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Looking for a sweet mid tower with good airflow

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September 19, 2009 12:01:53 PM

Hi, I'm in the market for a new case. It should be a mid tower with great airflow. I'm thinking at least three or four fans with room for more as I'm slowly developing a fan fetish. It needs to fit my 8800GTX (which I believe is longer than the 295, and I'll be upgrading to the 295 or whatever the best is that's out in 6-12 months). I don't do SLI. I do not water cool, so that isn't important. I prefer something with blue LEDs and a button to turn them off. I'll need room for about 5 hard drives. I'd like to stick with a mid tower, those full towers are just obscene. Something aluminum, hopefully painted black, and not heavy. I'm thinking 10 kg? Oh, and I was hoping for something not very ugly or attention-drawing.

There are so many cases right now, but a couple that have caught my eye are the:

Cooler Master Storm Scout
NZXT Tempest
Antec Nine Hundred Two

Suggestions? Thank you.
September 19, 2009 12:50:38 PM

The Antec 900 would be good.
September 19, 2009 1:23:24 PM

Heard it's a tight squeeze and I'll have to be moving the HD bracket to fit the 8800GTX in a Nine Hundred. I don't like tight squeezes or squishing cables. Plus, I don't think there's a switch to turn off the lights.

I've been looking at the Twelve Hundred. It's a full tower, but I like the depth and width dimensions better than all the other full towers I've seen. I don't care about the height, but I don't want a case wider than 21 cm or deeper than 52-53 cm.
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September 19, 2009 1:28:16 PM

i_hate_flying said:
Heard it's a tight squeeze and I'll have to be moving the HD bracket to fit the 8800GTX in a Nine Hundred. I don't like tight squeezes or squishing cables. Plus, I don't think there's a switch to turn off the lights.

I've been looking at the Twelve Hundred. It's a full tower, but I like the depth and width dimensions better than all the other full towers I've seen. I don't care about the height, but I don't want a case wider than 21 cm or deeper than 52-53 cm.


You could go for the Coolermaster CM690 (I have one), it comes with 3 120mm fans (btw, I moved the one from the side to the top for better airflow) and is very spacious, it'll also be a hell of a lot cheaper than those other cases.
September 19, 2009 2:09:43 PM

I can't speak for coolermaster cases, as I personally don't have one, but hear great things about them. If price is your main concern and airflow. Give this a look.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

40 bucks, I've actually got one and am pleased with it so far. As long as you realize it is cheaper. But for airflow it's got a 250 mm side fan to pull air in. Grab a hi flow fan to pull air out from under the power supply(Note, do grab a better power supply than what's included with the case).

The other thing I did is I put a pci slot cooling fan under my video card to pull hot air out from under that. It fits my 9600gt ok. I'm running an Athlon x2 5200+ Windsor, it's running usually in the mid 30 degrees celsius range with the stock cooler for now, the video card idles in the low 40's.

The only thing I would say to watch out for is the width of your video card, as the fan on the inside does have a lip on it, my 9600gt nearly touches it, but it works fine.

But again, the CM case is a good suggestion as they have a good reputation as well.
September 19, 2009 2:44:30 PM

Thank you, I can't get Broadway Com Corp in this country. We'll have to stick to the major brands. I should mention that I've got a Thermaltake Matrix VX 3000 right now that I'll be upgrading from. This is a mini tower, one of the only ones that fits the 8800GTX, but everything inside this case is squished and cable management is a nightmare. I just had my Raptor 74 go bad on me and I almost had to undo everything and remove everything just to get the damn drive out. I've moved and have more room now so I can get a bigger case.

I should also mention that I'll pay up to 200-250$.
September 19, 2009 2:52:25 PM

i_hate_flying said:
Thank you, I can't get Broadway Com Corp in this country. We'll have to stick to the major brands. I should mention that I've got a Thermaltake Matrix VX 3000 right now that I'll be upgrading from. This is a mini tower, one of the only ones that fits the 8800GTX, but everything inside this case is squished and cable management is a nightmare. I just had my Raptor 74 go bad on me and I almost had to undo everything and remove everything just to get the damn drive out. I've moved and have more room now so I can get a bigger case.

