Sign in with
Sign up | Sign in
Your question

I need a Cube Case and Mobo Recommendation

Last response: in Systems
Share
July 25, 2006 2:24:47 PM

Hi all, I have an existing home built system that I'm planning on replacing. I'd like to downsize it from a mid-tower to a cube so my wife can use it in her office. Can anyone recommed a case and mobo that will fit all the componets that follow:

CPU: P4 socket 478
VGA: Radeon 9800XT
Sound: Audigy 2 ZS Platinum
4x256 RAM
3.5" HDD
DVD burner

Is this something I'd be better off picking up locally at CompUSA so I can take it back if everything won't fit?
July 25, 2006 4:35:21 PM

There are quite a few good cube cases, but IMHO nothing can beat the X-QPACK
by Aspire. Got some good colors to pick from. X-QPACK

If you want a Cube case, we're going to need a MicroATX motherboard. Well, if your local CompUSA can get one, sure, but NewEgg has a great RMA service.

What FSB does that P4 use? That'll limit some motherboard choices. What is the memory speed? PC 3200, right?

~Ibrahim~
July 25, 2006 7:20:21 PM

I'd recommend anything BUT the X-QPACK. I had one for a few days before taking it back to the local store. Problems primarily were the PSU (+/- 20% on the voltages) and the noise (sounded like a vacuum cleaner on my desk). The quality of the material it was made from was also quite lacking. The removable tray was getting bent out of shape by the time I ditched it as well.

On the plus side, it looks quite snazzy. :) 

Clint
Related resources
July 25, 2006 7:54:03 PM

Really? The reviews on NewEgg seem to favor the good... The reviews of it seem to give it good ratings, as well. Surprisingly, they said the PSU's rails were right one, 12V not going under 11.9, but they weren't powerful components, similar to the ones that Chaos will be using. Yes, it is *not* made with some good 'ole steel, which might have caused some problems. Aspire used Aluminum to reduce weight for those LAN parties...Not trying to contradict you, just pointing some things out.

Shuttle makes some more office-friendly SFF cases, but I can't find any 478 models available.

If you don't want the QPack, Lian-Li makes an attractive SFF Case:

Lian-Li PC-V300B

As with all Lian-Li cases, you should expect great build quality and low low low noise levels. Just watch out with the 9800. How long is it? It might interfere with the drives. Thankfully, it'll accept your ATX power supply, so no need to buy a new one. The motherboard is still of question, as of right now.

~Ibrahim~
July 25, 2006 7:54:19 PM

I'd highly recommend picking up an older-generation Shuttle SFF barebones. Something like:
Shuttle ST61G4 XPC
Shuttle SB61G2 XPC
You can look up which Intel P4s are supported by the different models at the Shuttle website ( http://global.shuttle.com/Support/SupportList_Brb.asp ).

You're not going to find much in current socket 478/AGP/microATX boards, and many SFF/cube cases are not well-made. Then, there's the issue of cooling. Shuttle has excellent build quality, and since they design the case/PS/MB to work together, cooling should not be a problem. They also have a video (AGP in your case) and a PCI expansion slot. Note: since they have their own fancy heatpipe cooling builtin, you don't need thermal compound or a new CPU cooler, just clean off your old CPU w/isopropyl alcohol (the good anhydrous stuff) and use the Shuttle system.

One issue:
RAM - I'm not sure you'll find a small MB w/4 DIMM sockets, so I would just sell your DIMMs on eBay (going price is probably around $10-15 each for 256MB DIMMs, depending on brand and speed), and buy a new pair of DDR400: here's a high-quality pair for $77 after rebate - http://www.zipzoomfly.com/jsp/ProductDetail.jsp?Product...
July 25, 2006 7:58:11 PM

Nice find. I forgot about that list, thanks for the heads up! Shuttle makes some very good-looking cases, fit perfect in any office environment.

I totally forgot about the 4x256 issue. He is right, I don't think there are any mATX cases that'll have four slots...

~Ibrahim~
July 25, 2006 8:29:31 PM

Ultra's Microfly is a much better option. They improved on all the Q-Pack's shortcomings, like making it an inch-and-a-half longer, so it can accomodate full-length PSU's and opticals at the same time. It has an improved cooling system, and it comes with a much better power supply.
July 25, 2006 9:05:41 PM

I was just reading about the MicroFly, amazing choice! This should be your case. It accomodates a full ATX PSU and a full size CD/DVD drive.

~Ibrahim~
July 26, 2006 9:24:12 AM

Your wife needs more desk space? So you're going with a case that's two inches wider than a tower...to save space compared to the tower? That's some strange logic.
July 26, 2006 12:32:35 PM

Well, they're neither as deep nor as high...so that sort of makes up for it. You can fit them into more places than a regular tower.
July 26, 2006 2:01:50 PM

Like YMAA said, they are much shorter and aren't as deep. They look cool, too; beats a biege full tower.

