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Frustrated with case selection...

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December 19, 2006 5:58:20 PM

I'm not sure how I can be frustrated when there are literally hundreds of cases out there from at least a dozen brands, and yet I am.

I was hoping for:

A solid, sturdy, conservative mid-tower ATX case, not something that looks like it jumped out of an anime cartoon, price more or less no object, aluminum or steel OK...

No windows. I don't need to impress anyone and Lucite doesn't help with RF interference.

No power supply necessary, I prefer to choose my own thank-yew-very-much...

Conventional power supply location so I don't have to grit my teeth over wire routing or mount the PSU upside-down, which just irritates my increasingly prevalent OCD side...

With 120mm fans only, front and rear, for quiet running, no blow-hole necessary. I refer to the top holes as "food processors" if ya' get my drift...

Hopefully a removable motherboard tray but I can probably live without it...

And USB/Firewire/audio ports located no lower than mid-height since the case will be on the floor (save your dust comments please), and no ports stupidly behind a main front door since it's a good bet the audio ports will be occupied full-time. Side ports OK but left side only.

I was starting to warm up to the Antec P160 even though I find the plastichrome to be distasteful, the motherboard tray arrangement pointless and the case just a bit lighter than I'd prefer. But I think the reset button would need some modification too, to prevent accidental resets from errant fingers. Oh heck, maybe I'd just leave it disconnected.

Any other ideas?

-Brad
December 19, 2006 6:46:59 PM

thats simple...

Lian Li
http://www.silverpcs.com/

The PC 60 sounds like a great match for what you are looking for. PC-60

simple design
attention to detail with the brushed aluminum
no sharp corners or edges
mid tower.
Hard Drive tray slide out.
Motherboard tray slide out.
120mm fans
no blow hole
side glass is optional.
firewire/usb/audio front ports that are not part of the front bezel.
no power supply included.
they are simply one of the best you can get.
December 19, 2006 7:13:36 PM

Quote:
thats simple... Lian Li
http://www.silverpcs.com/
simple designs, attention to detail, no sharp corners, they are simply one of the best you can get.

I wish it were that simple. Lian Li has a tendency to put the ports on the bottom where the plugs will get kicked and yanked, etc. The only departure is the PC-101, which provides top ports but uses a bottom-mounted PSU. Which may not be as much of a cabling issue because it also turns the MB location around, but a left side opening works a little better for me because the right side of the tower will be right up against a file cabinet. The door's ventilation slots don't look like they would provide enough air volume for the draw of a 120mm fan, but I could be wrong. And for $190, no serviceable air filter and no sliding MB tray. I'm trying not to scratch that PC-101 idea entirely though.
Related resources
December 19, 2006 7:16:08 PM

yes that is true but they got yah covered
pc-52
see how you like that one

or
pc-v600
its difficult to find top mounted usb/firewire unless you use the upside down btx type cases. it is typical because the usb/firewire headers are generally located at the bottom of the motherboard.
December 19, 2006 7:46:38 PM

Quote:
yes that is true but they got yah covered
pc-52
pc-v600

Those are not mid-towers - too small. Thanks for trying though.

Quote:
its difficult to find top mounted usb/firewire unless you use the upside down btx type cases. it is typical because the usb/firewire headers are generally located at the bottom of the motherboard.

Creative excuse but other manufacturers including Lian Li don't seem to have trouble making the wires a few inches longer when they want.

-Brad
December 19, 2006 7:47:17 PM

I am the proud owner of an Antec P180B except for the blowhole (which has a shroud) I think this case would meet all your expectations. This case is designed to be quiet. It is an extremely well designed high quality case.
December 19, 2006 7:48:46 PM

Hey bberson I have the same frustrations with finding a quality conservative case. I've not made a purchase yet but have narrowed down my choices to the Antec family of cases. The Antec Solo, P150 and the P160. Let me know what you think.
December 19, 2006 7:57:19 PM


The Silverstone is another one of those cases with the bottom-mounted PSU. No thanks. But the Thermaltake... Now we're getting somewhere. That Thermaltake isn't bad, just missing the removable tray and an air filter but I can live without the tray and I guess I can add an aftermarket filter for a few bucks. The case is certainly inexpensive.

