Jump to content



Photo

Fans et cetera for silencing an Antec 300 "classic"

hardware cooling quiet fans case noise antec 120mm silent airflow

  • Please log in to reply
9 replies to this topic

#1 CelticWhisper

CelticWhisper

    We've met before, haven't we?

  • Joined: 10-January 07
  • Location: Your house. As a matter of fact, I'm there right now.

Posted 20 August 2012 - 21:49

Just bought an Antec Three Hundred "classic" (i.e. not the new Illusion) case to transplant my multi-boot box into from an old generic budget beige box and am looking to take advantage of the new case's silencing potential to quiet this system down. I already have a rubber PSU bracket (too thick to fit in the old case - PSU wouldn't slide in), HDD grommets, and silencing foam, but I'm in need of some 120mm fans to fit on the front. A few questions:

-Obvious, but must be asked: as of 08/2012, what are some of the best quiet fans on the market? The 300 already includes a rear-mounted 120mm fan and top-mounted 140mm fan, so I'm looking for two to put on the front mount points. Was looking at these (Noctua NF-P12). Any good?

-Some fans come with rubber fasteners to use in place of screws. Will these play nice with rubber/silicone mounting brackets or will that make the connection too tight and cause them to warp/tear?

-The case has a mount point for a side 120mm fan. My soundproofing foam would cover this. I'm hoping that 3x120mm+1x140mm fans will provide sufficient front-to-back airflow to render this non-problematic, but is it something I should seriously reconsider? I'm running a Phenom 9850BE with a Thermaltake V100 cooler and it currently idles around 34C in a case whose side vent is also obstructed with foam and whose airflow is provided by 2 SilenX 80mm fans. On the flipside, I've noticed the PSU exhaust has gotten quite a bit warmer since the installation of the foam, so I hope I'm not just trading off adequate CPU cooling for a shortened PSU lifespan. I'm figuring the Antec will be a major airflow upgrade (in addition to the bottom-mounted PSU that can freely radiate its heat upward) and should only help temps, but I also know some cases have airflow idiosyncrasies that need to be accommodated.

-Will the HDD grommets suffice to silence optical drives as well or do I need something heftier to absorb the stronger vibrations?

-Rubber case feet. Sounds gimmicky but I also know some cases have either no, or stiff, feet that could contribute to noise. Has anyone used them and what's the verdict?


To head off a few anticipated replies:

-Water cooling. Well, never say never, but it's not really in my budget right now and I don't want to risk a known good PC with a first crack at watercooling where something goes wrong. In the future, quite possibly, but not for now. When that day comes, you better believe I'll be back here seeking advice.

-SSDs. Definitely quiet as I have one in my laptop and another in my G5, and they are nice. However, my most-used environment on that box is XPSP3 on a 640GB HDD with all my games on it. Getting that kind of space in SSDs is cost-prohibitive for the time being. For my W7 install or Server2k8 learning environment, perhaps a more viable solution and it would cut down on vibrations. This one is another future upgrade.


Thanks for all the advice.


#2 +GreenMartian

GreenMartian

    Neowinian Senior

  • Joined: 28-August 04
  • Location: adelaide, au

Posted 20 August 2012 - 22:03

My PC used to sit right next to my bed, and is on 24/7, so I did go through the same effort as you did.

Was looking at these (Noctua NF-P12). Any good?
Yes. I have it, and its smaller brother. The only noise coming from my box is my (relatively silent, but not enough) power supply.

-Some fans come with rubber fasteners to use in place of screws.
Dunno. I have my fans screwed in, and don't really notice extra noise.

-Will the HDD grommets suffice to silence optical drives as well or do I need something heftier to absorb the stronger vibrations?
How often do you still use optical media? It's probably not worth the effort silencing them, if you're only gonna use them 5 minutes a year..

-Rubber case feet. Sounds gimmicky but I also know some cases have either no, or stiff, feet that could contribute to noise. Has anyone used them and what's the verdict?
Depends where you put them. Carpet/tiled floor, you won't notice a thing. Wooden floor/desk, yeah they will help.

-SSDs. Definitely quiet as I have one in my laptop and another in my G5, and they are nice.
With rubber grommets, my more recent HDD almost make no noticeable sound (my older one, I could still hear occasionally).

#3 OP CelticWhisper

CelticWhisper

    We've met before, haven't we?

  • Joined: 10-January 07
  • Location: Your house. As a matter of fact, I'm there right now.

