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Headache time: Need case recommendations.

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April 1, 2006 8:39:39 AM

OK, so I'd pretty much had my heart set on a CoolerMaster CMStacker 830 for my new computer, until I looked at it closely today, and realised just how huge and heavy it is, and completely impractical for LANs. (If someone has this, and can tell me how much it weighs when all the internals are in place, I'd be much obliged)

So. I find myself on the lookout for a smaller, lighter case, and with quite a few specifications, now I've seen what would be perfect for me, if only smaller.

Easy to install parts.
If there's a door, it must have hinges on the right hand side, looking from the front.
Must have at least 4, preferably 5, 5 1/4" drive bays, and one 3 1/2"
Should use 120mm exhaust fan, preferably 120mm intake as well.
Must have good airflow. I'm going to have a hot PC, so need to have adequate case air movement.
Good quality. I'm not averse to spending around AU$300 for a case.

So, any suggestions on what I could have? Everything I look at has something that irks me, and I keep coming back to the 830, except for it being so big and heavy!
April 1, 2006 9:29:40 AM

Your asking a lot but my suggestion would be the antec p180. You it comes with the hinge on the left side but I do remember reading in the manual that you can move it to the right side. This case is heavy but will lead other case manufacturers to a new level with technology. I have it and I must say it is totally awesome.......but heavy.
April 1, 2006 9:33:46 AM

After my initial biatching and moaning, and thinking how much I wanted those front and top USB and headphone ports, before I realised I'd almost never use them, I went back and looked at the CoolerMaster Praetorian 730, to discover it's door was also hinged on the right. It also doesn't have its power switch hiding behind the door. So, it seems this is just about right for me. Unless anyone has a better suggestion, you can probably ignore this topic. Thanks anyway :) 

I also already bought 2 120mm fans for the Stacker, which I now can't use :p  I think I skipped over the Praetorian due to its 2x80mm fans.
Related resources
April 1, 2006 11:02:21 AM

Thought I'd put down some tips on choosing computer cases:

If you build own machine, you’re in the market for a case and have a wide range of options. Things that make for a great case include:

Gobs of room inside — We’re far more interested in a machine that’s easy to work on, reliable, and upgradable than in its being tiny. Your
needs may well favor small size, but you’ll pay the price in compromises.
Having 10 external drive bays fits our definition of upgradability,
for example, but having just one does not.

Airflow to keep the electronics very cool — We like having lots of fans. Motherboards finally have working technology to control fan speed, meaning you don’t have to choose between cooling and noise.

Attention to detail — For example, you should look for heavy sheet
metal that provides good support, simple case opening mechanisms that give you access to everything inside, and a lack of sharp edges that could cut you and internal cables.
April 1, 2006 11:57:03 AM

You see, the CoolerMaster CMStacker 830 has all of that.

The Thermaltake Armor does as well, but I feel that's a bit of a cheesy knockoff, although it does have a few extra features, like the hard drives being at the top back, so all the bays at the front are free. It's also smaller than the CM, but heavier

I thought I had finally settled on the Antec P180. I won't be pulling apart or working on my PC after it's built unless something goes wrong, and I'm willing to put in the extra initial effort to begin with. Then I noticed that, while it's the smallest of these three, it's also the heaviest. But, in a way, it's more stylish than the others.

But I really like the idea that as I go along, I could buy more and more toys to fill up those froont bays in the stacker or armor.

I just don't know :( 

Considering most LANs I have with my friends are at my plac
April 1, 2006 12:37:23 PM

A light and portable version of CM 830? A tall order indeed... I am considering the CM Ammo 533 for a lan pc for its rugged portablility, and for cooling it looks easy to mod the vented side panel with an 80mm or two. Not to mention it has the trigger guards on the buttons, in case you like to use it as a footrest like I do...
April 1, 2006 12:57:21 PM

Yeah, I'm starting to realise no matter what I go with, if I'm going to get a case I'll be happy with, it's going to be heavy. So really, the issue is size, and how I can build my desk.

Sometimes I just need to talk these things out to get it clear in my mind.

And the 'cheesy knockoff' comment came simply because the armor came after the first stacker, and they are markedly similar in outward appearance ;) 

Although I very much like how the armor can look stylish and doesn't have a door I'll need to worry about.
April 1, 2006 1:14:25 PM

Eeep. That would explain why it's 3kg heavier than the 830, despite being smaller.

