Wicked effective. Setting the fans on a very low setting (about 3-4V)is enough. I don't know the temps, but I think cpu is in mid 40s (C)when idle. Taking the side panel off increases the temperature...
You built it out of wood?
-Electromagnetic Emissions restriction for residential use will be violated causing interference to neighboring equipment.
-Since the chassis is not grounded you have probably violated your national electrical code.
-Wood is more flammable than metal or plastic. It will not contain any electrical fires or overheating. Probable fire code violation.
On the up side:
-The thick walls will reduce audible noise.
-It looks beautiful.
-Since the fans provide most of the cooling for a PC the loss of heat radiating surface (wood is an insulator) is probably negligible impact on cooling.
Well it's not wood per se, it's MDF (Medium Density Fibre board). And as far as I know, MDF doesn't warp (no long wood fibres).
The building cost was very roughly $150-$200. Many parts are scarp parts found in the garage, so that helped keep it down.
The temps are as follows.
Idle: cpu 46ºC, mobo 31ºC
Load: cpu 57ºC, mobo 35ºC
Comparing that to the same hardware (but with just two hdds instead offour) in my Cooler Master Cavalier 3 case I have cpu 61ºC, mobo 41ºCunder load. So I'd say the cooling in the built case it pretty good,yes.
Chassis ground is a safety requirement to prevent you from getting fried if say a 115V wire rubs through or gets pinched and shorts to a metal part (drive case, etc). The breaker won't trip because there is no return path to ground. The alternative is a double insulation system (absolutely no metal accessible on outside of case) like they use on hand held power tools.
MDF is flammable and before it catches fire the glue will gas off from heat producing toxic fumes (but then so does plastic). Most deaths in house fires result from fumes or carbon monoxide rather than from the flames.
You could help the EMI issue by using a metal foil on the insude of the case. They make an aluminum heating duct foil tape. It's what I use for my windsurfer antennas. It is shiny so it might make for an interesting reflector backgound for the case lighting too.
How much did the thick wood case help out with the noise level? I'm using 1/8 inch cork insulation on the side panels of my metal case and it helps a lot but cutting the noise out of the front air grill has defeated me. I'm thinking about a case mod to put the fans in the case bottom with 1/2 inch high feet.
First off, we use 230V here (so that's worse I guess ).But the PSU is still grounded (but the power cable) and that's the onlyplace in the case where there are 230V wires. If the PSU groundingfails it doesn't really matter if the case is metal or not. Wellacctually, it's probably better if it isn't since you won't get killedwhen touching it and ground at the same time.
As for noise, it's pretty silent. The problem is the fans turned out tobe low quality so the "tick" a bit when spinning. But the design itselfis good from that point of view. Large fans at low speed push a lot ofair at low noise. Using Papst or other low noise fans would probablymake the case very quiet. As I said the currect fans run at about 3-4 V(barely spinning really) which is enough. The PSU we used has a manualfan controller which can successfully be run on quite low setting. Withinsulation (and there would be enough space for that in the case), itcan probably be even quieter. The disk cage could easily be rubbermounted or otherwise silenced (larger cage or shroud).