SPCR and Aluminum Anti-Bias?

Enclosures and acoustic damping to help quiet them.

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Talz
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Post by Talz » Thu Mar 31, 2005 12:04 pm

I was thinking of one of the earlier Centurions actually with only 80mm fans and more restrictions on the airflow. I had not looked at any newer reviews as I thought they were using the same design with a bezel change (the name barely changed, but it was a bad assumption on my part) and it didn't interest me. I looked around and it has been improved some, I should read the review. ;)

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Post by ~El~Jefe~ » Thu Mar 31, 2005 8:22 pm

Yeah, I am wondering about this anti-aluminum bias myself with a possible new dampening build I want to begin next week.

I want a pimped out Lian li with that door on the front. That solid, sealable door. I want to put 1/4 inch super soundproofing mat from

http://soundproofing.org/sales/prices.html

This place is great, btw. I am goign to do an actual review of their main stuff in 2 weeks.

I was wondering if somehow, the resonance could be stopped in an aluminum case. I think that it cannot be no matter how much sounded deadening stuff you apply to it, I tihnk it CREATES sounds and not just transmits it in a strange way.

Is this correct? (does a machine or fan inside it create vibrations that in turn, create new sounds, or does it just resonate?)

oldabelincoln
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Post by oldabelincoln » Thu Mar 31, 2005 10:41 pm

Much as I would like a Lian-Li case to be, out of the box, as quiet as an equivalent steel case, there are just too many testimonials here to the contrary. Aluminium cases, thickness for thickness are simply more resonant than steel. Can we all take that as a given?

But wait a minute - that's not the end of the issue, which is really "can we have quiet aluminum cases?" Or, perhaps, "can we have quiet Lian-Li cases", as the discussion (at least in this thread) seems to be more about Lian-Li cases than about aluminum cases in general.

I think this latter point may be where we are all at cross purposes.

There have been many comments (in other threads) by some of the most respected members of the SPCR community to the general effect of "I care about silence; I don't care about looks". Fair enough, and well said. There have been fewer similarly direct statements to the effect of "I care about silence AND looks" which is likely how some folks feel - certainly I feel that way.

Tastes certainly do vary, but there are a lot of people who think that aluminum cases (generally) look better than steel cases, and that Lian-Li in particular makes really nice looking cases. That doesn't make them quiet cases - it just makes them desireable cases.

OK, we have noisy but otherwise desireable cases. Can we agree that it is reasonable for people to wish to be able to silence such cases? It will be much harder than silencing a steel case, to be sure. But is there any intrinsic reason why trying to silence a pretty case is not a legitmate topic for SPCR?

If I could find a steel case with the overall look and functionality of a Lian-Li, I'd happily buy one. I haven't so far, and I'm getting to the point where I'm damn well going to buy something to run a Socket 939 proc system, and I'd like it to be quiet AND look like a Lian-Li (more accurately, look as nice as a Lian-Li). I don't care a bit about the weight (others will), and I'd even give up the very nice look of aluminum, and settle for overall styling.

But, please, folks, lets understand the varied positions here a little better.

Take the look of aluminum for instance. Lots of folks simply like that look, and feel that you can't get it from steel. The advice to them should be about how to damp the resonance of aluminum. Resonance is a function of stiffness, all right, but it is also a function of mass. Has anyone mass-loaded an aluminum case with sheet lead or lead/vinyl? I haven't done it, but it seems easy enough to do, and perhaps it's been done. Or maybe it's too costly or difficult or otherwise a pain. Or are there easy ways to stiffen aluminum panels?

Can we talk about these issues, please?

Of COURSE aluminum cases are noisier than steel cases, and generally too noisy out of the box. But at the moment, the best looking cases (to many, certainly not all) are aluminum, which makes them interesting to enough SPCR members that it's a topic worthy of discussion.
Abe
--------
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nuttybing
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Post by nuttybing » Fri Apr 01, 2005 1:30 am

oldabelincoln wrote:There have been many comments (in other threads) by some of the most respected members of the SPCR community to the general effect of "I care about silence; I don't care about looks". Fair enough, and well said. There have been fewer similarly direct statements to the effect of "I care about silence AND looks" which is likely how some folks feel - certainly I feel that way.

