand Rapids, MI
JJ wrote:
One thing to keep in mind is that a home file server with 15 drives is generally nothing like a file server of the same capacity in most other environments. I have a similar server and 99.9% of the time (probably an underestimate) all but one or two drives are spun down. So drive noise is minimal, and power and cooling needs are much less that they'd be if this were a file server in an office or a data center.

Of course that depends on the drives being used, mounting system, proximity to one another, location of the system and its ability to be cooled efficiently. I also have a file-server at home, and power draw and noise are minimal. But it's also in my basement storage room, so if it were loud, it wouldn't matter.

But when you do have to start up that machine, those drives are going to start up all at once and it'll draw some power...

But my comment was more about the noise of the 5x3 adapters, rather than the drives themselves. They usually don't cool very well even if you use the included fans, and rarely do it quietly. But again, it's all relative to the environment.

_________________
HTPC: OrigenAE X11|Gigabyte GA-MA785GPMT-UD2H|Phenom II x3 740BE w/AC Freezer 7|150GB Velociraptor|Corsair VX450
Main: Antec 300 (SlipStream @ 800rpm/140mm @ 5v)|Asus M4A88TD-M|Phenom II x4 945 (Mugen2 pass.)|Asus EAH6850|Samsung 830 128GB|Antec TP750
WHS: DF-85|P8H67-M Pro|I5-3450S/Hyper 212+|Corsair AX650|Sandisk Extreme 240GB, 2xWD20EARS, 2x WD15EARS, WD15EADS


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