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Case Study: Need Input and Suggestions for build =)

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December 29, 2005 8:51:24 PM

I am near deciding my first custom built rig! Of course, the case has been most arduous decision really... so... I need some input.

Budget: Willing to spend 100 dollars, give 10 or 20 if abosloutely necessary, lower the better. Just don't want to sacrifice too much quality.
Case Goals:
1.) Cooling, (not going to OC a lot, but will some. Just want it cool as ice) good circulation.
2.) Design: Just want STABLE and RELIABLE. Want this to last a while. PSU I am replacing anyways, so no need worry about a good PSU coming with case.
3.) Layout to be easy, (enough for first time builder, not complete n00b at building, replaced parts on old rig and stuff plenty but this first full on custom build from scratch) large enough, fans and wires to be good (psu will replace, dont want to fans really or wires...) just want a great layout for the parts going in.

And yeah. Here are some cases I've been looking at and seen good reviews from forums:

Cooler Master Centurion RC-531 99 dollars. No reviews on newegg... so like some here if possible =) (pertaining to my goals and everything)
or cheaper:

XION Black XION II XON-103 nice 60 dollar price. Input on this one?

Or any others within price range and all goals =)
December 29, 2005 11:12:45 PM

congrats

This case I one of the best on the market. It is $20 over what you want to spend, but trust me you will enjoy the pure greatness of it.

It's easy to build in, made of aluminum, quiet, and there is a removable mobo tray.

I have built many computers useing this case. Spend the extra cash you'll be happy.

Although if you do want to go cheap there are other Lian Li that dont have windows. but, are just as good.

They come in silver too.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E1681...

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E1681...

Have fun :) 
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December 30, 2005 8:27:42 AM

You're right and they're wrong on value, the RC-531 is quite excellent. The power supply is probably worth close to $20, you can always use it for another, less potent system.

You can read a full review of the case at SysOpt. Three things that stand out as "less than perfect" are the power and reset buttons (feel loose and plasticy) and the chromed plastic nuts on the side window trim (they look like...chromed plastic). The build quality for these cases is excellent, they use very durable materials, the finish is also extremely durable, and the face panel, an aluminum extrusion with a plastic liner, is very heavy. That extra weight up front reduces drive noise. Oh yes, these are a pleasure to use.

Cooling for the RC-531 is of a great design, but you will need to add a rear fan to make it perfect. The case only comes with a front fan. My testing shows you don't really need the front fan to keep the CPU cool, so if you prefer you can relocate it to the rear and forgoe buying another fan.

Testing with a highly overclocked Prescott revealed that simply using a rear fan provides the same cooling effect as testing the board in wide open air. The chipset gets a little additional benefit of the air being pulled past it.

Basically you're not going to find a much better cooling solution than a perfectly designed 120mm fan holder front and rear. You don't even need "good" fans, an 1100RPM fan will keep the thing running cool and quiet.

One thing I didn't test was the added benefit of a power supply with it's own 120mm fan. Obviously a 120mm fan above the CPU, pulling air out of the case, will improve cooling even more!

Your goals, stable and reliable, have the RC-531 written on them. As for these other guys, they're just showing you what looks cool.
December 30, 2005 8:29:24 AM

I forgot to mention the other case you showed, the Xion...looks cheap.

If you want a $60 case, get the RC-531 without window or power.
December 30, 2005 5:24:28 PM

Alright Crashman, thank you! Exactly the review I wanted, from a very trusted source! =) Why I asked on Xion, I was thinking similar. And RC-531 looks like a winner, went to sysopt read review. Good enough! I dont care about cheap "flimsey" buttons... and can always add a fan later moving to rear sounds doable. This looks like my case however, found another well received one, same price range (99):

Antec LifeStyle SONATA II

Anyone have this? Crashman know? =) Only real other case Id consider to the RC-531
December 30, 2005 7:25:32 PM

Let's clear one thing up, I wasn't "...just showing you what looks cool" as Crashman alludes. The Antec case in my opinion IS a better case. Amongst other things it is all aluminum, not just the bezel as in the case of the Coolermaster. Not to say the Coolermaster case is not a good one, it is, and it may be a better fit for your budget, especially since it does come with a power supply. But let's be real, between the two cases, I do think the Antec is better, by far. Just wanted to set the record straight, since I don't like being accused of being "just for show", especially by someone who, by self admission, needs something as big as the internet to house his ego.
December 30, 2005 8:15:45 PM

Hey, thanks, but aluminum is also "just for show" :p 
December 30, 2005 9:06:15 PM

You would spend $100 on a case?

Are you mad?

Mine cost me a whopping $21

Including a not so bad PSU.

When i finally post a pic of my PC you lot will all die from laughter.

My monitor is almost a decade old. No bs.
December 31, 2005 1:41:28 AM

A friend of mine got a whopping 30 dollar case and a month later the hardrive cageing broke off and his 300gb beauty tumbled to it's metally death, also came missing some parts. But if you are happy with yours, great. I wont want to take that chance =) I dont plan on changing cases for a few years.

