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 Post subject: Want to help Corsair build the [quietest] case ever?
PostPosted: Sat Oct 12, 2013 8:14 pm 
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Hey guys, George here from Corsair. I'm the Product Manager for Cases.

I want to build the quietest chassis possible. I want your demands. I want to know what would make you toss your current case out the window and buy a new one.

I confess - it's not out of goodwill. I want to sell it. But you also have noticed that the silent case market is stagnating, and there's only so far we can go by taking a standard case, slapping sound damping foams on the sides and front, throwing a door on it, and calling it a day. Sure, that stuff helps, but let's take a step back and ask some basic questions.

Assuming you had a completely blank slate, with absolutely no layout requirements, what would your ideal layout be? What features would you demand?

Assume the following hardware needs to be installed:
* Standard ATX motherboard
* Compatibility with 200mm long PSUs
* Three 3.5" mechanical drive locations (minimum)
* Two 2.5" SSD/laptop drive locations (minimum)
* Two 5.25" drive bays (maximum)
* At least 350mm GPU clearance
* Compatible with H100/H110 style liquid cooler.

Disclaimer:
I'm not guaranteeing it'll be made, and any ideas you post may or may not be used without compensation. But I'm completely serious here - what do you want us to build for you?


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 Post subject: Re: Want to help Corsair build the best silent case ever?
PostPosted: Sun Oct 13, 2013 7:05 am 
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Hi George, welcome to SPCR!

Given the above parameters, the 550D is an excellent starting point. It's a great case that does well for silence, but airflow could be improved. Here's stuff off the top of my head...and prior to caffeine kicking in:

- Go with 140mm fans in front/back for better cfm at lower rpm. Make sure the front venting can handle it. The current 120mm config seems constricted when compared to the competition - higher SB and GPU temps. A Haswell + 175W class graphics card based system should be silent at idle and damn quiet at load with front to back cooling. This kinda leads to fans with decent cfm at 500rpm.
- Add a fan controller.
- Removable drive cages for unrestricted airflow.
- Improve the HDD mounts to get rid of vibration / provide hooks for HDD suspension.
- Add a little more space behind the mobo for cable routing...take another look at the mobo backplate clearances.
- If you go with standard mobo orientation, top mounted fans don't add value. There's very little temperature benefit and it just adds to noise. Sadly, I guess this is where the radiator goes, eh? Not many liquid CPU cooler users here - until you can show (fan + pump) noise equal to the comparibly priced top end air coolers. Where it could get interesting is with reasonably priced GPU liquid cooling solutions.
- With this case configuration, will std. ATX PSU cables be able to be routed with ease? Or, will they need an extension..and if the latter, provide the extension (or be subject to internet cursing :lol:).

and one slightly off-topic comment: How come I can't find the 550D in an SF bay area shop?! Why isn't it at Frys?

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 Post subject: Re: Want to help Corsair build the best silent case ever?
PostPosted: Sun Oct 13, 2013 7:14 am 
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Corsair George wrote:
Hey guys, George here from Corsair. I'm the Product Manager for Cases.
Hello George, welcome to SPCR!!!!

Corsair George wrote:
I want to build the quietest chassis possible. I want your demands. I want to know what would make you toss your current case out the window and buy a new one.
If you could build a case that could cool a high end PC without any moving parts, that would do it for me, but this is not likely to happen with what today is available.

Corsair George wrote:
Assuming you had a completely blank slate, with absolutely no layout requirements, what would your ideal layout be? What features would you demand?

- Support for 120 and 140mm fans
- Modular extra fans opening, like 550D seems great.
- Price, Corsair needs to compete more with Fractals sales, this is main reason i didnt end up with 550D.
- Support for tall coolers, i would like to see at least 170mm, although fractal is already going into 180mm with the Arc Midi R2
- Removable hdd cages, some do use 3.5 hdds, some dont (like me), i prefer to have a more direct airflow kinda like your 540 idea.
- Damping on sides top n bottom (if possible), this is not a huge deal to me, but helps.
- Good included fans, try to have fans that can undervolt to 5V and do not tick or click.
- This is not a must, as i dont use it nor plan to, but Fractal is including a fan controller like a switch 12/7/5V, if you do included it i would place it outside like Arc Midi R2.
- Solid built, with solid thick steel, make it so it feels it has good quality.
- Easily removable filters, love the 550D and other corsair cases filters, specially the magnetic. Make them so we have to remove the least to take them out, specially screws or having to remove the front of the case.
- If you go the frontal door route, place the USB, Power, Reset, and audio on the top, do not make us open the door to power the PC.
- Black cables and good cable management holes, enough space on the back is a must something that antec solo II lacks.
- The least possible 5.25 slots, i feel the 550D had to much, 2 imo is a good enough, for a optical + fancontroller or a reservoir .

One last, not a big one for me, as i dont use any 3.5 hdds on my main pc, i have server for all my massive storage, but a lot here like to suspend their 3.5 mechancial hdds, and not that many cases today are friendly with this. Maybe Corsair can design something modular, idk maybe something that you remove the hdd cages and rails come in to suspend the hdds.

Off topic, have you consider designing a server oriented case, i mean Corsair has come and revolutionized a lot of things on the PC market, but one thing that remains the same is whats available for servers, most use standard cases for small servers but once you go into high amounts of hdds there is not that many options, and rack styled are very expensive aside from Norco, all others go into the thousands.... given that its a small market, I would love to see something from corsair.

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Last edited by Abula on Sun Oct 13, 2013 7:40 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Want to help Corsair build the best silent case ever?
PostPosted: Sun Oct 13, 2013 7:38 am 
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If you want to go a little outside the box...instead of 140mm fans, go with low rpm 180mm. Ok, first, design some decent 180mm fans. Look how well the Silverstone TJ08-E can cool with that AP fan at low rpm.