-Brad
December 19, 2006 8:00:25 PM

The new Matrix VX from Thermaltake has most of what you wanted except for a removeable mb tray.
December 19, 2006 8:02:27 PM

Quote:
I am the proud owner of an Antec P180B except for the blowhole (which has a shroud) I think this case would meet all your expectations. This case is designed to be quiet. It is an extremely well designed high quality case.
Except for the top vent, and the ports mounted too low, and the bottom mounted power supply, yeah it meets all my expections ;-) .

Just doesn't meet my needs.

Thanks for trying though...

-Brad
December 19, 2006 8:13:38 PM

It pushes your 'mid-tower' criterion towards the maximum, but if you're putting in on the floor anyway, this might serve - with wheels too.

Coolermaster Stacker @ Newegg

That way, you can put your PSU top or bottom, whichever works best for you, and you can move the power/USB/etc. module to whatever height suits your fancy. It does come with a top 'blow hole', but you can configure that however you like - even disable it, and it has 120s everywhere else. This case gives you maximum flexibility in how you configure it and what you put in it.

Alternately, you could go 'all out' and choose the newest Stacker:

Stacker 830 @ Newegg

But that's hardly a 'plain' case...

Be Well!
Fireheart
December 19, 2006 8:51:13 PM

Get the Antec P160, I personally have the p160w and really like the window but to everyone their own. It has top firewire with usb and 120mm fans. You can unplugg the front LED's (which is what I do) and comes with a non-sliding motherboard tray. I also like the stealth drives but they were a pain to set up.

I think this fits everything your looking for and it has lots of room.

Crap, going to have to start reading the full posts, sorry :lol: 

Anyways, I've never hit the reset button on accident, even when plugging in the usb's in the dark. Also I keep mine on the floor and the front filter keeps pretty much everything out as long as you remember to clean it out.
December 19, 2006 8:53:07 PM

SILVERSTONE TJ-03

This case rocks!!! Best in the biz. Black or silver. Power supply is at the top.
December 19, 2006 8:56:48 PM

Quote:
The Silverstone is another one of those cases with the bottom-mounted PSU. No thanks.


Which Silverstone are you looking at?????

SILVERSTONE TJ-03

This is the best case out there if you want to top mount PSU. Cooling is phenominal, and it looks very distiguished. Quality is second to none.
December 20, 2006 2:15:33 AM

Quote:
The Silverstone is another one of those cases with the bottom-mounted PSU. No thanks.

Which Silverstone are you looking at?????
SILVERSTONE TJ-03
This is the best case out there if you want to top mount PSU. Cooling is phenominal, and it looks very distiguished. Quality is second to none.
I was looking at the TJ-09, which is the case that was shown in the link in the post to which I replied.

While the TH-03 is a lovely case (really, solid, great MB tray, great looks etc.), if you'll check my original post you will discover that the TJ-03 uses bottom mounted ports which I specifically said I did not want, and it uses 80mm fans in the back when I stated I was looking for 120mm fans.

By the way, can someone explain to me how that front intake breathes when the front door is closed?

-Brad
December 20, 2006 2:34:15 AM

Quote:
woot! lets see what else thermaltake has then...
dont know how crazy you are about white but check this one out.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16811133023

Not bad, but the front intake slots don't look too conducive to air flow and, hey, what's with all these cases that don't seem to have any air flow on the intake side when the front doors are closed?? Am I crazy?

One could leave off the front door, but then you'd also have to relocate the LEDs. That and cut out those slots entirely to let the front intake breathe. Too much work.

-Brad
December 20, 2006 2:52:15 AM

Quote:
Coolermaster Stacker @ Newegg
That way, you can put your PSU top or bottom, whichever works best for you, and you can move the power/USB/etc. module to whatever height suits your fancy. It does come with a top 'blow hole', but you can configure that however you like - even disable it, and it has 120s everywhere else. This case gives you maximum flexibility in how you configure it and what you put in it.

Thanks for the tip on these Coolermaster units. As you predicted I'm not crazy about the holes in the top. With the older Stacker in that first link I would probably want to close off the top vent with a piece of aluminum stock, and turn the front fan around to make it intake instead of exhaust.

Thanks,
-Brad
December 20, 2006 2:57:53 AM

Well, here are two that meet most of your requirements. They both have

1.) No windows
2.) No psu
3.) Top psu placement
4.) 2 120mm fans
5.) Doesn't look like the mobo tray is removable
6.) USB/Firewire/Audio ports on top

Lian-Li PC A16B

Cooler Master Mystique 631
December 20, 2006 3:07:37 AM


Wow, nice suggestions.