And which Antec case, Cache? The Sonata II I listed or the one you did, P-160W? Or both? =)
December 31, 2005 2:37:23 AM

Commodore, I think the Sonata II and Coolermaster RC-531 are about toss-ups to me. I do prefer the Antec power supply a bit over the Coolermaster, but otherwise for me it's which do you think looks better. The big advantage of the Antec P160W is that being all aluminum, it will weigh much less than steel. If you're not moving your computer around much, or at all, probably not important then. But if you go to lan parties, or move your computer tower around, the weight savings are evident. Aluminum cases are only negligibly cooler than steel counterparts, all else being equal.
December 31, 2005 12:53:59 PM

Quote:
congrats

This case I one of the best on the market. It is $20 over what you want to spend, but trust me you will enjoy the pure greatness of it.

It's easy to build in, made of aluminum, quiet, and there is a removable mobo tray.

I have built many computers useing this case. Spend the extra cash you'll be happy.

Although if you do want to go cheap there are other Lian Li that dont have windows. but, are just as good.

They come in silver too.


Hes right, this case was thought out to keep everything chilly. Great design and does the job more than enough for planing to just overclock a little. I just got an ANTEC P180 Case. They're dab ssa. Steel and black spoiler look really good on it. They come with three 120mm fans and room for two more fans in the front. mwave sells these for $118. Newegg is selling it for $124. This case also has a three year warranty and is so sturdy.

Man, you have a lot of suggestions good luck.

Marcus
December 31, 2005 4:04:08 PM

Now you made me worry...

I was considering getting the same case as one of my friend's dad, but i can fine it anywhere, it looks very MyPCisfasterthanyours. I think it was a limited offer and you cant buy from corex(SA supplier) very easily.

I am just about to get myself a nice shiny new graphics card, but it is an R580 and therefore not out yet, and if i know ATI it wont be out too soon despite their promises.
December 31, 2005 6:06:36 PM

I really like Lian Li case.
I have 2 Lian Li PC-6X cases.
Definitely recommand them.
January 1, 2006 3:44:21 AM

Well if the 50$ version of RC-531 is the same as 99, just no PSU or window, seems like still a great case right? I mean is it worth spending 50 more for window (will replace psu anyways).
January 1, 2006 3:53:10 AM

I wouldn't pay $48 for a window if I didn't want the PSU.
January 1, 2006 4:28:58 AM

As I thought... i wont be using that psu, the window is neat but I'll live without, if thats ALL thats different of 50 dollar version, if everything else reviewed and you say is there, (confirm if is, should be I know) then well heck, i say thats a good deal =)
January 1, 2006 4:34:49 AM

Quote:
congrats

This case I one of the best on the market. It is $20 over what you want to spend, but trust me you will enjoy the pure greatness of it.


I would have to agree with Pwnage, excellent case and extremely easy to change out hardware with the motherboard tray.
a b ) Power supply
January 1, 2006 11:05:41 PM

Quote:

Case Goals:
1.) Cooling, (not going to OC a lot, but will some. Just want it cool as ice) good circulation.
2.) Design: Just want STABLE and RELIABLE. Want this to last a while. PSU I am replacing anyways, so no need worry about a good PSU coming with case.
3.) Layout to be easy, (enough for first time builder, not complete n00b at building, replaced parts on old rig and stuff plenty but this first full on custom build from scratch) large enough, fans and wires to be good (psu will replace, dont want to fans really or wires...) just want a great layout for the parts going in.


Maybe this is too "old school" but howbout a tower case like an Enermax CSF710 or the Antec Perf TX1088?

The Enermax is VERY well cooled, built like a tank, and has LOTs of room to work in. It's $50 + $23 shipping at Circotech.com

The Antec is the same thing with 120mm fans instead of 80s, and includes a decent PSU (TruePower 480 2.0). NewEgg has it for $139 + $19.

Since you dont need a PSU the Enermax looks perfect for the criteria listed. Tons of space inside makes for easy installs and runs cool.
January 2, 2006 5:03:29 PM

If you are willing try getting an old server case, they fit most motherboards, have MILES of space and they keep everything running at quite a low temperature, go to some old business that is replacing their stuff, also the Power supplies you get with those are usually very good too, even when old.
January 2, 2006 5:35:19 PM

hmm interesting idea for sure! Any particular ones? Maybe off newegg?
a b ) Power supply
January 2, 2006 5:53:33 PM

The Enermax and Antec cases I mentioned are "old server" cases, hence the "old school" reference. I will get you URLs in a few minutes...
January 2, 2006 6:00:33 PM

Damned if i know, sorry. And did anyone notice that the christmas hat on the tg sign is gone, good riddance.
a b ) Power supply
January 2, 2006 6:07:03 PM

Also, the used market will be a great value, just beware of non-standard proprietary designs that won't accept industry std items... I'm thinking of stuff from IBM, Compaq and Dell Dell Dell Damn!
January 2, 2006 6:08:33 PM

Get the first one, niiiiiice. Looks like it is on sale too.
January 2, 2006 6:16:36 PM

Hey, the classic Cheiftech Dragon, and the updated version!
a b ) Power supply
January 2, 2006 6:30:47 PM

Absolutely! :D 
January 4, 2006 2:17:51 PM

Newf is right you can get some killer deals on second hand suff esp software, i got a copy of act of war that is in pristine condition for only R145, divide by ~6 to 7 for USD so about 22 dollars, for overseas that might be bad but for here not even games 3 years old are that cheap.
!