by Rory Buszka on October 4, 2007 in Mid-Tower
If you’re not into silent PCs, then the AcoustiCase 340 probably isn’t for you. If that comment piques your interest, read on and find out why this case is a good choice for those who have the goal of reducing the noise output of their PC. We put it to the test, both thermally and sonically.
The AcoustiProducts AcoustiCase 340 is essentially a generic mid-tower case with some specialized products for noise reduction pre-installed. The basic case itself is appears to be a custom Rosewill R6A34 case, without the side panel vents or CPU duct. Weâ€™ll be taking a look at both the features of the case itself and the AcoustiCase accessory kit.
The front panel of the AcoustiCase features a door that is held shut with small magnets and double-hinged to allow the door to open a full 180 degrees. (The AcoustiCase 360 model is available for those who have an aversion to doors.) The bezel also features a faux brushed aluminum finish, and the case is available with either a black or silver front bezel. A large power button is wreathed in a green glow when the machine is operating. Four 5.25″ bays and two 3.5″ bays are accessible to the outside.
The AcoustiCase 340â€™s only means of air ingress is through four vents in the front bezel â€“ two on each side and two on the bottom. This effectively attenuates drive noises by blocking direct exit paths â€“ the intake air must turn a 90-degree corner. The AcoustiCase features a 120mm front fan mount, which we recommend using if you use the included washable air filter. The front bezel is removed by squeezing two tabs, one on either side of the front bezel, and swinging the bezel upward.
The AcoustiCase features a latching side panel thatâ€™s easy to open â€“ simply depress the latches at the top and bottom of the side panel. One of the latches may be locked using the provided set of keys.
Inside the AcoustiCase, itâ€™s easy to see whatâ€™s special about this case â€“ thereâ€™s open-cell foam everywhere. Itâ€™s all custom-cut, and very nicely done. AcoustiProducts also offers this AcoustiPack foam in sheets that you can custom-cut to fit an existing case. Thereâ€™s layers of foam on the side, top, bottom, and rear panels, and even on the opposite side panel of the case. Two large and three small bricks of open cell foam (cut to fit 5.25″ and 3.5″ bays, respectively) provide additional noise absorption.
Unlike the acoustic damping material in the previously-reviewed Antec SOLO, this open-cell foam material doesnâ€™t reduce vibration by adding mass â€“ instead, itâ€™s intended to absorb the sound itself and convert it adiabatically to immeasurably small amounts of heat. If you stick your head inside the case, you can hear everything around you get significantly quieter.
The AcoustiCase 340 also provides a removable hard drive cage â€“ simply loosen the thumb screw and slide the cage out. Rubber grommets allow decoupled mounting of the hard drives, to decrease the transmission of seek noise through the chassis. Grommets can be superior to rail-type mounting systems when it comes to noise, because rail systems can allow the drive to rattle about as it seeks, while the grommets absorb the force.
The back of the AcoustiCase 340 doesnâ€™t contain anything particularly newsworthy â€“ it does offer a rear 120mm fan location, and a large mounting area for the PSU. The side panel of the AcoustiCase can also be secured using a pair of thumb screws. On the bottom, the AcoustiCase features tall silicone feet, which are affixed to the case with adhesive. This effectively decouples hard drive noise and fan vibration from the surface on which the case is placed.
Internally, the AcoustiCase 340 offers a solid set of features, although many of them have been standard fare in mid-tower cases for some time now. Next, weâ€™ll look at the process of building a test system in the AcoustiCase.