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 Post subject: Re: Want to help Corsair build the best silent case ever?
PostPosted: Sun Oct 13, 2013 9:01 am 
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It's nice to see the question being asked. I threw this rough idea together.

Image

Personally I'd consider making the case ever so slightly taller and compress it even further on the lenght-axis, made possible by moving the single 5,25" bay up where the front panel sits now. But I realise that might start to fight over space also used for the 2x140mm top bay area that is required for radiator support. So this is kinda my compromise. (Maybe do that for a theoretical m-ATX variant if support for specifically a 280 radiator could be dropped, or allowed with the caveat that only short 5,25" units could be installed at the same time. Honestly I might dare a m-ATX design with no 5,25" bay at all, but realise that likely to be too extreme a bet for a case maker to make even going into 2014.


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 Post subject: Re: Want to help Corsair build the best silent case ever?
PostPosted: Sun Oct 13, 2013 9:11 am 
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Many thanks George for your posting here. It is nice to be able to get some 2 way dialogue going and let's hope this is mutually beneficial for both Corsair and consumers long term.
Corsair George wrote:
But you also have noticed that the silent case market is stagnating

Agreed, but then what are you asking for:
Corsair George wrote:
Assume the following hardware needs to be installed:
* Standard ATX motherboard
* Compatibility with 200mm long PSUs
* Three 3.5" mechanical drive locations (minimum)
* Two 2.5" SSD/laptop drive locations (minimum)
* Two 5.25" drive bays (maximum)
* At least 350mm GPU clearance
* Compatible with H100/H110 style liquid cooler.

The way I read this you're basically aiming to build exactly the same thing as anyone else and not drastically different products from what you already make. From my experience you are at risk of cannibalising sales on existing products which are not yet at the end of their lifecycle. I know this isn't information you will want to discuss publicly for obvious reasons but do consider whether you'd be better off launching something drastically different rather than more of the same.

Corsair to me is a conservative brand in terms of engineering and looking through your exisiting product range it is hard to see radical differences in layout etc. Looking through your website I see something like 14 different case models (ignoring colour and windows). They're all much the same. An example being that you only have a single model that it MicroATX, all of the rest are ATX or E-ATX. I really don't see much innovative here. That's not to say your company does bad products at all and maybe this conservative philosophy is part of your companies culture but then perhaps ask why you need to do such a product development programme at all? If it is not to innovate, why do it? This is of course a rhetorical question and you do want to do it to innovate as this is how you have put this post to us. Therefore, do something radical.

So to address your design criteria:
Corsair George wrote:
* Standard ATX motherboard

Come on George, you already have enough ATX cases. :) MicroATX or MiniITX.
Corsair George wrote:
* Compatibility with 200mm long PSUs

If you have a need for a PSU that long then you're drawing a lot of power and hence silence at SPCR levels just isn't going to be on the agenda. Don't design the case around a feature that only 5% of your customer base 'demands' and that 0% actually need as they're probably only drawing a few hundred Watt. You have an OEM relationship with Seasonic on PSUs I believe. Your ability to get a custom made PSU is therefore far better than someone outside of industry. Use this to your advantage and get a custom made, passive, small form factor PSU designed specifically for you. Make use of the case itself as the heatsink for the PSU and it could probably occupy a 25mm depth! A great example of a case designer getting an OEM to build a PSU for their needs is Silverstone getting a 450W, Gold rated, modular SFX PSU - the mind boggles but it is real! Streacom also are bring out a 250W PSU that uses their heatsink cases for cooling.
Corsair George wrote:
* Three 3.5" mechanical drive locations (minimum)

If you're trying to build the ultimate silent system than mechanical hard disks aren't going to be on your shopping list. Therefore be radical and jettison them from your design. 2.5" SSDs are to become the only form of storage. If someone is trying to build a home server for their data cleptomania, you already have cases more suitable for that task so don't try to cover all bases with this design. Is it too early to make the move to SSDs? Well you're not getting this product out this year are you? In a years time I think you'll find many less hard disks being sold and if you are aiming for new builds, the likelihood of hard disks being installed will fall further.
Corsair George wrote:
* Two 2.5" SSD/laptop drive locations (minimum)

With the 3.5" drives gone, more space will be available for a few more of these.
Corsair George wrote:
* Two 5.25" drive bays (maximum)

George: The 1970s called. They'd like their drive bay form factor back. :wink: Slimline optical drives are more and more common and available in all flavours. They might be slightly more expensive but if someone has the money to be buying one of your cases anyway, I think they can spare a couple of beans for a sleeker optical driver. As well as being far smaller they also have lower power usage and in general are quieter in operation. Plus slot loading drives do look so cool.
Corsair George wrote:
* At least 350mm GPU clearance

350mm long GPUs don't go hand in hand with silence. Again, you already have enough warehouse sized cases in your range for installation of these behemoths and in the last generation of cards the size has come down. If you want to do something radical offer some intergrated graphics cooling solution.
Corsair George wrote:
* Compatible with H100/H110 style liquid cooler.

Nothing new here. Why not do something better? You're designing a case plus your company also has design expertise in cooling so link the two together. What about a heatsink case? Or instead of using water as a coolant, have a rear mounted radiator that can be linked to the CPU with heatpipes as opposed to a pumped water system? A fan could still be used in addition.

I'm interested to know if you have any feedback on this. I hope you find it useful and of course I am not doing in any mean spirited way and don't mean either your company or you bad. You do make some good products, it's just that I feel, based upon what you have input here, that you need to make something radical for once.

