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 Post subject: Look at this beauty! - Wooden case, nMediaPC HTPC 8000
PostPosted: Fri Aug 14, 2009 9:18 am 
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Location: San Jose, CA, US
Image

http://benchmarkreviews.com/index.php?o ... &Itemid=61

I think wood should be good for sound dampening. Unfortunately, the guy reviewed it didn't seem to assemble system in it. Only one reviewer on Newegg seemed to do that and the only comments were that airflow was "good" and 140 mm fan needed to be replaced.

Shouldn't it provide better sound isolation than Antec multi-layer panels? And I think the airflow must be OK - 140 mm exhaust + PSU fan and 2 optional 92 mm intake fans.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6811204039
$120 at NewEgg, $105 at Directron, LCD is not included.

I don't know where I would put it but it looks so tempting!
What do you think?


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Aug 14, 2009 10:20 am 
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Looks awesome. I would've never thought they someone would make a commercial product like this. The price is amazing too, considering it's made from real wood panels. Puts those other generic htpc cases to shame.


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 Post subject: cool
PostPosted: Fri Aug 14, 2009 12:29 pm 
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Location: San Jose
Now that is a great looking case. I'm going to have to go home and measure a couple spots, this could replace one of my cheaper looking cases.....

The airflow does look a little constrained, though. But modding it would be easy if you need to, I imagine.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Aug 14, 2009 2:26 pm 
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wow! that is very unusual.


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 Post subject: couldn't resist
PostPosted: Mon Aug 17, 2009 10:44 am 
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So I ordered it, I'll use it to replace my current htpc case. Hope it turns out to be a good case, I'm such a sucker.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Aug 17, 2009 5:44 pm 
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Location: Sydney
Cordis, I'd love to hear your impressions on the case acoustically once you've got it. I'd be a sucker too and order one, but I can't find a supplier in Australia - probably just as well, my bank balance can't afford anything at the moment.


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 Post subject: nice, but unforgiving
PostPosted: Fri Aug 21, 2009 12:48 pm 
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So I got a package yesterday, and hurriedly moved my old htpc system into the new case. I'm going on vacation next week, and I wanted to get it up and running in the new case immediately, so I haven't really had time to tweak it out for maximum silence. These are just first impressions I had while installing a system.

First off, the only access inside is through the top, there is no sliding motherboard tray and none of the other panels seem to move. This makes the case a little more solid, but be sure to have a good light overhead or a flashlight handy, the depth of the case is such that the bottom can be a little dark if you don't have good light.

The case itself is pretty solid, there is no rattling anywhere that I noticed, so if you're looking for a case that doesn't add extra noise, this will do it. However, the two panels in the front are pretty wide open, so any noise near those will come right out. For instance, I was really surprised at how much seek noise I heard from the hard drives. They are connected in the case to a raised platform, there are two mounts where you can use rubber grommets, I think those are pretty quiet, but the two in the lower section are harder to use grommets with, so I just screwed down the drive there. No constant noise, but I did distinctly hear the seeks, and it's a WD green drive, so I was a little surprised. It might be possible to suspend the drive inside the lower section, but it would be a tight fit.

My big problem was that I also moved the case location, I had my old htpc under the tv near the floor, and in the new case it's on a shelf next to the tv, so it's much easier to hear noise when you walk past. I was using a low profile zalman cooler in the old one, and it seems noisier in the new location. I have a Megahalems I can swap out for it, after I come back from vacation, but for the time being I can deal with it. I also have a gtx 725 in the system, wanted a little more horsepower for BluRay watching, and it seems a lot noisier now too.

The big 140mm fan in the back of the case is fairly noisy, I have a yate loon I want to swap in for it, but I haven't even tried undervolting it yet. It seems to be pushing out a lot of hot air, so it's effective if nothing else. With the open panels in front and the big fan in back, the air flow is pretty simple. One thing to note, in one review I read that there were 92mm fan mounts on the front panels, but as far as I can tell, there aren't. The front panels are covered inside by a fine black mesh cloth stapled to the inside of the case. I may try using some velcro to attach a 92mm fan on the graphics card side to see if I can boost the airflow over there. And with the wooden panels, you could probably add mounts if you really want them, but velcro seems like an easier way to go.

