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Fantastic Silent PC case
on 15 February 2013
I bought this Fractal case for a new PC build to sit behind my TV in the living room, my main goal was to replace my existing rig with a near silent machine because although my last one looked great, it was extremely noisy and the sound whilst watching films was rather distracting.
Build quality is very high, there's plenty of room inside to make installing new components easy, with lots of places to route cables. I have a 'Gigabyte GTX460 Super Overclocked' graphics card which is certainly one of the larger cards and it fits with ease, should you have something even bigger, the upper hard drive tray is removable for more space and better ventilation.
Regarding sound levels; the two supplied 140mm fans are incredibly quiet, there's a switch behind the door which switches between 5, 9 and 12 volts depending on your requirements I have them running in 5V mode. I have an 'Arctic Cooler Freezer 13' CPU heat-sink and an 'OCZ CSX500W PSU'. I borrowed a sound meter from work to measure sound levels, my living room has an ambient noise level of between 22-25dB (a tropical fish tank produces most of that) and with the PC turned on there was no increase in sound level at all, none. If you listen, you can hear a tiny hum but it is very quiet indeed. For comparison, turning on an Xbox 360 and the sound level jumped to just under 40dB.
Two minor quibbles are the top mounted USB ports are not perfectly vertical in orientation, they're offset by around 5-10 degrees, this makes putting USB devices into them surprisingly tricky as you fumble to get it lined up straight. And the side panels are difficult to get on in a confined space, my previous case had a solid lip running the whole length of the bottom panel, you just dropped it on and slide it around until it locked into place. The Fractal R4 has several hooks so you have to align the panels perfectly whilst holding their weight. It's not a big deal but can be frustrating when you're trying to get the thing on in a tight space!
Those two minor points aside, the case is well built, beautiful, easy to work with, flexible and above all silent, it is a perfect choice as far as my needs are concerned.