When you are building a system and want it to not make too much noise, it helps when you use silent fans, coolers and power supply. If you truly want a silent PC, however, you need to start with the right computer chassis. Cooler Master recently introduced the Silencio 650, and Corsair released the Obsidian 550D, both cases in a similar price bracket and with an explicit emphasis on silent running. We took a closer look at both chassis to see which one cools the best and makes the least amount of noise. Since round-ups are one of our specialties, we put these two new chassis next to the Antec Sonata Solo II and five more cases that sell themselves as being silent to find out which chassis is the most silent of them all.
A silent computer case is not necessarily one with thick, sound-dampening mats. Vibration is also a significant source of noise, and can actually be more obtrusive than the constant hum of a fan or fans. A chassis therefore needs to be sturdy and stable enough and have features that help prevent or absorb vibration. Silent case fans are obviously a must.
The recently launched Silencio 650 by Cooler Master and the Obsidian 550D from Corsair take a very similar approach. Both have sound-dampening material, silent fans and features to prevent vibration. Which chassis implemented these features better will become clear after we submit them to our rigid testing procedure.
The Corsair Obsidian 550D costs an average of £116, and the Cooler Master Silencio 650 about £105. Other "silent" chassis we added to the round-up include the Antec Performance One P280 (£101), the Cooler Master Silencio 550 (£67), the Antec Sonata Solo II, the Bitfenix Raider, the Gelid Darkforce and the Nexus Prominent R.