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Aerocool Dead Silence Cube Review

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Corky42 30th December 2013, 11:37 Quote
Seems strange to review a case designed to be quiet without some measurement of how silent it is, other than saying it keeps noise levels low.
I know it can be hard to measure noise levels, but with more cases being designed for silent PC enthusiasts it would be nice to know if the sacrifice of higher temperatures equals noticeably lower noise.
GiantKiwi 30th December 2013, 11:52 Quote
Corky: When mine has arrived later this week and I've built my system into it, I'll do some noise checks and post them up.
IanW 30th December 2013, 12:50 Quote
My system is running, but I can't do any noise checks due to the 48TB file server & 1.5kW UPS in the same room drowning it out.
As for temps, Asus' auto-overclocking software thinks the system in my sig is happy & stable @ 3.9GHz

The review doesn't mention the colour choices available with this case:-

Black chassis / White panels (as shown in the review)
Black chassis / Red panels (for Asus users?)
Black chassis / Black panels
Black chassis / Orange panels (for Zotac users?)
White chassis / White panels (mine)

All available either with or without a window.
Dogbert666 30th December 2013, 13:02 Quote
It's not really feasible to do accurate noise testing in the environment we work in.

The colours are mentioned in the specifications list.
GiantKiwi 30th December 2013, 13:34 Quote
Luckily, because of the place I work, I have access to sound proofed recording booth's to do the audio test in :)
do_it_anyway 30th December 2013, 17:37 Quote
Funnily enough I just completed a build in one of these yesterday.

It really is very quiet.

One thing I would point out though is I was using a not massive BeQuiet 650w PSU with modular cables and it was a super tight fit. I had to remove the 2.5" bay temporarily to slide it in from the reverse side, then refit the 2.5" bay.
This bay is clearly not meant to be removed and required much swearing and removing of all panels first, including the base, which was cunningly held in by invisible screws which were hidden beneath self adhesive feet.

My point being - check your PSU length first!
BeauchN 30th December 2013, 17:39 Quote
How easy is it to remove the HDD cage at the front? It could bake a great M-ITX case with a that out and a 200mm rad in the front.
vdbswong 30th December 2013, 17:47 Quote
Been considering this case for a while and stumbled across a similar case by Xigmatek with more Prodigy-esque styling.

Internally looks to be exactly the same layout, but comes without the front fan as standard.

http://www.xigmatek.com/product.php?productid=218&type=overview
Corky42 30th December 2013, 18:48 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dogbert666
It's not really feasible to do accurate noise testing in the environment we work in.
Cant you all stop shouting at each other for more than 5 min :D

On a more serious note, i get that testing for noise may not be possible. Its just a shame that a case can lose points for bad cooling and not get a chance to gain them back, if you are willing to put up with super fast (noisy) fans you can pretty much make any case great at cooling.
IanW 31st December 2013, 05:03 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by BeauchN
How easy is it to remove the HDD cage at the front? It could bake a great M-ITX case with a that out and a 200mm rad in the front.

You have to remove the base as do_it_anyway says above.
do_it_anyway 31st December 2013, 19:12 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by IanW
Quote:
Originally Posted by BeauchN
How easy is it to remove the HDD cage at the front? It could bake a great M-ITX case with a that out and a 200mm rad in the front.

You have to remove the base as do_it_anyway says above.
Actually, the front 3.5" cage is part of the motherboard tray and can't be removed.
The 2.5" cage at the back, alongside the PSU is the removable one.
Spreadie 31st December 2013, 22:26 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by do_it_anyway
Actually, the front 3.5" cage is part of the motherboard tray and can't be removed.
Are you sure about that?

Looks to me like the drive cage is screwed to the mobo tray, and only the left hand wall of the drive cage isn't removable; as it forms the upright for the tray.

[edit] It even mentions it in the review:
Quote:
In the lower section, you'll find the PSU mounting area and two internal drive cages. There's overall a lot of space here, which makes cable management very easy, but the PSU area is fairly cramped thanks to the inside wall of the front HDD cage (the rest of this cage can be removed but this internal wall is fixed).
IanW 1st January 2014, 05:43 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by do_it_anyway
Actually, the front 3.5" cage is part of the motherboard tray and can't be removed.
The 2.5" cage at the back, alongside the PSU is the removable one.

I'm sure. I've done it (then put it back as I'm using a mATX mobo). See what Spreadie says above me.

You have to peel off the sticky feet to access 3 hidden screws holding the plastic base on, to access the screws holding the bottom of each drive bay.
iggy 3rd January 2014, 05:53 Quote
ITS NOT A CUBE!
Spreadie 3rd January 2014, 09:11 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by iggy
ITS NOT A CUBE!

