350D or 450D For New Build . . .

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350D or 450D For New Build . . .

Postposted on Mon Apr 21, 2014 6:29 pm

I am building a long-term system that will sit on my desk and be used as a heavy duty workstation, flight simulator and HD video editing computer running 2-3 monitors. As a workstation it will be running 17+ hours/day and sometimes for 3-5 days and longer with many programs, documents, and browsers open (research)--in an attic office which can *sometimes* be a little warm.

Recognizing the 450D is an ATX case, and the 350D is M-ATX, with an eye on size, heat and sound (quieter is much better as it will be sitting on my desk and used for work--writing, creating data, analysis, etc.):

1. If running 2 high-end GPUs in SLI or even a single GPU--which case would you choose--350D or 450D?

2. The more research I do, however, the more I hear that flight simulators and HD video editing software won't work in SLI--therefore, it is more likely I will only be able to use one GTX 780--would the 450D case be "overkill", or would the 450D, despite its more open front grill and floor, actually run quieter than the 350D because of its purported better cooling performance (if case runs cooler, would the fans run less and at lower speeds)? ;

3. After reading the temperature and noise testing reviews here, I have some serious concerns about heat issues (of the GPU especially) in the 350D case in comparison to the 450D, are these concerns warranted?

350D: See 350D Tech Report review . . . told I can't post URL

450D: See 450D Tech Report review . . . told can't post URL

4. Of very minor importance, but aesthetically curious, would the 450D look odd having only a single GPU card in the window (i.e. would it appear to have a lot of "wasted" case space . . . or not)?

5. In terms of case quality, do you have a preference as a long-term case that will be the foundation for many years of upgrades?

Thank you very much--I very much appreciate your help with this decision as it is holding up my build!
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Re: 350D or 450D For New Build . . .

Postposted on Mon Apr 21, 2014 7:32 pm

If I'm running in SLI, then I need an SLI-certified motherboard...not many mATX boards that I know of. That right there might make your choice for you.

Depending on what resolution you plan to run games and flight sims at, you may not need two cards and like you said it might be overkill or not work in SLI.

I don't think the 350D is small enough to make the tradeoff in terms of limitations on motherboards, myself. I'd rather go for a smaller mATX case, or go all out ATX like I did with my Fractal Design Define R4.
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Re: 350D or 450D For New Build . . .

Postposted on Mon Apr 21, 2014 7:38 pm

If it's sitting on your desk and you want a quiet case, neither of those options are ideal; look for options that include a door, filtered intakes, no side vents/windows and sound-dampening foam.
For uATX, my go-to choice is the CM Silencio 352, but there are others like "mini" editions of the the Nanoxia Deep Silence series or the Fractal Define series.
I'm wondering if regular ATX is a good idea for a cast that will sit on a desk. Most of the lights, buttons, USB sockets and things like card readers and audio jacks are on top, expecting people to put their towers on the floor. It'd get annoying to have to stand up just to check things like the HDD light or to plug in a USB/SDCard.

You don't need to worry about SLI or Crossfire. SLI is better than Crossfire, but there are still many, MANY things that don't work well on dual-GPU solutions. Work, of almost any description is just one of them, but I'd imagine flight sims are also on that list because AMD and Nvidia focus their driver efforts on current AAA game titles and multi-GPU performance is massively dependent on drivers. Basically if it's not a AAA game from the last 12 months, forget about it.
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Re: 350D or 450D For New Build . . .

Postposted on Mon Apr 21, 2014 9:29 pm

Yeah, I think the 450D is a little too massive to sit on a desk. You can do a lot with the 350D so I dont think you have to get something as big as a 450D, though it does give you the option of an ATX board which there are more of. If you really like their style, I think 250D might be a awesome choice. Its like a squished 350D! Its all cute with its little legs.
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Re: 350D or 450D For New Build . . .

Postposted on Mon Apr 21, 2014 10:23 pm

Take a look at the Silverstone Temjin TJ08-E. It's about the same size on the outside as the Corsair Obsidian 250D, but the Silverstone case fits a micro-ATX motherboard inside with room for up to four PCIe cards, while the Corsair case can hold only a single-slot mini-ITX motherboard.
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Re: 350D or 450D For New Build . . .

Postposted on Tue Apr 22, 2014 6:23 am

Another option I've just remembered is old but still perfectly suited to being on top, rather than under a desk:

Antec P180 mini.
It's old, I think discontinued in the US but it's a great sound-dampened mATX case that you can probably find on clearance deals somewhere.
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Re: 350D or 450D For New Build . . .

