For about a year now, I have been using my Antec P180b case in its stock form, with its stock cooling fans. For a case that is marketed as being “designed for silence” and being so well built in every other respect, the included fans make a terrible amount of noise when you speed them up enough to actually cool a fast system.
I didn't take any photos before I started this project, so here is a shot grabbed from Antec’s website of the stock product.
There are a few things I found lacking with this case. The inside really should be painted flat black like in the later models, that looks really slick. The included fans should move more air for less noise, or don't include them in a case billed as “silent”. And the lack of a fan in the side panel moving air right down on the video card. This last one is understandable, cutting the layers of insulating plastic and metal to install the window / vent does compromise the sound and vibration dampening of that panel.
So, I dismantled the whole thing, made some strategic cuts to the steel frame to allow unrestricted airflow from the front intake, and the raised exhaust vent in the rear was going to interfere with the mounting of the radiator, so it had to go. I also cut out the motherboard mounting tray to allow the removal of CPU backplates without taking out the motherboard. I then painted the whole interior case with flat black, three coats and left it out in the hot sun for an afternoon to cure.
Details : front intake fan “Aerocool Turbine 2000”, side fan: Enermax “twister” fan, radiator: Black Ice Extreme crossflow with a Noctua NF-P12 fan and a 120mm frame used as a shroud.
top fan: Yate Loon Medium speed fan with blue LEDs. power supply: logisys 650w
E6600, 8800GT, 4GB,
Obviously, the radiator on the back shows the next step. I intend to water-cool the CPU, and maybe the northbridge too. When next the budget allows, those pics will be up here too.
The result of all this, not only does my pc now look much niftier, it is also much harder to hear it running. It will soon be sitting on a sliding shelf down near floor level instead of up on my desk, and that will help it be even more quiet. The video card is happier with air coming right down on it, but the CPU fan is still the same, so there is no change there. I really cant hear much coming from the side panel, either with the fan there off completely, or at full speed. So I don’t think I lost much by cutting that panel.
I am fairly satisfied with the project so far, and it has not cost me an arm and a leg either.
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