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Why isn't the Desktop case the Enthusiast choice anymore?

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July 4, 2007 12:13:13 PM

Hi,


Just want to know the answer to this question, why are all the cases Tower based not Desktop based.

from my understanding, a desktop case is a better suited case because of the air circulation, hot air rises upwards towards the case fans which dissipates all the hot air. while in Tower cases, the only thing that will dissipate it is the PSU fan. So theoratically, a desktop with 2x120mm fans would be a lot cooler than a tower one. right?

Please clear this points for me,

Thx,

pardon any mistakes, english is not my native.
July 4, 2007 12:49:45 PM

Quote:

a desktop with 2x120mm fans would be a lot cooler than a tower one. right?

Please clear this points for me,


clearly, NO, a desktop with two 120MM doesn't necessarely have more airflow.

all this because hot air goes up. then, towers gets hot air easily while desktop just get any air out.

of course, two 120mm are better than one but if you take the same in a tower... as the antec P1XX series, you'll see there's effectively two 120MM on top of the case and that's why the PSU is located at the bottom of the case letting airflow go through the cpu zone.
July 4, 2007 1:11:33 PM

Pardon my english, i meant that the 2x120mm fans would dissipate the heat better cuz they were better positioned in the case. I didn't mean airflow, my knowledge about this is pretty slim.

my point is that in the Tower, the hot air rises from the buttom passing through all the components in the system heating them up in the process. while in the Desktop, it just goes up from each component indivdually and gets dissipated by fans.


Please be sure to correct me if i'm wrong
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July 4, 2007 1:15:59 PM

1 Desk top case's are much smaller. Harder to work on, no room for those big GPU's, CPU coolers, multiple drives, forget about SLI or Crossfire.
2 The cooling is much, much worse.
July 4, 2007 1:40:46 PM

>1 Desk top case's (sic) are much smaller

Uh, no, if you get a smaller desktop case it's smaller, if you get one that's an ATX case it tends to be the same size - because, y'know, ATX is a *specification*, not an option.

>2 The cooling is much, much worse

Only if you get a small case. Desktop cases are no worse or better than any others.


The real reason Tower cases have "taken over" from the equivalent Desktop cases is desktop footprint - you get a lot more desk space left over with a tower case :) 

Since most computers in the world are bought by companies, and companies want more desk space, towers became more popular!
July 4, 2007 2:08:49 PM

Hi,

In the ATX towers, the airflow is not necessarily Up, but rather front to back. In my tower I have a front 120mm, a side 120mm, a back 90mm, a PSU fan exhaust, and my graphics card which exhausts through its back plate (dual-slot).

http://www.intel.com/support/processors/pentiumii/atxfl...

I hope it helps.
July 4, 2007 2:58:03 PM

Quote:

a desktop with 2x120mm fans would be a lot cooler than a tower one. right?

Please clear this points for me,


clearly, NO, a desktop with two 120MM doesn't necessarely have more airflow.

all this because hot air goes up. then, towers gets hot air easily while desktop just get any air out.

of course, two 120mm are better than one but if you take the same in a tower... as the antec P1XX series, you'll see there's effectively two 120MM on top of the case and that's why the PSU is located at the bottom of the case letting airflow go through the cpu zone.

I get the feeling that you're generalizing from an uninformed point of view. The way I see it, airflow through desktops vary widely depending on the individual model in question. And the same can be said for towers. For example, I've got a Sony Vaio mid-sized tower with lousy airflow. It has an 8cm fan on back right behind the CPU and another 8cm exhausting the power supply. That's it. When I added a second HD, the temps in the system went up above my comfort zone, so I moved the components to a Lian Li tower. It has two 8cm inlet fans blowing over the HDs, an 8cm exhausting the CPU area, the PS exhaust and an 9cm blowhole fan. The HDs run over 20C cooler in the Lian Li case and the CPU runs about 10C cooler. That's not a whole lot of fan surface area on the Lian Li but it works because it makes good use of the available draw and has the blowhole. Go do dual prime with a case that has a blowhole and try it with the blowhole functioning, then physically block it off. Bi diff.