In terms of other small touches, the cable routing is pretty random, I need to go back in and clean it up at some point, but with the design the way it is, there isn't really any place to hide cables under or behindh anything. They include a couple of stick on cable tie offs in the hardware bag that came with it, I'll have to think about where to use those. One thing to keep in mind when routing the cables is the raised hard drive section, I have the hard drive power cables running from the front over the bar to keep them out of the way of motherboard stuff, but make sure you can connect everything up before you screw the hard drive section back in place, it can be tricky running power to all the different points you may have. The hard drive bar uses a single wood screw on each side, which seems like a bad design choice, those could certainly strip out holes in the wood at some point, so try to make sure it's all cabled up well before you screw it back in.

The installation instructions that come with it are pretty spare, the most important part is the recommended installation order. Try to follow that, it is definitely a case where you need to go step by step. Especially with the hard drive mounting, I had to backtrack a couple times on that with mounting the drives and getting the cables all straight. One thing to note is that the listing on newegg.com gives the depth as 11", that's a little disingenuous, it's 11" at the sides, in the middle it's about 14.5" It's overhanging the shelf I put it on a little, should be fine for me but if you're more space constrained keep it in mind. The size is pretty odd, it's long and tall and resonably thin, but with the part that sticks out it makes it a little more cubic. It is pretty heavy too, all the wood is pretty thick.

So all in all, it's a great looking case, and it isn't too noisy by design, but it isn't going to help out a lot in making a quiet system. Installing an inherently quiet set of parts will keep it quiet, but any big noise sources will make themselves known. It's a little unforgiving, you need to plan things out pretty well to make things go really smooth, and I haven't taken the time yet to really perfect my installation, but the potential is definitely there to make a nice looking quiet system.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Aug 21, 2009 1:28 pm 
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Joined: Sun May 24, 2009 9:47 pm
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Location: San Jose, CA, US
Thanks a lot, cordis. Very useful information.

Do you think it would be possible to suspend, or at least grommet-mount HDD in some quiet enclosure? That fits in 5.25" bay like Logisys HDD Silenser? Would there be enough space below HDD cage or maybe it can be modded?

edit: I mean to suspend 5.25" HDD enclosure inside the case?

Quote:
It seems to be pushing out a lot of hot air

What kind of CPU do you have? Was the air inside your previous case cooler? If so can it be because wood doesn't conduct much heat so case panels don't help to cool the air?
Do you have temperature measurements from your previous case? Would be interesting to compare.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Aug 21, 2009 1:43 pm 
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micksh wrote:
If so can it be because wood doesn't conduct much heat so case panels don't help to cool the air?


The case panels never helped with cooling. That's a myth. Air is a horrible conductor of heat, so any heat removal is dominated by extracting the hot air out of the case, not conducting the heat through the panels Unless you had a case with heatpipes connecting your components to the case panels or hard-mounted your hard drives, the case was just simply a box to hold things together.


Last edited by PartEleven on Fri Aug 21, 2009 1:46 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: not much hard data
PostPosted: Fri Aug 21, 2009 1:45 pm 
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Location: San Jose
I don't really have a lot of hard data on temps, I think the video card is running hotter, speedfan said it was about 86, I seem to remember high 70s in the old case. On the other hand, the old case had a front intake fan, so maybe if I put one in on the new case it will even out. I also worry that the haphazard cabling I did is blocking some airflow, I need to straighten that out. The SATA drive cabling always seems to be right in front of the video card fan, and with the cables going up to the hard drive bar, it could be a problem. I'm not convinced that the wood is a big heat conduction issue, but I suppose there could be an issue.