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Last edited by edh on Sun Oct 13, 2013 12:58 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Want to help Corsair build the best silent case ever?
PostPosted: Sun Oct 13, 2013 12:37 pm 
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Hi George, and I think I speak for everyone when I say, thanks for asking for our input! It's always nice to see companies looking for some outside input from real users.

As far as what you're looking for goes, there's a couple of different kind of silent pc case markets. There's the no-moving parts purists, typically lower powered, often mini-itx with minimal storage. Then there's the higher powered set, who want to take a more mainstream or high-powered system and run it quietly. Given your specs, it sounds like you're looking more at the mid to high spec group. And that's great, I'm more of a power user than many others around here, so I'd love to see some improvements there.

And you are doing some more innovative things, regardless of what other posters may think. What really interests me is the new Carbide Air 540 case. That's already pretty close to being a good silent case. You've got good airflow, decent 140mm fans, a separate section for cooling the psu and hard drives, it's a great design. It only really needs a few things to be perfect. A fan controller for the case fans and some dampening foam would be all you really need for a silent variant. To get it really quiet, you'll need to do something else with the front fans, having the fans close to the user can be a problem. Ideally, you could do a motherboard rotation, and have the front fans moved to the bottom, blowing up across the board. That keeps the fan noise further away from the user and puts the gpus a little further away near the back of the case. As far as the hard drives go, some built in noise isolation would be great. A couple of the reviews have mentioned that there's lots of space on the hard drive side of the Air case, so some extra drive mounts there would be good. In fact, add a couple of inches on that side, add a whole bunch of extra drive cages, and you could turn it into a very nice server case. I have a home-made case with a configuration somewhat like that, and I've been able to put 20 hard drives into it. I don't know if you want to go that far, but you probably could.

All in all, you have a lot of options, but I think you're on the right track with the Carbide Air. Keep up the great work!


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 Post subject: Re: Want to help Corsair build the best silent case ever?
PostPosted: Sun Oct 13, 2013 1:24 pm 
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Hi George,

nice move from Corsair.

I put out a list of things in no partikular order:

- make one mATX version
-if offering room for 3,5 HDD work on some suspension system to kill vibration (might be as a trade of when not using the HDD cage, say in a cage go 3 and if suspended just room for two of them)
-don't reduce intakes, as typically a reasonable non obstructed area of intake is the key for a silent case
-try some more living room compatible case dimensions as most silentists opt for a single GPU setup
-if you integrate any form of fan controller think about the cables and their routing
-if delivering with case fans equipped those fans should be silent or left out
-if offering a top vent to accommodate a watercooling unit deliver a cover for the opening for those who do not need it

I will add more if i happen to find another one.


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 Post subject: Re: Want to help Corsair build the best silent case ever?
PostPosted: Sun Oct 13, 2013 6:05 pm 
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edh wrote:
Many thanks George for your posting here. It is nice to be able to get some 2 way dialogue going and let's hope this is mutually beneficial for both Corsair and consumers long term.
Corsair George wrote:
But you also have noticed that the silent case market is stagnating

Agreed, but then what are you asking for:

The way I read this you're basically aiming to build exactly the same thing as anyone else and not drastically different products from what you already make. From my experience you are at risk of cannibalising sales on existing products which are not yet at the end of their lifecycle. I know this isn't information you will want to discuss publicly for obvious reasons but do consider whether you'd be better off launching something drastically different rather than more of the same.

Corsair to me is a conservative brand in terms of engineering and looking through your exisiting product range it is hard to see radical differences in layout etc. Looking through your website I see something like 14 different case models (ignoring colour and windows). They're all much the same. An example being that you only have a single model that it MicroATX, all of the rest are ATX or E-ATX. I really don't see much innovative here. That's not to say your company does bad products at all and maybe this conservative philosophy is part of your companies culture but then perhaps ask why you need to do such a product development programme at all? If it is not to innovate, why do it? This is of course a rhetorical question and you do want to do it to innovate as this is how you have put this post to us. Therefore, do something radical.

So to address your design criteria:

Come on George, you already have enough ATX cases. :) MicroATX or MiniITX.

If you have a need for a PSU that long then you're drawing a lot of power and hence silence at SPCR levels just isn't going to be on the agenda. Don't design the case around a feature that only 5% of your customer base 'demands' and that 0% actually need as they're probably only drawing a few hundred Watt. You have an OEM relationship with Seasonic on PSUs I believe. Your ability to get a custom made PSU is therefore far better than someone outside of industry. Use this to your advantage and get a custom made, passive, small form factor PSU designed specifically for you. Make use of the case itself as the heatsink for the PSU and it could probably occupy a 25mm depth! A great example of a case designer getting an OEM to build a PSU for their needs is Silverstone getting a 450W, Gold rated, modular SFX PSU - the mind boggles but it is real! Streacom also are bring out a 250W PSU that uses their heatsink cases for cooling.

If you're trying to build the ultimate silent system than mechanical hard disks aren't going to be on your shopping list. Therefore be radical and jettison them from your design. 2.5" SSDs are to become the only form of storage. If someone is trying to build a home server for their data cleptomania, you already have cases more suitable for that task so don't try to cover all bases with this design. Is it too early to make the move to SSDs? Well you're not getting this product out this year are you? In a years time I think you'll find many less hard disks being sold and if you are aiming for new builds, the likelihood of hard disks being installed will fall further.

With the 3.5" drives gone, more space will be available for a few more of these.

