Both cases have excellent ventilation, airflow, and cooling. It's a toss up. Sometimes case selection is a mtter of personal preference.
The Antec 900 is one of the most popular cases, if not the most popular case, with gamers.
I have the Coolermaster HAF 932 which is the 922's big brother. Now there's a case that meets all of your requirements except maybe for looks. Some people like it, some people don't.
Lancool's new Dragon Lord series that welshmousepk mentioned is definitely worth looking at. Lancool is a subsidiary of Lian Li which is famous for their aluminum cases. Lancool makes less expensive steel cases. The Dragon Lord series has a lot of Lian Li innovative features. It's on my list of three possible cases for a new project.
That's a tough question. Both cases are well ventilated. By that I mean the cases have a lot of openings of some sort to improve airflow. All those openings contribute to the noise.
Fans do make noise on their own. However, a portion of the noise that people hear is actually the movement of air through, over, under, and around components and parts. It may even cause some parts like case panels to vibrate. The loudest fans are usually the cpu heatsink fans and video card fans since they tend to be high rpm fans.
There is another inherent problem in that not everyone "hears" the same sound in the same way. One person's quiet pc may be another person's jet fighter at Mach III. It's very subjective.
if you are into silence maybe it is better to look on antec's performance series P182/P183 and P193. I personally think the P193 is the best from those (due to number of fans) but it is bit expensive...
Currently have CM690 (also lots of fans) but it is kind a smallish and if I change it, it would be for P193. Of course I'll exchange all antec fans with some real fans like (scythe S-flex/slip stream or maybe Noctua P12/P14)
I too have the CM 690, and Im looking at these two because they are on some pretty good sale right now.
For cable managment, which case is better. Also, which is the case that I will still have 5 years down the road. I need something that meets my needs aesthetically, but also one that will allow me any kind of upgrade that I decide to do in the future.
If you do not like the blue led fans you can always pull them and install the fans of your choice. I do that all the time. It's a small price to pay for a timeless case. Case ventilation, airflow, and cooling are excellent. Just barely lags behind the HAF 932 in thermal properties.
I checked out the lancool, and the only thing that stood out for me was the black interior. Otherwise, as compared to the HAF 922, and the Antec 900/1200, there wasn't anything new.
And since I would have to order off newegg.ca, im finding the 179.99 a bit to pricey.
Right now I am really leaning towards the 922, its just that I currently have two extra scythe 120mm fans, and Im going to want somewhere to put them..
Also, does the antec 900 or 1200 come with a removable mobo tray?
Im gonna echo Johhny except for one thing....no need to yank the fans....all fans on the 1200 have an on-off switch for the LED's and a 3 speed switch (rear / top) or variable speed knob (front).
One reason I lean Antec is the great Tech Support ant warranty service as well as the fact that I can minimize issues of cable reach by getting PSU and Case from single source. I bought a 3 way fan splitter from a custom shop and they wired it wrong, blowing out 2 fans in the 1200....they sent me two new fans free of charge even tho is aid it was my (er...rather cable shop's) fault. When USB 2 came out, they also send me new USB front panel modules for all my cases (4) fere of charge
I was recently looking between the Antec 902 (similar to the 900) and the HAF-922, I was concerned with the lack of air filters on the intake fans of the HAF-922. Wasn't sure if that was a problem so I bought the Antec insted.
In my opinion Haf 922 is better then the Antec 900. I own the Haf 922, and I find the Antec 900 to be far too hyped for a case.
List of positive things with Haf 922:
* Prices are dropping, I picked mine up new for $89.99 with $20 MIR. Antec 900 is going for clear over $100+ and no mail in rebates at the moment.
* Tool less drive bays/hard drive bays. All use rubber padded lock in. Drive bays use small plastic/rubber inserts to lock the 5.25" bays in place.
* Motherboard tray has easy access to CPU bracket mounting back via hole in motherboard tray.
* Hard drives are slanted to the side facing opposite direction from main side panel (windowed panel) so cable management is easier. This also gives you far superior room for graphics cards or any thing else.
* On Board radiator Slot on the side giving quick access to GPU/CPU without heading into the way of cables.
* Water cooling pipe holes.
* All steel frame, plastic bezels in front for looks and swinging feet (no joke steel hurts even swinging your feet).
* Front mesh bezels are steel, and come with dust filters for each bay.
* Length of case helps with cable management since most cables can be hidden on the far right side, also the motherboard tray sits an inch or so off the other panel so sneaking cables is easy.
* 2x 200mm Fans, low noise, and 1x 120mm low noise fans. These fans are excellent, and quiet. They are better then the tri cool fans from Antec. I have tried a few of the Antecs at Fry's and I am afraid a cheap Dynex 120mm fan I got off a pallet beat them cold heartedly even at Antec's "high" setting.
* Side viewing panel has slot for a 200mm fan, or 2x 120mm fans. This is great for hot air rising as cooler air coming in will immediately force hot air to go up due to high/low pressure system. Upon which the 200m exhaust at the top will remove the hot air.
* Another 120mm fan can be mounted at the bottom as well for further cooling. An intake fan is also recommended here but a low performance once may be necessary if the side panel has been retrofitted with a 200m or 2x 120mm fans due to very high pressure inside the case. 200m in front has a red LED that is not too bright nor too dim.
* E-Sata availability in case you want to use an external hard drive at SATA II speeds.
* Dust filter covers the 200m intake fan in the front.
* 5x 5.25 bays. Comes with 1 bay ready for floppy disk drive and 2x 5.25" to 3.5" adapters are included. Each of the bays can access cd/dvd/bd trays or other input devices such as media readers.
* 5x Hard drive bays, rubber padded insert screws. (no screw driver required as the "screws" slide in) Feels cheap but really is good build material and highly recommended since it reduces vibrations.
* 7x Tool less expansion bays with knob turned screws. If you want you can use a philips flat head or cross shape driver for those paranoid individuals who want to make sure it's tight.
Antec 900 positive features:
* Prices are also dropping, $89.99 from Newegg as of 12/16/2009 with free shipping. I dont expect it to last much longer.
* Steel+plastic case.
* Water cooling pipes
* 2x 120mm blue led fans,1x 120mm fan and 1x 200m fan. The tri-cooling fans kinda suck to be honest. The 200mm is known to be brittle as well. Other then that the cooling is great. LED’s are kinda cool I guess. The speed switches are definitely a plus, but even high settings are kinda lame to pay $14.99. A 120mm Dynex branded fan does a better job mostly because it was made by Zalman if I remember correctly.
* Huge display window to brag. Con or Pro is personal preference.
* Bays are limited to 3 5.25 and 1 3.25 for media burners or other input devices which require front side access. 6 3.5” Hard drive bays are provided.
* Comes with a place to put things in at the top of the case. I dont recommend any liquids or small objects going there as the fan is above it and a little deeper but still close enough for an accident to occur.
* Firewire connection for devices that use it like cameras, cam corders, and some apple branded stuff.