Also, the main headache reason was that I'd ordered two fans I couldn't use, but now, whether I end up with the stacker or the P180, I can still use both fans I bought, which is strangely comforting.
April 1, 2006 1:29:32 PM

the cm stacker is nice, but wy waste so much moola? i'd go for the gigabyte 3d aurora full tower case
April 1, 2006 2:00:38 PM

Thermaltake Tsunami Dream.
April 1, 2006 3:04:46 PM

http://techgage.com/review.php?id=4150

Dude, I would try this case if you are looking for lan parties! The NZXT Lexa has 120 mm fans intake and exhaust which will keep your case cold! Plus what is even nicer is that it is an aluminum case, looks tits, and it even has a strap system included for lan parties! I think you would really like it. Just check out the link.

Good luck.
April 1, 2006 3:12:53 PM

hey this would be a great lan server accessory for that chenbro



:lol: 
April 1, 2006 3:14:13 PM

http://www.cluboverclocker.com/reviews/cases/NZXT/Lexa/...

Dude, I would try this case if you are looking for lan parties! The NZXT Lexa has 120 mm fans intake and exhaust which will keep your case cold! Plus what is even nicer is that it is an aluminum case, looks tits, and it even has a strap system included for lan parties! I think you would really like it. Just check out the link.

Good luck.
April 1, 2006 3:15:00 PM

Sorry that I posted twice, I found a much nicer review! Check out the second one!
April 1, 2006 3:24:42 PM

yah lexa is a good lan case

CM Ammo is good, Antec Lan boy is also pretty good

how about an CM Centurion 531 or 532?

armor is heavy, CM 830 is heavy, P180 is also heavy (around 30 lbs unloaded)

the gigabyte 3D aruora isnt small its good tho, if u get it save 10 bucks and get the mesh site not the window, window = waste of money & not as good colling

also im sure the Praetorian will meet ur needs dual 80mm in the back an du can add ur 120 in the front, opens to the right, u could buy a fan bracket and place the 2nd 120mm fan u got o pull air in thru the CPU duct or push air out
April 1, 2006 3:53:04 PM

I must recommend the Lian Li cases. I use a PC-65B but it is but a variant of their PC-60. It's a mid-tower made entirely of aluminum. It weighs next to nothing. AT and ATX compatible and comes with 4 cooling fans. Two intakes in the front (behind a washable filter no less and with speed controls to boot!), one exhaust in the back and another in the top. 12 drive bays (5: 3 1/2 internal, 4: 5 1/4 external and another 3: 3 1/2 external. Thumbscrews everywhere. Removable motherboard tray for easy build/rebuild and attention to detail is awesome. I've had a number of computers and all of them have been in this case! They just don't get any better than this.

Read some reviews http://www.dansdata.com/pc60.htm and http://www.hardcoreware.net/reviews/review-133-1.htm and http://www.mikhailtech.com/articles/cases/pc60/ but prices are probably old as you can find this case in a multitude of colors and prices if you look.

PC-65B looks like this:
[/img]
April 1, 2006 4:01:08 PM

I have a PC-60B plus... Love it.
April 1, 2006 5:12:37 PM

Some thoughts about the CM Stacker 830 ...

Pros: This case is huge - there is lots of room for anything you want to put in it, but you will need a standard size psu. Also the cooling potential of the case is great. If you run 7 120mm ultra silent fans and everything stays nice and cool.

Cons: The front firewire cable is to short for the Asus A8N-SLI board when you are running two 7800GT's in SLI. The case makes it hard to add PCI cards after you have built your computer because you pretty much have to take out the mobo to do it.
April 1, 2006 9:16:23 PM

I built a machine with an amd 64 3200+ with a zalman cooler and it has a 120mm exhaust fan. That processor is always around 32 C. Load hits around 36 ish. The guy was right about the acrylic not being good for heat dissipation. I agree. However, the lexa is a nice one. I like it plus it is engineered very well. Thats my pic anyhow, I think everyone has a style they like. Efficiency isn't always the issue. You may not like how one case looks compared to another. That choice is yours. Some of the cases perform better than others but there are equally as many cases that perform great just with different looks. You just need to choose one that you like :p  Mine personally is custom acrylic. Heat dissipation blows but the system has good temps anyhow. Just need to make sure airflow is good.
April 1, 2006 9:17:51 PM