George: The 1970s called. They'd like their drive bay form factor back. :wink: Slimline optical drives are more and more common and available in all flavours. They might be slightly more expensive but if someone has the money to be buying one of your cases anyway, I think they can spare a couple of beans for a sleeker optical driver. As well as being far smaller they also have lower power usage and in general are quieter in operation. Plus slot loading drives do look so cool.

350mm long GPUs don't go hand in hand with silence. Again, you already have enough warehouse sized cases in your range for installation of these behemoths and in the last generation of cards the size has come down. If you want to do something radical offer some intergrated graphics cooling solution.

Nothing new here. Why not do something better? You're designing a case plus your company also has design expertise in cooling so link the two together. What about a heatsink case? Or instead of using water as a coolant, have a rear mounted radiator that can be linked to the CPU with heatpipes as opposed to a pumped water system? A fan could still be used in addition.

I'm interested to know if you have any feedback on this. I hope you find it useful and of course I am not doing in any mean spirited way and don't mean either your company or you bad. You do make some good products, it's just that I feel, based upon what you have input here, that you need to make something radical for once.


First off, that's good feedback, and I appreciate it.

70% of the people buying cases are buying standard ATX mid towers. Mini ITX and Micro ATX make up about 15% of the market, total. Full towers account for the other 15%.

So that's why we're focusing so heavily on that spot - it's the one most people care about.

This is a project designed to fulfill those needs. The "200mm PSU" requirement is actually a 160-180mm PSU requirement but with added room for modular connectors and cables. I don't expect a lot of people putting a 1200W PSU in their "silent" PC.

As for the long GPU, a lot of the aftermarket cards that ARE quiet are using large aftermarket heatsinks that are as big or bigger than the stock blowers. Accommodating them makes a lot of sense.

We ARE working on Mini ITX and Micro ATX, but the meat of the market for cases is still Mid Towers. What I want to do here is create the best way to silence the components listed above. I feel it's a reasonable "worst case scenario" for somebody who cares about silence but also wants some performance and hardware installed.

We may make a Micro or Mini version, of course. But the mid tower has to come first.

I do like your idea of using the case as a heatsink. Shuttle used to do something like that back in the day. I know other guys have tried it with limited success. But it doesn't hurt to try again in some way. We'll put it on the list.


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 Post subject: Re: Want to help Corsair build the best silent case ever?
PostPosted: Sun Oct 13, 2013 6:17 pm 
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CA_Steve wrote:
If you want to go a little outside the box...instead of 140mm fans, go with low rpm 180mm. Ok, first, design some decent 180mm fans. Look how well the Silverstone TJ08-E can cool with that AP fan at low rpm.


Fans are definitely something that can be improved upon, that's for sure.


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 Post subject: Re: Want to help Corsair build the best silent case ever?
PostPosted: Mon Oct 14, 2013 12:08 am 
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Abula wrote:
- The least possible 5.25 slots, i feel the 550D had to much


Why? It looks like not well thought, from a silencer standpoint.

On the contrary, what it would need they are *all* 5.25 bays/slots, along the case full height, which stiffens the whole structure an let you do what you would rather: mounting fans for front cooling (maybe a-la Scythe KamaBay, but for 140/150mm fans at least), or suspend hard disks with specific trays, installing some very big radiators, or mounting sound dampening panels (maybe a-la Fractal ModuVent) without having mandatorily an hinged door, or softly mounted dust filters (one of the more atrocious flaw of the Corsair 600T/650D is the front grille and the 200mm front fan, noise-wise)... so that the best silent case ever could be easily modded (buying accessories/spare parts) into the coolest gaming case ever, or a big/cool/quiet storage server, just by user's will.

From an engineering standpoint it's to figure how to have a full height multi 5,25"-bays cage, which is enough flexible to do all that, without having a too much deeper case.

What do you think, MikeC?


Corsair George wrote:
CA_Steve wrote:
If you want to go a little outside the box...instead of 140mm fans, go with low rpm 180mm. Ok, first, design some decent 180mm fans. Look how well the Silverstone TJ08-E can cool with that AP fan at low rpm.


Fans are definitely something that can be improved upon, that's for sure.


I hope you will do a far better job than what we've seen onto Graphite/Obsdian enclosures, with reference to large fans.

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 Post subject: Re: Want to help Corsair build the best silent case ever?
PostPosted: Mon Oct 14, 2013 1:17 am 
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Yea i would echo what quest_for_silence said about the 5.25 drive bays, 4 would be ideal as then you can install 1x5.25 CD drive and have a KamaBay type arrangement.
The only changes i would make to the KamaBay would be to have the filter at the front of the case and the fan at the back of the 5.25 drive bays, this way it moves the source of the noise away from the user as well a moving the fan closer to the CPU/MoBo.

I would also like a similar arrangement for the lower fan, intake/filter at the front of the case but the fan moved directly behind the GPU's. The difficulty comes when designing the drive bays or the path from the filter at the front of the case to the fans behind the drive bays.

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 Post subject: Re: Want to help Corsair build the best silent case ever?
PostPosted: Mon Oct 14, 2013 2:46 am 
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Corsair George wrote:
70% of the people buying cases are buying standard ATX mid towers. Mini ITX and Micro ATX make up about 15% of the market, total. Full towers account for the other 15%.

Any source for this? I'm afraid I can't agree with those numbers. If it was true you would not see motherboard manufacturers offering so many small form factor boards. For them the costs of small production runs would be far higher yet they are able to consistently offer low prices on MicroATX than ATX which adds up to far more than the cost of raw materials. Look on this forum here and I think you'd find a far higher proportion of small form factor systems than 15%. Maybe it is not the majority yet but it is increasing. The number of EATX systems here is going to be a single digit percentage.