Posted 20 August 2012 - 23:56

Thanks, GreenMartian, that helps!

Still hoping for a bit of feedback on airflow/cooling/foam questions.

#4 +Phouchg

Phouchg

    Random Oracle

  • Tech Issues Solved: 6
  • Joined: 28-March 11
  • Location: Krikkit
  • OS: VTOS 6.1.7601 x64

Posted 21 August 2012 - 10:28

I'd say that stock Tricools don't seem the quiet sort to me. But perhaps because I haven't taken care of vibration issues.

As for PSU temperatures - note that graphics card directly blocks upwards flow. There's not much you can do about it except mount an exhaust fan in that side vent you want to close with foam. That is, if you do have a dedicated graphics there.

#5 tsupersonic

tsupersonic

    Neowinian Senior

  • Tech Issues Solved: 1
  • Joined: 30-September 06
  • Location: New York
  • OS: Win. 8.1 Pro. x64
  • Phone: Nexus 5 16 GB

Posted 21 August 2012 - 13:55

I have an Antec 300 "classic" as well. Here is my fan setup:

Top: Noctua NF-P14 FLX
Side/Rear: Scythe SY1225SL12L 120mm "Slipstream"
2xFront: Scythe S-FLEX SFF21D

Right off the bat, I have to say this - if you got this case to be silent, you chose the wrong case. There are much better cases for that, in fact designed to be very silent. There is no sound dampening material in this case. It can also get very loud, depending on your choice of fans (since you can have 5 case fans). Depending on your computer components, you can get away with less fans (lower power systems). I chose my fan setup, based on my computer specs. - I have great airflow throughout the case, and it keeps the components cool.

I have 2 HDD's, and without rubber fasteners, they are quiet enough. 4 fans should be sufficient to cool that CPU, do you have a GPU or are you using onboard GPU? The side fan is aimed directly towards where the GPU would go. This case isn't setup for water cooling. As much as I love this case, I don't think it's for you. There are better cases with sound-proofing materials and water cooling capabilities.

#6 OP CelticWhisper

CelticWhisper

    We've met before, haven't we?

  • Joined: 10-January 07
  • Location: Your house. As a matter of fact, I'm there right now.

Posted 21 August 2012 - 14:37

I'm open to the idea of replacing the TriCool fans with more Noctuas or what-have-you. I'm guessing the NF-P14 FLX is a nice, quiet fan as well?

Argh, damn, I hadn't considered the impact of the gfx. card on PSU airflow. I do have a discrete card - GeForce 8600GTS - that would get in the way.

As for my choice of case...ehhhhhh...yes and no. I mostly chose it because it's easier to work inside than my current case, and the silencing was more of an afterthought. I had already ordered the case by the time I started this thread, so that's a done deal, but I appreciate the consideration.

Here's my setup, in case it helps with getting an idea of the thermal profile of this system:

-Phenom 9850BE, stock-clocked.
--Cooled by Thermaltake V100, idles at ~34-36C with CPU fan dialed all the way down.
-8GB of DDR2 800 RAM, no heat spreaders, just stock chips.
-3x7200RPM SATA HDDs, currently spaced relatively close together with no direct airflow to cool. Assume front fans in Antec case, along with slightly wider drive spacing, will help with this.
-2xDVDRW drives, may replace one or both with BDROM drive. Don't think they have much impact on cooling.
-GeForce 8600GTS with aftermarket Zalman cooler. Idles at ~46-48C, gets into mid-50s under load with fan dialed all the way up to max.
-Exact PSU model unknown, will have to look up when I get home. Think it's a Thermaltake, and most likely 400-480W. Would eventually like to replace with something a litlte higher-powered and much quieter, since the 80MM fan isn't exactly subtle.

My hope was to lower noise by providing high-volume, low-speed front-to-back airflow to keep things cool, but I forgot about the GPU's impact on airflow. I picked up a lot of the sound-dampening foam since FrozenCPU had (still has, I think) a deal going where it's $1.99 per pack, so I have some to play with. Would I be able to cut out a section for the side fan and still leave the rest of that panel padded without totally nullifying the sound-dampening effect, or would I be just as well off not even bothering with that side panel? In my desk arrangement, it's the side that faces me, so I'd rather muffle as much sound as I can, if I can.