BTW at the risk of sounding like a broken record (er, LP, er, vinyl, er ya' know), can that front fan breathe OK on the Mystique?

Both very nice cases, thanks for the pointer.

-Brad
December 20, 2006 3:26:21 AM

In my opinion and experience, even having small slots will be fine for almost any fan. It's just that if you put your hand over it, it will feel like the air is moving faster than it would if there was a large hole for the air to flow through. I guess what I'm saying is that airflow won't be impacted that much, as air will just flow in faster through the slits, rather than a large mesh.
December 20, 2006 3:35:12 AM

Quote:
In my opinion and experience, even having small slots will be fine for almost any fan. It's just that if you put your hand over it, it will feel like the air is moving faster than it would if there was a large hole for the air to flow through. I guess what I'm saying is that airflow won't be impacted that much, as air will just flow in faster through the slits, rather than a large mesh.

Won't the small slots increase turbulence and noise?
December 20, 2006 7:41:57 AM

how about the Akasa Eclipse 62 or the Akasa Mirage.

Sounds like you wanted what i was looking for when i built a couple of years ago
December 20, 2006 11:53:17 AM

Quote:
how about the Akasa Eclipse 62 or the Akasa Mirage. Sounds like you wanted what i was looking for when i built a couple of years ago

Hmmm, never heard of Akasa... [searching...] Ahhh, no wonder, there's no sales channel in the USA. The Mirage 62 seems like a really nice case but the ports are mounted low on the right side which is impossible for me. The Eclipse 62 puts the ports in front, a little low, and WTF, no audio ports there? Oh well, no matter, doesn't look like it would be too easy to get one here anyway.

Thanks,
-Brad
December 20, 2006 12:36:53 PM

Quote:


By the way, can someone explain to me how that front intake breathes when the front door is closed?

-Brad


There is an air slot in the front of the case that pulls air in. dual 80mm cools this case just fine.
December 20, 2006 12:42:58 PM

Quote:

By the way, can someone explain to me how that front intake breathes when the front door is closed?
-Brad

There is an air slot in the front of the case that pulls air in. dual 80mm cools this case just fine.
OK, I see the air slots now that I checked the vendor's web page.

I'm sure the dual 80's cool just fine but I'm trying to keep noise down, so I'm sticking by my requirement for 120's. Period.

Thanks,
-Brad
December 20, 2006 1:18:02 PM

Do people really pay $100+ for cases??? Ive never paid more than $25 and thats with shipping. If it doesn't add to the fps whats the point :) 
a c 139 ) Power supply
December 20, 2006 1:29:54 PM

You should probably go with your first inclination.
I agree with bruce555 that the Antec 160 is a good choice. Its a quiet case, easy to work in and that rotating Firewire/USB bezel is excellent when the case is floor mounted.
December 20, 2006 1:37:09 PM

that's like saying what's the point of having a nice paint job? It doesn't add to the horsepower.

Personally I paid more than $200 for my Silverstone TJ03 - it comes with a slew of features that make it a better case than some $25 thrift store p.o.s. I would never put my parts in a cheap case, I like having my hands free of cuts from crappy ass metal edges and enjoy being able to remove my mobo tray to make installation a breeze. Plus with the nice added fans my airflow is top notch.

To the original poster:

Personally, I couldn't really find any cases that fit all your criteria and think it's ridiculous to have so many restrictions for suggestions. Unless you make your own case, you will never meet all the criteria. Best bet is to pick a quality easy to use case with several of the points you need and deal with not having the rest, just in my opinion though.
December 20, 2006 1:49:19 PM

Quote:
Do people really pay $100+ for cases??? Ive never paid more than $25 and thats with shipping. If it doesn't add to the fps whats the point :) 

I was initially inclined to ignore your attempt to hijack this thread and turn it into a series of banal wisecracks but... Guess what! A good case with superior cooling does increase fps on a Core 2 Duo. Or should I say, it prevents a decrease in fps when the CPU gets cranking and can't dispose of the heat sufficiently, and throttles back as a result.

If you're happy with a $15 case I'm happy for you. Now try saying something useful and relevant, if you can, instead of making a pointless attempt to raise your post count.

