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Acrylic Clear Cases, how is the noise level?

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May 18, 2006 8:01:03 PM

I was wondering how the noise level is with these cases. Using Sunbeam's cases as an example, I notice they have smaller 80mm fans. So of course if they are running faster to push more air, they are noisier. That's easily modifiable to use 120mm fans.

Now assuming all things being equal with number of fans, fan sizes and fan speed, how does it compare to mid sized, moderately priced ~$100 cases in terms of noise level?

My concern comes from the material, acrylic vs metal. Will the acrylic echo and reverberate more noise, thus amplifying the noise?
May 18, 2006 11:05:09 PM

At least acrylic wont rattle compared to some cheap nasty aloy cases eg the side panels rattle wen you attach large 1200mm fans to them etc.

BUT on the other hand a metal case will help disipate heat better than acrylic. (metal will just conduct heat better than any plastic will)

I would ONLY, get acrylic IF I was MAD about lighting up the case like an Xmass tree.... If I wanted a cool (as in temperature) I would go for the metal cases (will also hide my messy wires).

Another thought.....
Ive seen most acrylic cases where the sides panels are quite think at least 1cm in depth. Sound cummin from inside the case eg CPU fan would probably be dampend by the think plastic a lot better than a thin pice of metal. (can correct me if im wrong hear)
May 19, 2006 12:01:20 AM

regarding the rattling with the fans, I had planned on using rubber grommets to reduce the rattling anyways, so it wasn't too much of a concern.

Heat, that was one of my concerns, if I have to crank up the speed of the fan to compensate. Hopefully I won't have to, and the 120 fans are good enough.

I've got UV components, mobo, cables, self painted parts...etc, so I want to light up the components with UV. Do a more subdued lighting scheme, that isn't going to be an annoyance with the bright lights. That's the reason for wanting the acrylic case.

I don't think the plastic is soft enough to absorb the sound, unless it's fully enclosed. Maybe help with disappating vibrations, but the grommets will do that.
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May 19, 2006 2:59:05 AM

Yes then I think acrylic is for you..... all the lights and stuff....

Rubber gromets are good idea!
May 19, 2006 3:33:45 AM

I strongly discourage acrylic cases for two reasons. They are hot and messy. They hold heat in better then metal and the airflow is reduced, the air only can get in a limited number of places, so they run hot. The other big problem is they collect as much dust as a vacume cleaner. There are no grills over the fan ports on most of them, and the aftermarket ones usually are just designer ones that look cool but don't block anything, so the fan holes just become big open spots with fans, you can easily stick your finger in into. I have seen first hand how bad they look, they fill with dust dirt very quickly, and of course it's clear so you can see it.
May 19, 2006 3:34:52 AM

Quote:
Yes then I think acrylic is for you..... all the lights and stuff....

Rubber gromets are good idea!


I just bought a acrylic case and it is very nice! Noise is not bad at all. I like that the fact that you can look at everything inside! I have zip ties for all the wires, so that it looks neat. Overall I am happy with it.
May 19, 2006 4:17:09 PM

Thanks moparman.
I'm not concerned about the dust, as I blast my systems with canned air periodically. Although you bring up a good point about the heat. However, I don't see it different than a metal case as far as having a limited number of places for air to come in. The case would look pretty ugly with a filter in front of the fans. Maybe a white filter, modded with some type of eye pleasing grill or cover, like how some designer bezels are with the metal cases. hmmmmm......

Rall,
Thanks Rall. I think so far you're the only one that has an acrylic case. Is the noise a little more or less than your metal cases?


I'm concerned about noises mainly because I can't dampen it any other way. With a metal case, I can put Dynamat or some other sound dampening materials around.

I can't fun fanless psu, cpu or gpu, because of oc'ing, mobo requirement, and cooling for the 7900gt.

Hahaha, yeah, I know, I'm like a dieter trying to be lose weight and eat the chocolate cake too!
May 19, 2006 4:44:27 PM

i have 2 of them. the one with the asus p4C800 mobo, it has a stock intel fan and an nVidia 6600 AGP card, which has a small fan.

it has a 300 GB SATA Maxtor for a 2nd drive. i can hear read's & write's to the Maxtor, and it is quiet.

that is, the rest of the computer is quiet enough that i can still hear the 300 GB Maxtor working.
May 19, 2006 5:03:07 PM

Quote:
I strongly discourage acrylic cases for two reasons. They are hot and messy. They hold heat in better then metal and the airflow is reduced, the air only can get in a limited number of places, so they run hot. The other big problem is they collect as much dust as a vacume cleaner. There are no grills over the fan ports on most of them, and the aftermarket ones usually are just designer ones that look cool but don't block anything, so the fan holes just become big open spots with fans, you can easily stick your finger in into. I have seen first hand how bad they look, they fill with dust dirt very quickly, and of course it's clear so you can see it.


Here's my comp: http://www.digitalnoobs.com/page5/homecomp2.jpg

Moparman, if you're going to give advice, make sure you know what you're talking about. Acrylic cases do NOT collect any more dust than a regular case. I know, I've had both. The reason you think that they collect MORE dust is that you can ALWAYS see the dust inside. Different from a case where the sun never shines inside. They both collect dust. That is a moot point. Also, acrylic cases have just as many "openings" as any other case. I don't know why you think they're designed air-tight vs. regular cases. They are designed with the same openings in the same spots and use the same fans. Trust me, the air does not know the difference. They may get warmer, I have never actually noticed a difference though. One question, you say they have reduced airflow and you think that's the reason they run hot? If the holes don't "block" anything, why do you still think they have reduced air flow?

