Case Insulation

Case Insulation

How To Silence Your Case With Insulation

You've probably seen articles on how to "quiet down your case". Most of these articles involve buying low-rpm fans, and quiet hard drives. We don't want low-rpm fans and quiet hard drives. We use The Card Cooler XT and four high output Sunon fans. So.. we decided to insulate our Antec SX1030 case with noise-dampening insulation.

Home Depot, baby

The journey started at Home Depot. We knew we needed insulation, but we didn't know what kind. Home Depot had tons of different types of insulation, but we picked the R Max "R-Matt Plus" because this insulation was thin and it looked like it would dampen sound pretty well. No I don't know anything about insulation, but I did sleep at a Holiday Inn Express last night.

After getting this bad boy home it was time to wait until next week to finish the project.

A week goes by....

A week later we still hadn't given any thought into how we were going to go about doing this project, so we decided to wing it. Lucky for you it was us winging it and not you! Obviously I can't tell you how to go about modding your specific case, but this should give you some good tips to get started. We started by removing both side panels from our SX1030 case. We pretty much estimated where we should cut the insulation and drew a few lines with a sharpy. We then proceeded to cut out the pieces of insulation and attach the mounting tape. Then we simply stuck the insulation to the inner side of the panels. The side panels were really easy to do, with no measuring required. Since we had about 20 square feet of insulation left (we used about three) we decided to hit up the top and bottom of the case, too. I busted out the measuring stick and proceeded to regulate on the case. I came to the conclusion 15inx7in for the bottom and 16inx7in for the top. After cutting it, and putting on the adhesive we tried to put it in the case.

Ruh roh.. problems arise

Obviously we should have tried to put it in the case BEFORE putting on the adhesive. It turned out we overestimated the room inside the case. Three of four cuts later we had that bad boy chopped down to size, that'll teach it! We plastered in the top and the bottom. Note that we had to take out the bottom fan to put in the bottom piece, but then put the fan right back in after we got the insulation down. Also note that you *CAN'T* have any drives in your top drive bay, there simply isn't enough room.

With the top and bottom now in place, we decided to put the two side panels onto the case. Putting on the non-door side panel first we realized that we, again, didn't cut the insulation small enough. There needs to be about a 1" clearance gap on the right side of the door (looking from the non-insulation side) for it to fit, because of the way the door fits into the case. While pressing the door as hard as possible I was able to get the screws in, and that was at, a done deal.

Now I moved to the latching door. I had already cut a hole for the latch obviously, and I cut about a 1" gap on the left side of the door (looking from the non-insulation side) to fit inside the case. I go to put it in, and of course, it doesn't fit. I saw the insulation was hitting the two removable drive bay latches so I again went back to work and cut two holes for the latches. By now two hours had past since we had all the pieces cut, and I was getting frustrated. I tried the door again, and we had a no go. Houston we have a problem. Celcho and I examined the door for about 10 minutes to figure out what exactly was getting in the way. It turns out that the latching door has to have about 1" clearance on the top and the bottom of the door, too. After cutting the last cut, it worked.

Conclusion

In fact, it worked much better than I had anticipated. The latching door goes on very easily, and there is a significant decrease in the noise coming from the case. Of course it didn't make the case silent, since the parts that make noise are the fans.. which unfortunately are located near the only holes in the insulation. Despite this, the insulation worked extremely well. I can't hear my hard drive churn or my CPU fan burn any more. I would only recommend this project to a proficient case-modder, though. Because of the time and turmoil involved in installing this insulation it's not really an "easy fix" to noise in your case. Oh yeah.. and if you try this at home and ruin your computer or kill yourself, it's not our fault. So don't blame us!
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