I should also mention that I'll pay up to 200-250$.


I bought my CM690 for about 70 euros and it's made out of very sturdy steel, it will be more than enough for your 8800GTX (look at my sig to see what kind of hardware it can handle with ease.)
It can be upgraded with even more fans and only has one light fan on the front (but it's not that bright and is largely obscured by black mesh anyway.)

Then again there's tons of cases out there that would suit your need without you having to spend 200 dollars.
September 19, 2009 3:09:57 PM

I like the Cooler Master Storm Scout better than the 690, also like the 922, maybe even better than both, but it's REALLY wide (25.4 cm! / 10 in!).

I'm planning on buying a SSD as soon as Intel gets their stock problems sorted with the X25-m G2. I like that the Storm Scout comes with all the stuff needed to mount SSDs since I'll probably get the OEM package.

I'm looking at the 690 right now and reading.
September 19, 2009 3:17:55 PM

You know, that CM690 isn't ugly at all. In fact, it's a pretty sweet case. I like.

Where did you get yours for 70 euro? I'm finding them for about 640 kr, which is about 70 euro. Is this the exact same one?

http://prisguide.hardware.no/product.php?productId=1032...

It might be cheaper in Germany, I'll be going there in a week, but I don't know any cheap German sites...

Also, it looks like I'll have to order some more fans. Am I correct that the 690 comes with three fans with room for up to seven? Guess I'll have to order four more!
a c 248 ) Power supply
September 19, 2009 3:19:44 PM

^5 +1 what Gulli said. The Coolermaster 690 is a very good case with excellent ventilation, air flow, and cooling.

The three cases you mentioned in your original post are all good cases. Sometimes it is a matter of personal preference.

If you are concerned about extra long video cards, then you might want to consider a case with a longer front to back dimension. The new Lancool (subsidiary of Lian Li) Dragon Lord series caught my attention last month. It will meet your requirements and the cases are not too expensive:

http://www.mwave.com/mwave/deepsearch_v3.asp?scriteria=...

Note - The link is just to show the different versions available. You'll have to search for them in your own country.

Here's a link to a good video clip review of the case done by the guys at mnpctech.com:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U2MdUGxWEcU

September 19, 2009 3:43:52 PM

i_hate_flying said:
You know, that CM690 isn't ugly at all. In fact, it's a pretty sweet case. I like.

Where did you get yours for 70 euro? I'm finding them for about 640 kr, which is about 70 euro. Is this the exact same one?

http://prisguide.hardware.no/product.php?productId=1032...

It might be cheaper in Germany, I'll be going there in a week, but I don't know any cheap German sites...

Also, it looks like I'll have to order some more fans. Am I correct that the 690 comes with three fans with room for up to seven? Guess I'll have to order four more!


Yeah, that's the one, I got mine from a Dutch site, I assume they'll cost nearly the same in Norway and Germany.
I like that it has ventilation mesh on the topside (just like the Antec 900), at first I was weary of that, but it seems to work really well. The case comes with 3 120mm fans installed: 1 (with a blue led) on the front, on in the back and one in the sidepanel (I put this one underneath the topside.)
Furthermore it lets you place the PSU in the bottom and have it suck air from underneath the case (so it won't be sucking hot air from inside, heating up the PSU) there's room for more fans on the bottom, the sidepanel, the topside, one (80mm) between the underside of the CPU socket and the right panel, I don't know if it's possible to put a second fan in the front, but I wouldn't be surprised if you could.
It also has excellent accessories for cable management.

The only con I can think of is that you can't remove the motherboard tray (that would make it so much easier to install those huge CPU coolers.)

September 19, 2009 5:19:58 PM

Excellent! I know it's what's on the inside that counts, but I think the best thing about the case is that it looks nice. That'll at least keep the woman happy. That and continuing to occasionally vacuum clean, haha.