-Brad
December 20, 2006 1:53:18 PM

Quote:
Personally, I couldn't really find any cases that fit all your criteria and think it's ridiculous to have so many restrictions for suggestions. Unless you make your own case, you will never meet all the criteria. Best bet is to pick a quality easy to use case with several of the points you need and deal with not having the rest, just in my opinion though.

It's pretty much looking that way, yeah. The tough part is choosing the tradeoff(s) but with the generous help of many people here I'm well on my way to narrowing it down.

Take care,
-Brad
December 20, 2006 2:04:56 PM

Quote:
You should probably go with your first inclination.
I agree with bruce555 that the Antec 160 is a good choice. Its a quiet case, easy to work in and that rotating Firewire/USB bezel is excellent when the case is floor mounted.

Yep, it's probably going to end up being a choice between that Antec P160, the Lian-Li PC A16B, the Cooler Master Mystique 631, and maybe the Thermaltake Soprano. Gonna go scratch about it for a while...

-Brad
December 20, 2006 2:07:52 PM

Have you tried the Thermaltake Armor?

This model does not have a side window, comes with 120mm fans and 90mm fans, has no front door, usb and firewire are on top, psu is on top and you can move floppy and power/reset bays as you wish:

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

Unfortunately, you have a top fan, altough you can select to disable.

It's also ready to take a wc system.

Edit: According to Thermaltake it can operate a total fanless system.
December 20, 2006 2:16:43 PM

Quote:
Have you tried the Thermaltake Armor?
This model does not have a side window, comes with 120mm fans and 90mm fans, has no front door, usb and firewire are on top, psu is on top and you can move floppy and power/reset bays as you wish:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E1681...
Unfortunately, you have a top fan, altough you can select to disable.
It's also ready to take a wc system.
Edit: According to Thermaltake it can operate a total fanless system.

Nice case but the food processor (or food strainer, if you remove the fan) is the deal breaker.

Thanks!
a c 126 ) Power supply
December 20, 2006 2:36:39 PM

I have been a fan of the antec solo(or p150 if you like the PSU). The front has room for two 92mm fans which gives you tha airflow of 120's and more. The usb ports are about 1/3 up from the bottom, but you could always inastall some usb ports in one of the upper drive bays. I particularly like these cases because they have heavy insulated panels and are quiet. The front has a removeable washable filter which helps keep things inside clean.
December 20, 2006 2:59:52 PM

Well,

This one doesn't have the "food processor", has 120mm fans, a stylish and sober look and its ports are on the top of the case:

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

The only thing you might not like is that it has an inverted position for the psu: psu on the bottom, mobo on top. From a thermal point of view this makes sense, as heat has a natural flow of going up to the top of the case, where the processor won't be.
December 20, 2006 3:11:46 PM

Quote:
This one doesn't have the "food processor", has 120mm fans, a stylish and sober look and its ports are on the top of the case:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E1681...
The only thing you might not like is that it has an inverted position for the psu: psu on the bottom, mobo on top. From a thermal point of view this makes sense, as heat has a natural flow of going up to the top of the case, where the processor won't be.

You're right, I don't like it.

From a thermal point of view you're just trading heat around the CPU for heat around the PCI cards, which is why Lian Li had to add that extra fan over the expansion card area instead of just having some small ventilation holes strategically cut over that area to allow the rear exhaust fan to pull air across them.

I don't see the point of moving a problem, and I think the bottom mounted PSUs are an answer to a question that nobody asked. If I were that worried about hot air in the CPU vicinity I'd use a BTX/TAC solution.

-Brad
December 20, 2006 3:47:16 PM

Personally I think that you don't need much more than the two fans. The p160 has great open flow; your intake is not restricted at all besides the air filter. With my temp sensors, they never show anything above 30C, usually 28C, and I have some warm stuff in there. Plus my girlfriend has the heat cranked always and I think my bedroom sits at about 25C always, I can't stand it!!

I mean the case is great to work with, it's light, the motherboard tray is great and installing a motherboard with it never been so easy, I love the way it looks, and it's not a bad price.
December 20, 2006 3:47:41 PM

Quote:
Well, this one might be what you're looking for:
No windows, no fancy looks, no top hole, 120mm fans, psu on top:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E1681...
The usb and audio are at the side of the case.