But if you want to see airflow in a tower, look at the Cooler Master Stacker or the TT Armor equipped with the 25cm door fan and a couple of the optional iCages, which have 12cm fans on them. My Armor is set up like that, so it has a total of three 12cm fans (two inlet, one outlet), two 9cm outlet fans, one 8cm blowhole and the 25cm door fan set up as an inlet. I also use a slot fan as an outlet right above the video card and the video card is a 1900XT, which exhausts through the second GPU slot.

If you make a thorough comparison with desktops, you'll see much difference in airflow from model to model, but in general, I don't see a bunch of high airflow desktops. In the first place, many desktop cases are small with quite a bit of conjestion. The TT VF1000BWS is a decent LAN box option if you have a microATX mobo, but it has only one 9cm inlet fan and just two 6cm exhausts. You've also got the PS exhaust but the good thing is that there is a reasonably good surface are of passive vent space. The PCI card slot dummies are vented, about 1/4th of the top panel is vent, the side panels have good vents. If you use a GPU that forces air to exhaust out the back, you can run pretty cool in this case.
July 4, 2007 3:18:46 PM

Well, aside from most desktop enthusiasts cases being mATX, people just like to know that they can fit anything they want in their case.

I had the ultra micro-fly and LOVED it. (I'll buy another) It did run cooler then any mid tower I have had or been around, and it took up a lot less space. The thing is, I was limited on the parts I could use. The ASUS card I have now wouldn't fit because of the heatpipe. You can't use tall CPU coolers, and your are stuck with mATX boards. None of that is necessarily bad, just inconvenient to some. The case will fit most 8800GTXs, flat cpu coolers, and there are some superb mATX boards available today. I just think it comes down to preference.

Personally, I could never go bigger then a Mid-Tower. The on I have now is almost too big for my tastes. If I build again, I will use another microfly.
a b ) Power supply
July 4, 2007 11:14:20 PM

Back when desktops were king people were turning them sideways and standing them on end on the floor so they could get those things off their desks.
July 4, 2007 11:29:40 PM

The other point is that anyone with good computer knowledge uses is a tower case is usually fitted with a intake fan down low sucking cool air in from lower in the room. :) 

Then with the exhaust fans up the top you have a great air flow, cool air in down low, hot air out up high.
Can't do that with a desk top case. :cry: 
July 5, 2007 4:23:04 AM

Quote:
first of all, heat rising is caused by natural air movements (actually its because the molecules weigh the same but they are bigger so less dense and therefore 'float' on top of the cooler ones), its not really going to count when the air is being deliberatly forced in a direction created by fans.


Uggh, NO!
July 5, 2007 6:41:42 PM

Quote:
first of all, heat rising is caused by natural air movements (actually its because the molecules weigh the same but they are bigger so less dense and therefore 'float' on top of the cooler ones), its not really going to count when the air is being deliberatly forced in a direction created by fans.


Aaargh! How wrong can you be??? I suppose I should be grateful you didn't mention Maxwell's demons!
July 5, 2007 7:28:46 PM

Quote:
first of all, heat rising is caused by natural air movements (actually its because the molecules weigh the same but they are bigger so less dense and therefore 'float' on top of the cooler ones), its not really going to count when the air is being deliberatly forced in a direction created by fans.


Uggh, NO!

...could you be more descriptive? There are a few statements in there and I'm rather confused about which one you responding to. Liquids at higher energy levels are less dense causing them to rise... *confused*
July 5, 2007 7:45:37 PM

more directly in response to the OP: Tower cases are more popular because it's much, much easier to fit components in them. As Clue69Less stated the airflow varies greatly from one case to another. There are tower case designs that leverage all of the advantages you mentioned. I'm not a big fan of the ATX tower design and I think the large and easily noticeable effect of having "blow hole" (a top fan almost always set to exhaust) is actually evidence of how bad the design is. It's not an elegant solution but blowholes do work and you can easily add them to almost any tower case.