Postposted on Tue Apr 22, 2014 7:48 am

I did read your post and noticed that you mentioned the attic, if not being on the desk is ok and video card coolness is of prime importance you may want to look at one of these cases, I came from a Cooler Master Haf 932 and this build was even easier to put together then the CM case build but more importantly I ran the Furmark burnin test and my Asus 660 Ti did not go above 62c.

I am not sure where this stands but by the same token it was 8 degrees cooler than the CM case was.

I also removed the 3.5 tray on the left at the bottom and put a fan blowing up into the video card which likely had an affect as well, one of the reasons I bought this case.


http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811139032
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Re: 350D or 450D For New Build . . .

Postposted on Tue Apr 22, 2014 8:14 am

To answer questions:

1. The 350 limits you to mATX motherboards, so no SLI. There might be one or two, but I suspect they will cost an arm and a leg over "normal" mATX boards.

2. The 450D is more sensible than the 750D or higher, but most Corsair cases run on the large side. That makes them great to work in, but not so great in volumetric usage.

3. I think you're safe. If you're really worried, pick up an extra fan or two so that you have air moving at the front, back, top, and bottom of your case (and make sure they point in the right directions.

4. I don't think this can be helped at all. If you really want to load your board so it doesn't look empty, you could snag a relatively cheap sound card and wireless card to populate some PCI slots.

5. Corsair Obsidian cases are great...for other recommendations, see other posts.
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Re: 350D or 450D For New Build . . .

Postposted on Tue Apr 22, 2014 9:09 am

superjawes wrote:To answer questions:
<snip>
4. I don't think this can be helped at all. If you really want to load your board so it doesn't look empty, you could snag a relatively cheap sound card and wireless card to populate some PCI slots.


Or, buy a case that has doesn't have a window ;)
Windows are usually not insulated against noise leakage as well as a solid panel anyway, and they certainly don't look good with sound deadening foam if you want to add that later!
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Re: 350D or 450D For New Build . . .

Postposted on Tue Apr 22, 2014 9:33 am

Chrispy_ wrote:Or, buy a case that has doesn't have a window ;)
Windows are usually not insulated against noise leakage as well as a solid panel anyway, and they certainly don't look good with sound deadening foam if you want to add that later!

Yeah, I have mixed feelings on windows, but the question was about these cases, and 450D doesn't appear to have a windowless option :wink:

The 350D does, but that would be a smaller board and would appear to use more space.
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Re: 350D or 450D For New Build . . .

Postposted on Tue Apr 22, 2014 11:34 am

Yeah, I like the 350D or 450D and I'd normally recommend them but if this has to go on top of a desk as the OP states, Corsair cases are really inefficient with space. Every case they make takes up loads of room, usually more space than similar cases of the next form-factor up.

The Silverstone TJ08-E, for example, takes up less volume than Corsair's mITX 250D (including feet) but it houses a full mATX board and even more drives, and it has a narrower footprint which really matters when it's on a desk.

Corsair make great floorstanding cases, especially for watercooling, but they are all so large that they are almost the worst thing you can buy when you have to share a desktop with them.
Unless your desktop is unusually massive, of course. To me, the phrase "attic" conjours up images of tight, small rooms with cramped, sloping ceilings that intrude into desk height for any desk pushed against a wall.
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Re: 350D or 450D For New Build . . .

Postposted on Tue Apr 22, 2014 5:56 pm

Thank you ALL very much for all of your very helpful suggestions, I REALLY appreciate it!

Lol . . . yes it is a finished attic office, and the ceiling does slope at about 14" above the side of my desk ((I sit facing the mid-line of the roof and the side window), but it is not that bad. It is actually kind of a sanctuary from the loving chaos that family can sometimes create. :)

You have all raised some truly great points and made some really interesting alternative case suggestions. I looked at all the cases you suggested--thank you . . . the small form factor of the Corsair 250D and Silverstone TJ08-E were quite compelling. The 250D although shorter and less deep than the 350D and 450D, was almost 11" wide . . . about 3" wider than the 350D and 450D cases . . . but a very nice case. I found the Silverstone TJ08-E a little more compelling for my needs, but one of the reviews, although giving it outstanding marks overall did say it was one of the loudest cases it had reviewed which troubled me.

