Quiet case for air cooling?

Discussion in 'Cases & Case Modding' started by Kido1986, Feb 2, 2019.

  1. Kido1986

    Kido1986 [H]ard|Gawd

    Mar 10, 2003
    I'm currently using Corsair Air 540. I need a new motherboard/cpu and debating if I should go to a new case. I like how much room the 540 has but even with all fans being Noctua 140s (2 in, 1 out, 2 on NH-D15), I hear more than I'd like. GPU isn't the noise it seems, RTX2080 with idle fans most times on the desktop.

    I need to be able to mount a 2.5" and 3.5" drive, and preferably an optical drive. As mentioned, using a tall CPU cooler, Noctua NH-D15. Power supply is a very quiet EVGA 650watt.

    I don't know what I'm hearing, other than maybe just the airflow through a thin, cheapish case. And it doesnt help that the PC is only 3' from my head.

    What case should I look at? as long as the width is not greater than the Air 540 (and frankly, what case is wider than this thing?) size isn't a concern. I was looking at the higher end BeQuiet! cases but the reviews were middling. If the case comes with less than great fans, as long as they are 140mm I'll just move over these Noctuas.
  2. PhaseNoise

    PhaseNoise [H]ard|Gawd

    May 11, 2005
    What I'd suggest first is just lowering the speed of the fans. There's very little resistance to airflow in general, so a much lower fan setting works very well. You don't need to raise it to turbulence (noise) levels.

    I dropped my fans to the <= 40% range, and they are inaudible with no effect on any GPU or CPU temps (same case, Noctua case fans, and NH-D15s).

    Alternately, you can remove the front filter - this is the cause of most of the noise. But filters are good, so I'd stay with "just lower the fans".

  3. Kido1986

    Kido1986 [H]ard|Gawd

    Mar 10, 2003
    Ive stopped the fans I can easily do and the sound difference is nil as they are already turned down via motherboard control. I can place my head in the case and I truly cannot pinpoint where or what the sound is that I'm hearing. Is it possible it's just "electric noise"? That's one of the reasons Im thinking of a more quiet-focused case, one that will isolate the noise more.
  4. doug_7506

    doug_7506 2[H]4U

    Oct 17, 2004
    Of all the cases I've built in the air 540 is probably the best. The dual chamber design allows for amazing airflow.

    Is the noise you are hearing a high pitched noise? It could be your gpu? My old 980 had some electrical noise that drove me crazy, but im super sensitive to that. If your motherboard has a video out, try to remove the gpu and see if the noise persist.

    What fans are you using in your case? Are they pwm? Like PhaseNoise, I had the same case with all Noctua fans and the fans were inaudible.
  5. Kido1986

    Kido1986 [H]ard|Gawd

    Mar 10, 2003
    That's the weird part, I'm all Noctua. All 5 fans (3 case, 2 on CPU) All are PWM and running below 1000rpm. The fans themselves are inaudible as I've killed them and the noise doesn't change.

    GPU wise, I've had three different cards in here with the same experience. 970, 1080 and 2080, but I know that doesn't rule them out of being the cause. The sound is kind of a mix between airflow and electrical, mostly a constant dull hum but then I get an occasional electric noise above the hum. I wonder if my old Gigabyte Z77x-D3H motherboard is contributing?
  6. TheFlayedMan

    TheFlayedMan Limp Gawd

    May 29, 2015
    Fractal design R6 is supposed to be good for low noise system
  7. Tamlin_WSGF

    Tamlin_WSGF 2[H]4U

    Aug 1, 2006
    Might be the same issue I had with this case. Its a rattlecage in the sense that its very sensitive to microvibrations from moving parts. For me it was the mechanical hard drive that was the issue.
    Disconnect the Optical drive and put the hard drive on some foam. See if the noise goes away then. :)

    Gave away that cabinet to a friend of mine in the end, though some rubber tape between hard drive and sled reduced the vibrations a lot. In the end, I got a Fractal Design R4. Now I am looking at SL600M for more GPU oriented aircooling, otherwise Fractal design R6 as suggested above would be on my short list. R6 is good for quiet, but does not have the same airflow as some cases though.
  8. entropism

    entropism 2[H]4U

    Dec 23, 2004
  9. viivo

    viivo Gawd

    Sep 7, 2005
    I've been really happy with my Fractal Define S. On the one with solid panels, both are lined with noise damping material. Also a surprisingly heavy duty little case for the price.
    waderunner likes this.
  10. Rifter0876

