Sound Dampening on NZXT m59

So I did my first build this week and I'm liking this case so far. This is going to be an audio/video workstation, so I went with a 3770k for processing power and a Hyper 212 EVO for cooling.

I have to say, with a side fan and exhaust fan, as well as the EVO, my temps are very good with this case.

However, since it has 2 case fans and is very ventilated, it's far from quiet, which is bad for me since I'll be audio mixing down the line. I won't be doing any heavy recording, but definitely some low level mixing where the fan noise will be distracting.

So, are their relatively cheap ways to sound dampen this case? I know I can't get the performance I would get out of a $150 case, but I'd just like to improve performance here.

The first thing I'm going to do is swap out the exhaust fan for something much quieter. It works well but it's just too noisy on idle.

Next, I'm assuming the side fan (which is installed on the big panel window) is a problem since the window generates more vibrations on the surface. Not sure if it's worth replacing this as I haven't really investigated how much it adds to my case flow.

I'm going to leave the EVO CPU fan because it seems to be pretty quiet for what it does.

The only other thing I can think of doing is putting some foam on one of the top vents. They are actually optional fan brackets but I have no room for fans, so I was wondering if putting some foam on the vent closest to me would be a good idea since it could hurt temps. Maybe a thin layer?

Again, not looking to pour more than 35-45 bucks into this and not looking for a miracle, just a bit of noise reduction. Do any of these strategies seem worthwhile? And can you recommend a good exhaust fan for the case (in the $20 range)?
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  1. As you can see, there's not much room to place dampening foam, at least not if you don't want to cover up the window. Besides of that, dampening foam is just doing so much ...
    First thing to do would be to replace your fans with quieter ones and on top of that getting a fan control to handle fans even better.

    For instance, Enermax T.B. Silence fans are really quiet, even more so at 7V. They are inaudible by them self (no mechanical noises at all), but you can hear the airflow at 12V.

    You can also just remove all case fans (maybe except the rear one) and check temps. If your side panel fans makes the window vibrate, get rid of that fan, don't replace it. A side fan is very optional and basically only "needed" if you have a high end graphic card.
  2. Ah so the side fan probably isn't the main thing keeping the temps down?

    I have to say, I'm liking the temps (usually idling at below 30C and full load doesn't hit 60C). I know they aren't amazing temps, but for Ivy Bridge at 3.7 ghz I think it's great.

    I was thinking maybe ditch the side fan, leaving the vent open for it though and replacing the 120mm exhaust with a really nice 140mm using a 120mm adapter. My main concern is not so much when it is under load, it's when I'm sound mixing. Mixing won't take a HUGE amount of power like video encoding, so the fans should not need to go crazy.

    Any recs for an exhaust fan though?
  3. T.B. Silence come as 140mm, too. However a 120 should really do it.

    As for covering the unused top fan slots. This should help a bit. But try as thick foam as possible, as this would absorb more acoustic noise. Foam with a profile absorbs even more. Depends on how much room you have there, as it's thick.

    But again, noise comes from moving parts, aka fans and your HDD, if you manage to keep the source of noise low. You don't have to fiddle around to much in the first place. ;)
  4. Ah true, but also since I have no fans in the two top brackets it's a bit flimsy on top and I really don't like how "naked" it feels. I'd like something up there to dampen sound and reduce dust from falling in.

    But in that case, I'm worried if blocking those top vents could raise temps? Not sure since I have my EVO pushing the heat right out the exhaust in the back anyway (and the back is very well vented).
  5. Your rear fan should be able to get the heat out of the case. However, you can simply simulate closed top vents by putting a book or something else there, effectively shutting them off. Than check temps under load (for at least 15-30mins). :)
  6. OK, will do
  7. OK, covered the vents with books, did not seem to make any difference over a 30 minute period.

    Does anyone know if there are foam vent coverings I can screw into my two unused 120mm fans on the top? Specifically ones designed to block sound? I've been looking all over, the best I can find are fan filters, but those only seem to screw in if you actually have a fan in place.
  8. I'm afraid, that requires some custom fitting on your part. ;)

    Buy a sheet of foam and cut it to cover as much of the top of the case as possible without getting in the way of things. You can use some double sided tape, for instance. There's some available that can be removed without leaving a trace if you choose to use the top fans at some point, later.
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