The DB ratings for the 350D and 450D seem surprisingly similar to each other according to Tech Report's review--this despite the 450D's open front grill and more open floor and back. However, Tech Report's review of the 350D and 450D does report a substantially greater heat difference:
Full Load:
Front DB: 42.5db (450D); 40.4db(350D) . . . however, surprisingly, the 450D's Side and Top decibel levels are actually lower than the 350D's by 1-2 decibels.
CPU: 52C (450D); 66C (350D)
GPU: 75C (450D); 85C (350D)
Mobo: 21C (450D); 34C (350D)

Those GPU numbers seem rather excessively high . . . am I possibly misinterpreting something? But regardless, the 450D does seem to run considerably cooler in comparison to the 350D.

I appreciate the sound dampening case suggestions . . . but surprisingly, the anecdotal reviews I read suggest the sound (in particular the 550D) was not much quieter--although the review reported that higher pitched sounds seemed to be more muffled. I understand these cases also tend to run a bit hotter.

On a slightly superficial level, I have never had a case with a window, and while probably more of a novelty, would kind of like to try one even though it may trade-off some sound dampening benefits the non-windowed case designs enjoy. Would proper fans and lower volt (7V?) fans help improve sound issues?

Currently, in front of my work desk, I have a slightly smaller desk that gives me about 46" total work space (front to back), or an extra aproximately 19.5" in front of my main desk where I set my monitors and case. Because of job, might be moving in a year or so and, therefore, not sure whether I will be able to enjoy the same set-up in the future so a smaller case footprint is always a positive thing for me--[Edit] although not at the expense of performance (heat, noise, etc.) or function (present and future necessary upgradeability).

Weighing all the different advantages/disadvantages of heat, sound, footprint size, quality of case, M-ATX vs ATX motherboard, single GPU (bkz sadly as mentioned, it appears flight sims and HD video editing don't seem to like GPUs in SLI), and anything else you deem relevant . . . if you had to choose between the 350D and 450D, which case would you choose? While I am leaning towards the 350D and 450D, if of course in addition, you have another similar case you that feel particularly strongly about, would like to hear about that too.

(As far as motherboards, if M-ATX probably using ASUS Maximux 6 Gene . . . if ATX, ASUS Maximus 6 Extreme; CPU: i7-4770K Haswell; GPU: GTX 780; SSD: 250GB Samsung EVO; HDD: 1 TB WD Black).

Thank you very much!
Last edited by Questtt3 on Tue Apr 22, 2014 9:01 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: 350D or 450D For New Build . . .

Postposted on Tue Apr 22, 2014 8:15 pm

For quiet cases, look here:
http://www.silentpcreview.com/article75-page5.html
Notice that the $110 Temjin TJ08-E is on the list as a top-rated editor's choice.

If you're looking for something with a small footprint on your desk, check out the $150 Fortress FT03. It is 235mm (9.25") wide and only 284mm (11.18") deep, though it is 487mm (19.17") tall.
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Re: 350D or 450D For New Build . . .

Postposted on Wed Apr 23, 2014 11:29 am

Regarding sound, you have to be very careful not to get too tied up with graphs and exact results in dB or dBA, because the human ear doesn't quiet work like that.

Take the nvidia reference cooler on a GTX660 and GTX760 for example. It's quieter than the reference cooler on a GTX680 and GTX770 but the characteristics of the noise couldn't be more different; The more expensive coolers sound characteristic is a smooth rush of air, the noise may be louder in raw decibels but the quality of the noise is not disturbing or intrusive. On the other hand, the reference blowers on the 660/760 are awful - they emit a throaty warble when idle which is very obvious even if it's quiet and it turns into a pretty unpleasant yowl/roar under load.

The thing about sound dampening is that yes, it decreases the airflow and no, it won't massively affect your sound levels on an absolute decibel scale. The benefit to noise-dampening foam and doors to create indirect airflow paths is that the quality of the emitted sound is very much nicer on the ears. The heavy foam also significantly reduces the tendency for panels to vibrate and rattle.

If you go with a very open "meshy" case, you can still make it quiet by having very quiet components inside and lots of low-rpm fans. The risk with that is that one single component can have an undesirable noise, and that noise will be all the more obvious because the case is at desk level with nothing but empty air between your ears and the case. At least on the floor, there's a desk between you and the case to block some of the noise. My experience with case noise is largely based on following SPCR and spending the last 12 years searching for ways to make my HTPC quieter. The rule of thumb I use is that you need to be very careful/trial-and-error about component choice, or you can use a sound-dampening case with a door. Even sound-dampened cases have the issue of turbulent air noise from the rear exhaust grille, but at least that's usually pointing in the opposite direction to your ears.
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Re: 350D or 450D For New Build . . .