As far as space for suspending a 5.25 drive silencer, that's an interesting thought. The only 5.25 slot is set up for the dvd drive, if you're not using one of those it would be fine. And there are two grommeted brackets for 3.5 drives, and they seem resonably quiet. I think it was mostly my drive in the non-grommeted bracket that was causing problems. And I've been planning on dropping the system to 2 drives anyway, so I may solve that more easily. The space should be there in some spot, on the side opposite the power supply there's some extra space above the motherboard, and there might be some space below the drive bracket bar. It's a fairly big case, it depends on how clever you want to be, I guess. ;)

Edit: Oh, and actually, if you don't like the 3.5 grommeted brackets, it would be a cinch to cut those off and use the space above the optical drive bay. You'd lose two drive bays to get a big one, but it could be a good trade off if you're really into the 5.25 drive silencer.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Aug 21, 2009 1:49 pm 
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Wow, that is a very nice looking case :)

Almost makes me want to bust out the wood working tools, and make one myself ;)


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Aug 21, 2009 4:11 pm 
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Wow, that's a trip :!:

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Aug 22, 2009 1:48 am 
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Location: San Jose, CA, US
PartEleven wrote:
The case panels never helped with cooling. That's a myth. Air is a horrible conductor of heat


True. That myth probably appeared because some people touched their too small-form cases without decent airflow. My mini-ITX steel case iStarUSA S3 is surely a little warmer than ambient. But it’s small. If I wanted to fix it I would first look at airflow.
And for large case like this you are right, probably doesn't matter.

Next question then.
Would intake fans on front panel reduce the noise from internal components, at least a little?

My first simple-minded guess tells that if there is a silent fan that sucks air from the front into the case it would make more difficult for noise to go out back to front.
The noise would just have to travel a little more because of better airflow. And then the noise becomes weaker with every inch.
Like if you are screaming against the wind. People hear you much worse than if the wind was in their direction. Would intake fan provide you similar wind?

I think it's about a question of how noise fades with distance and how much intake flow fan adds to the distance. Probably can be put in equation but hard to convert from CFM fan specs to decibels at one meter.

Most likely air flow speed is too slow to significantly suppress noise. But there are also fan blades. They sometimes must block the noise, no?

Please share experience – would quiet front panel intake fans reduce noise inside case or not?


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 Post subject: small update
PostPosted: Mon Aug 24, 2009 4:51 pm 
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Location: San Jose
Just a little update, just before I took off on my vacation, I added a couple front 92mm fans, scythe s-flex I think, mounted with velcro onto the black cloth behind the front openings. Watching the temps the rest of the night, the gpu is still pretty hot, it may have dropped a degree or two, but the cpu started running more cool. I still want to replace the cpu heatsink and the rear fan, but some other fun stuff is coming in the mail, and as long as the usps saves it with the rest of my vacation mail, then that will probably be occupying my free time. I finally got a tracking number on my EFI-x dongle, so I'll be making a hackintosh when I get back home.

Oh, and I also took out one of the hard drives, so now both are grommet mounted, and that seems to have helped a lot with the hard drive noise.


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 Post subject: another update
PostPosted: Thu Sep 24, 2009 2:40 pm 
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Over the weekend I seriously overhauled the case, replaced the 140 fan in back with a yate loon, swapped out the video card (took out the 275, replaced with a 250), and put in a new cpu heat sink. The heat sink was kind of a problem, at first I tried a prolimatech megahalems, but I soon realized that it has a clearance problem with the hard drive shelf. You really can't put a heat sink in this case that's more than 150mm tall. This was kind of a problem, it looks like all the big tower recommended heat sinks are more than 150mm tall. I left it running with the top off and the hard drive shelf balanced on top while I made a run to a local computer shop. Looking at big heat sinks they had in stock that were under 150mm, I came away with a Zalman cnps9700. I hadn't read the review here. I installed it anyway, and it was pretty noisy. But it does come with a fan controller in the box, so I put that in the loop and cranked it down as far it would go, and now it's nice and quiet. Maybe the wood is helping with that. The loudest thing in the case is now the video card, but even that is pretty quiet, so I'm happy for the moment.


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