Thank you very much for the information, it really helps. I always wondered why some cases have the PSU on the bottom, now I know. So I'm looking at at least ordering three 120 mm fans and an 80 right now?

I'm still running an E6600 at 3.4 GHz on an EVGA 680i. I hope this thing doesn't fall to bits as I transfer it to the new case. The last time I got the computer up on the table to clean out all the dust (I had just bought an awesome vacuum cleaner), I got a POST error code that was so bad, I couldn't find it in the manual. I forget which one it was, but it's infamous on support sites and makes geeks have nightmares and wake up screaming. I had to remove everything from the board, clear the CMOS, take out the battery backup, discharge the PSU, remove the memory and then remove the CPU before it would start working. That was scary. And insane.

What's the Dutch site you guys use? Between English, Norwegian, and German I can pretty much read Dutch :)  Plus, I lived there for six months. I'm always looking for a deal, especially when most everything costs more up here.
September 19, 2009 5:30:51 PM

i_hate_flying said:
Excellent! I know it's what's on the inside that counts, but I think the best thing about the case is that it looks nice. That'll at least keep the woman happy. That and continuing to occasionally vacuum clean, haha.

Thank you very much for the information, it really helps. I always wondered why some cases have the PSU on the bottom, now I know. So I'm looking at at least ordering three 120 mm fans and an 80 right now?

I'm still running an E6600 at 3.4 GHz on an EVGA 680i. I hope this thing doesn't fall to bits as I transfer it to the new case. The last time I got the computer up on the table to clean out all the dust (I had just bought an awesome vacuum cleaner), I got a POST error code that was so bad, I couldn't find it in the manual. I forget which one it was, but it's infamous on support sites and makes geeks have nightmares and wake up screaming. I had to remove everything from the board, clear the CMOS, take out the battery backup, discharge the PSU, remove the memory and then remove the CPU before it would start working. That was scary. And insane.

What's the Dutch site you guys use? Between English, Norwegian, and German I can pretty much read Dutch :)  Plus, I lived there for six months. I'm always looking for a deal, especially when most everything costs more up here.


You could buy the extra fans but I doubt it'll make much of a difference, the airflow is already very good with 3 fans, I think it would be more useful to buy the biggest aftermarket CPU cooler out there to keep the system cool, and line it's fan up with the case fan in the back or the one on the top (I recommend taking the fan from the sidepanel and putting it on the topside, as an exhaust fan of course.)
I've got no idea though what the 80mm fan for the back of the motherboard will do, maybe it will significantly lower CPU temps but I've never tried it.

"tweakers.nl" is an excellent site for reviews and price comparisons, here's their page for the CM690: http://tweakers.net/pricewatch/160716/cooler-master-cm-... , the second shop on that list "informatique" is very reliable but I'm not sure whether they will deliver in Germany (you'll probably need a Dutch or Belgian address) so you'll be better of on: http://www4.hardwareversand.de/_/articledetail.jsp?aid=...
September 20, 2009 7:07:51 AM

i_hate_flying said:
Heard it's a tight squeeze and I'll have to be moving the HD bracket to fit the 8800GTX in a Nine Hundred.
Thats not accurate. A 900 will handle a 10.5 inch card without squishing or squeezing. The case is designed with two moveable 3 slot HDD cages with 120mm fans in the front. Its silly not to put one of those (without a HDD) where the front fan blows cool air back to the GPU. I put my CD at the bottom and the HDD bays up higher so one HDD fan blows to the RAM/CPU and one blows to the GPU. Lots of good ways to make air-flow work with a 900.