Tastes certainly do vary, but there are a lot of people who think that aluminum cases (generally) look better than steel cases, and that Lian-Li in particular makes really nice looking cases. That doesn't make them quiet cases - it just makes them desireable cases.

OK, we have noisy but otherwise desireable cases. Can we agree that it is reasonable for people to wish to be able to silence such cases? It will be much harder than silencing a steel case, to be sure. But is there any intrinsic reason why trying to silence a pretty case is not a legitmate topic for SPCR?

If I could find a steel case with the overall look and functionality of a Lian-Li, I'd happily buy one. I haven't so far, and I'm getting to the point where I'm damn well going to buy something to run a Socket 939 proc system, and I'd like it to be quiet AND look like a Lian-Li (more accurately, look as nice as a Lian-Li). I don't care a bit about the weight (others will), and I'd even give up the very nice look of aluminum, and settle for overall styling.

But, please, folks, lets understand the varied positions here a little better.

Take the look of aluminum for instance. Lots of folks simply like that look, and feel that you can't get it from steel. The advice to them should be about how to damp the resonance of aluminum. Resonance is a function of stiffness, all right, but it is also a function of mass. Has anyone mass-loaded an aluminum case with sheet lead or lead/vinyl? I haven't done it, but it seems easy enough to do, and perhaps it's been done. Or maybe it's too costly or difficult or otherwise a pain. Or are there easy ways to stiffen aluminum panels?

Can we talk about these issues, please?

Of COURSE aluminum cases are noisier than steel cases, and generally too noisy out of the box. But at the moment, the best looking cases (to many, certainly not all) are aluminum, which makes them interesting to enough SPCR members that it's a topic worthy of discussion.
I concur with what you've said, I too do not like the designs of most steel cases out there in the market, I may not be as hardcore in terms of silencing computers but I do appreciate the value of having nice looking case that does not turn out be an eye sore in my room.

In terms of silencing aluminium cases, you'll really have to mod the case to cut down the amount of noise it makes. So far, I have had good results with my V1100 (remember loudness of noise is relative to an individual) with just the stock foam, and I must credit it to the thickness of the alu panels.

In conclusion, alu & silence can go together but it comes with a cost of the case itself and modding.
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Tibors
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Post by Tibors » Fri Apr 01, 2005 12:16 pm

oldabelincoln,
You make it sound as if any discussion about aluminium cases is forbidden. That is not so. There are enough threads on the forums where people discus or show what they have done to the Lian-Li V-series cases. There are also enough threads where owners of other Lian-Li models get help.

What Ralf and other expressed above is that there is no chance that SPCR will review those products. SPCR reviewers have limited time so they try to only reviews products that are reasonably quiet out of the box or can be reasonably quiet with one or two simple modifications. With those criteria there are already more products than they can review. That's for the review part. On the other hand if someone builds a quiet system with an aluminium case and writes a good article about the needed tricks, then it will most probably be accepted for the Do-It-Yourself Systems section. So go ahead and try your leaded vinyl idea. Then if it works, write that article.
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nim-nim
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Post by nim-nim » Fri Apr 01, 2005 12:50 pm

oldabelincoln wrote:Resonance is a function of stiffness, all right, but it is also a function of mass. Has anyone mass-loaded an aluminum case with sheet lead or lead/vinyl?
I have an old (3 years-old) Lian-Li case with thin aluminium sheets, lots of holes and 80mm fans (at the time my previous box had just died on me after overheating so I was a bit overcautious).

It's what most people would call a silent case, and people here a moderately humming case (I had for some time an A/V amp which fans did more noise than this system).

