I recently had the opportunity to really note how loud my RC-690 is, even though all fans are running a low speed. I'm going to rebuild, and QUIET is my primary criterion. The mobo is ATX, and there will be at most 2 (more likely 1) rotating hard drives plus a SSD. I've spent some time on SPCR, but their case recommendations appear to be dated.
My wife's Sonata III is very quiet, so I was thinking of the current version, the Sonata Elite: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
I would possibly replace the rear fan, or at the least remount it on rubber mounts. The CPU cooler will have a low-speed 120mm fan on it.
PSU is a SG-650, which is essentially inaudible.
I'm a little concerned about cooling, as I am considering getting a passively-cooled GPU as well; I think the most demanding game I have now is Dragon Age: Origins, which doesn't seem to need a monster GPU even for 1920x1080. Also, since getting a SSD, my system has been snappy enough that I may even go back to stock speed on my CPU if it means less noise in my living room.
A full tower is too big. I don't want a side window or other bling. Plain and unobtrusive are Good Things; this rules out the HAF 922, which appears to have too many fans anyway.
So, is that Sonata Elite a reasonable case, or do you have other recommendations up to $100-$110 (sorry, that nice-looking Silverstone FT-02 is out of my range)? Thanks.
I very much like the $150 P183 and think it's easily worth the money.....it also fits the CP-850 PSU which is the only 500+w PSU I know of quieter than your SG-850.
Know anyone who needs a PSU ? The combo price is $219 ... if ya could sell of the brand new CP-850...it's retail price is $109 which would give you a net case cost of $110 The CP-850 only fits in 5 cases tho....Antec 1200, P183, P193, DF30 and DF85
If I can stretch it, that P183 looks very nice; much better cooling than the Sonata Elite and probably as quiet, especially if I replace or at least re-mount the fans...tempting, this one is...may see what my wife thinks of it; I've been real good, lol, but I may want a new GPU too, and probably couldn't swing both...yet...we'll see.
For what it's worth, this article has just been updated this month: Case Basics & Recommendations ...though it sounds like you've already read it, and may be referring to exactly that. They do show the Antec P183 on the first page. ("Latest version of the industry's first case designed specifically for quiet operation, the iconic P180, co-designed with SPCR founder Mike Chin.")
I have a Lian-Li PC-60 Plus II, which is essentially the same as the PC-7B Plus II. Can't tell you whether it's quiet, because my fans have been running full tilt for the last three years, which I'm just now trying to fix. I can tell you that the aluminum panels do resonate as described, because some of the humming is reduced when I hold the side panels with my palms. I don't consider this a major issue compared to fan noise, but if you're really sensitive or need quiet for whatever reason it could be. I really do like the case.
If you're used to a really loud case, keep yourself in check because you may be overreacting. Reading sites like SPCR is informative but won't help moderation, they seem very dedicated. I'd bet you can go a long way with simple measures like silent fans with controllers, soft rubber grommets, and the like. Myself, I'd like to build water-cooled, but that's Zukunftsmusik...
Thanks for the comments. Yes, I've read that. I don't plan to be obsessive about it. Although I believe in paying for quality (especially where the PSU is concerned), I also think of myself as one of the more frugal members when it comes to budgets. I may try a few things to quiet my existing case first, like using some rubber fan mounts in a few places. I have chosen fairly quiet fans, and run them at relatively low speeds. I think my CPU HSF (Freezer 7 Pro) is a major source of noise; I have a 212 to replace it. I will probably get my wife to help me pinpoint noise sources as precisely as possible; I'm deaf in one ear (the one facing away from the PC!) and have NO sense of direction for sound. I will probably see how friendly Froogle can be at finding deals though...