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Case Advice: Cool, Quiet, Small

Last response: in Components
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August 22, 2006 10:23:44 PM

Hi guys,

I'm getting ready to build a new system, and it's been a while since Tom's did a good case roundup in which they found quality cases, etc. As a result, I am depending on the collective intellegence of the community here. Help a brother out?

I'm specifically looking for a case with the following features:

1) microATX form factor (I'd consider BTX)
2) 3+ hdd bays
3) 1+ 5.25" bay
4) has a slot for PCIe x16 graphics
5) Is cool & quiet! (so fewer but larger fan ports is a plus)


While I do care about looks, such things are highly subjective so lets leave looks out of the picture, hmm?

What I intend to put in it:
------------------------------
Core2Duo E6700 (purchased)
Intel DG965OT-MKR mobo (purchased)
2GB of ram
3 hard drives in a raid array (purchased)
some sort of medium-to-high end PCIe gfx (undecided so far)

I'd eventually like to use this as a media center sort of box, but I require that there be a PCIe port so I can use it for gaming in the near term.

So let's hear it folks.

Make/Model is good, product links are better.
August 23, 2006 5:05:42 PM

That's good information but you should really list a budget for the case. Also, what about a psu?

Do you want a mini or micro tower? Hopefully you realize that all mid and full size towers can fit micro atx motherboards.

If mini then I'd go for an Antec super lanboy. If you want a HTPC box then something from Silverstone.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16811129145

http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductList.asp?N=2010090007+50002031+1054821745&Submit=ENE&Manufactory=2031&SubCategory=7
August 23, 2006 6:29:56 PM

Quote:
Well first of all the case has nothing to do with supporting PCI-E graphics. Since you have a Micro-ATX board a Micro-ATX case will support all the card bays the board has to offer.
Because Micro-ATX cases are so small.. It is easy to get good airflow throught the case. All you need is a good fan in the back and you will be fine.


Cases do indeed have an effect on whether you can use PCIe graphics; in one fo two ways that I'm familiar with.

1) in some HTPC cases I have seen the use/requirement of riser cards. Due to such a requirement, and the fact that some old cases only supplied AGP riser cards, I wanted to rule those out.
2) Some (perhaps many) of the SFF/mini cases cannot, or can barely, fit some of the larger PCIe graphics cards.

Thanks for the note on airflow in Micro-atx cases. This will be my first one, and I had been under the impression that cooling as an issue.
Related resources
August 23, 2006 6:39:31 PM

Waylander,

I'm still learning the new terms for all the new sorts of cases out there. I like the SFF types like "Shuttle" makes. I've also liked the looks of Enermax's "venus", and several of antec's micro-atx case.

I'd like something that is shorter than my xbox if possible, as that's the place in my entertainment center I wish this case to occupy. Thanks for the product links. The Lanparty one is certainly a nice case for more of a small server or lan-party going application, but looks like it might be a bit big to go in my entertainment center. ;-) The silverstone ones look ok. I'll have to check their dimensions again.
a b ) Power supply
August 23, 2006 11:59:28 PM

SILVERSTONE SST-TJ08-B Black - $115 including shipping

Includeds two 120mm fans rated at 21dBA.

Drop in your own power supply like a Seasonic S12 430 or S12 500 depending on how much power the GPU will be sucking up.

List of Seasonic S12 PSUs - Efficient, quiet, and reliable.
August 24, 2006 1:17:59 AM

Quote:
Waylander,

I'm still learning the new terms for all the new sorts of cases out there. I like the SFF types like "Shuttle" makes. I've also liked the looks of Enermax's "venus", and several of antec's micro-atx case.

I'd like something that is shorter than my xbox if possible, as that's the place in my entertainment center I wish this case to occupy. Thanks for the product links. The Lanparty one is certainly a nice case for more of a small server or lan-party going application, but looks like it might be a bit big to go in my entertainment center. ;-) The silverstone ones look ok. I'll have to check their dimensions again.


I honestly think you're going to have a hard time finding one XBox sized that's going to have sufficient cooling *and* space for a dual slot video card. I have one that's XBox sized and it cant cool an Athlon XP 2600+, and that's with integrated video. There's simply not enough space for the HSF to draw in enough air.
August 24, 2006 2:53:46 AM

Aspire Qpack is just about the best mATX case out there. for the price
August 24, 2006 4:06:40 AM

In my opinion if you're looking for something that really fits into your home entertainment center, you need to look into htpc (Home Theater Personal Computer) cases. Thermaltake offers a variety at their site http://www.thermaltake.com or this particular beauty http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16811129131 - you can also look up the fusion on antecs site for even more specifics on the case.

If you really want a fragging case for the moment, Aspire (Apevia) really is a quite good case as mentioned early, just watch out for the power supply. It can be picky.

I really do think you should look into the "audio/video reciever looking" cases. You will get a lot of life out of it and in the short run won't be that big of an annoyance sitting on your desk. It offers more functionallity sitting in your entertainment center than any fragging (micro atx) case ever will.

Hope you found some of this useful, but really, just spend 6 or 7 hours surfing some reviews or just go through every case on newegg :lol:  Either way, make the case your own. You'll find it more appealing later on when it is sitting there in your center 5+ years from now.
August 25, 2006 12:00:00 AM

the Aspire/Apevia Q pack supports a full size ATX psu, so...yes Qpack for gaming, for an HTPC, silverstone or antec.
a c 147 ) Power supply
June 13, 2008 6:15:17 PM

What are the maximum dimensions of a case that you can use?
What level of vga card will you use?
Anything better than a 8800GTS will be 10.5+ inches long and will probably not fit the typical micro-atx case.
a b ) Power supply
June 13, 2008 8:31:30 PM

Nothing better to do than dig up a post from August 2006?

I'm pretty sure the OP found a solution by now (22 months later)
a c 147 ) Power supply
June 13, 2008 8:38:07 PM

@ jag,
Good catch.
For whatever reason, this post showed up on the active list, and I never looked at the original or even previous posting date before responding.
!