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I want to build a HTPC for music/video/blu-ray playback (no gaming). I don't need an expensive HTPC case but just want to go with a standard medium tower case. However, I want it to be super silent so it doesn't make any annoying fan/disk noises when I watch movies. Ideally, it shouldn't make any noticeable noise at all.

I understand that choosing a board, CPU and graphic card that run cool and don't consume a lot of power is important for designing a quiet machine, and I think I got that covered. However, there are so many choices in regards to cases, fans and power supplies that it's hard to get started.

What are your recommendations for a case/fan (cpu+case)/power supply combination that run absolutely silent and can cool a standard Intel system with a low-power (possibly passively cooled) graphic card?

I'm usually a fan of Antec cases, would an Antec Mini P180 be a good starting point? If so, which case fans, CPU fan and power supply would you recommend?

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I don't know much about different cases and their effect on noise, but when I built my last PC I decided to try to build quiet and bought my fan based on the decibel rating from I found being able to compare ratings more helpful than other sites that just claimed the fan is ultra-quiet. I can walk about 15 feet from it and not know it is on.

In general a larger fan will move more air at a lower speed = quieter, more efficient cooling.

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I was going to suggest Antec myself; back in my PC days, I had great success with them. Sonata II and III were both great cases, very very quiet and well made.

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Have you considered Shuttle mini PCs? I have had mine for a good 5 years now and it hasn't caused any problems at all. There is a fan inside which I removed and some people modify and without that fan, I can't even tell that my PC is switched on. It is completely silent. I know you indicated mid tower but since its going to be a HTPC, you want them small and compact and portable. They cost slightly more but I can say that their build quality and reliability is up there with the rest. They look pretty cool too - which is a bonus.

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I recently bought an Antec 300 case and Antec TP-750 750W power supply, and they run pretty much silent. My CPU fan makes more noise than the case+ps, and even that is very quiet.

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