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.