The 10 Best Quiet PC Cases for a Silent PC Build

Kaelum Ross

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Sep 3, 2020

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Hear that?

It’s the wonderful sound of a silent PC case!

Years ago, having a loud computer was almost a boast point, “check out my huge, high-RPM fans through my thin case window!” one would shout over the sound of their jet-engine PC.

Thankfully, today, there has been an emergence of really great cases that focus on various noise-dampening padding/insulation, modular components to reduce fan requirements/isolate vibrating parts, and many other factors. These features combine into a desktop that is capable of outputting extremely low decibels whether you are idling or testing the computer to its limits.

Whether it’s for home theatre (HTPC), gaming, streaming, video editing, or music/studio production, here are the best quiet PC cases available for all budgets, tastes, and sizes (looking at you, mATX/Mini-ITX builders).

 Table of Contents
 

Best Overall: Fractal Design Define 7

What a case this is.

The latest version in a long line of excellent silence-optimized mid-tower cases, what really makes the Define 7 so impressive is how well it balances silence with cooling.

The assumption with a silent case is that you are having to sacrifice a great deal in the way of airflow and heat management for the quietest performance.

But the Define 7 has a great track record of ranking very well in component heat tests (often out-scoring many other PC cases that are much louder!).

The sound dampening panels covering most of the case offer excellent low-decibel levels during idling and high load.

The case comes with 3 pre-installed Fractal fans designed for low noise output.

If your heart is set on water-cooling however, the Define 7 has a fantastic setup and radiator space availability to cater to you.

The Define 7 has all the usual features you’d expect in a good PC case, lots of space for HDDs/SSDs, large enough to fit nearly all GPUs (but make sure to check based on your size requirements, other cases below if you are looking for something huge) and a front panel that includes a USB 3.1 Type-C, 2 x USB2.0, 2 x USB3.0 & headphone/mic ports.

The case boasts great customization also, with plenty of modular parts including 6 universal drive trays that you can remove or reposition depending on the need of your components, airflow, and cabling.

If you are willing to sacrifice a bit of the quietness for more fans you can install up to 9 140mm fansthough you will be fine with far less.

The non-window version is also the best minimalist PC case we have come across. But if you choose the windowed version, know that its panel is tempered glass so you’ll be well placed to display your customized PC (without sacrificing too much sound dampening compared to the non-window version).

It’s true that the case is on the expensive side, but the Define 7 hits the sweet spot between price, performance, and quietness (remember you’re also getting 3 high-quality pre-installed fans also). 

Put simply, if you’re serious about making a quiet build, this is the best silent PC case on the market overall.

Like the case but out of stock or want something a tad cheaper? The previous R5 version is an excellent second option, or check out the other Fractal cases below.

Best Overall Runner-Up: Be Quiet! Silent Base 801

Very close behind the R6 is one of the latest Be Quiet! models. You can probably tell that this brand has an interest in noise cancellation from its name!

The German-made Silent Base 801 performs excellently in both heat and noise tests, with three 140mm Pure Wings 2 Be Quiet! fans pre-installed and a very impressive array of modular customization availability with its HDD/SSD slots and removable insulation mats should you desire a boost in cooling over quietness, the system already has everything you need to get a great silent build up and running.

Some users have reported problems with previous versions of the case fitting their desired components (such as E-ATX motherboards) however the dimensions of the 801 seem apt for a majority of user requirements (including E-ATX, just make sure to check the dimension capability for your parts).

One great feature of the 801 is the fan controller switch on the top of the case near the power button (from 1-3 and an “auto” setting), this is great for those users who want to have more control over their fans (say you wanted to turn them up to max while you were among and wearing a pair of noise-canceling headphones, but turn down if you were recording something). If you have your eye on another case on this list though, don’t worry, there is plenty of good software available for fan control.

If for whatever reason you prefer the design or something else the 801 offers over the R6, I don’t think you’ll be disappointed in choosing this case.

Best Budget Choice: Corsair 100R Silent Edition

For a sub-$100 case, the 100R is a very impressive mid-tower value option.