Oh, also, one more thing. Regarding the fans recommended here - are these all variable-speed and will they play nice with a fan controller? Eventually I'd like to get one for a 5.25" bay so I can have a little more control over noise levels down the line, but still be able to crank the fans up if I have heat problems (not that I'm anticipating that I will, but I'd rather have the option and not need it than need it and not have it).


Thanks, everyone. I'm consistently impressed with the amount of friendly help I get here on Neowin. Makes me proud to be a member.

#7 tsupersonic

tsupersonic

    Neowinian Senior

  • Tech Issues Solved: 1
  • Joined: 30-September 06
  • Location: New York
  • OS: Win. 8.1 Pro. x64
  • Phone: Nexus 5 16 GB

Posted 21 August 2012 - 15:29

I am pretty happy with the Noctua 140mm fan. You have a choice of running it at certain speeds, using the adapters provided in the package. I run it at the highest rotational speed (1200 RPM, I think), and it's fairly quiet (but then again, I have 5 case fans, 1 PSU fan, 1 CPU cooler fan, 2 GPU fans = 8 total fans, so not the quietest case, but not a loud case either).

I have all my fans hooked up to my motherboard, so I can control them myself (using SpeedFan), but most motherboards have some sort of PWM control. If you hook the fans up to your PSU, they should run at full speed, regardless of load on the computer. So, that's up to you. I've also considered getting a 5.25" fan controller, but it's not high priority for me.

I don't see why you couldn't cut out the sound-dampening foam around the side fan. Getting a fan for the side depends on your budget. It will help with overall cooling, but if you don't want to do it, it's not a huge deal. I've noticed a very small difference with my GPU (Gigabyte GTX 560 Ti, idles at 30-32C, load at 60-65C, with GPU fans at 40%-50%).

I'm also curious, what case did you have before that made it hard to work in? This is my first custom computer (I've built others for friends), and I chose the Antec 300 based on value, but I find it difficult (cramped) to work inside. Also, it's summer in the US, so my ambient/room temperatures are much hotter than in winter. My temps. cool down by quite a bit in the winter.

Let me know how it works out!

#8 Teebor

Teebor

    Neowinian Senior

  • Joined: 12-January 10

Posted 21 August 2012 - 15:51

Rubber mounts on Optical drives seems like overkill to me, most of the noise will be from the spinning of the disc anyway. You won't be able to do anything about that, but you will only hear it when it is being accessed

#9 OP CelticWhisper

CelticWhisper

    We've met before, haven't we?

  • Joined: 10-January 07
  • Location: Your house. As a matter of fact, I'm there right now.

Posted 21 August 2012 - 16:36

The current case is a bargain no-name beige-box, one of those that was probably good back in the '90s but now...well, isn't. Plasticky, cheap front panel, detachable rails for drive mounting (which drives me nuts - let me screw the drives to the case, don't give me more parts that can just get lost and aren't easily replaceable), etc. Just cheap overall. Not complaining as I got it for free, but I finally got tired of having to be needlessly creative to accomplish simple stuff like mounting an extra drive or getting this or that to sit in the case in a stable fashion. The 300 should give the breathing room and standard attachment points I need.

The current one is a modder's dream, though, given how basic it is. As-is, it's not anything to write home about but I have the good fortune to be dating an artist who's also a nerd, so she's more than willing to team up with me and see what can be done with the old one once my PC is in its new Antec home.

As for the side-panel foam, I think I'll see how my temps are with it muffled and if I need the extra airflow, I can always remove the foam and make a cutout for a fan.

While I'm thinking about it, I'll have 2 120mm fans blowing in; and a 120mm, a 140mm, and an 80mm(PSU) fan blowing out. Should the side fan be pointed inward to bring more cool air in over the GPU and balance out the airflow a bit? Or is exhaust more important? Just thinking that if I add an outward-facing fan to the side, that creates a pretty heavy imbalance on inbound vs. outbound air.

#10 OP CelticWhisper

CelticWhisper

    We've met before, haven't we?

  • Joined: 10-January 07
  • Location: Your house. As a matter of fact, I'm there right now.

Posted 22 August 2012 - 23:30

So I'm thinking of doing 4 of the Scythe Slipstream SY1225SL12Ls - 2 in front, 1 to replace the 120mm TriCool at the back, and 1 for the side port.

They're rated at 40CFM according to this description page. That, coupled with the top-mounted 140mm fan, should be enough for my setup, shouldn't it?



Click here to login or here to register to remove this ad, it's free!