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Quiet Gaming Cases, Part 3: Lian Li, Nanoxia, And SilverStone

Nearing The Quiet Gaming Goal?

As unlikely as it may sound, CPU overclocking was the impetus behind our quest. Although they're quieter and more effective, axial-fan graphics coolers spill heat into the case, complicating the already messy CPU-cooling situation. Blower-style graphics coolers reduce internal case heat tremendously, but instead give off large volumes of…volume. While we all like to think of ourselves as tolerant, health organizations have established measurable limits for noise tolerance.

Today we conclude our round-up with big expectations of noise dampening and no price ceiling.

In the event that you missed either Part 1 or 2 of our search for the perfect quiet cooling case, check out the links below; they're our analysis of the first six enclosures in our nine-product exploration:

Quiet Gaming Cases, Part 1: Antec, Azza, And Cooler Master
Quiet Gaming Cases, Part 2: Corsair, Fractal, And Gigabyte

Lian-Li PC-B12Nanoxia Deep Silence 1SilverStone FT02S-USB3.0
Space Above Motherboard0.5"1.4"0.7"^^
Card Length10.0-14.7"^12.1-17.1"**12.2"
Weight13.5 Pounds25.5 Pounds34.2 Pounds
Front Fans (alternatives)2 x 140 mm (None)2 x 120 mm (None)3 x 180 mm On Bottom
Rear Fans (alternatives)1 x 120 mm (None)1 x 140 mm (1 x 140/120 mm)1 x 120 mm On Top
Top Fans (alternatives)None (None)None (2 x 140/120 mm)None (None)
Left Side (alternatives)None (None)None (1 x 140/120 mm)None (None)
Right Side (alternatives)None (None)None (None)None (None)
Drive Bays
5.25" ExternalTwoThreeFour
3.5" ExternalNone1x AdapterNone
3.5" InternalThreeEightFive
2.5" InternalOneEight*Five*
Card SlotsEightEightSeven
Noise Dampening
*Shared on 3.5" tray**w/o Center Cage***By Adapter on 3.5" External Backplane^Slots 1-6^^Behind top edge

The biggest problem with internally-vented graphics cards is the heat that rises into the CPU cooler. But one of today’s cases is designed to circumvent this issue. SilverStone’s Fortress 2 rotates the motherboard so that all expansion slots (and the power supply exhaust) face the top panel rather than the back of the case, thus expelling all heat in a natural upwards direction. While this non-traditional layout could make the Fortress 2 a perfect solution for axial-fan GPU testing, fairness demands consistency, and so every case is tested using the exact same hardware configuration. Just something to keep in mind as we're comparing enclosures.

First up today is Lian Li's PC-B12. Let’s take a look.

Thomas Soderstrom is a Senior Staff Editor at Tom's Hardware US. He tests and reviews cases, cooling, memory and motherboards.