Even if those numbers are true, you only offer a single MicroATX product out of 14 products to cover an alleged 15% of the market. You already cover the alleged 70% well enough and for that matter the alleged other 15% of EATX systems too. You risk cannibalisation by competing against existing products and if you do decide that you want to hit the same requirements that you've been trying to hit all along, your business case for continuing development is very weak. The logical thing to do in such circumstance might even be to abandon the project.

Corsair George wrote:
I do like your idea of using the case as a heatsink. Shuttle used to do something like that back in the day. I know other guys have tried it with limited success. But it doesn't hurt to try again in some way. We'll put it on the list.

Shuttle still use this kind of setup in the XPC range but on a smaller scale and only for their motherboards. Imagine a 140mm square, 50mm thick radiator with a set of separate heatpipes and CPU block which the builder can position according to the motherboard layout. The heatpipe and CPU block arrangement would be similar to that seen in Streacom cases.

An alternative is of course to use the whole case as a heatsink as Streacom do.

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 Post subject: Re: Want to help Corsair build the best silent case ever?
PostPosted: Mon Oct 14, 2013 3:50 am 
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One thing that instantly puts me off is the idea of a top mount for a 2x120mm radiator. Most cases are either on a desk or on the floor, so the top fan openings are best placed to let sound out in the user's direction. Plus they're dust magnets if the machine is off or you're using them as an intake.

If you're going to insist on H100-type cooler compatibility, I'd like to see the case designed so that the cooler radiator can be mounted without a direct path for sound to reach the user - either behind the front bezel, or have a bezel on the top of the case with slits round the edges like an Antec Solo front bezel (but don't make it one of those naff gamer-style things, make it a nice brushed Alu bezel or something, though with room for a coating of acoustic foam on the inside to stop any weird reverb noises). Other option would be to invert the motherboard and have the H100-type cooler on the floor with the CPU just above it - think a TJ-08E with a pair of 120mm intakes on the floor, slightly raised feet or slits around the side of the base to allow air in?

Pathing of the sound is one of the most important things to remember when making a case quiet, IMO - don't let the user have a direct line of sight/sound to any noise-generating components. I've seen many nice cases that have one of those stupid "Intel P4 thermal solution" (aka random holes) on the side panel thus ruining them as a potential basis for a nice quiet box.

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 Post subject: Re: Want to help Corsair build the best silent case ever?
PostPosted: Mon Oct 14, 2013 9:13 am 
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mentawl wrote:
One thing that instantly puts me off is the idea of a top mount for a 2x120mm radiator. Most cases are either on a desk or on the floor, so the top fan openings are best placed to let sound out in the user's direction. Plus they're dust magnets if the machine is off or you're using them as an intake.

IMHO the best compromise is to have a top mount for a 2x120mm radiator, but with a blanking plate, maybe in two separate pieces for both sizes.
As then the majority of people can leave the blanking plate in place, and those that want to fit a radiator just have to remove them.
But to reduce the space given up for a 2x120mm radiator i think having it top mounted is a must, after all if someone is going to fit a H100 type cooler im not sure noise is the primary concern.

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 Post subject: Re: Want to help Corsair build the best silent case ever?
PostPosted: Mon Oct 14, 2013 11:23 am 
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One non-functional requirement for me is general build quality. I'm not familiar with Corsair cases, but at work I have a Fractal Design Define R4. That case can start to resonate loudly apparently at random for me, and then pushing the sides together forcibly makes the noise stop for the time being. It seems like the parts are manufactured to quite rough tolerances and don't quite fit perfectly. Pushing the sides together causes the top part to "pop" and change shape.

While otherwise a nice case, this somewhat ruins it for me. So I think it is a good idea to manufacture the parts to fine tolerances so that they fit perfectly, and make them sturdy and non-resonating.

At home I have the Antec P182B. It annoys me endlessly that every day to power it up I have to open the door, especially when the door opens the wrong way for me considering that the case is sideways in a bookshelf next to a wall.


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 Post subject: Re: Want to help Corsair build the best silent case ever?
PostPosted: Mon Oct 14, 2013 3:58 pm 
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George,

I am surprised to see you here. As a silentpc enthusiast, I appreciate your attention the matter and willingness to do something different.

I have tried the Corsair 550D and here are my opinions on the areas where the case was lacking (I think the case is a bit compromised)

1) Restricted front. The door and the 3.5 inch drive rack are extremely restrictive. The effect of this is that the fans have to run much faster to overcome the restricted opening with a powerful setup, defeating the purpose of a silent build
2) Lack of drive bay suspension. Silent PC crowd users who use mechanical drives like them to be suspended or dampended. The 550D's sled was inadequate
3) Compromised design with lack of top / side mount. I definitely appricate the removeable top and side panel, but for the silent crowd, they simply don't need to be there in the first place. There needs to be a way to mount the H100 without having a top cover
4) There's no space behind the front door to hide a controller with knobs

So, with that in mind. THe features I demand (given the restrictions) are:
1) Muted Aesthetics. No side vent, no top vent (not even removable ). Something understanded.
2) Rigid (even if heavy) case that does not allow resonance to transmit to case
3) Suspended Hard drive mounting. If I am going to use mechanical drives. I want them suspended
4) (within the restraint of having a door). As little restrictions as possible. Possibly back facing side vents. If a drive rack needs to be in the way, please make it unrestricted.
5) Related to above, clean airflow (nothing in the way) to video card
6) Potentially, ability to mount a H110 style cooler internally, without having to open up the top of the case (and have air /noise leak out). Antec's P280 is ruined by their choice in this area.
7) If you are going to support H110, please have the ability to support 60mm rad with push design (Rads with less fin spacing are more quiet)

This is a drawing of a potential layout that I think can work. I am not sure if the H100 can work in this configuration. But if this case is made. I will buy it.

