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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
Dimensions
Height18.7"20.3"19.6"
Width8.3"8.7"8.3"
Depth19.7"20.8"24.3"
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
Cooling
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
SidesFoamCloth/MatFoam
TopFoamNoneNone
FrontFoamFoamNone
Price$170$120$260
*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.

  • jrayx
    Where to buy the Silencio 650 or the Nanoxia Deep Silence ?
    Reply
  • e56imfg
    10447762 said:
    Where to buy the Silencio 650 or the Nanoxia Deep Silence ?
    Newegg e-mailed me saying that the Nanoxia DS1 ETA is 1/30
    Reply
  • abbadon_34
    I never ceased to amazed by these beastly cases from Silverstone. Before I die I hope to toss down $300 for some monster.
    Reply
  • johnsonjohnson
    e56imfgNewegg e-mailed me saying that the Nanoxia DS1 ETA is 1/30
    Thanks for that; I was wondering when it would arrive.
    Reply
  • My brother has the older FT02B with the red inside and I have the P280. I'm super happy to see how these cases performed
    He is running dual AMD 5850's with axial fans and a Corsair H50 water cooler cooling an AMD 8150, it's very quiet even at full fan.
    In my P280 I have a OC Intel i7-3770k with an Antec 920 water cooler and 2 scythe 2k rpm fans, with the scythe at full power and the 920 on aggressive thermal settings it keeps he 4.7ghz oc under 50 deg c under almost all loads while not being excessively loud.
    Reply
  • Onus
    The Define R4 appears to be lacking a HDD activity LED; baffling. Those who don't like it wouldn't have to use it, but what about those who do?
    It would be interesting to repeat the tests with an axially-cooled graphics card. After all, that style of cooler would be the choice of someone building for low noise. Of particular interest would be the resulting temperature differences, especially of the Silverstone.
    Reply
  • 1369ic
    I ordered an R4 yesterday before finding these articles and was happy to see it get the approved award. Now it wins a recommended buy award and UPS tells me it's on the truck to be delivered today. First time in my life I've had such luck. I am replacing an aging Antec P180, and almost got the 280, but went with the R4 because I liked the look better -- and it's currently $80 with free shipping on Newegg.
    Reply
  • cknobman
    As nice as the Fractal R4 is I still would go with my Antec P280 case especially considering after discounts I picked it up for only $80.

    Toms, thanks for doing this series it was really nice to see the time and in depth detail put into this. I will be bookmarking these for reference on my future builds.
    Reply
  • Au_equus
    1369icI ordered an R4 yesterday before finding these articles and was happy to see it get the approved award. Now it wins a recommended buy award and UPS tells me it's on the truck to be delivered today. First time in my life I've had such luck. I am replacing an aging Antec P180, and almost got the 280, but went with the R4 because I liked the look better -- and it's currently $80 with free shipping on Newegg.Half finished building with it last night. Once you get th R4, you can tell that a lot of thought went into building this case. I'm still a novice when it comes to cable management, but FD makes it real easy. For $80, IMO, you're getting a steal.
    Reply
  • tripkick
    Is there any chance that you could review the NZXT H2 in the future? I was hoping to see it on your review list and how it compares to the R4. I am looking to upgrade my old Antec P180 and wondered how those two cases stack up against the P180 and its newer version P183.
    Reply