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Noise Control Stealth Tower 217

Posted by timothy
from the for-the-last-time-would-you-be-quiet dept.
Ben writes: "I have just reviewed a really innovative case. Noise dampening kits have been available for some time, but I think this is the first solution where the manufacturer has done something to combat the noise coming out of the BACK of the case! With its whisper box, the Noise Control Stealth Tower finally solves this problem" Update: 06/06 21:02 GMT by T : Ben points to this mirror, too.
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Noise Control Stealth Tower

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  • Slashdotted (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 06, 2002 @09:48AM (#3652009)
    Posted anonymously because I have enough karma. First page only; the server is almost dead.

    --- Story: ---

    Introduction

    We are quite a fan of Noise Control's products so far here at OcPrices, with both their Magic Fleece noise dampening material and Silverado coolers providing great quiet solutions for today's noisy PCs. Their latest product is the "Stealth Tower" case, complete with "whisper box". The Stealth Tower is basically a high-quality tower case pre-lined professionally with magic fleece. In our tests of the magic fleece, whilst the drop in noise was quite significant, the majority of the noise was now coming out of the back of the PC, via the case fans and PSU. Naturally these couldn't be lined with the fleece! With the stealth tower, Noise Control have constructed a "whisper box", a metal box heavily lined with fleece, with some cleverly aligned holes that allow air to circulate, but should stop 90% of the noise from escaping.

    As you can see the case is quite a behemoth! With five external 5¼" bays and four 3½" bays, you won't be running out of space any time soon. Because of the case's heavy fleece lining, and the fact that it is a big case already, the stealth tower is a heavy object. Hauling it onto some scales revealed an empty weight of 12.5kg (27.5lb).

    Thanks to Chillblast for providing me with a World Exclusive review on this case. You can *only* buy this case from them if you are in the UK since they are the only Noise Control UK distributors. The case costs 166.99 inc. VAT - but as you are about to see, you certainly get your money's worth. Lets take a look at some mug shots.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 06, 2002 @09:48AM (#3652010)
    Page 1:

    NoiseControl Stealth Tower with Whisper box

    Manufacturer:Noise Control
    Cases
    Posted by Ben on 5-June-2002 at 7:02
    Introduction
    We are quite a fan of Noise Control's products so far here at OcPrices, with both their Magic Fleece noise dampening material and Silverado coolers providing great quiet solutions for today's noisy PCs. Their latest product is the "Stealth Tower" case, complete with "whisper box". The Stealth Tower is basically a high-quality tower case pre-lined professionally with magic fleece. In our tests of the magic fleece, whilst the drop in noise was quite significant, the majority of the noise was now coming out of the back of the PC, via the case fans and PSU. Naturally these couldn't be lined with the fleece! With the stealth tower, Noise Control have constructed a "whisper box", a metal box heavily lined with fleece, with some cleverly aligned holes that allow air to circulate, but should stop 90% of the noise from escaping.

    As you can see the case is quite a behemoth! With five external 5¼" bays and four 3½" bays, you won't be running out of space any time soon. Because of the case's heavy fleece lining, and the fact that it is a big case already, the stealth tower is a heavy object. Hauling it onto some scales revealed an empty weight of 12.5kg (27.5lb).

    Thanks to Chillblast for providing me with a World Exclusive review on this case. You can *only* buy this case from them if you are in the UK since they are the only Noise Control UK distributors. The case costs 166.99 inc. VAT - but as you are about to see, you certainly get your money's worth. Lets take a look at some mug shots.

    Page 2:

    Case Exterior
    The stealth tower is an attractive case despite its bulk, with a sliding cover to hide CD-ROM drives and other paraphernalia from sight. I was particularly impressed with the whisper box, which blends seamlessly with the case's design.

    Now that we have taken a look at the exterior, lets have a look at the much more important interior where the Stealth Tower really comes into its own compared to other cases.

    Page 3:

    The Interior
    Inside the Stealth Tower you will find wall-to-wall carpeting the likes of which you have never seen! Most of the panels are double lined with the noise dampening material, so the dampening effect should be much more profound than when I tested the Magic Fleece kit myself.

    The large metal expanse with no fleece attached is where you install the motherboard and other components. Behind this tray is a double lined side panel

    You can see the notch in the second layer has been carefully cut so that the side panel fits on snugly, fitting the case skeleton like a glove.

    You can see that the drive bays, where normally a lot of noise escapes is extremely heavily lined with fleece. I am very impressed with the sheer amount of noise dampening matting used in the case - if you were to DIY a case of this size with the same extent of sound proofing, you would have to factor in at least two fleece packs - which would set you back over £80 alone from Chillblast.