The receipe I followed is
1. buy a moderately silent heatsink (expensive but not the most pricey at the time)
2. replace northbridge fan by a blue passive zalman
3. replace the 5 stock 80mm adda fans with noiseblockers
4. use a good PSU (Antec TruePower)
5. be lavish on RAM to limit HD usage (dedundant raid system because salvaging a bad disk it too much hassle for me)
6. put a pile of tiles I had lying around on the case to weight it and kill part of the case vibrations

No dremel of any serious modding, and the result is good enough I haven't touched it in a while (and it runs run the round the clock in the living room)

Now I'm seriously looking at the hfx case because it'd like an even quiter system now - the only reason I've not yet jumped ship yet is I want someone to review it before I part with my hard-earned cash.

(especially to check if going full-passive does not turn it in a toaster, and if full-passive isn't ok wether I should put an XP-120 on the processor, use an active PSU or the 92mm safety fan mcubed proposes. I want a real 64bit CPU which means amd64 not athlon right now)

Talz
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Post by Talz » Fri Apr 01, 2005 2:17 pm

~El~Jefe~ wrote:Yeah, I am wondering about this anti-aluminum bias myself with a possible new dampening build I want to begin next week.

I want a pimped out Lian li with that door on the front. That solid, sealable door. I want to put 1/4 inch super soundproofing mat from

http://soundproofing.org/sales/prices.html

This place is great, btw. I am goign to do an actual review of their main stuff in 2 weeks.

I was wondering if somehow, the resonance could be stopped in an aluminum case. I think that it cannot be no matter how much sounded deadening stuff you apply to it, I tihnk it CREATES sounds and not just transmits it in a strange way.

Is this correct? (does a machine or fan inside it create vibrations that in turn, create new sounds, or does it just resonate?)
I would not worry about a resonating case with any quality dampening material unless you are using something really bad as your starting point. Just make sure you have enough material to cover all the sides, top, bottom etc.

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Post by ~El~Jefe~ » Fri Apr 01, 2005 8:27 pm

Hm, Ok, I will give it a go then.

I would love to have one of these lian li's become dead quiet, that would be a pleasing accomplishment. I probably would use that case for every computer that still conforms to atx standards in the future.

I keep buying non lian-li cases wishing i bought one! i tihnk i could have purchased 1 1/2 cases by now.

I purchased the amb version antec quiet guy case series. I returned it. It was made kinda sturdy-like, but it just had NO bling and was sooooo boring looking. I couldnt see putting a powerful amd64 system in that. I need Bling. Silence and Bling.

That would be a good sub-forum. Silence and Bling. For those who are cosmetically aware yet want it to be as quiet as possible. It's like why I wear a seatbelt in a car. It's not to save my life, who cares about that, its to make sure my face stays pretty if I crash.

Anyone have an idea about what lian-li case is best for silencing??

I am soo not into 80 mm fans, well at least if I can avoid it. 120 is just so easier to deal with (pabst fans have given me so much joy and so low temps for high end systems)

land
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Post by land » Fri Apr 01, 2005 9:21 pm

I realize this is not a recommendations thread, but if anyone's looking for a cheap, solid, well-built, good-looking case (but I suffer from a "flashy anti-bias"), and possibly a fake brushed aluminium front, I think I've found the perfect candidate: Chieftec (www.chieftec.de).

Weight will be a problem, as the steel is pretty thick (thicker than most Antec), and you're going to need to cover several sideway grills, but other than that it's close to perfection (for the price, of course). And it comes with a decent 360W PSU (now built by Enlight, earlier by Sirtec/Highpower), which is excellent as a backup in case the main PSU fries.

And for those looking for colorful cases, there are, for some models, exchangeable face plates as well. I don't know to what extent you can get Chieftec on the North American continent - I know Ralf's recommended them on certain occasions, but I had to experience them directly to realize how good they are.

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Post by ~El~Jefe~ » Sat Apr 02, 2005 7:27 pm

Yeah, I am looking at them now. Decent cases. Cheap is best option if possible.

They make a lot of colours and styles. No "silent" cases though. which is ok i guess as we all modify them anyways.

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Antec P160, Lian-Li V1100, various outher replies

Post by pwjone1 » Fri Apr 15, 2005 4:34 pm

Thanks for all the replies to my original post. Actually, a tad less flamers than I half expected.