Wow, Sunbeam. I was looking at one of their keyboards last year.

The link you posted shows a case with a window.

And the ports are a little low...

Thanks!
-Brad
December 20, 2006 3:51:47 PM

Well now I'm just feeling ignored. :D  I at least expected it to be picked apart if you didn't like it. :D 

Quote:
I always like K.I.S.S. (Keep It Simple, Stupid). Here is the next case I plan to buy.

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

Simple, sturdy, inexpensive. Pics make it look Grey, but is Black. Comes with 80mm fan, but I believe you can mount front and rear 120's in it.
December 20, 2006 3:53:00 PM

Quote:
Well, this one might be what you're looking for:
No windows, no fancy looks, no top hole, 120mm fans, psu on top:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E1681...
The usb and audio are at the side of the case.

Wow, Sunbeam. I was looking at one of their keyboards last year.

The link you posted shows a case with a window.

And the ports are a little low...

Thanks!
-Brad

Sorry about the link. But on Newegg was the only sunbeam Silent Storm.
In their site it has the same model without a window.

http://www.sunbeamtech.com

You might like looking at the Zorro model too.

The acrylic one also has all the features you want, except it it's transparent.
December 20, 2006 3:55:57 PM

go to tigerdirect and look in the mid tower atx section, they have a lot of cases that you are looking for. It only took me 15 seconds to find more than one. "no blow holes, usb firewire & etc midway up, 120 fans, no power supply and reset/start button spaced far apart. etc etc etc etc. Look at the GIGABYTE cases nice and simple. but no front swing type door? Good luck!
December 20, 2006 3:59:02 PM

Quote:
Well now I'm just feeling ignored. :D  I at least expected it to be picked apart if you didn't like it. :D 

I always like K.I.S.S. (Keep It Simple, Stupid). Here is the next case I plan to buy.

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

Simple, sturdy, inexpensive. Pics make it look Grey, but is Black. Comes with 80mm fan, but I believe you can mount front and rear 120's in it.

Yeah, I was getting tired of writing things like CAN'T YOU F'ING READ, I WANTED 120MM FANS YOU F'ING MORON, I ALREADY HAVE A NICE TOWER CASE WITH THOSE F'ING 80MM NOISEMAKERS DAMMIT", back-spacing, then typing something polite and "thanks anyway".

Feeling better now?

Happy holidays,
-Brad
December 20, 2006 4:14:18 PM

Well, I thought that since you can build a computer and as you said money isn't an object, you would realize that grabbing a couple of 120 mm fans and installing them would only inconvenience you by about $15 and 15 minutes. I didn't realize that replacing fans was beyond your technical savvy. For that I apologize. Merry Christmas to you too.
December 20, 2006 4:23:08 PM

Quote:
Well, I thought that since you can build a computer and as you said money isn't an object, you would realize that grabbing a couple of 120 mm fans and installing them would only inconvenience you by about $15 and 15 minutes. I didn't realize that replacing fans was beyond your technical savvy. For that I apologize. Merry Christmas to you too.

Would you like me to pick you apart some more??
December 20, 2006 4:31:30 PM

Quote:
Edited from origional post.
I was hoping for:

A solid, sturdy, conservative mid-tower ATX case, not something that looks like it jumped out of an anime cartoon, price more or less no object, aluminum or steel OK...

No windows. I don't need to impress anyone and Lucite doesn't help with RF interference.

No power supply necessary, I prefer to choose my own thank-yew-very-much...

Conventional power supply location so I don't have to grit my teeth over wire routing or mount the PSU upside-down, which just irritates my increasingly prevalent OCD side...

With 120mm fans only, front and rear, for quiet running, no blow-hole necessary. I refer to the top holes as "food processors" if ya' get my drift...

Hopefully a removable motherboard tray but I can probably live without it...

And USB/Firewire/audio ports located no lower than mid-height since the case will be on the floor (save your dust comments please), and no ports stupidly behind a main front door since it's a good bet the audio ports will be occupied full-time. Side ports OK but left side only.

-Brad


I was just trying to show you a case that fit the bill, except needing larger fans, which the case can accomodate and the MB tray is not removable, which you said you can live without. I can understand picking suggestions apart, no problems at all with that. But getting rude only gets you rude responses and turns people off from thinking about helping you in the future.
!