    Here is the inside-back. Plenty of spare PCI slot gaps, and space for an 80mm fan to be mounted. This is where 90% of the noise escapes in a regular fleeced case. Enter the whisper box!

    Page 4:

    Whisper Box
    The whisper box is large and heavy contraption that attaches onto the back of the Stealth Tower by means of extremely strong magnetic strips.

    Once attached to the case, it has no likeliness of coming loose without a good tug, allowing you to drag the case around without it slipping off. If you are planning to carry the case around however, of course it is a good idea to remove the box.

    The whisper box works on the premise that hot air can move by convection, whereas sound travels in straight lines. The box is split into two sections, one for the PSU, and another for the case fan / PCI peripherals. Nearly all of the sound waves are deflected straight into fleece, where as the warm air coming out of the PSU and case fans can drift up to the top of the box and be expelled, and warm air from the case fan is expelled from the bottom due to pressure build up.

    The entire interior of the whisper box is heavily lined with magic fleece noise killer, and thus weighs quite a lot. It's build quality is fabulous, and it looks like part of the case rather than just a third party add-on.

    Page 5:

    Performance
    I will compare the Stealth Tower to my other case, the Lian Li PC-60. I have fitted both with the same 80mm case fan and the same Enermax 430W whisper PSU. Lets compare both decibel readings, taken with the following contraption, and then case temperatures.

    For the CPU I have fitted a 2100XP processor, with an Arkua copper core thermoengine. Its not the loudest of coolers, but certainly couldn't be considered quiet either. It is about on a par with most "regular" 4500rpm fans. The graphics card is the Creative GeForce 4 Ti-4600, which has quite a loud and annoying fan - and definately the noisiest component in my PC. It will be interesting to see how the Stealth Tower copes with it.

    Case CPU temperature (full load) Case temperature

    Lian Li PC-60 48.9 26.4

    Stealth Tower 52.1 29.0

    The Noise Control case results in a 3 degree increase on both the CPU and ambient case temperature. Initially I did the test with no case fans installed in any case, and the difference was a much more profound 6 degrees. The CPU was also a rather worrying 51 degrees with the Lian Li, and a borderline pass of 57 degrees with the noise control case. It just goes to show how stupidly hot these Athlons are getting now - even with a good cooler. Lets see whether the reduction in noise is worth the temperature cost. I also dug out my old fleeced case that I built myself and fitted the same components again. Readings were taken exactly half a foot from the front, then the side and then the back of the case about half way up in all tests.

    Case Side Back Front

    Lian Li PC-60 48.0 Db 56.9 Db 50.8

    DIY Fleece case 43.5 Db 55.4 Db 44.5.1Db

    Stealth Tower 40.1 Db 45.3 Db 40.1Db

    The extent to which the Stealth Tower reduces system noise is truly amazing. There was barely an audible whisper coming from the whole PC, and it certianly showed up my l33t fleecing skills or lack thereof! To be fair to myself, the main difference between my DIY effort and the Stealth Tower is the whisper box on the back, it really does do wonders for noise reduction, with the PSU only audible if you put your ear to the whisper boxes top port. The differences in Db may not look like much, but when you consider it is a logarithmic scale, the differences are really VERY significant. Just for fun I placed a Delta screamer in the Lian Li (not actually connected to anything except the fan header) and then again in the fleece case and listened for the difference. I would say that the difference was maybe 80%. In the Lian Li, the Delta is as-ever, unusable in my opinion. In the Noise Control case it really isn't so bad! Finally! That said, I find it unlikely that anyone investing in the Stealth Tower would then negate its huge potential by putting such an uncivilised cooler in it!

    Page 6:

    Conclusion
    The Noise Control Stealth Tower case is big, beautifully made and sublimely quiet. Sure you get an increase in system temperature compared to an aluminium case, but the differences in volume need to be heard to be believed. Remember this review was conducted using regular equipment, with the likes of Zalman CPU coolers and PSU's, a silent PC - even an Athlon 2100XP PC - is now a possibility. People hankering after tranquillity, and especially those that NEED quiet PCs, for audio visual work or recording etc should not hesitate to buy this case. I am a total sound Nazi, and although I found the original magic fleece DIY kit impressive, the amount of noise coming out of the back of the case was still an annoyance. With the Stealth Tower, Noise Control have finally come up with a viable solution, and for that I humbly thank them!!

    Click for an explanation of our awards.