I suppose that also begs the question on the part of which components are you planning on using cause some things run much warmer than others.
April 1, 2006 11:22:46 PM

sonota II?
April 2, 2006 12:15:14 AM

How about the Gigabyte 3D Aurora, either with or without the window? It's a Full-ATX case, with 3 120mm fans (1 in the front, two in the back), made out of aluminum with a door, and has a neat light projector on the front that projects a light image onto the space in front of it. It's mad to hold liquid cooling systems, using the two 120mm fans in the back, in addition to two pass-through tubing holes next to the expansion slots. Got some really good reviews...

http://www.bjorn3d.com/read.php?cID=810
April 2, 2006 12:41:41 AM

Hi guys, thanks for all the responses, I've just woken up this morning.

OK, the system I'm running is going to be close to top of the line. Overclocked Opty 175 or 170 cooled with a scythe ninja, ATI xt1900xtx, creative X-Fi Fatal1ty, 620W enermax power supply.

The reason as to why I'm willing to spend $300 on a case is that I'm spending 20x that much on the total system :p 

Regarding Lian-Li. I've looked at them. They seem very nice for keeping your case cool, but look even harder to assemble than the P180. Can someone who owns one tell me more about them when it comes to construction? Also, the lian-li I really liked was even longer than the CMStacker. That was the PC-V1200 ;)  The PC-1100 looks like it was inspiration for, or took insporation from the P180. There are definate similarities, but the P180 has the door opening 170 degrees, and the USB ports are more reachable, but that seems like the only things better than the lian-li. Lian-li also looks nicer ;) 

That Lexa looks nice as well. It's light, and the door opens the right way for where it'll be sitting.

Looked at the Tsunami dream. The downside to that one is the direction the door opens, again. Otherwise seems a very nice case.

Oh, and as for what will be sticking out the front of the case, I anticipate DVD-ROM, X-fi fatal1ty, fan control and a floppy as minimum, but I'd like at least 1, preferably 2 free 5 1/2" slots for future expansion.
April 2, 2006 1:26:57 AM

Quote:
You see, the CoolerMaster CMStacker 830 has all of that. The Thermaltake Armor does as well, but I feel that's a bit of a cheesy knockoff, although it does have a few extra features, like the hard drives being at the top back, so all the bays at the front are free. It's also smaller than the CM, but heavier


Cheesy knockoff? I don't think so. It is a well-made box. You can get it in steel or aluminum and as Newegg's stats show, the Al version is much lighter.

Lian Li makes some nice medium sized aluminum cases that are very well made and reasonably light. I've never bought one because they have the front panel USB ports so low down on the front panel.
April 2, 2006 1:29:55 AM

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E1681... thats a nice lian li

all the following are good cases with 5 x 5.25' bays

most lian li's have 5 or more 5.25' bays
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E1681...

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E1681... (all colors varations)

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E1681... (both color varaitions)

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E1681... (CM ammo might fit you well)

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E1681... (this is brand new..looks pretty cool but the CM 532 beats it in looks)

and if all ways

CM stack 810 - 11 x 5.25" no bezel
or Tt Armor with 10 x 5.25 or 11 if u remove the bottom holder thingy
April 2, 2006 3:06:07 AM

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

http://www.newegg.com/Product/ShowImage.asp?image=11-12...



I have to agree with Pengwin the Antec Lan Boy is actually a nice case.

It is very light, quiet, relatively roomy, has 2 120mm fans, looks decent, comes with carrying straps and is relatively very inexpensive.

The only thing that's wrong with it is that's a little too lightly built and dents easily but it is one of the lightest cases I have ever used.

Lian Li cases are GREAT but are more expensive.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductList.asp?Submit=EN...

Silverstone cases are even better but cost an arm and a leg.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductList.asp?Submit=EN...

Good Luck :-D
April 2, 2006 3:22:26 AM

Quote:
You see, the CoolerMaster CMStacker 830 has all of that. The Thermaltake Armor does as well, but I feel that's a bit of a cheesy knockoff, although it does have a few extra features, like the hard drives being at the top back, so all the bays at the front are free. It's also smaller than the CM, but heavier


Cheesy knockoff? I don't think so. It is a well-made box. You can get it in steel or aluminum and as Newegg's stats show, the Al version is much lighter.