One 120mm fan is included and a maximum of 5 can be installed (we would recommend at least buying a second fan to give yourself manageable airflow, more if you plan on overclocking or running a bulky gaming/editing rig).

The 100R comes with the usual power/audio buttons and USB ports (just 2) on the front with all the HDD/SSD/Universal Drive support you are likely to need on a budget build.

With a decreased price comes decreased features, there is little modular/customization option for the various drive bays (meaning more risk of vibration and a less pleasing aesthetic). Some of the general build quality is less impressive than the more expensive cases on this list (e.g. plastic thumb screws and cheaper quality noise-dampening panels)

That being said, for the price point, the case still manages to output low noise levels over many other popular PC cases. It boasts a really impressive value and if you’re a new builder, some of the modular options available in the other cases may be more than you’re looking for if you’re a beginner too. The 100R will be quick and easy to get up and running even if it isn’t the best noise option.

A common question is what case wins in a battle between the Corsair 100R vs 200R. Bear in mind that while the 200R comes with some marginally improved features/cooling, it’s not a case focussed on noise-canceling (there’s a reason the 100R called the “silent edition”!).

You’re not going to get the silence and quality from something like the R6 or 801, but if you are on a budget, this is a great option and will do you well for a quieter build.

Best Silent MicroATX Case: Fractal Design Define Mini C

Creating a mATX build? This case is a fantastic option.

Pre-installed with 2 Fractal Design Dynamic X2 GP-12 120 mm fans with all the usual top buttons and ports (only 2 USB3.0, but this is standard on a mATX unit).

Just like its larger R6 counterpart, the case comes with great customization capability, with removable bays/filters depending on your component and airflow needs (up to 5 bays and 5 PCI expansion slots available).

If you’re concerned about having enough cooling options, this case comes with space for up to 7, excellent for an mATX.

The Mini C performs very well in noise level tests against the mATX competition while maintaining good airflow with solid cable management options and enough space for a dual GPU setup should you need it.

It’s very impressive how much freedom Fractal has managed to put into a mATX case, not only ar your customization options reach, but they’re balanced against a really impressive noise-dampening layout.

If you’re looking for a Micro ATX case with a focus on silence, you will be hard-pressed to find better than this (but if you want something different, check out our second mATX option below).

Best Silent Mini-ITX Case: Fractal Design Define Nano S

I know what you’re thinking, “another Fractal case?”. Hear me out!

It just so happens Fractal really have managed to create wonderful offerings in all 3 of the most popular case size categories, there’s no point in switching the products across our top picks if one name has done it best!

When it comes to Mini ITX specifically, there is really no other case that comes close right now. The Nano S defies what little space it has to still offer impressively quiet readings (with high-quality noise-dampening filters and 2 quiet fans pre-installed) as well as running at decent temperatures and allowing for suitable cable management and airflow.

As always with Mini-ITX builds, be extra careful on the parts you’re installing and their size requirements. That being said, the Nano S has managed an impressive inner dimension against its competitors despite its tiny size (the case somehow manages to fit some of the largest GPUs on the market!).

Come with the usual ports and buttons on the front panel (including 2xUSB3.0), support of up to 4 drives including 2 dedicated SSD areas, 2 expansion slots, and up to fans (for such a small machine, this is great!).

In such a tiny case dedicated to silence, it’s incredible what balance is managed here, this is a no brainer for any mITX builder.

Best High-End Silent Case: Be Quiet! Pro 900 Full Tower

If budget isn’t a word you care about, the Be Quiet! Pro 9000 is a fantastic option.

In terms of noise reduction, there is certainly diminishing returns after the price points that the Fractal R6 or Be Quiet! 801 sit at. You’re not getting too much of an improvement on the search for silence by spending more on this case (it’s still one of the best on the market for low noise).

That being said, the case has very impressive space given its full-tower specification, modular capabilities, and control. With 5 relocatable/removable HDD slots (and support for up to 10 SSDs) and many other customization options within the case to get the airflow/presentation you want; the large dimensions make this a great option for most E-ATX/XL-ATX motherboards (think you need bigger? Keep reading below).