NEITHER ARE ICE CUBES!
Gareth Halfacree 3rd January 2014, 09:47 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by GiantKiwi
Luckily, because of the place I work, I have access to sound proofed recording booth's to do the audio test in :)
But do you have access to high-grade sound meter equipment? The biggest problem in doing sound testing of a case like this is that the equipment to do it - not the room to do it in, which can be nothing more than a broom cupboard lined with egg cartons - is really effin' expensive.

Here, for example, is the sort of thing you might buy to do sound testing. It's under £15, so what's the problem? Oh, wait... It doesn't work below 50dB - and the manufacturer's peak noise level for the fans in this case is 21.5dBA. For products sold as 'silent,' it's not unheard of for the rated noise level to drop below 10dBA - especially when the fan is inside a case, as with this particular review - so a 50dB floor ain't going to cut it.

Okay, let's spend more. £113 gets you this - but wait, that only goes down to 32dB. Ooh, this one at £190 has a PC interface - damnit, 35dB. Okay... This one's nearly £270, surely it... What, 30dB? Right, sort by Price - Highest... Ah, this is the most expensive Amazon sells at £582. Now we're talki... 70dB minimum?! Oh, it's for workplace health and safety surveys. Oh, well, I guess that makes sense...

You know what? Let's forget Amazon. Let's go straight to a manufacturer. Here, Extech do a specialist low-level meter... Oh, 26dB? And it's discontinued? Bah. Right, Norsonic has a specialist 'sound analyser' in the Nor140. Still, it's doable - with a normal microphone, it can measure down to 12dB - although its self-noise level is 26dB, meaning that anything below that level is likely not going to be measured terribly accurately. Also, I can't seem to find a price - meaning it's likely one of those "if you have to ask, you can't afford it" cases. There's a UK company renting 'em for £24 a day, though, which ain't too bad.

TL;DR: A sound-proof room is by no means the most difficult part of measuring case noise.
Spreadie 3rd January 2014, 10:00 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gareth Halfacree
But do you have access to high-grade sound meter equipment? The biggest problem in doing sound testing of a case like this is that the equipment to do it - not the room to do it in, which can be nothing more than a broom cupboard lined with egg cartons - is really effin' expensive.

TL;DR: A sound-proof room is by no means the most difficult part of measuring case noise.

So the Sound Meter App for the iPhone won't suffice then? :p
GiantKiwi 3rd January 2014, 10:29 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gareth Halfacree
But do you have access to high-grade sound meter equipment? The biggest problem in doing sound testing of a case like this is that the equipment to do it - not the room to do it in, which can be nothing more than a broom cupboard lined with egg cartons - is really effin' expensive.

Here, for example, is the sort of thing you might buy to do sound testing. It's under £15, so what's the problem? Oh, wait... It doesn't work below 50dB - and the manufacturer's peak noise level for the fans in this case is 21.5dBA. For products sold as 'silent,' it's not unheard of for the rated noise level to drop below 10dBA - especially when the fan is inside a case, as with this particular review - so a 50dB floor ain't going to cut it.

Okay, let's spend more. £113 gets you this - but wait, that only goes down to 32dB. Ooh, this one at £190 has a PC interface - damnit, 35dB. Okay... This one's nearly £270, surely it... What, 30dB? Right, sort by Price - Highest... Ah, this is the most expensive Amazon sells at £582. Now we're talki... 70dB minimum?! Oh, it's for workplace health and safety surveys. Oh, well, I guess that makes sense...

You know what? Let's forget Amazon. Let's go straight to a manufacturer. Here, Extech do a specialist low-level meter... Oh, 26dB? And it's discontinued? Bah. Right, Norsonic has a specialist 'sound analyser' in the Nor140. Still, it's doable - with a normal microphone, it can measure down to 12dB - although its self-noise level is 26dB, meaning that anything below that level is likely not going to be measured terribly accurately. Also, I can't seem to find a price - meaning it's likely one of those "if you have to ask, you can't afford it" cases. There's a UK company renting 'em for £24 a day, though, which ain't too bad.

TL;DR: A sound-proof room is by no means the most difficult part of measuring case noise.

