Antec P180 to Raven RV03 impressions

Enclosures and acoustic damping to help quiet them.

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Antec P180 to Raven RV03 impressions

Post by fyleow » Tue Aug 28, 2012 12:49 pm

I've had my P180 since 2006 and it's been a great case. At its release there wasn't a better case for quiet computing but over time the lack of cable management, separate chamber for power supply, and heavy weight caused me to start looking for a replacement. As I currently use a mATX motherboard I naturally looked at the Temjin TJ08E and the Define Mini as possible replacements. The Define Mini appeared to be a safe choice but it was pretty large for an mATX case and I thought about experimenting with more positive pressure to keep dust out. The TJ08E is a better size but the feedback on the AP181 being too noisy here made me afraid to commit to buying one (I tried the PS07 but wasn't impressed with temps).

The Raven RV03 was available locally and I decided to give it a try to get a personal feel as to how the AP181 sounded and performed.

System specs:
Intel Core i7 875K stock (95 watt TDP)
Scythe Mugen 2 with 2 Scythe 1200 Slipstreams at 5V
Sapphire Radeon 6850 with Accelero + Slipstream at 5V
Intel 330 SSD (No hard drives)
Seasonic fanless

With these components housed in a P180 and placed under a desk the fans are inaudible. Any type of electric buzzing (monitor or coil whine) can be heard clearly late at night.

I took temperature readings with the P180 using a single 1200rpm Slipstream at 5V. The Raven RV03 was tested with the dual AP181 on the bottom running at 5V and the fan controller setting on High (The fans don't start on Low at 5V) and the top exhaust off.

Here are the results:

Code: Select all

                P180      Raven
CPU 1        37         31
CPU 2	        34         26
CPU 3	        36         27
CPU 4	        33         27
GPU	         44         38

Prime only (10 minutes, 8 workers)
                P180      Raven
CPU 1        76          61
CPU 2	        78          61
CPU 3	        72          58
CPU 4	        76          61
GPU	        46          38

Furmark only (10 minutes)
                P180      Raven
CPU 1        61          46
CPU 2	        49          32
CPU 3	        51          36
CPU 4	        47          32
GPU	        69          60

Furmark + Prime only (5 minutes, 4 workers)
                P180      Raven
CPU 1        78          60
CPU 2	        78          56
CPU 3	        72          55
CPU 4	        76          54
GPU	        70          61
Sorry about the formatting above. Note that the Prime + Furmark combined test was done with only 4 worker threads because I wasn't sure if the P180 configuration could handle with 8 worker threads.

The temp differences were pretty significant especially for the CPU with about a 15C degrees difference. GPU ended up being about 10C cooler.

From a noise perspective the AP181s are clearly audible and unsurprisingly the loudest thing in the system. I ran them at 5V on High and unfortunately SPCR did not test the fans at this configuration so I am not sure what the db rating is. I don't have two Zalman fanmates or a sophisticated fan controller with voltage readings so I can't get precise 9V to emulate the SPCR voltages for testing.

Tonally the fans aren't completely smooth but they don't sound terrible. Due to the size and the location of the fans it is a rather low frequency droning in the background that is not as annoying as a higher pitched smaller fan at the same db rating. I think noise can be further reduced by running the fans at 9V on Low compared to 5V on High and it would still produce acceptable temperatures. The case itself is pretty nicely laid out but putting a single video card, mATX board, and SSD feels a bit silly in a ~70L case.

With this experience I am definitely leaning away from the TJ08 because the front placement as opposed to the bottom placement of the AP181 would add an additional 1-2 db. It also reinforced my belief that a positive pressure quiet airflow setup is very difficult to do as the slow speed fans don't move enough air. The single exhaust at the rear of the case is probably the best placement when using low airflow fans.

Another thing to note is that "silent" is not always better than "quiet". Even if your fans are inaudible there will be other sources of electrical noise like buzzing monitors, power adapters, power supplies and other forms of coil whine. These are usually not smooth sounding and can sometimes be more disruptive and annoying than a smoother sounding (but louder) fan.

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Re: Antec P180 to Raven RV03 impressions

Post by thejamppa » Sun Sep 02, 2012 3:16 am

Your findings for RV-03 are pretty much like mine in FT-02. My case fans were smooth without tonalities though. There are variations in the fans and you may have a bad sample. What comes your worry that in low speed fans don't move enough air. Do not worry those AP-181 move seriously air at low speeds and with the grilles they actually help focus the airflow. Remember silencing is balancing between thermals and noise. Its compromise between temperatures hardware can work safely and noiselevel you can accept.

Few years back when I was much more active in this community I was getting my computers as silent as possible but I learned silent is not always better depending on computer. My FT-02 build service me as my game rig while my main computer is almost dead silent using SPCR recomended and editors choice components. I do find that smooth woosh that my FT-02 3 AP-181 fans provide is actually calming down and reminding me of wind breeze in pine forrest not too far away my home. Its odd really, perhaps not. I am more shifting my focus away from absolute silencing into pleasant tonality. Perhaps as I am getting closer 30, I am finally maturing bit... ? After all I started activelly silencing computer when I was 18 when computers were too loud and started to bother me. People change but silencing computers is dear to me as I wrote my grad work about them.

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Re: Antec P180 to Raven RV03 impressions

Post by lemons » Sun Sep 09, 2012 7:40 am

I am in a similar situation to you, fyleow. I have been using a solo for years and want to go matx so have been looking at a TJ08E. I am thinking that it would be good to lose the front fan altogether and just fit a 120mm exhaust fan. My components are a little lower rent though.

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Re: Antec P180 to Raven RV03 impressions

Post by Happy Hopping » Fri Jan 04, 2013 1:31 am

why is the Raven series consider as a noise damping case, where it has no noise dampening material compares to Antec Performance 1 or the Whisper Silent Case, among others?

I mean, you can't have a noise damping case when there is a transparent window? That was meant for a big panel of noise absorption foam

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