What is the "best" case optimized for air cooling?
After the stock fans get replaced by some Scythe Slipstreams or Ultra Kazes of course ;]
Antec 1200 and Stacker 831 are both great choices. I have the 1200 and a friend of mine has the 831. We have almost the same setup inside the case and we get the same temps from vid card and cpu.
There is also the Lian-Li PC-P80 found here http://lian-li.com/v2/en/product/product06.php?pr_index=131&cl_index=1&sc_index=25&ss_index=61. Before I got the 1200 I was looking at the PC-P80 but finally went with the 1200 'cause I thought it looked better.
A lot depends on whether you want to minimize noise. I bought an Antec P182 because I wanted a quiet system. It's unique feature is a separate compartment for the hard drives and power supply - this prevents hot air from these components from impacting the video card, motherboard and CPU. The system I built with this case is very quiet because I'm able to run with all the case fans on low and still have the CPU at less than 60 degrees on an extended Prime95 run. I don't even need a dedicated fan for the hard drives since the PSU fan draws enough air through the lower compartment to keep them cool.
A while back I ran across an article that compared the stock cooling capacity of the CoolerMaster HAF 932 and two other cases. One of the other two might have been the Antec Twelve Hundred. I am growing old disgracefully and I forget things.
In the comparison the CM HAF 932 came out on top for ventilation, airflow, and cooling. I think the Antec Twelve Hundred was a close second. Don't quote me on that.
To be fair there are other cases that have excellent ventilation, airflow, and cooling. One example would the the CoolerMaster 690. Right now I am looking at purchasing a LanCool (Lian Li subsidiary) PC-K58 which appears to have great potential for excellent ventilation, airflow, and cooling.
BTW - You don't need ten 120mm fans to achieve excellent ventilation, airflow, and cooling.
- 3*230mm fans and 1*140mm fan, 17dB
- 564mm in width -> can take any gfx
- cable management
- CPU fan can be replaced without pulling out the m/b
- tool free, cable management
- easy HDD and DVD Rom installation
- 5.25 tool free bay is not firmly fixed, but can be fixed with 1 or 2 scews which is included.
- no dust filter
- air flow is higher than Antec 1200
- 5*120mm and 1*200mm fan with jet engine noise.
- 513mm in width -> won't hold any gfx greater than 10.5" which might be the case for DirectX11 gfx
- cable management
- m/b needs to be removed when replacing the CPU fan
- HDD is very difficult to installed
- 5.25 bay is firmly fixed
- front dust filter
- lower air flow compared to HAF932
CM HAF932 beats Antec 1200 almost everywhere. If the dust filter were included and the 5.25 drive bay were firmly fixed, it would be a perfect case.
The HAF932 is undoubtedly the best cooling case out there now! HAF922 would be good to someone who has limited budget and its performance is
better than Antec 1200 as well with price being lower than the Antec 902.
p.s. All high air flow cases are UGLY. IMO, Gigabyte SUMO 5115 which is nice looking with ok cooling performance would be the best choice for non-gamer.
If price is not an object or concern then the Big Johnson 840 is your best choice for airflow, dust control. I have never seen temps so low on a processor, motherboard, and hardrives. 1st case ever to be built with Aluminum and lined with Granite! Why the 840 you say? Because it's twice as good.
The temps on this are on water cooling, however this case can be switched to all air cooling and perform very well. I have never seen a case with better positive airflow then this one. I can turn of the back fans with the fan controller and they still spin with no power to them.
In total I have
1 250 mm intake fan that has a hepa filter on it in the front.
1 250 mm on the top of the case pushing out hot air
7 Scythe 120 mm fans on a fan controller, 3 on the Radiator, 2 out the back left side, 2 pointing at the mother board and Grafix card
1 92 mm on the back, for the hardrives pushing air out
2 80 mm in the psu
get rid of the water cooling and install a Coolmaster V8 and I am sure this case would pawn anyother in temps and air flow. I can design almost any style you can come up with. I believe the Aluminum shell lined with Granite helps to pull heat to the outside and keeps it there. Once a design is created, case building takes around 7 days to complete. Prices on these case would depend on size and design, but they would be some where around Mountain mod UFO cases found at Mountainmods.com