    Rifter0876 [H]Lite

    Nov 1, 2017
    Agreed, im very happy with mine as well, and with all the sound dampening its almost silent. And OP im also running a D15 it fits fine.
  11. defaultluser

    defaultluser I B Smart

    Jan 14, 2006
    Yeah, Define S first gen is solid, and costs a lot less than the R6.

    Just be aware it comes without a 5.25 inch bay.

    Closed cases are easier to silence than open cases. You just have to put up with the limitations of cooling a silent case (target 300w or less for entire system, use 140mm fans).

    The Define S is great, because it's primarily targeted at quiet cooling...but the moment you decide to go noisy and high-performance, you just remove the top cover. Instant massive airflow.
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2019
  12. dragonstongue

    dragonstongue 2[H]4U

    Nov 18, 2008
    I got a Fractal Define C and although I wish the access to the sata slots was easier as well as bit wider to assist in wiring room and better airflow, overall is a pretty decent case if you add a few fans to it, I added 3x cougar FV-V12HPB for intake purpose and I use the stock 2 fans 1 for exhaust and one for added airflow into the bottom front.

    As of late I have kept the top open with just the mesh and leave the plastic thingy floting above to hopefullly prevent spills or whatever from going ring into the case which would be very bad Mkay! with it fully closed up with my "meager" build can barely hear it at all and temps never got to 70+c, cpu temps never above 52c (when I had clocked higher) SSD temps would spike 53c under heavy sustained load, generally sit 32c or so, HDD ~42c.

    Top open the way I have it, cpu never 50c even, gpu tops 62-63c, ssd-hdd same as above, so, ~10c cooler top open vs closed, noisier but tolerable for me (if anything can help muffle electronic clicks or whatever)
  13. DoubleTap

    DoubleTap [H]ard|Gawd

    Dec 16, 2010
    I think the quietest case is the one that gives you the best airflow. Use quiet fans and efficient coolers and you should be able to run your fans at or near an inaudible level.

    My experience with "muffler" type cases is that they restrict airflow which makes your fans spin up and run faster and louder than they need to which more than offsets whatever minor sound absorption you get from the case.

    My 5Ghz 7700k and OC 1080Ti run fast, cool and quiet - and by quiet, I mean you can't tell whether it's on or off.
  14. limitedaccess

    limitedaccess [H]ardness Supreme

    May 10, 2010
    It does depend on what type of noise is the bigger issue for you which will also be dependent on your setup and living situation. For instance I live in an extremely quiet area and use an open audio solution, noise expectations would be completely different to someone living in a city center using closed (or other isolating) headphones.

    High airflow cases have better airflow so they can handle more heat dissipation without relying on fans ramping as much. The counter issue is they also let out more fan noise in low flow situations (either low load or lower power components) and other noises (drives, coil noise, etc.) compared to the silence oriented cases.

    So it's a bit of dilemma, I've had a situation in which I had a case with removable top vents and if I opened those vents noise at extended high gaming load goes down but noise at idle/low load goes up.
  15. grumperfish

    grumperfish n00b

    Apr 19, 2014
    I expanded the number of 140mm fans in my new Enthoo Pro case so I could run them all at 5V with an old Sunbeam Rheobus Extreme controller, and it's quiet to the point that I need to check the LED to make sure the system is even turned on if the screen's off. GPU temps are notably cooler even though the last case had a large side fan and this one doesn't. The old case had alot of mesh openings and quiet fans like the current case, but somehow I could never get it to the same low sound levels. On the downside, with the new case I now hear more electrical noise from the PSU and the HDDs are occasionally slightly audible. I'm just lucky that this 1070 doesn't have any coil whine except when running at extremely high FPS.

    Environment does make a noticeable difference - My old desktop was pretty quiet when at my old apartment, but as soon as I moved to the new house in a quieter neighborhood it suddenly seemed very noisy.
    Auer likes this.