Wow, thanks, I didn't realise they made them in Aluminium. I'll check it out now. If it's lighter than the Stacker, this will make it to the top of my list, I think.

OK, just checked, Alu version is only 7.5kg. That's just a bit over half the stacker weight. That's very good.

Can anyone tell me how thick the aluminium is?
April 2, 2006 5:22:43 AM



Yea, it is sturdy enough, at least I thought so when checking one out at a local store a while back. But it is thin enough that you could tweak it if you got rough on it. I actually got the steel model, which is heavy, then I went and loaded it up with a bunch of stuff and now it's REAL heavy. In fact, I plan to put some handles on the top to help lift the beast. But I don't plan on moving it much so it's no biggie. If I wanted a LANparty case, I'd probably look for something smaller and much lighter. You know, I'm always surprised when I look at cases - there are so many out there and most of them seem to have at least a couple of glaring weaknesses.
April 2, 2006 5:59:48 AM

I know what you mean about the weaknesses. Like one will be a great case, but the toolless drive system is shocking, and next is an ordinary case with a brillian toolless system.

Ideally, I'd like the CMStacker 830 in thermaltake armor size, with stronger plastic, and a longer firewire cable. it seems that the plastic locks can break in transport of the case from the supplier. Also, I prefer the thermaltake's bezel system as opposed to the Stacker's door. I know you can remove the door, and mod it to be used as a medieval shield instead, but taking it off breaks the smooth lines.

It is so very hard to choose. And I looked at dimensions and weight for the ones I like, this is what they are:

HxWxD

CoolerMaster CMStacker 830:
10kg
536x250x640

Thermaltake Armor VA8000SWA:
7.5kg
530x220x560

Antec P180
15kg
540x205x507

The Antec is very heavy. And the coolermaster comes with built-in handles for transport.

I just WISH I could see these in actual stores, instead of just guessing online.
April 2, 2006 6:44:13 AM

Unfortunately, Lanboy's too short on accessible 5 1/2" bays. I need minimum 4, three isn't enough.
April 2, 2006 6:57:56 AM

Quote:
Unfortunately, Lanboy's too short on accessible 5 1/2" bays. I need minimum 4, three isn't enough.



Do you have to have 4?

It has 3 which is enough for 1 optical drive + SB Live Drive + fan controller

or

2 optical drives + SB Live Drive

or

2 or more optical drives + fan controller + external SB box ( on top of the machine )

It is the lightest, most portable case in the whole group -- granted it is not as nice as a stacker.
April 2, 2006 7:15:48 AM

I myself, wouldn't worry too much at all as to how much the case weighed. I would not sacrifice having a good case for its weight. 'Sides, it's much harder to steal at a LAN.

And yet those bigger cases like the CM Stacker you can usually fit water cooling in there which completely defeats the purpose of a light case,
April 2, 2006 7:32:33 AM

I have the Praetorian 730 myself it's heavy but cools like a motha. Most of the time the heavy cases are the best because it's made out of aluminum and no plastic. Need I say it is so quiet also that you can not tell that your PC is on
or not and you can not here it in the next room. Go for the big heavy stuff it's
the best.
April 2, 2006 8:19:50 AM

Mmm, heading back towards the stacker. I like the upgradeability of it, and I may very well upgrade to water cooling in the future. It's big, it looks nice, it's cool and quiet, and I don't need to use firewire. On the offchance I ever do, I can get an extension cable for the port at the back. Also, it means the two fans I got aren't a waste. It's not as heavy as I first thought, either.

It's got carrying handles, and I can SO see me modding the door to be used as a shield and offensive weapon, like the orc shields in LotR.

Still, this thread gave me a lot to think about. I've literally spent the last two days on the internet looking at cases and nothing else.
April 2, 2006 11:41:59 AM

Well full tower would be tits but he did say that he wanted something lite so that he could take it to lan parties n shit. Full tower isn't exactly something to be toting around.
April 2, 2006 12:14:04 PM

Well, the CMStacker does have carrying handles. I also made a few trips to and from the back room carrying 22kg, just to see what it was like.

Almost all LANs I attend are at my place anyway, as we have a huge back games room, with desk room for 6 (8 with foldable tables), a pool table, TV, and bar. Hence not much carrying. Besides, it would really suit my room. Essentially, if going to a LAN, I just need floor space for it, so I'll sit on the edge of a table.

