It is easily argued that investing a significant portion of a PC-setup’s budget on a proper case, as well as the cooling therein, is always a good idea; for this equipment will outlast any other hardware component that will be upgraded in time. What better way to allocate this expenditure than towards a case that values one of the most valuable, ever-fading, commodities: silence.
There are both advantages and disadvantages with purchasing a noise cancelling optimized PC case. Beginning with the downfalls we can mention that the appearance of such cases can be quite stale, and gaming enthusiasts that enjoy displaying their RGB lit hardware will be left devoid of this visual pleasure, as the flair inherent in tempered glass panels is not meant for optimizing silent operation. A contrary viewpoint may see this as an advantage, for many will argue that these cases actually provide a more professional, or minimalistic, visual appeal.
Another downside is that some of these cases may run hotter, since the airflow can be hampered by the noise negating materials. This is an issue that high-quality case manufacturers have already circumvented via proper design, and there are also inherent advantages in these sound-proofing materials. One such advantage is the fact that some CPU coolers (such as stock AMD coolers, like the Wraith Prism) which would otherwise need to be replaced due to their abhorrent noise levels – despite their otherwise adequate cooling – can be put into use due to the noise-cancelling properties of the case. Also, since RGB options are irrelevant, money can be saved, and cooling can be enhanced, by opting for non-RGB compatible case fans and PSUs.
Perhaps the greatest utilitarian advantage of such cases is the fact that those around such machines, like parents, coworkers, or spouses, can also enjoy the same peace and quiet, as they will be unaffected by the continuous unpleasant buzzing of fan-blades spinning, or water-coolers pumping, in order to maintain even temperatures for the hardware within. To assist in your quest for the purchase of a proper noise cancelling PC case, this article will list the best available options for three different sizes: a mini-tower (mATX), a mid-tower (ATX), and a full-tower (EATX). In addition, for those looking to build a PC on a budget (yet value their silence nonetheless) we have also provided a respectable, yet economical, option as well.
Quietest PC Cases – My Recommendations
Best Budget Silent PC Case
Whether you’re a student low on resources, or simply looking to build a low-cost PC, the Corsair Carbide 100R Silent Edition case brings forth a plethora of quiet-focused features at a reasonably low price.
To achieve this edition’s “silent” distinction, Corsair has insulated the side panels with what they refer to as “noise-isolating” materials, hindering the sounds waves from exiting the case. In addition, for those unwilling to purchase PWM controlled fans or use integrated fan-control software, this case has a three-speed fan controller switch. This switch allows one to decrease the power dispersed to the case-fans in order to decrease their rotational speed, and the accompanying noise. Though a nice addition, it appears this would only seldomly be used.
Two (unlisted) 120mm fans are included with the Corsair Carbide 100R Silent Edition, while it can support up to another five fans via its internal mounts. The case itself is made of steel, which is admittedly better than plastic, but not quite the same quality as all-aluminum cases.
Connectivity wise, the case has a storage “drawer” which allows for tool-free access to 3.5” and 5.25” HD or SSD slots. The front side of the case has two USB 3.0 sockets, two audio jacks for headsets, and a power/restart button.
The cable management this case allows is decent, as it has a preinstalled mounted pathway for cables next to the motherboard tray.
The best feature of this case, however, is its price-tag. Currently selling for $61.30, the Corsair Carbide Series 100R Silent Edition is a great buy for a mid-tower, and relatively silent, PC case on a budget.
Best Silent Mini-Tower Case
When it comes to silent PC cases, its hard to find better options than what Fractal Design has to offer. This Scandinavian manufacturer is known for its minimalist designs, and top-quality level products.
The Fractal Design Define Mini C features industrial grade, sound-dampening material lined, steel side and front panels, leading to one of the quietest mATX PC cases in the market. In addition, an optional top filter is added, in case their sound-dampening ModuVent is removed to make use of the additional fan slots – of which this case has six. Two fans are included with the case, the high-quality Fractal Design Dynamic X2 GP-12 120mm fans certified for 100,000 hours of operation due to their long-life sleeve bearings, which output 52.3 CFM of airflow. Taking into account these high-quality fans, together with the included nylon filters on the front and base, and the high-airflow design incorporated into the frame of this case, the Fractal Define Mini C stays both cool and silent, despite its smaller size.
In fact, speaking of the size of this case, it is quite admirable the amount of connectivity the Fractal Define Mini C features. Five drives: two 3.5” HDDs and three 2.5” HDD/SSDs – making use of dedicated SSD plates behind the motherboard tray – as well as five PCI expansion slots; with the ability to house 315mm long GPUs models. Cable management is also made easier, via the use of a power supply shroud, concealing the drive cage and excess of cables. Finally, to mention, this case also has two USB 3.0 and audio jacks on front of the top panel.
If you are looking to buy this 33.4 liter, mini-tower case, it will currently cost you a modest $82, which is an excellent deal given the quality of build, the quality of design, and the included case fans that come with the Fractal Define Mini C; not to mention it being one of the most silent cases available.
Best Quiet Mid Tower PC Case
Much like Define Mini C, the Fractal Define R6 features the same industrial-grade sound dampening materials on the front and side panels – though this case also features the same materials on the top panel as well.