~Ibrahim~
July 26, 2006 5:04:13 PM

Folks, thanks for all your replies. The Ultra MicroFly looks like my best/lowest cost bet since I can use my existing power supply and drives and since its a bit larger than most cubes it should fit the cards without a problem. Also, I found an Intel mobo that has 4 DIMM sockets, the D865GVHZL.
July 26, 2006 5:35:42 PM

The only reason most people buy cubes is for the different look. They say they're trying to save space, but they're really just voicing the lie they told themselves, it's about style.
July 26, 2006 5:36:44 PM

Hmm..The board that I am looking at of it only has two DIMM slots and no AGP slot. :(  Wrong one?

It's in spanish or something

For motherboard choices, what FSB is the CPU you have running at? Is it 400, 533, or 800?

~Ibrahim~
July 26, 2006 6:00:33 PM

haha, thanks for the english link. But then, it still won't accomodate your 9800XT.

~Ibrahim~
July 26, 2006 8:40:43 PM

You all are absolutely right. THAT board won't do what I want but if I give you the right model, you'll see that its got all the (minimal) bells and whistles I'm looking for. The RIGHT model is the D865GLC. I was looking at other boards to see what they offered and obviously copied the wrong one.

Ikjadoon, its been awhile since I looked at the processor but its either a 400 or 533. I think the 800s were still cost prohibitive when I bought.

Crashman, style is part of the decision to switch to a cube but remember that there are more dimensions to needing desk space that just width. In this case, my wife has a rolltop and the limit is primarily vertical.
July 26, 2006 8:44:10 PM

How do you like your VX2025 for gaming and do you use it for watching DVDs?
July 27, 2006 12:19:03 AM

Looks like a very nice MB choice!
July 27, 2006 2:25:29 PM

Mondoman is right, amazing choice! It has FSB support from 400 to 800, so if you ever upgrade, you're not left trying to find a 400/533 FSB CPU. Have you found an etailer? I couldn't find it at Tiger Direct, NewEgg, nor mWave. I did find another site, never heard of them before, though:

DealShooter

A few more:

Priority Computer Parts

Ascend Tech

I personally like the last one, but it mentions Gateway?!?!

~Ibrahim~
July 27, 2006 2:45:12 PM

PriceGrabber shows it available at 8 locations, the cheapest is $79 for an OEM board. That e-tailer has about 1300 reviews, not great but at least its not 10.
July 27, 2006 3:01:24 PM

I looked at Ascend Tech. You're right, their boards are made by gateway using the D865GLC chipset. CompuVest.com has the boards for $99 + shipping (about $109 total) and they have around 2500 reviews. I'll probably go with them.
July 27, 2006 3:13:01 PM

I found out that ASUS makes basically the same board, P4P800-VM and zipzoomfly has it in stock for $99.
July 27, 2006 3:53:00 PM

Really? Excellent! ASUS is known for their great mobos!

~Ibrahim~
July 28, 2006 9:41:41 PM

Ordered the MicroFly case and the ASUS mobo from ZZF today. Will post when it gets in and I've got everything transferred to the new case. My only concern for the future will be a cooling solution to fit that tiny case when I upgrade this to a faster processor.
July 29, 2006 12:13:13 AM

It might be a tight fit, but as long as it is stock, it will fit. Most after-market ones should fit, as well, though I can't gurantee you can fit a Tuniq Tower 120 side, ;) 

Good Luck!

~Ibrahim~
August 14, 2006 1:53:30 PM

Well, all is built and all is (mostly) well. The motherboard is nice but it didn't match the standard mATX cable connection layout and came with its own rear panel adapter otherwise, no issues there. The Ultra Microfly case is adequate but not the best looking I've ever seen. The plastics used are cheap looking and the "chrome" buttons look like something you'd expect from a $2 toy you get at a truck stop. The case frame is aluminum so its lightweight but a little flimsy. The mobo tray is hard to slide in and out. The cooling layout is pretty nice though. There is a 120mm fan placed on the right rear (as you look at the front), an 80mm fan center front and the power supply is on the left rear. So the big fan pulls hot air produced by the CPU and the powersupply pulls heat produced by the add-in cards and with a Radeon 9800XP that's not insignificant. I haven't seen the CPU temp get over 40 C yet. The case has a very bright temp LCD and very bright power/HDD activity LEDs (I mean you can almost read by them). In addition, it has two front USB ports and a front firewire port (but the board doesn't have a firewire connection).

As far as installation goes, it was pretty easy although the screwholes in the case, for the PSU, didn't exactly match up to the screws in the Antec PSU but were close enough to make work with only a little effort. I recommend mounting the PSU last because there is only about 6mm clearance between its bottom and the top of AGP/PCI cards (i.e. its pressing down on my audigy platinums firewire cable).
August 14, 2006 8:32:08 PM

I'm glad it worked out good. Thanks for sharing and have fun!

~Ibrahim~
!