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Designing a new case.... a quick quesitionaire?

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October 10, 2003 7:09:26 PM

Hi guys,

I am a final year undergraduate studying Industrial design and i am redesigning the computer case... Perhaps some of you would have time to answer some very quick questions to help me on the way?

In a new case you bought....

1).How many 5.25" drive bays would you require?
2).How many 3.5" drive bays would you want?
3).Would there have to be room for every PCI card to accomaodate full-length PCI cards. If No, how many would you want?

List in order of importance (highest first) what you would look for in a new case...

Silent Operation, High Power PSU, Styling, Excellent Heat Dissapation, Ease of Assembling a System inside, Price, Unique Design.

Any other comments you wish to make like things you would like ot see in a new design would also be very much welcome.

Either reply to the post or email me direct on cddrs@lboro.ac.uk

Thanks
October 10, 2003 7:51:37 PM

4 5 1/4
2 3 1/2

4 Internal 3 1/2
October 11, 2003 4:49:57 AM

The biggest thing to remember is that a case has to be very long for any drives below the top of the board to clear it. I have lots of midtowers that simply CAN'T use CD drives in the lower bays because they hit the motherboard before going in all the way.

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October 11, 2003 6:16:50 AM

I use 2 5.25" drives, but the standard is usually 2 to 4.

1 external 3.5" used, with a mid tower range of between 1 to 3.

Internal 3.5" drive bays vary alot, depending on the desing and if there is a bottom cage that mounts vertical drives.
(5 drive removable cage in mine)

Order of importance:
Excellent heat dissapation (aluminium + 6 casefans)
styling (blaaaaaaaack) :) 
silent operation
ease of assembling
unique design
price

As i get PSU's as extra's the quality of the PSU (or lack of) isnt a factor.

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I am not a Via fanboy.
I am not a ATI fanboy.
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October 13, 2003 3:10:26 PM

Quote:
1).How many 5.25" drive bays would you require?

How many would I <i>require</i>? Two. How many would I want bays for? Four or five. With as many front-panel devices that take up a 5.25" bay these days, and with the standard being two optical drives, three just isn't enough. So more than three is the magic number in my opinion.

Quote:
2).How many 3.5" drive bays would you want?

Two, <i>maybe</i> three. Definately no less.

Quote:
3).Would there have to be room for every PCI card to accomaodate full-length PCI cards. If No, how many would you want?

Every? No. At <i>least</i> two though.

Quote:
List in order of importance (highest first) what you would look for in a new case...

Silent Operation, High Power PSU, Styling, Excellent Heat Dissapation, Ease of Assembling a System inside, Price, Unique Design.

Silence, Airflow, Style, PSU, Ease, Price.

Quote:
Any other comments you wish to make like things you would like ot see in a new design would also be very much welcome.

As I see it, most cases have two major flaws: A CPU-centric airflow and noise-allowing vent holes. If you're <i>lucky</i> the hard drives are cooled by the front intake. PCI cards are all but ignored, as is the RAM. And hopefully the venting doesn't allow too much fan noise to slip out of your case.

Now with research you can find a case with a million fans that hopefully can be used to create a good airflow around <i>all</i> of the components in the case without them countering each other. But then you have noise from your case fans and you can either get low RPM fans that don't cool well, or you live with the noise.

A while back I came up with a new design. I wish that someone out there would start using it. It's based on an S-shaped (but rotated 90 degrees) airflow pattern created by the case housing where the side panes are actually doubled to create air passageways. The intake is on the left side and runs from the top of the outside down into the bottom of the case. The exhaust is on the right side and runs from the top of the inside of the case and down out to the bottom of the outside. The power supply is even rotated so that it's exhaust goes through this exhaust channel instead of straight outside of the case. Other than the intake and exhaust channels the case would have NO vents. (This is why even the power supply is housed internally and exhausts through the exhaust channel.) At the top of the exhaust channel inside the case is mounted an array of fans along the side of the case, preferable 92mm or 120mm so that they can be low RPM but move a lot of air. And the intake channel would of course have a nice filter at the top of the case that has very easy access and thus makes it easy to remove and clean.

It would look something like the crude ASCII picture below:

<font color=blue>in</font color=blue>/------\
| |        |
| |      | |
| |      | |
| |      | |
| |      | |
| |      | |
|____|<font color=red>out</font color=red>

Why do this? First of all it creates an airflow through the case that will cool EVERY component. Second of all it allows you to put an accoustical material layer on the inside-facing layers of the case while the outside layers of the case still serve as cooling fins. Third it also creates a nearly sound-proof seal where ALL of the fans are contained <i>inside</i> of the case (power supply exhaust fan included) and the air intake is oriented to not allow sound to escape either.

This framework would make the case wider and a little taller, but the air channel exterior shell could easily be fit onto a standard case skeleton frame so long as the skeleton's frame has a completely open top.

Of course the benefits of the design are all theory since I don't have the materials to make a case like this to test. And ideally the CPU cooler should then be something designed to move the air in a vertical direction. (Although a standard heatsink with the fan set to suck air through the heatsink instead of blow down onto it and with an elbow tube to guide the exhaust air upwards into the exhaust channel of the case should work just fine.)

The only real flaws to the case as far as I can see them are that the case is larger to create the air channels, there is no way to put in a side-panel window (well, without putting in two anyway), and that the power supply hatch in the exhaust-side panel should be an interesting design challenge to overcome.

And for asthetics I see the top of the case bevelled widely so that the intake filter is angled to allow the intake filter to have a larger surface area, the exhaust channel has a angle to guide the air down better than just a 90 degree meeting of walls, and a front-audio and I/O collection as well as the activity LEDs and power/reset buttons can be mounted on the front bevel for easy user access.

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