Be Quiet! have made sure to make this unit very capable of water-cooling, with 4 areas for radiators of up to 420mm, or 7 additional fans if air cooling is your preferred route. You have so much space to play with here, if you’re building something truly monstrous, this case will be a great option.

Included are 3 Silent Wings 140mm PWM fans to get your build up and running with close to no noise. The case has the most feature-filled front panel on the list, with an advanced fan controller to control your cooling with your noise requirements, USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type C port and on the Rev 2. version, a QI charger on the top of the case.

It has a high price tag, but if you’re building something very expensive with overclocking, multi-GPUs, and other high-cost/large things in mind (or if you just like the additional features) the Pro 900 is close to the quietest you can get with a large PC today.

Other Options

None of the above take your fancy? Below are our other recommendations and all great cases on the journey to building a silent PC:

Corsair Carbide Series 678C Low-Noise Case

Another option in the price range similar to the R6/801 that comes from a great brand, Corsair has built a PC case the performs great across noise and cooling benchmarking.

The case is surrounded by a rich amount of sound-dampening material, with the option to remove it out for dust filters should your cooling be more of a priority to you.

3 high-quality silent fans included with a maximum space of 9 (at 120mm), not to mention water-cooling capabilities with space for multiple radiators, the 678C hasn’t compromised on performance options for silence.

It comes with modular capabilities not too dissimilar from the R6/801, with plenty of space for your HDDs, SSDs, and drives (and the option to remove the casing you don’t use).

You may also be drawn to this case by its sleek design, the white color option boasts a great look for someone wanting something a little different.

The front panel has the usual ports/buttons and also includes a USB3.1/Type C port – note that it only has 2 USB ports, however (3.0).

The R6 and 801 perform marginally better in noise tests and offer a slightly better value point, but if you are drawn to this case, we say go for it, it’s still a great option.

Cooler Master Silencio S400 mATX Mini-Tower

Our other Micro-ATX recommendation, the S400 vs Mini C was a close race and this one certainly deserves your consideration.

The case performs great across noise tests with good noise-dampening material surrounding it (a mix of vinyl, foam, and steel) while still offering great ventilation options (including optional dust filters)

Two Silencio FP 120mm PWM comes pre-installed, offering you a great starting point for cooling – the S400 comes with space for up to 6 more fans, or 3 radiators for a water-cooling build (impressive for such a small case!).

Comes with space for 1 ODD, 4 HDDs and 2 SSDs (and the ability to remove unwanted bays). The usual ports are seen on the front panel (2xUSB3.0) with an SD card reader also.

A small feature some of you might appreciate is the reversible door hinge setup, if you want the front panel of your PC to open the other way to the standard right side, this might be a positive USP for you.

With great modular options, cooling, noise levels, and large inner dimensions considering its small size, this case is a great option for you if you weren’t attracted to the Mini C.

Deep Silence 6 Super-Tower ATX Case

Trying to fit a skyscraper into your case? We haven’t forgotten you!

While the Be Quiet! 900 PRO is our preferred full-tower choice if your desired build fits that case’s dimensions, if you want the largest case on the market with a focus on silence, here it is!

Deep Silence 6 is designed to have all of the impressive features the cases above have, including very quiet noise levels with its sophisticated sound-dampening materials, fan controllers, customization/modular options (with up to 18 HDD/SSD slots!).

With high-quality silent fans pre-installed and the option of up to 7 more, the case is in great shape for cooling. One of the downsides of the case is the setup in some of its space makes it challenging to get an ideal water-cooling silent setup (due to some of the limitations of the top panel, you are likely going to have some slight sound leakage) – if you’re looking at water cooling we would suggest the 900 PRO if possible, or keep your radiators off the top panel.

This thing is truly a beast and the only case on the list capable of HPTX motherboards, if you have a very demanding component size and cooling requirements but still don’t want to compromise on a silent build, the DS6 is your best option.

Like the sound of the Deep Silence cases but not this one? While we wouldn’t recommend them over the above cases, they are certainly not bad choices – check out the Deep Silence 3 or Deep Silence 5 for other options.

Thermaltake Suppressor F31 Mid Tower Case

To round up our list we have included another cheap option from a great PC hardware brand.