I'll have a talk with head of Film, he was wandering round a few weeks back with what looked like a rather expensive dB meter checking the noise leakage into an unfinished booth. ;)
Corky42 3rd January 2014, 11:40 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gareth Halfacree
But do you have access to high-grade sound meter equipment? The biggest problem in doing sound testing of a case like this is that the equipment to do it - not the room to do it in, which can be nothing more than a broom cupboard lined with egg cartons - is really effin' expensive.
To right it gets expensive, but TBH if i wanted to test and measure low dBA i would use a mic system such as the PS9200KIT along with a spectrum analyser such as SpectraPLUS. But even then you are looking at $2000 for the mic and another $1000+ for the software.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gareth Halfacree
For products sold as 'silent,' it's not unheard of for the rated noise level to drop below 10dBA - especially when the fan is inside a case, as with this particular review - so a 50dB floor ain't going to cut it.
Is that the manufactures noise level you are quoting there ? as even a silent fan such as the Scythe GlideStream cant get bellow 10dBA even when undervolted to run at only 550RPM.
Gareth Halfacree 3rd January 2014, 11:45 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Corky42
To right it gets expensive, but TBH if i wanted to test and measure low dBA i would use a mic system such as the PS9200KIT along with a spectrum analyser such as SpectraPLUS. But even then you are looking at $2000 for the mic and another $1000+ for the software.
Even then, the microphone you've linked to has an absolutely minimum noise floor of 12dBA - which isn't going to help much if you're trying to differentiate between two sound-proofed cases, both of which are below 10dBA at pre-set distance.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Corky42
Is that the manufactures noise level you are quoting there ? as even a silent fan such as the Scythe GlideStream cant get bellow 10dBA even when undervolted to run at only 550RPM.
I was specifically thinking of the fan being inside a case and the monitor outside, rather than being right next to the bare fan - as we're in the comment thread for a case review, rather than a fan review. There are fans which claim a sub-10dBA noise level - the Noiseblocker NB-BlackSilentPro, for example, claims 9dBA - but I'd take that with a pinch of salt - although, as we've established, it's not like I've got the gear to question a given manufacturers' claims in that regard.
Corky42 3rd January 2014, 12:12 Quote
Well yea the mic i linked to has a noise floor of around 10/12 dBA, but you don't need to go much lower than that as even cases marketed as being silent/quiet such as the Nanoxia Deep Silence 1 push out around 22dBA @ 1M

EDIT: Just to add you are spot on when you say about taking a pinch of salt with manufacturers claims for noise, a similar fan to the one you mention the BlackSilentPro is the NB-eLoop with a rating of 8dBA when in fact its closer to 14dBA.
GiantKiwi 3rd January 2014, 16:40 Quote
Ok built my PC into the case now.

Few things which I'm going to bring up immediately.

If you are installing a modular PSU (Corsair AX850 in my case) you may want to invest in a rubber mallet, because it is an unbelievably tight fit. Took me nearly 2 hours to get the damn thing into position with the cables installed.

And, I'm not even going to bother taking it into work to get a reading on the stock fans, as they are ridiculously loud (louder than the fans that come stock with the Corsair H50/70), and reducing the fan speed just makes things worse.

Edit:

Also discovered that if you have have a 240mm rad in the top with the fans in push / pull you cannot set them up as intake, because then the top panel cannot be locked into place as it pushes a tab of plastic into the fan blades.
Gareth Halfacree 3rd January 2014, 16:43 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Corky42
EDIT: Just to add you are spot on when you say about taking a pinch of salt with manufacturers claims for noise, a similar fan to the one you mention the BlackSilentPro is the NB-eLoop with a ratting of 8dBA when in fact its closer to 14dBA.
I always assume any given manufacturer is lying to me, and as a result I'm rarely disappointed. 14 hour battery life on that laptop? I'll be assuming seven, then. 500Mb/s sustained throughput on those HomePlugs? Feh, if you can hit 100Mb/s I'll be satisfied. 7dBA noise level? So long as I can't hear it when it's under my desk, you can use whatever numbers you like.
Spreadie 15th February 2014, 22:10 Quote
Thanks for the review - I bought this very case on the strength of it and, having lived with it for a little while, I thought I'd share some observations.

The PCI bracket lock is actually pretty sturdy, and the best example of a single locking bracket I've seen - they're often poorly implemented on OEM PCs and the like. I also disagree that the front I/O cables are too long - they are almost perfect for routing around the edges to keep them out of sight of the window, although I do agree that they should have been sleeved - that ought to be a minimum standard on all windowed cases.

I didn't find the side panels difficult to remove, but I did share your mild irritation at the lack of handle or finger hole, or whatever, when trying to remove the solid roof panel; until it dawned on me that I could just poke it from underneath.

I don't know if they have changed the spec since the review date but, contrary to what the review states, the front external drive cages can be removed separately. So you can fit a longer GFX card without losing your optical drive, although if you plan on fitting a 240mm radiator in the roof, you will be limited to 30mm thickness if you want to keep your DVD drive.

The DS Cube's aircooling prowess isn't all that - but then the rear 120mm fan is crap, and the front mounted 200mm fan isn't great (but is very quiet); although you'll definitely have to change it if you plan on mounting a 200mm rad behind the front fascia.

Overall though, I love this case - the fit and finish is very pleasing and, with a little thought, it's possible to build a very tidy and compact system inside. I'm tempted to get back into watercooling and throw a couple of rads in there.
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