Image

In an air cooled confiruation, clean air will be forced directly onto the GPU, keeping them cool / quiet. In a water cooled configuration, yes, warm air will be blown into the case and PSU, but I think people overestimate the impact too much. Modern components can cope with the heat. Modern PSUs are also well designed to cope with the additional heat without ramping up too much.

Also, I do not agree with the 180mm fan opinion. I have tried all (at least the ones I can find) the 180mm fans out there and I don't like them. There are simply better options when it comes to 140mm / 120mm fans.


Last edited by Blood on Mon Oct 14, 2013 4:22 pm, edited 5 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Want to help Corsair build the best silent case ever?
PostPosted: Mon Oct 14, 2013 4:05 pm 
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Here's a thought - instead of putting the radiator on top, and having to deal with a panel cover, offer it as a side panel option (like all those cases with optional windowed versions). People that don't use liquid cooling or don't plan to add side fans buy the version with a solid door. Of course, you'd really have to beef up the panel to support the radiator w/o vibration.

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 Post subject: Re: Want to help Corsair build the best silent case ever?
PostPosted: Mon Oct 14, 2013 11:22 pm 
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A picture speaks a thousand words, here's two of my favorite layout:
Image
Image
The case's dimensions are W L H 220mmX420mmX490mm

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 Post subject: Re: Want to help Corsair build the best silent case ever?
PostPosted: Wed Oct 16, 2013 12:09 pm 
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Just little background first. I have lurked at this site since it's inception. This is the first thread that Ive really wanted to post in. I started working on silencing cases back when Delta fans were everyone's favorite, and Pabst was your only option. I've chopped up Lian Li cases, built half a dozen P180, 182, 183 mini rigs, built multiple Silverstone rigs of all sizes, and replaced almost all of my fans with either Nexus or higher rated ones. I have BLED for the Scythe Ninjas I have installed, and anyone that owns one knows what I mean. So I'm coming from experience here.

Thank you Mike and all the other members who's advice has been thankfully received over the years. Also, thank you Corsair George for giving us an opportunity to be heard.

A while back I built a new gaming rig for my father. Being disappointed in the difficulty in wiring my Silverstone FT02 and it's general noise profile (in comparison to my old Antec P182), I decided to try something different by putting his rig in a Corsair 600T. I was hesitant at first due to the design being more about cooling then noise, as well as the heavy use of plastic, but was pleasantly surprised by the results. With two 7970s (using dual fan, 3 slot coolers), and a heavily overclocked i5 3570k using a Thermalright Venomous X with two Nexus 120mm fans in push/pull config, the system was actually quieter then my FT02 build. Not to mention much easier to work on. Due to that, I'm going to use the 600T (layout wise) as base of where you should go.

What you did right:

- Large 180mm fans that are nearly silent. (EDIT: I meant 200mm. I was tired when I wrote this originally).
- Excellent cable routing with lots of space behind the mainboard.
- Flexible cooling options.
- AWESOME AND EASY case panel opening.
- Fan controller.

What you did not so right:

- Plastic...lots of it. Given it's not a super expensive case, but the Plastic is annoying.


Noise Itself

Two things have to be considered here. First what produces noise. Second how does that noise escape the case.

Production of noise:

There are a myriad of components that produce noise, but almost all of them can be traced back to fans (water pumps for liquid cooling also). The fans that cases and components use are paramount to producing a quiet system. Very generally speaking, the larger the fan, the lower and deeper in tone it's noise output. So the use of 180mm fans for intake and exhaust will help drop the noise profile. The exception of this is to ensure that fans run a low RPM, or at least capable of being dialed back, while still producing good airflow. These fans need to be test not only at their full voltage (let's say 12), but also at three quarter and half. The sounds of their bearings need to be taken into consideration. Unfortunately, the 180mm market isn't nearly as well stocked as the 120 and 140mm market. I would urge you to include adapters or mounting points for 140mm as well.

- A good starting point would be to listen to the Nexus 120mm case fan. It has very good airflow, and a noise profile that's one of the best in the industry. I use them extensively in my builds, though I despise the fact that I can't purchase them without molex connectors. If Nexus made 180mm version, I'd own it. It would be worth buying a few to examine in your labs.

The next issue is vibration. Aluminum cases, if built with thin panels, can hum in an annoying high pitched way. Manufactures often claim it's to make the case light, but we all know it's mostly to save money. Even if it was to make it light, PC enthusiasts who focus on silence aren't going to be hefting their rigs around. So you MUST build the case with a heavy, dense build.

- A good example is the P180/182/183. The case used three layer panels that effectively trapped the sound and eliminated vibration. This is FAR better then slapping some foam on a thin side panel. The Silverstone FT02 is mostly aluminum, but it's built with a thicker gauge so it works decently.

Of course it goes without saying that keeping components cool so their fans don't have to ramp also is critical.

How noise escapes:

Do you know why silent PC enthusiasts avoid cases like the 600T in general? Because they're full of holes. Holes allow the noise to escape, and some of the worst offenders are those on the top of the case. I cut my noise output in HALF just by covering the top 80mm vent on my old Lian Li. Put a pillow between the case and wall also significantly reduced the noise.

-Using carefully crafted baffles will help direct and trap noise to areas where it's less intrusive is a must.


Making It Silent


Using the 600T as a base, lets go over what would be needed to make it truly silent.