While not out-performing most of the competition on this list in regards to silence or cooling, it certainly holds its own at its price point and is impressively quiet for a case in the $100 range with high-quality sound dampening-panels on the front, side, and back.

The case has great options for air cooling and water cool builders alike, with 2 pre-installed 140mm fans and decent space for radiators and up to 6 fans in total.

The F31 has great modular options too, you’ll be able to remove the unnecessary drives for your cabling/airflow preferences, and with the case boasting 8 expansion slots, you’ll have a good amount of room to fit an ambitious build.

This is certainly a time where “last but not least” applies, if your budget is around the $100 mark, this is a really solid case and strike a great balance between price, silence, and cooling.

Why no NZXT option?

We know a lot of readers really enjoy the design of NZXT or have a positive history with the brand, but we simply can’t recommend any of their cases when considering a silent build, the ones above are far superior and we would strongly suggest them. If your heart is really set on NZXT, the H510 has performed OK on some noise benchmarking tests, combined with quiet fans/water-cooling you could still achieve a quiet build.

Further Advice on a Silent PC Build

The importance of cooling

As a lot of the above alludes to, the setup of your PC cooling and airflow is an integral part of what level of silence you’re going to build.

Below we talk about the hardware cooling requirements but remember: the physical layout of your PC is also key. Make sure when building your silent PC, you remove unneeded trays/disc shelves, neatly arrange your cables and position your parts to allow for airflow. Doing so means you have less cooling requirements and thus, less noise!

Is water cooling quieter than fan/air cooling? If you are running a very intensive build (I’m talking full-tower or a beefy mid-tower, expensive GPU/CPU with lots of other inner components) then water cooling will be your best choice (not just for silence, but for the advantages of superior cooling in general) as the problem with fan noise tends to appear when you have a high quantity and they’re all blasting at maximum RPM.

For an average build, unless budget really isn’t a concern, we would say stick to fans. Frankly, the expense of water cooling isn’t necessary unless you’re running a monstrous build (or really like the aesthetic), just make sure you get fans that are designed for quiet performance as discussed below.

Want the absolute optimal setup for cooling and silence? Then get both! This may sound like an odd answer but it’s the truth. If you have both fans and water cooling system in place, your fans can run at low RPM and the water cooling at low speeds; the real noise comes from when either system is working hard. So for silence, keep your coolers running low.

Quietest PC Case Fans: We strongly recommend picking up some Noctuna NF-S12A FLX fans which rank excellently on noise tests and are the closest to silent PC fans you’ll find.

Quietest traditional CPU Cooler: This is an easy one, the Be Quiet! Dark Rock 4 is the choice for a CPU cooler with a focus on silence. In noise benchmarking, this cooler is nearly always top of the list for silence and still ranks excellently on keeping CPU temperatures low.

Quietest CPU Water Cooler: We recommend the Corsair Hydro Series115i, the included fans are specialized for very low noise even at high-stress levels and the included Corsair software has a zero RPM mode that can adjust to zero RPM (silence!) when the fans aren’t actively needed. On top of this, the Hydro is a fantastic cooler in its own right regardless of its impressively low noise levels.

Final quick-fire tips for a silent PC

Glass panel vs no panel cases: If you care about silence, have a PC case without a window is going to be the quieter option. However, with the high-quality cases above mostly using thick tempered glass, the difference isn’t severe if you want to show off your beautiful build!

Go for SSDs over HDDs: Hard drives are prone to vibrate and spin at high speeds, you’ll likely be familiar with this noise. If you can’t afford a full SSD build, then just make sure to put your OS and most used applications on your SSD space.

High-quality PSU: Getting a Power supply that can more than handle your needs is important to reduce noise (similarly to your cooling, if a PSU is under heavy load, it’s going to be noisy!). We recommend the Fractal Design Ion+ range (high wattage is better but even the low watt options will cover most builder’s needs) – excellent performance, noise ratings and user options to set the PSU fan to zero RPM at low loads.

Keep it clean: Dust and any other build up in your PC will cause the cooling to work harder for the performance. Clean regularly with compressed air for silence and a healthy machine.

Finally, enjoy the sound of silence!

 

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