Smaller desktop cases are more efficient (need fewer fans, lower fan CFMs to do the same amount of work) but I wouldn't say they have inherently better airflow than a tower case or that they are inherently "better" as with a large tower case there is so much room you could easily add more fans and more ducts to increase performance. They are a more elegant solution but enthusiast computer is often more about brute force and top-performance. I've seen a lot of really crappy "desktop" cases that are far worse then even the most bland ATX-Mid-tower case.

AFAIK the tower has been the most popular choice for all DIY computer builders since... a long time. Pentium2 era at least. Anyone else care to weigh in on that?

Personally I greatly prefer cube cases.
July 5, 2007 8:08:32 PM

Quote:
first of all, heat rising is caused by natural air movements (actually its because the molecules weigh the same but they are bigger so less dense and therefore 'float' on top of the cooler ones), its not really going to count when the air is being deliberatly forced in a direction created by fans.


Uggh, NO!

...could you be more descriptive? There are a few statements in there and I'm rather confused about which one you responding to. Liquids at higher energy levels are less dense causing them to rise... *confused*

As the temperature of a gas rises, its vibrational energy increases. The atoms and molecules do not get larger, but their separation increases as long as they are not physically constrained. So it's true that, if given the space to expand, hot air is less dense than cool air and that's why hot air rises. And the above is a simplification of a relatively complex set of phenomena.
July 5, 2007 8:23:33 PM

Quote:
first of all, heat rising is caused by natural air movements (actually its because the molecules weigh the same but they are bigger so less dense and therefore 'float' on top of the cooler ones), its not really going to count when the air is being deliberatly forced in a direction created by fans.


Uggh, NO!

...could you be more descriptive? There are a few statements in there and I'm rather confused about which one you responding to. Liquids at higher energy levels are less dense causing them to rise... *confused*

As the temperature of a gas rises, its vibrational energy increases. The atoms and molecules do not get larger, but their separation increases as long as they are not physically constrained. So it's true that, if given the space to expand, hot air is less dense than cool air and that's why hot air rises. And the above is a simplification of a relatively complex set of phenomena.

..and you're sure no electrons get lost in this process? (fyi to innocent bystanders: that was an inside joke)

The individual atoms and molecules don't get bigger? I guess that makes sense... they would probably just break if they did. I blame USA public school system for misleading us :(  If you're going to be that nit-picky it is much appreciated if you explain yourself though. I think I can speak for most of us here when I say we're not physicists ;)  Thanks for responding.
July 5, 2007 8:32:30 PM

Quote:
first of all, heat rising is caused by natural air movements (actually its because the molecules weigh the same but they are bigger so less dense and therefore 'float' on top of the cooler ones), its not really going to count when the air is being deliberatly forced in a direction created by fans.


Uggh, NO!

...could you be more descriptive? There are a few statements in there and I'm rather confused about which one you responding to. Liquids at higher energy levels are less dense causing them to rise... *confused*

As the temperature of a gas rises, its vibrational energy increases. The atoms and molecules do not get larger, but their separation increases as long as they are not physically constrained. So it's true that, if given the space to expand, hot air is less dense than cool air and that's why hot air rises. And the above is a simplification of a relatively complex set of phenomena.

..and you're sure no electrons get lost in this process? (fyi to innocent bystanders: that was an inside joke)

The individual atoms and molecules don't get bigger? I guess that makes sense... they would probably just break if they did. I blame USA public school system for misleading us :(  If you're going to be that nit-picky it is much appreciated if you explain yourself though. I think I can speak for most of us here when I say we're not physicists ;)  Thanks for responding.

If you add sufficient energy, the electrons can be promoted to a higher enery orbital and the excited state orbital can be larger in size than the ground state orbital. If this happens in a PC case, you're pushing your overclock WAAAYYY to far.

I'm not a physicist either, and I do not stay at Holiday Inns.
July 5, 2007 9:46:58 PM

Quote:

AFAIK the tower has been the most popular choice for all DIY computer builders since... a long time. Pentium2 era at least. Anyone else care to weigh in on that?


Even before that. I built many 486's and Pentium 1 and all of them in towers. I've never seen an enthusiast's pc in a desktop case. Those are mainly seen in offices. I personnaly would never build with a desktop case as there isn't any room in those cases.
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