    Highs
    - Huge potential for expansion
    - Substantial size ideal for watercooling
    - Nice looking
    - Amazingly quiet
    - Revolutionary Whisper box
    - Sublime build quality

    Lows
    - Heavy
    - Not cheap
    - No removable motherboard tray

    Comment on this review in our forums here [ocprices.com].

    Check out the prices on these and other cases, plus guaranteed CPUs, peltiers, water coolers, case modding equipment and more in our Overclocking Equipment Pricelist [ocprices.com] featuring 70 overclocking retailers/vendors from 9 countries.

    n.b. moderators: I have enough karma, maybe I will post anonymously
  • 1. Remove noisy cpu and case fans.

    2. Get Swiftech MCX462 heatsink (CAD$85) plus Vantec Stealth fan 80 mm (CAD$20, 21 dBA) to cool it. Use Artic Silver 3 thermal compound (CAD$13/tube).

    3. Replace case fans and possibly power supply fan with Vantec Stealth fans.

    4. Avoid slot loading DVD drives (i.e. like car cd players, no tray) because noise gets out of the slot.

    5. Make sure your box is sitting on carpet and not wood/concrete.

    6. If worried about airflow, remove those bulky IDE and floppy cables and get rounded cables. (About CAD$15-20 each.)

    Caveats: Kinda expensive, probably less expensive than this case. Overclocking is a no-no.

  • by lfourrier (209630) on Thursday June 06, 2002 @10:06AM (#3652111)
    With a baby on the way I'm tempted to set up a computer in the baby's room
    poor child: when (s)he come to a really silent place, garanteed panic.
    on an other side, when (s)he grows up, perhaps that silence will be one of those things of the past...
  • by Ubi_NL (313657) <joris@@@ideeel...nl> on Thursday June 06, 2002 @10:13AM (#3652146) Journal
    Noise Control [noisecontrol.de]
    although there is not so much mention of this new tower. Bit odd
  • by Ooblek (544753) on Thursday June 06, 2002 @10:42AM (#3652318)
    No no no....its not that. The machine is likely in the same room as the mixing engineer. This is the guy that ultimately needs to hear the stuff as clear as possible so he can assemble it and mix it properly. I used to have to deal with this all the time. I used to install audio mixing studios for post production, and the engineers were chronic complainers. "I can't sit under the A/C vent, its too cold. The A/C vent is too loud. The computer fan is too loud. The ights are too bright. The lights are too dim. The computer is too far away. I don't like the patch bay up there on the wall, I want it closer. I don't like the patch bay this close, I want it on the wall." Seesh.

    You also have to get special equipment to extend the monitor cable so that it shows up clear if you put the box in another room. Digital mixing and editing is great, but they have to put an insane amount of buttons on the screen in order to fit all the functionality of a console on the screen. Many buttons usually means small buttons. If your screen is fuzzy from signal attenuation due to distance, its not a pleasant thing to have to look at this all day every day. A sound studio is like a major nightmare of UI design, mixing both software and hardware. The engineers also tend to be sort of artsy, so they tend to be more "needy" than say a software engineer would be. (Just give me a dark room, a good chair, and a mouse without deadspots in it and I'm happy.)

  • by pthisis (27352) on Thursday June 06, 2002 @10:55AM (#3652415) Homepage Journal
    Seagate drives are currently considered the "quietest" though, so take that into consideration if buying a new drive. I believe they're even quieter than the Maxtor liquid bearing drives.

    I tried Seagate, Maxtor, and IBM drives when putting together my quiet PC. The Seagates are the quietest, but they're not really quiet (even in a Molex SilentDrive enclosure, which helps significantly). I've wound up putting a lot of effort into building a ramdisk root partition and doing heavy readahead into RAM so that the hard drive is almost always spun down.

    Really, the Seagate's seeks are extremely quiet but the standard hard drive spin noise isn't that much more quiet than the others.

    Sumner
  • I'm not sure which Seagates *you're* using, but the spin noise on my Barracuda IV 80gig is almost unnoticable. The seeks are audible, but they're really not too bad. Maybe you got one out of a "bad" batch?
  • by Leomania (137289) on Thursday June 06, 2002 @12:56PM (#3653218) Homepage

    Get the Silverado CPU cooler; it has the most amazingly low sound level, bar none. There are a couple of articles on coolers at Tom's Hardware that you can check out; this link [tomshardware.com] is the table of sound levels from one of the articles.

    I believe you can find this cooler at OCPrices [ocprices.com] (the site in the original link for this article) once they're no longer slashdotted.

    Good luck!

    - Leo

C'est magnifique, mais ce n'est pas l'Informatique. -- Bosquet [on seeing the IBM 4341]

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