Build Material: Thicker panels with foam to reduce noise. Use silicon seals or gromets on areas that are metal on metal touching to reduce vibration. Soft rubber feet should be use to elevate the case. ALL FANS should have a silicon cover like this surrounding them, and any fan grills should be simple circular style. http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811996014&nm_mc=KNC-GoogleAdwords&cm_mmc=KNC-GoogleAdwords-_-pla-_-Case+Accessories-_-N82E16811996014&gclid=CIrN_ZmQnLoCFaXm7AodSk0AGw

Compartmentalize the PSU: The PSU should be it's own compartment, not shared with any other component. The compartment interior should have noise absorbing foam on it. Mount it at the bottom of the case as it currently is. It's air intake will come from below, but the area should be baffled so as to not reflect sound waves off tile/wood floors. The interior of that baffle should also have foam.

Partially Compartmentalize the Hard Drives: Hard drives should be isolated in cages like the P180. These cages should be simple to remove, and face front to back (again like the P180) on the case so as to create a wind tunnel effect, instead of blocking airflow. They should be directly in front of the front 180mm intake.

Baffle the top exhaust: Adding a baffle to the top of the case with insulating foam and a rear exhaust for the top fan would aid in eliminating noise. The baffle should be about an inch thick, and removable via thumb screws in the back. It should also have noise insulating foam inside, so as to absorb sound as it redirects the airflow.

Seal the front panel: You require that it has two optical drive slots but I would suggest removing them entirely in favor of a single slim slot load drive at the top (like the Silverstone FT-03). The front panel would have about an inch gap from the frame of the case, but only open and showing the gap at the very bottom for the front air intake. Foam would line the rear of it. Behind the front panel would be two slow 180mm fans with removable dust guards. Fan grills would be unnecessary because they will be behind the front panel. The intake should be ducted so that it flows through the hard drives and not around.


Silent Lights: Give me a way to flip a switch and turn off the those obnoxious flashing hard drive lights. If you must have a power light, make it subdued and red not blue.



Okay. I'm trying to figure out a CAD program to put to picture everything I just wrote. I hope I was descriptive enough and this wasn't too long to read.

One last thing: I would really, really like to see a silence focused ITX case akin to the Ncase M1 but without the numerous vents on every side. Just food for thought.

EDIT: Okay...everywhere I mention 180mm fans for the 600T, I meant 200. It was late and I was tired... :shock:


Last edited by Knight on Sun Oct 20, 2013 7:51 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Want to help Corsair build the best silent case ever?
PostPosted: Thu Oct 17, 2013 1:03 am 
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TBH i think the Obsidian 550D pretty much gets things right, but if i could redesign some parts of it the first thing would be the 3.5" drive cages.
As i have said before i would move the intake fans inside the case blowing directly across the CPU, and another blowing across the GPU. The problem comes when designing the tunnel to the filter almost a foot away, so its not drawing in stale air from the inside of the case, and all the while still being able to mount 3.5" drives in the tunnel if needed. I would also add a couple of decent fan controllers, not high, med, low switches but rheostat type knobs/sliders.

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 Post subject: Re: Want to help Corsair build the best silent case ever?
PostPosted: Mon Oct 21, 2013 4:02 am 
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Knight wrote:
EDIT: Okay...everywhere I mention 180mm fans for the 600T, I meant 200.


How have you silenced it? It's one of the most annoying fan I've ever heard.

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 Post subject: Re: Want to help Corsair build the best silent case ever?
PostPosted: Mon Oct 21, 2013 8:40 am 
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Posts: 385
Corsair George wrote:
Assuming you had a completely blank slate, with absolutely no layout requirements, what would your ideal layout be? What features would you demand?

Hi George,

I'm glad you asked. :p
I've been looking for compact (low depth) cases for mATX and mITX boards. I don't need 5.25" bays, I don't need 3.5" bays, two 2.5"/3.5" HDD/SSD mounts is enough. Low depth would be < 350mm. It shouldn't be too wide either, height doesn't matter as much. PSU should be at the bottom. I'd like to have 2x or 3x front intake fans (140mm), no side/top vents and an exhaust vent in the back.

Corsair George wrote:
70% of the people buying cases are buying standard ATX mid towers. Mini ITX and Micro ATX make up about 15% of the market, total. Full towers account for the other 15%.

For my brother I bought a ATX tower too (Bitfenix Outlaw) though I wanted a mATX one. Couldn't find a suitable mATX case though. :(

If it has to be an ATX tower, I'd still like to see a low depth one. With front intake fans unobstructed by HDD bays. For most people, 1 or 2 3.5" HDDs is enough, not every case has to cater to every requirement.


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 Post subject: Re: Want to help Corsair build the [quietest] case ever?
PostPosted: Sat Oct 26, 2013 10:58 am 
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I'd love to see Corsair make a gem of a case. This is what I'd like to see:

Midtower, basically as small as you can get it while fitting in with the functionality goals and allowing popular tall tower heatsinks. Sidenote: I'd also like to see Corsair's take on a competitive tall tower cooler, if the margins are as good as the liquid coolers obviously are.

Minimum 140mm filtered fan up front. Design for a rear radiator placement only. No holes in the top or sides. It seems impossible to find a quality case without them these days. Adequate cooling can be had with intelligently designed airflow and a front fan or two. Don't have the hard drive cage block all the airflow from the front fan and the GPU area will receive enough fresh air without the need for side holes. Consider ducting to increase GPU air supply if needed. Except for the rear, the rest of the case should be hole/gap free (skip the mesh drive bay covers etc).

Damping on the sides and top, at least as an option.

Bottom-mounted PSU with bottom intake.

I'm not sure if any other cases have explored this, but an innovative feature (or gimmick :) might be to design the PCI bracket slots for increased heat dissipation, as a lot of GPU heat ends up transferring to the PCI slots at the back of the case. This might just mean making that part out of aluminum.