Here's what I've learned and noticed from owning an acrylic case:

Get a can of compressed gas. They need more cleaning to look nice, but are not actually "dirtier" than regular cases.
Regular cases have fans built in, so no guesswork. Acrylic cases do not. Make sure you point the fans in the right directions.
Noise seems to be about the same. The acrylic case seems to have a more low pitched humm, the regular case a higher, metallic rattling type humm.
Acrylic cases do not have grills yes, you have to buy them. If you buy designer ones, you may be left with openings big enough to put a finger in. Shame on you. Buying acrylic means buying ALL separate parts. If you have a problem with that, then get a ready made-for-boneheads-no-guessing-no-brainwork case like everyone else. No, I'm not crazy.
May 19, 2006 6:44:30 PM

Holden,
That was the experiences I was wondering about. I can live with a lower pitch hum instead of a higher pitched hum. Must be due to the thicker and softer material. btw, nice set up you got there.

Looks like I've got a nice little project coming up, hehehee :twisted:

hahaa...say his name a little faster
May 20, 2006 3:02:34 AM

If you want a silent pc go for water cooling!!!!! That will make it super quiet. Dynamat could stop with noise but i would go with a water cooling system. I don't think there is much noise with mine. If you buy the new Radeon cards, I hear they are lound as hell!!!! I had the 9800 pro and gosh that was a loud card! I got the 7900 gtx and it is quiet. I payed 59.00 for my acrylic case. Not to bad. I would test the fans to see if it is too lound for you if so, look at water cooling!!!
May 21, 2006 5:31:44 PM

A friend of mine has an acrylic case and the noise level is not very big. If you want an acceptable noise level and no water cooling, then connect those 80mm FANs at 5V or 7V, to lower their spinning. Also, a case with 120mm FANs is better, but an acrylic case is producing the same amount of noise as a normal case. Also, the problem with heat and acrylic cases is a mith, you won't see any noticeable difference ;) 
May 26, 2006 3:38:09 PM

Go watercooled. Watercooling looks sweet in a clear case, especially if the coolant is UV reactive. Clear tubing with UV coolant will show the flow of water. If you get a fanless liquid cooler, such as a Zalman Reservator, it'll be nearly silent. For extra cooling performance, take a very large, quiet house fan on the lowest setting and put the reservator unit in front of the fan. It'll be very quiet and cool really well.

Quote:
I can't fun fanless psu, cpu or gpu, because of oc'ing, mobo requirement, and cooling for the 7900gt.


Get a watercooled PSU and put it in the Zalman liquid cooling system.

http://www.performance-pcs.com/catalog/index.php?main_page=product_info&products_id=4570

Now, the Reservator system won't be easy to transport, so you may want to find an internal liquid cooler if you plan on transporting it a lot. Although, if you do plan on moving it a lot, an acrylic case isn't a good idea unless you are supremely careful. Just my two cents ^_^
May 26, 2006 4:24:26 PM

Quote:
Get a watercooled PSU and put it in the Zalman liquid cooling system.


Yea, man, get the water as close to the 110 as you can...

Actually, that PS looks pretty cool, but pricey.
May 26, 2006 4:35:25 PM

Quote:
Acrylic cases do NOT collect any more dust than a regular case. I know, I've had both. The reason you think that they collect MORE dust is that you can ALWAYS see the dust inside. Different from a case where the sun never shines inside. They both collect dust. That is a moot point. Also, acrylic cases have just as many "openings" as any other case. I don't know why you think they're designed air-tight vs. regular cases. They are designed with the same openings in the same spots and use the same fans. Trust me, the air does not know the difference. They may get warmer, I have never actually noticed a difference though. One question, you say they have reduced airflow and you think that's the reason they run hot? If the holes don't "block" anything, why do you still think they have reduced air flow?


First off, love the nickname/handle. Get a grip.

About dust, acrylic is much more static-prone and can attract dust, especially in a dry environment. But that in iteslf is not a huge issue to me. I have not seen any acrylic cases that have anywhere near the vent surface area of my TT Armor or a CM Stacker. Not even close. When we recently built a gaming box for my son, he wanted an acrylic case but I couldn't find one that had adequate vent space. Filtering can be dealt with effectively and easily but I didn't want to have to take the time to cut the necessary vent space. Probably woulda looked ugly if I did. And regarding thermal conductivity - as someone stated earlier, metal is hugely superior. Ever see a plastic CPU HSF? Or a plastic heat pipe? No, polymers aren't the way to go if you want to dissipate heat. But for sure it's possible to make an acrylic or polycarbonate case that will run about as cool as a metal case - you'd just have to get the airflow way up - more vent space, more fans. What the heck, use UV LED fans and light that sukka up!

Another concern of mine about acrylic is durability but that could be dealt with too by beefing up the structure or adding a metal frame.
May 26, 2006 4:55:49 PM

I have seen them first hand, they attract more dust. I see inside cases all the time and inside the acrylic ones I have seen it is far more dusty. Alot of it has to do with the lack of grills over the fan openings.
May 27, 2006 3:18:40 AM

Dust is Dust, you need to clean it anyway. Get some air in the can and within 5 minutes you can blow it all out. You have to do the maintance anyway. I would say get what you want. I have the clear case and love it. :lol: 
!