I am looking into building a new rig when the new Ivy Bridge CPUs come out in about a month to replace my Athon II X4 640. I already have a GTX 560 Ti, SSD, and 2 mechanical drives that will be going in it. It'll also have a SATA Blu-Ray player.
I don't want one with a vent on top and all the intakes must have a dust filter. A top vent just seems like trouble to me. I can imagine spilling water on accident and it getting in there. Plus why have a top vent when they already have a rear exhaust right next to it? Its hard to find one that doesn't have a top vent and the ones that have a side vent don't have a dust filter for some reason or require a fan in place for the dust filter. I don't want a fan on the side as it will be noisy.
It also needs to fit a bottom mounted PSU with the fan facing down with good clearance. I might get another 560 Ti to SLI in the future. Also the hard drive bays need to face the side so you can access them easier. The motherboard will be ATX or MicroATX. Mid tower or Full tower is fine.
Top end budget for the case is $120
I want it to be as quiet as possible so I'm not looking for one that has a ton of fans. At most I want it to have a rear exhaust and a front intake. Since I want it quiet those fans should be as big and quiet as possible.
I don't want any flashy lights. I like it dark. I prefer Newegg and I live in the continental US. Its hard to find what I want so if the fans are lighted ones oh well. It may be impossible to find a good one that doesn't have a top vent so I'll probably settle for one that does. Any noise dampening and cable management is a plus. Don't really want one that looks weird. Just a box is fine with me but I can compromise on that as well. I won't compromise on not having a dust filter though.
I think this one is the best so far but willing to take your suggestions. I have an entire month so I am going to shop around.
Fractal Design Define R3 Silver (also available in Titanium and black - N82E16811352014 and N82E16811352013)
What I like: built to be quiet and fits my needs
What I don't: Near the top end of my budget but oh well. You pay for quality.
Concerns: Not sure how the noise dampening will affect the temperature. Will it fit my graphics card?
The Fractal designs is a good case and you should have no problem fitting your card, but check specs or reviews to make sure. Also look at offerings from BitFenix, like the outlaw. Silverstone also has some quiet, understated cases that would suit you well.
Silverstone dust filters are $3 at new egg. They are quite good, but because of the fine mesh you may notice a bit of less air pressure. This unfortunately is a consequence of dust filters in general so you might want to get fans the push a little more CFMs than average. Another reason to look at Silverstone-air penetrators are very effective and quiet fans.
Seems pretty good. The hot swappable HDD at the top is useless to me but it fits the bill. Even though I said I would prefer hard drive bays facing the side I can see why you would want it facing the motherboard for better air. Plus it has 1 more front fan over the other one in the front. However it doesn't look like the power supply would be able to breathe well.
I read some reviews about this particular one and it appears it has some heat problems as the front fans are suffocated and because of that they produce as much noise as a normal case because everything else revs up to compensate for lack of air.
I'm now looking into the P280 and other "quiet" cases. It seems to me I need to adjust my budget a bit to get a good one since the p280 costs $140 (is currently sold out - wonder why). The P280 has too much room between the power supply and the motherboard and I will need to be conscious of the cable length of the 12v and possibly the 24pin motherboard connectors. For some reason it doesn't have any of the padding on the sides. Just on the door. Maybe the padding doesn't actually do much unless there is a direct opening and the padding probably insulates it which is not good.
Pretty sure its going to be between the Fractal Design's Define R3 and Antec's P280. What I like about the Antec over the Fractal is that the dust filters are easily removable while Fractal's front ones are apparently a nightmare. Both are whisper quiet while idling (around -36db) but Antecs cools better generally being 3-5C cooler. The Antec is also more spacious so it should be easier to set up but I may need to consider the length of the PSU cables so they can route to the motherboard properly.
If you guys know of any other cases which idle as quiet as these and cool as good let me know. I'm leaning towards the P280 for now even though it is about $20-30 more.
I decided on the P280 and its going to have a SeaSonic x650 PSU. This thing ought to be very quiet. I'm wondering if I should switch up the configuration a bit for the P280 and move the top 2 120mm fans that comes with it to the inner hard drive bay and close off the top so it is even more quiet. Thoughts on this?
There is also the aesthetic element about the case. Looking at the pics of the P280...I personally prefer the Fractual R3 mid...I just built one up in fact...Ti front door. The best way I can describe the case is...minimalist, clean and elegant...almost has a 60's retro look to it. Good quality and relatively quiet if you don't spool the fans up too high. My vote is the Fractual R3.