I have posted under the Homebuild PC forum about the rest of my new DIY PC, but I haven't really made my mind up about the case yet. There is so many to choose from, I have given up, and decided to go by looks (very shallow, I know....), but that's difficult to judge online without being able to see the case and be able to touch it...
What I want/ don't want
The PC is in the living room, so looks are important, but also noise levels. The case is in a PC desk with a compartment, so side panels are a waste, but there is enough room to make a side fan effective. Connectors on the top of the case are ok, as long as it is a mid-tower, otherwise they become unreachable. I will be re-using my old DVD and CD ROM drive which are beige, so I need a case with a cover for those, otherwise it will look ugly. I don't like black cases or cases which looks like aliens. I pretty much have it mottled down to brushed aluminum with blue lights. Oh, and the PC will not be moved around a lot at all, apart from upgrading bit and pieces occasionally, so weight is not an issue either.
Here is my shortlist -any ideas ? Apart from the last one, they are all around the same price, but what is build quality like, are there sharp edges and how well do these cases protect the inside from dust and cat hair (my current PC collects cat-hair at a frightening speed).
I have an Antec Super Lanboy case with a modded front, plus replaced the two fans with higher output Akasa fans, which are a tad little bit noisier, but its at an acceptable level. The case itself is very nice, the setup of the HDD drive space is good, quite spacious, and generally does the job. It doesn't have a removable mobo tray, which is a shame really, if it were included in the design, it would have made installations much easier. Most of the cases there are good, but i recommend you stick to Aluminium cases, they generally tend to be cooler, definitely lighter, so all in all, go for the Thermaltake Tsunami case... its a good case from what i've have and certainly looks nice.
I'd take a look at the Lian Li line of cases. I've used quite a few of these and have had nothing but compliments and quiet, cool operation. The have superior fit and finsih, in addition to motherboard trays.
They do not come with a power supply, which I like because I prefer to use quieter models than usually available in stock cases.
I would look for one like this with a 120mm rear exhaust fan cutout. If you use 120mm fans, you can buy really slow rpm ones that are near silent, but will provide adequate cooling. This is the case that I am going to build. It really is a matter of taste though. You may also want to try one of those small self contained water-cooling units for your processor. They cool only marginally better than air, but they can be outfitted with silent fans for a very quiet pc. I would recommend this one Koolance
I would second a previous poster's opinion regarding Lian Li cases, and I am somewhat surprised they were omitted from the initial list. In my experience, the best craftsmanship of any case out there, all thumbscrew design for ease of operation, some feature mobo trays, all look great, there are cases designed specifically with quietness in mind, most in not all sharp edges are covered with plastic to prevent scabs, I could go on.
There are only a few minuses:
- the inverted mobo layout on some of the new cases may cause problems with power supply cable lengths and some heat pipe-cooled mobos;
But it was worth every penny to me, for what it's worth.
If you can spare the money go with the coolermaster CM Stacker 830 I believe, cant remember model #'s to save my life. Its Aluminum, has blue lights (that dont blind you) and it has room to grow, also it has several layers of filters especially on he side to stop the dreaded cat hair , I know I have 2 cats (both get shaved every 6 months) and 3 dogs, 1 of my dogs is a lab so there is hair flying!! have to vaccum every couple days.
I did have that in my initial long-list - it looks nice, but will look awful with my existing beige cd-rom drives - and I don't want to be limited by colour when I want to upgrade those later, very often black models and beige models of the same drive are cheaper....
That blue one, I came across today. I did fancy it for a while, but it's just a tad too much in your face. My PC is the first thing you see when you come into the front room. It should look nice, but not overpower the living room (we have a 42 inch Plasma for that job...lol)
would second a previous poster's opinion regarding Lian Li cases, and I am somewhat surprised they were omitted from the initial list.
They were on my long-list. I know they have exeptional built quality, and the pull out tray is a bonus (whis is why the Coolermaster-case is making it's way to the top of the list now), but I don't like the look of them. They are a bit too sleek and retro looking. Would go great with a 70s room scheme, but I am all Ikea-minimalistic-beechwood/steel.... Did I mention I was shallow and chose a case by it's looks ?
Thats on my list. I aluminium. How big is it in real life ? Is it like "whoa here comes a PC",or is it just "nice big case, but not in your face" ? How about sharp edges ? And how about cable lengths ? And does it take Vanilla ATX or do I have to get extended ATX ?
If you can spare the money go with the coolermaster CM Stacker 830
This one was another one to bite the dust from the long-list. Too much black.
Suprised there are no antec cases in your list.
Sounds like a P180 would meet your needs.
I kept coming back to Thermaltake cases for some reason, allthough I had never heard of them before and I had seen Antec Cases at PC world. The P180 looks very much like a Lian-Li case. Too sleek for me, just a tad bit too much grown-up (even though I am no spring chicken anymore).
Even though I am past the Lan-Party-Look-at-my-case age, I am not quite at the PC-hide-away-stage yet. This is why the Lian-Li cases didn't cut it for me eiher.
I am down to a choice of 3 now
The Coolermaster Wave thing (not so much the looks, more the built quality here and the pull-out tray)
Cheers for all your input, I am always open to new ideas, if anyone comes across anything else, otherwise, which of those 3 would you chose and why ?
Touche! it slipped my mind you didnt like any black on a case, my bad, I see your 3 choices there and I have to say if that Coolermaster case does in fact have a slide out tray, I woul pick it up. My CM stacker has that feature and I love being able to disconnect power connectors and slide the entire system out of the case. :wink:
Of course If you wanted to you could pop out the black mesh grills and paint them to match your entertainment center!! Just a thought .
Re: re-using your drives (and I know this is not a case-related comment, but still...), why don't you just get a NEC DVD burner?! It's cheap (at least in the US), pretty good at what it does, and comes with a silver front. Just a thought.
I already have a very good DVD burner. I only got it a couple of months ago. Thats why. And I also have a very good CD Rom drive. And beige models of the same drive tend to be cheaper than silver ones. I don't want to be limited by colour when I upgrade a CD ROM drive. And our cd drive is heavily used it always looks dirty. I hate housework, so I don't want it on show and clean finger marks of it all the time. I prefer a cover over it...