Postposted on Thu Apr 24, 2014 10:11 pm

Thanks JustAnEngineer for the link and the case suggestions. Yes, I see the Temjin TJ08-E in the linked review does actually do very well with sound--interesting the different takes different reviewers have--it looks like a great case! Gotta say, I really like it . . . it has me thinking . . .

Chrispy, thank you very much for explaining the practical aspects of sound measurement as it relates to the cases and the actual, practical usage . . . it was VERY helpful! I had not considered case sound as consisting of the different distinct components of volume and actual sound quality.

My principal concern as relates to the 350D (and to a lesser degree the 450D given its larger volume) is whether case noise is significant in a manner that might be distracting and, perhaps more importantly, whether heat is a greater concern with one case? I ask because I have read some test reviews that appear to show the 350D case runs fairly hot (particularly the GPU) . . . with that in mind, I am concerned that case fans and GPU fan sounds could be distractingly loud(?).

I will be running a single GTX780 (as it appears flight simulators and video editing software are unfortunately not fans of SLI), and I will be using a Corsair H100i CPU cooler.

Also, regarding the GTX 780 card, which would you recommend--the single fan reference blower or the 2 fan ACX versions as far as dependability, quietest performance, and best heat dissipation?

[Edit] Corsair 350D case owners and those familiar with the 350D . . . knowing what you know now of the 350D and its characteristics/performance, if you had it to do over again and were purchasing a case today . . . would you choose the 350D or the recently released 450D?

Thank you very much!!
Last edited by Questtt3 on Fri Apr 25, 2014 12:09 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: 350D or 450D For New Build . . .

Postposted on Thu Apr 24, 2014 11:30 pm

I find the sound produced by blower cards more distracting than the noise produced by two-fan coolers.

Blower cards, however, remove the heat from the case and many people prefer the cards for this reason.
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Re: 350D or 450D For New Build . . .

Postposted on Fri Apr 25, 2014 6:27 am

kumori wrote:I find the sound produced by blower cards more distracting than the noise produced by two-fan coolers.

This. Blowers are better for cramped cases or cases that lack decent airflow. By spitting the worst of the heat out of the back, they keep case temps down, reduce the need for agressive case cooling and all the other fans in your system will be able to run slower and quieter. If you have half-decent case airflow though you usually get better/quieter cooling from an open-air cooler.

As for your case choice and how it affects airflow, it's all about the way it's configured; Most cases can be tailored for good airflow just by doing simple things like flipping the PSU so it acts as an extra exhaust, filling the empty fan bays with decent fans, and removing unused drive cages that sit right behind intake fans. The reviews all tend to vary a bit depending on the configuration used, but many reviews test cases in their stock configuration which is usually far from ideal; Stupid cost-saving measures like having two intake fan bays and only one populated with a fan are dumb - The drive cages act as a barricade, meaning high pressure behind the sole intake fan expells air backthrough the unused fan bay, and it loops back into the case via the intake fan. I may be a qualified engineer with two years studying fluid dynamics but you don't need my training to see what an obvious flaw that is ;)

With a single GTX 780 you really don't have to worry too much about getting the absolute best airflow case on the market. I run a Silencio550 at home. It has a door, foam padding, indirect air-paths, intake filters, and limited airflow - yet it handles two R9 280X cards and an overclocked i7 in it without making much noise. Sure, the fans run to 1200RPM, I have dremelled the grille from the top exhaust (to change the quality of the airflow noise) and admittedly I don't use the graphics cards in crossfire to game so I'm probably never creating more than 400W of heat to dissipate - but the point I'm trying to make is that it's hardly noticeable, despite probably registering quite high on the absolute dBA scale.

I doubt your config will ever peak much beyond 300W so you should be able to pick any half-decent case you like the look of and be happy with it. If that means windows and line-of-sight to the intake fans, go for it!
My personal recommendation is to avoid windows, side-panel vents and "meshy" designs if it's on a desk, but you can still make those cases quiet if you're careful about components and fan choices.

Update:
With regard to the 350D, I just took another look; that thing has a phenomenal amount of cooling capacity and the stock fan configuration is truly terrible - which is undoubtedly why reviews criticise its GPU cooling performance.