As opposed to the Mini C, this case offers versatile cooling, as it can house both an adequate airflow solution as well as water cooling. If one opts for the former, this case can hold either nine 120mm case fans (3x front, 3x top, 1x back, two bottom) or eight 140mm case fans (3x top, 2x front, 1x back 2x bottom). The case itself comes with three Dynamic X2 GP-14 140mm fans pre-installed (2x front, 1x back), which provide incredible levels of airflow. Each of these Fractal Design fans outputs 105.9 CFM of airflow at 1700 RPM, while having the same bearings as the aforementioned 120mm version fans equipped in the Mini C.
If you’d prefer water cooling, there is space for three radiators: one 420mm on top, one 360mm on the front, and one 280mm in the base. Additionally, there are nylon filters equipped on the front, top, and base, with full PSU coverage. The front of the top panel of this case has audio jacks, a USB-C port (as its name suggests), as well as two USB 2.0 and two USB 3.0 ports.
Connectivity wise, the open layout design and modular interior allow for high levels of customization. Six universal SSD/HDD trays that can be repositioned for cable management (or to free air flow paths), a power supply shroud to limit excess cabling, and two 2.5” SSD storage brackets behind the motherboard tray, all allow for high levels of adaptability. To further increase customization, the front door is reversible, and the top panel can be switched between a soundproof steel cover, or a filtered multi-fan ventilation. Cable routing grommets are also equipped to assist with cable management.
This 55.9-liter case: The Fractal Design Define R6 USB-C, can currently be purchased for $149, making it another great deal from Fractal Design, making for a quiet, and elegant, mid-tower case.
Best Silent Full-Tower Case
Probably the best case for professional workstation builds that feature flagship E/XL ATX or HPTX motherboards, the Deep Silence 6 Super Tower is an excellent choice for media production studios.
To maintain the status of its name, this case has “ultra thick metalwork”, decoupled drive mounts, and dense sound proofing materials – which are a combination of bitumen and foam. This bitumen foam insulation can be found both in the front and side panels of the case. There are two fan controllers: one behind the front sound-proof door, and one on the top side of the left panel, providing granular control over the fan speeds. The switch on the side raises two vents on the top of the case, turning the fans on automatically. A total of twelve, 120/140mm fan mounts (2x front, 1x rear, 3x top, 3x bottom, 2x side, 2x behind HDD cage) can be used, while the case itself includes five (2x top, 2x front, 1x back) rifle-bearing 140mm fans. This tower may be optimized for front-to-back airflow, as well as a water-cooling solution – with three radiator slots: one 360mm on the top, one 280mm behind the HDD cage, and one 140mm in the back, where there are four water hose guides.
In terms of drive bays, this case can hold a massive 18 drives: 10x 2.5/3.5” drives, and 6x 2.5” drives, as well as two extra drives using 5.25” to 3.5” adaptors. These drives are situated on 10 HDD sleds, and an SSD cage that can hold up to 6 drives. For cable management, there are nine rubberized cable guides and three dust filters are also included: two on the top and one on the bottom of the case.
Finally, in terms of slots, the DS6 features 4x USB 3.0, 2x USB 2.0 ports, and the standard audio jacks, all situated on the top panel, underneath a small cover that can be lifted to protrude the sockets.
The Deep Silence 6 Super Tower currently retails for $399, which is still quite the steal for its level of compatibility, amount of space, and of course, for the silence it offers.
Best Silent ITX Case
Finding a silent small form factor case can be quite the challenge, as options for silent – non-glass panel – cases are rare, and are usually found in the lower quality spectrum of cases. Thankfully, the Sliger SM550 has such high customizability that it allows you to opt for a more silent build at no extra cost.
The case features a brushed-anodized, all aluminum, 1.5mm thick frame with a 2mm top panel. Options for the side panels include tempered glass, unvented, and vented, with unvented being the recommended option for a silent build. Magnetic dust filters are also available, though at an extra cost. Despite the 12.6L size of the case, it can hold a full-sized, dual-slot, 305mm long and 155mm tall GPU. Cooling wise, the case can hold a 55mm tall CPU cooler – or a 92mm AIO water cooler – and two 120mm (25mm thick) case-fans on the bottom. For an extra $90, you can purchase a preset 645 LT liquid cooler for both Intel 115X or AMD AM4 setups.
Storage wise, the Sliger SM550 allows for two 2.5” SSD/HDD drives, while also providing the option to remove one (or both) of the bottom 120mm case-fans in order to add up an extra bracket of four 2.5” SSD/HDDs. This means the case can hold up to an impressive 10 storage drives, if both bottom fans are removed. A single PCIe 3.0 16x riser is also included with the case, while a bifurcated 2x PCIe 16x riser is available at an extra cost.
In the corner space between the front and side panels is where one can find the USB and audio ports. The SM550 includes one USB 3.1 Type C slot, one USB 3.0 Type A slot, and dual audio jacks.
If you are in the market for a quiet SFF case, the Sliger SM550 is your best bet. This case currently sells for $219, and offers a ton of customizability in every aspect of the build. Some of these customizations are free, some come at an extra cost, but overall, it brings quality and silence at an excellent price.