On the selection by SPCR of cases to review, which I guess this comes down to, I appreciate that there are cost and donation factors. I was not/am not saying, that everything else equal, a steel case would be cheaper/quieter. What I was saying is that in some cases, a lot of effort has been put into getting cases to breath better, granted some of that was for gamers and over-clockers, and I would say that this is not the SPCR target audience, but if a case breathes well, then there's at least the opportunity of lowering the fan speeds, which in general (again, not always) will make for a quieter PC. And to the extent that this is tends to show up disporportionately in Al as vs. Fe cases, so be it. There are ways of making even Al cases quieter (damping material, obviously enough, and already available in a couple of Al cases), doors on the front (same), higher gauge walls (same, but less frequent), BTX form factors (same), stiffened case walls (stiffeners or running channels, etc., not seen much yet), etc. The everying equal Fe wins argument is interesting, but not very many cases show up in both Fe and Al. Some you just get in Al.

The Anandtech results, and I would agree (as was in my orriginal post) that these are in no way in the same depth or class as SPCR, have at least started to include noise results, and Al cases haven't done all that badly. It is definitely an anomaly that the Antec P160 was so high there, and low at SPCR, but I suppose there's some case variation, and depending on what gets put in it, a harmonic might result. Then too, the Anandtech results might not be DIN rated or anything sophisticated, it's just hard to tell. But it does argue, I think, for some Al case reviews, at least past the P160. If Anandtech found some Al cases fairly silent, then it argues that they may be worth the time for SPCR to review more fully. SPCR quiet or not, the results would still be interesting to see.

One SPCR review that would be interesting to see, is the Lian-Li V1100:

http://www.lian-li.com/Product/Chassis/ ... -V1100.htm

Here you have at least a fairly reputable company trying to make a silent PC case, and there's (as was pointed out), been much discussion of the Lian-Li's in the forums, so there's a definite readership interest. The V1000 and similar gamer-class boxes are full of holes (literally), so of course should not be quiet, but amazingly enough, some reviews haven't been all that bad. So if it was even an SPCR review that said, look, we tried the V1100, which seems like the most main-line attempt at a Silent PC case in Al, and it was STILL NOISY. See we were right about Al cases all the while! Well, then that would be something that at least I'd like to see for real. Not reviewing boxes like this just leaves the question open.

Same really with another forum favorite, the CM Stacker:

http://www.coolermaster.com/index.php?L ... %20Stacker

Now, before I get jumped on, I do realize this is a Steel case. I'm trying to not show a bias myself ;-) This is another forum favorite, a very free breather but with some noise abatement measures, so a SPCR review would be nice. The box does look a fair amount like an earlier version of the Antec P180, with the stuff-the-big-fan-everywhere-you-can approach. The P180 I do agree with SPCR, looks like an obvious SPCR review candidate (and one that should be done ahead of Lian-Li and Coolermaster). High thermal capacity cases are going to become much more important shortly, with the advent of dual core chips (already shipping). There are varying levels of Silence, and some of the favorite cases at SPCR are probably not going to be able to cool some of the newer/hotter processor and graphics boards chips. Nobody besides some resolute kid-gamer is going to want a system that wails like a banshee, but these new chips are getting to be quite the thermal challenge. If your chips melt, then it doesn't matter how quiet the case is (the term, dead quiet comes to mind though ;-) I would argue that a desktop case at least indicates a desire to run a fast processor, as otherwise one could just buy a Laptop, where some quite quiet albeit slower options are readily available.

But you get the general idea. What I'd like to have SPCR do is pick one or two really good potential Aluminum cases, and put them them through the full review process, and see where it all comes out.
Paul W. Jones

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Post by ~El~Jefe~ » Sat Apr 16, 2005 2:32 pm

Yes I agree with that, we should have 2 quality aluminum cases that already are in the quiet category tested fully. Sometimes, people test ones with 3000 holes in them, or they are small, or they dont use new spcr rated fans in it.

I for one think that we should have all cases reviewed that are stripped of their psu's, their fans and their grill covers. Also, hd's not stuck to the hard grommets or whatever, as spcr readers wont keep anything like that if they are modding out their case to quieter standards anyways.

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