If you're really keen on it I would do a few things that would definitely improve cooling and noise:
  1. Fill all the fan bays with the maximum size fans they can take. 2x140 front, 2x140 top, 1x120 rear. Get the slowest RPM fans you can buy because there are SO MANY fan bays ;)
  2. Flip the PSU so that it acts as an extra exhaust; the graphics card divides the case neatly in two and there's no active exhaust in this lower section.
  3. Remove the lower drive cage if you can and put your mechanical drive under the optical drive using a 5.25"-to-3.5" bay adapter
  4. Remove the unused SSD bays to reduce some the partitioning effect of the graphics card.
The main issue with noise in a 350D is from the top, because the vents there are large and open - if the case is on your desk that should be less of a problem because the top will be pointing away from you. Running five fans will probably need a fan-controller too, but these aren't that expensive in the grand scheme of things. Since you have more exhausts than intake in that suggested configuration, you want the lowest possible speed on exhaust fans, and the two intakes to probably run as fast as you can until you can hear them - probably ~900 rpm for 140mm fans.
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Re: 350D or 450D For New Build . . .

Postposted on Fri Apr 25, 2014 11:35 am

Thank you Kumori, I wondered if the blower sound on the single fan GPUs might have this effect--very helpful.

Chrispy . . . wow, thank you very much for taking the time to write such a detailed and incredibly helpful reply . . . I learned a great deal and I am most grateful!

If I might ask . . . you gave me some great ideas on how to improve the cooling performance of the 350D, and you mentioned avoiding "meshy designs" if on a desk . . . does this mean you would recommend the Corsair 350D case over their 450D case?

Unless the software changes, I will probably be running only a single GTX 780 GPU with 3 monitors because apparently flight simulator and video editing software (unfortunately) do not like SLI. However, I was wondering if the 450D case might be worth considering because it will take ATX motherboards. Would this versatility at the "cost" of only two more inches in height and depth (over 350D with M-ATX) be a good idea? The 450D is also reported to be a "better" case as far as cooling according to the recent tests I have read--running more than 10 degrees C cooler than the 350D (although your 350D case suggestions may negate much of this). But again, the 450D does have the grilled (meshy) front unlike the 350D with its flat panel and side vents.

I'd really appreciate hearing your thoughts on which of the two cases you would recommend/buy yourself.

Thank you VERY much!
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Re: 350D or 450D For New Build . . .

Postposted on Sat Apr 26, 2014 12:26 am

You may want to take a look at Lian-Li cases, I got my first one back in 1998 and have bought several of them over the years for friends. My trusty old PC-70 I bought back then only just got retired 6 months ago, and I had 7 different rigs installed in it over the years. This is the one I picked up to replace it.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6811112410

It has extremely good airflow, along with room for big fans so it can also run quietly. I had looked at the corsair along with just about every brand of case out there before deciding on this one. This one was the only one that would take a metric load of drives, along with having all the modern case improvements my old one didn't have. They do also make several different sizes from small to large, so you can get one to fit what you need. Their build quality is very high and they also use thick aluminum so it isn't one of those cheap ones that flexes and bends. Plus they make sure there are no sharp edges to cut you in the case.
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Re: 350D or 450D For New Build . . .

Postposted on Sat Apr 26, 2014 6:55 am

The 450D is mostly holes;The bottom is entirely holes, the front is mostly holes, the top is entirely holes, and there are plenty of holes at the back.
You'll hear everything in your case with a 450D. As far as your ears are concerned it's almost an open-air test rig!

However, the graphics card is going to be the only significant source of noise, and then only really when it's under some load.
I would consider it this way (since you're going to have this at ear-level on a desk right in front of you):

Would the graphics card (under load) annoy you if it were sitting out in the open on your desk?
  • If no, pick an open case like the 450D; A cool GPU will generate less noise in the first place.
  • If yes, look for soundproofed cases; A good one won't make the GPU much hotter, and it'll deaden the sound of other components too

It's hard to recommend one specific soundproofed case but my "flavour of the month" is probably the CM Silencio 352 for mATX and the Obsidian 550D if you have room for a full ATX tower. I mentioned some other options earlier (as have others) but I'm conscious that you don't want a huge tower with lights/ports/buttons on the top if it's going to sit on your desk; I make heavy use of my front USB ports and it's good to see the HDD LED sometimes too.
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