I'd prefer a door-less case but if it helps it to be quiet, go for it.

While others are asking for a fan controller, unless it's unobtrusive (single switch or knob for the front fan somewhere out of the way) and cheap enough, I don't think that kind of thing should be standard in a case. Offer one optionally, or let the other players in that market fill the role.


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 Post subject: Re: Want to help Corsair build the [quietest] case ever?
PostPosted: Thu Oct 31, 2013 5:57 am 
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Hi George !
Before anything else "What would make me toss my current case out the window and buy a new one." would be three things

1. SUSPENDED HDD CAGE (yes cage not the individual HDD) (more easy to remove/add hdd and a more long lasting solution)
2. SUSPENDED FANS (why should fans make contact with the case ?)
3. And the "cherry on top" (beside suspended HDD Cage & Fan(s) ) that would make me buy it before even "tossing my current case out the window" would be an HORIZONTAL case tall enough for a passive cpu cooler (~160 mm)

And since silent for me means passive everything (or as much as possible:) ) it will make more sens to have the case "open" as much as possible and use just 1 big silent fan.
Ideal I would have the motherboard & psu area open (mesh ?) and the front = hdd / DVD drives area (semi) closed as usual


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 Post subject: Re: Want to help Corsair build the [quietest] case ever?
PostPosted: Sun Nov 03, 2013 7:08 pm 
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I would agree with some of the previous posts that unhindered airflow is critical for a quiet PC.

Something like a quiet version of the Air 540 case would interest me, with zero venting at the top of the chassis. Straight path airflow over the main components with 3x 120mm front fan support and 2x 120mm rear fan support for higher air flow needs to deal with hot components in quiet gaming PCs. The top panel needs to be sealed, or at least it needs to be able to be sealed.
The intakes and exhaust need to be as low restriction as possible, if something like a door is needed on the front, maybe something more like a baffled setup instead of an actual door would work.

Basically, a solid chassis to prevent vibrations, either zero fans, or fans that have very good noise/airflow ratios at low speed, low restriction intake and exhaust to maximize cooling versus fan speeds, and if you need to support drive bays, keep them in a separate compartment like the Air 540 so that the truly hot components can have airflow that isn't restricted by drive bays.


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 Post subject: Re: Want to help Corsair build the [quietest] case ever?
PostPosted: Fri Nov 08, 2013 10:21 am 
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The problem with the 'standard' ATX design is that a lot of the intake airflow is wasted. One of the two front intake fans will be blowing towards the back end of the PSU, which does little good. Meanwhile, you can't get cool outside air directly to the CPU heatsink, because it's blocked in front by the optical drives.

To get the best balance between noise and performance, it's a good idea to have the intake fans providing direct airflow to the CPU and GPU coolers. This is what makes the Corsair Air 540 and Silverstone FT02 so effective.

I would suggest that if Corsair is going to make a silent but high-performing case, the Air 540 would be a good starting point. Consider increasing the fan size (to 180mm, perhaps), and add analog controllers for each fan so that the user can select the exact trade-off between performance and sound that they want. Of course, a silent case would have sound-damping foam added, and mesh openings would be restricted except where needed. The top panel could have a modular piece of foam like on the Fractal Design R4, so you could get an opening for a 240mm radiator if you needed it, but it would be blocked off by default for users who don't need liquid cooling.

I'd also like to see the option to rotate between tower and desktop orientation. (This is one thing I really miss in the Air 540 - it should be able to work in a desktop mode fairly easily, but there's no way to do this in an aesthetically pleasing manner.)


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 Post subject: Re: Want to help Corsair build the [quietest] case ever?
PostPosted: Fri Nov 08, 2013 11:30 am 
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my turn :)
a few notes :
PSU in it's own chamber, at the top of the case (allows bottom intake fan to be closer to where fresh air is needed)
bottom only intake to keep noise away, 3*120 or 3*140 mm fans
HDDs sideways, to minimize airflow interference
Solid top to keep stuff from falling in the case
mobo flipped 90 deg

Image

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 Post subject: Re: Want to help Corsair build the best silent case ever?
PostPosted: Mon Nov 18, 2013 4:11 pm 
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Location: Toronto
Corsair George wrote:
70% of the people buying cases are buying standard ATX mid towers. Mini ITX and Micro ATX make up about 15% of the market, total. Full towers account for the other 15%.

So that's why we're focusing so heavily on that spot - it's the one most people care about.


It's also the one that's most heavily served. I hope the 70% number you're using isn't based solely on Corsair's sales given that most of your cases can handle an ATX board.

Anyhow, I'd like the ability to handle a 300mm graphics card and a 200mm PSU (including connectors), along with some form of removable/adjustable filtered vent and vibration damped drive mounts (still use spinning rust for mass storage).

And preferably in colors other than pitch black :D


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 Post subject: Re: Want to help Corsair build the [quietest] case ever?
PostPosted: Fri Nov 22, 2013 12:05 am 
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Hi George.
Please make a PC case in the spirit of Antec Fusion MAX, and you got my attention.
This case is horisontal. The fans, and the lcd display is no good, but when you replace the fans, and disconnect the lcd this case is perfect.
It's a mix of aluminium and steel.
It has it's own room for the PSU. It can take any ATX and GPU. But with a DVD or BD player inside, it can get a bit crowded...
So I have a USB Bluray player, a USB storage disk, an internal SSD, the NvidiaGTX770 GPU and Intel I5 CPU.
It's completely silent, cold, and can run anything.
I have tried Lian LI, Chieftec and silverstone HTPC's and they all fail completely compared to this case. Either get's too hot, or too noisy.


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