After close examination of all the options, I'm finally going Stacker. Thank you all VERY much for your help, you gave me enough to keep me occupied all weekend, until I finally decided it was the best for me. Others come close, and I'll probably be incorporating one thing I liked from the armor into the stacker, which is buying a thermaltake iBOX to stick in my bottom drive bay ;) 
April 2, 2006 1:58:32 PM

Quote:
I just WISH I could see these in actual stores, instead of just guessing online.


It might be worth a little road trip if there are no stores near to you. I live within a few miles of stores that sell cases, and I certainly benefitted by getting an up-close look.
April 2, 2006 3:08:08 PM

Quote:
Well, the CMStacker does have carrying handles. I also made a few trips to and from the back room carrying 22kg, just to see what it was like.

Almost all LANs I attend are at my place anyway, as we have a huge back games room, with desk room for 6 (8 with foldable tables), a pool table, TV, and bar. Hence not much carrying. Besides, it would really suit my room. Essentially, if going to a LAN, I just need floor space for it, so I'll sit on the edge of a table.

After close examination of all the options, I'm finally going Stacker. Thank you all VERY much for your help, you gave me enough to keep me occupied all weekend, until I finally decided it was the best for me. Others come close, and I'll probably be incorporating one thing I liked from the armor into the stacker, which is buying a thermaltake iBOX to stick in my bottom drive bay ;) 



wait

http://www.thermaltakeusa.com/product/Chassis/midtower/...


? :) 

4 x 5.25" bays
3.8 Kg!!!!!!

its not out yet on newegg but..wait a little
April 2, 2006 3:15:25 PM

wow are u guys like on a boycott run? "if its not an antec, coolermaster, or lian-li,dont buy it!" ? dont u guys know that there are so many really nice cases out there. http://www.atruereview.com/mge_quantum/index.php
THATS A NICE ONE. Aerocool makes nice cases, flimsy but nice.
and theres a new thermolrock eclipse case that has abuilt in combo drive for like 220$.
April 2, 2006 3:18:26 PM

Quote:
wow are u guys like on a boycott run? "if its not an antec, coolermaster, or lian-li,dont buy it!" ? dont u guys know that there are so many really nice cases out there. http://www.atruereview.com/mge_quantum/index.php
THATS A NICE ONE. Aerocool makes nice cases, flimsy but nice.
and theres a new thermolrock eclipse case that has abuilt in combo drive for like 220$.


also buds u forgot thermaltake


oh yah....the thermalrock case has a built in DVD drive in the bezel, pretty cool, and finally the MGE case looks like a .....SUB WOFFER :mrgreen:
April 2, 2006 10:54:35 PM

Well, I'm not going to build my new desk until mid-May, not ordering computer until start of June.

That Matrix doesn't look bad at all. Definately something to consider. Looks light, and well ventilated.
April 2, 2006 11:44:51 PM

mine wasn't any of the 3. No boycott here! I have an acrylic personally :p  custom designed too none of that store bought crap :p 
April 5, 2006 2:07:56 AM

I was just ina computer store an hour ago, and noticed they had a few cases I know of on display. biefly, the Centurion looks very good. Solid build, 5 5 1/4" bays, but door swings to the left (into my leg). Lexa is the same, it looks very nice, but seeing that, I decided I don't want a perspex window, black mesh is good for me.

Also, the Thermaltake Shark looks like a very good case, if you don't mind the gigantic holes in the side grill to let in all the dust.

The Thermaltake Soprano felt like its door would break off if you bumped it wrong.
April 5, 2006 4:26:24 AM

If you want a mesh panel, I mentioned the Gigabyte 3D Aurora. The mesh version is 10$ cheaper, which puts it at $140. Has the same cooling system as the other model (3 x 120 mm fans), Full-ATX spec, Aluminum construction with a steel rear panel for strength, etc., just with a mesh panel instead of a window.

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

Just another case to consider...
April 5, 2006 4:30:50 AM

Thanks, but that mesh looks like the type on te Thermaltake Shark. Big and open to dust :(  I like the small mesh on the 830, with the dust filters.

Edit:

In addition to my post 2 above, if not for the fact that I decided I don't want a clear perspex window, I'd definately recommend the lexa as a good case, after seeing it.
April 5, 2006 8:31:20 PM

so which case u goin with

also how much was the certurion?
!