Small cases, Big fans... Help? First OC. Last build: Socket A

I'm currently building a i7 920 with asus rampage genie II 24/7 OC to 3.6 ghz at the minimum.
The heat sink I'm leaning towards is the Mugen 2.

The other fan thats crossing my mind is Spire Thermax II due to the nice controller.

Does anyone know the Mugen 2 can be controlled manually within the windows environment or does it require a fixed speed in bios when run outside of "auto"?

I'm really wanting the smallest form factor case for this small motherboard that I can pull off without cooking any eggs and I could use some advice on what cases are likely to fit this hefty heatsink.

Here is the case currently in my basket:
COOLER MASTER Elite 341 RC-341C-KKN1-GP Black Steel MicroATX Mid Tower Computer Case - Retail

AS5 is the compound currently in my cart, I could use some advice here and links to benchmarking/lapping best practices.

Thanks and Best Regards
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  1. The case is a micro-atx case and it is only 7.28 inches wide. It will not accomodate the larger tower style cpu heatsinks. At a total height of 158mm, the Scythe Mugen 2 qualifies as a tall tower style heatsink.

    I looked at that case at a local Fry's Electronics store several times. My impression was that it would be okay for a home theater pc or a small general purpose energy efficient system but not for a game system.
  2. Thanks, I thought it was likely cutting things too close given that the heat sink is 6.3" tall. Do you have any case recomendations or minimum width recomendations? I've never had such a beastly heat sink or been trying to get as small a form factor as possible before, since this will be in the living room.
  3. Your biggest problem with a small case is getting rid of the heat unless you plan to underclock and run a low end GPU. Performance PC's with an i7 and a strong GPU need good airflow. The only way you can do that is get a case with at least two 120 mm fans as intake, and two 120 mm fans as exhaust. That pretty much knocks out ANY small case.

    You could go with a smaller case that has 80mm fans, but the rpms creating noise they will need to run will pretty much become a hated item in your living room.

    Bigger/more fans at lesser RPMs make for a quiet rig.

    Your stuck with the law of physics.
  4. Thanks for the advice. My primary concern is dB since this is in the living room with secondary concern being size.
    thats my interm choice unless i can find something thats not quite as deep/tall that meets the other criterion... Is that even wide enough for that heatsink to avoid hitting the side port fan though?
  5. I don't know about that case. You have to take measurements somehow. That side fan is going to reduce the interior thickness quite a bit. Try to find someone with that case and have them measure it is all I can say I guess.

    Ever look at the Antec 900? About the same size and it's pretty wide and great cooling, very very popular case.

    The Antec 902 is even wider than the 900, which is wider than your case. And nice holes to route the PSU wires for a clean install. All in black too. Look at the case you chose the back exaust holes, how much air it restricts. And the the Antec 902. You can see why it's a performance case.
  6. I did some more homework on that case and it has only about 148-150mm of max fan height before you hit the side port fan... I saw two reviewers saying they put the fan on the outside and fit a 158mm fan with no issues but I'm wondering exactly how ugly that will be... I think I just need to head down to the local microcenter and poke around at the cases. Thanks for the pointer to the 900/902 I've given Antec a pretty close look and the design is amazingly solid. I discovered they have the Elite 341 as well so after looking at it in person I'll likely confirm the gut feeling that the heatsink just wont fit... It only has 3x 120mm fan slots which is on the shy side of optimal as well. They have the Antec 900 for a reasonable price as well so I'll be sure to give it a close inspection.
  7. It's heartening to har someone did their home work. I hope it works out. Just remeber not enough cooling is usualy more expensive than too much. More fans on low than too few at high RPMs is quieter. And plan for the future...........

    I had the 900, it treated me well. it's just mo' money. I'd do the 902 if I had to do it again.
    Just FYI the elite 341 is supposed to support 160mm max height heatsinks, the mugen 2 being 158 "should" fit but there isn't quite enough ventilation if you ask me. I'm considering getting it though and cutting a hole in the side right where the heatsink is to install a 140mm or larger fan. Do you think this would bring in enough fresh ambient temperature air to keep the components cool? I figured I would make the front and rear fans both become exhaust. Ideally I'd like to put an exhaust fan on the top of the case and intake from the front as well but I'm not sure if thats feasible.

    Do they sell external mounting kits for fans or will I just have to make my own out of wood or metal and some fabric?
  9. Mounting a fan? You buy a fan guard and fan, cut a hole in the case and screw it on. Thats what most people do.

    Look on Youtube, some pros have vids of how to cut fan holes etc.
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