The "Nine Hundred Two" (902) looks like a short 1200 if you like the 1200 and want shorter.
a c 248 ) Power supply
September 20, 2009 4:09:49 PM

dndhatcher - There are longer video cards. Cables have to be taken into account also. It just depends on which video card a person wants to install in a case.
September 20, 2009 4:25:54 PM

I like CM storm scouts:) 
September 20, 2009 8:04:57 PM

JohnnyLucky said:
dndhatcher - There are longer video cards. Cables have to be taken into account also. It just depends on which video card a person wants to install in a case.
There are only a couple cards ever made longer than a 10.5 inch 9800 GTX+; I dont believe the 8800GTX is one of them but thats why I gave the length just in case. There is 11.5 inches before you hit a drive bay so its really not tight on space. Only reason to have space problems in a 900 is someone didnt read about the moveable drive cages. There are no "HD Brackets" like in many cases, there are two moveable drive bays so you can configure it to meet your space needs. If you move the two drive bays to top and bottom you could fit card going all the way to the front of the case (18-19 inches long).
September 21, 2009 6:39:32 PM

Gulli, I just checked the Cooler Master website again to be sure. It's saying the 690 case comes with the following:

Front: 120 x 25 mm Blue LED fan x 1 / 1200 RPM / 21 dBA
Rear: 120 x 25 mm fan x 1 / 1200 RPM / 21 dBA
Left Side #1: 120 x 25 mm fan x 1 / 1200 RPM / 21 dBA

These are optional:
Top: 120 or 140 mm fan x 2 (optional)
Bottom: 120 x 25 mm fan x 1 (optional)
Left Side #2: 120 x 25 mm fan x 1 (optional)

So that makes four 120 mm fans or three and one 140 mm. Are you saying that there's also room for an 80 mm fan at the back of the motherboard? Would that be the right side panel? All these fans is borderline obscene. I love it.

I wonder if buying a few 2500 rpm fans and switching them out with the ones that come with the case and then putting those in the extra slots would make a cooling difference?

I've got a Thermaltake Big Typhoon VX. Is there anything better than that out right now? I haven't been paying attention to coolers lately. There was one I heard about not too long ago that was majorly being hyped up, but I can't remember it's name. I wrote it down somewhere around here....

EDIT: I think it was the Prolimatech Megahalems CPU Cooler that had everyone getting wet with lust.
September 22, 2009 11:42:31 AM

i_hate_flying said:
Gulli, I just checked the Cooler Master website again to be sure. It's saying the 690 case comes with the following:

Front: 120 x 25 mm Blue LED fan x 1 / 1200 RPM / 21 dBA
Rear: 120 x 25 mm fan x 1 / 1200 RPM / 21 dBA
Left Side #1: 120 x 25 mm fan x 1 / 1200 RPM / 21 dBA

These are optional:
Top: 120 or 140 mm fan x 2 (optional)
Bottom: 120 x 25 mm fan x 1 (optional)
Left Side #2: 120 x 25 mm fan x 1 (optional)

So that makes four 120 mm fans or three and one 140 mm. Are you saying that there's also room for an 80 mm fan at the back of the motherboard? Would that be the right side panel? All these fans is borderline obscene. I love it.

I wonder if buying a few 2500 rpm fans and switching them out with the ones that come with the case and then putting those in the extra slots would make a cooling difference?

I've got a Thermaltake Big Typhoon VX. Is there anything better than that out right now? I haven't been paying attention to coolers lately. There was one I heard about not too long ago that was majorly being hyped up, but I can't remember it's name. I wrote it down somewhere around here....

EDIT: I think it was the Prolimatech Megahalems CPU Cooler that had everyone getting wet with lust.


Those specs sound right and yes, there is the option of putting an 80mm fan between the motherboard and the right side panel. There are some better coolers than the Big Typhoon (used to own one myself btw), I'm not really an expert on them but that Prolimatech is a monster, especially if you add a fan to it, I'm pretty sure it cools better than a Big Typhoon.

If you're gonna buy more fans then replace the fans in the front and the back with the most powerful fans in your arsenal, these are the most important fans in any computer case, the topside, right above the CPU cooler, is second most important.
September 23, 2009 6:46:29 PM

I've been reading about case fans for the last few hours, but I'm nowhere closer to making a decision about buying any particular one than I was before I started.

At this point, from my research, I'm thinking that my TT Big Typhoon puts about about 46 dB at a distance of 60 cm, or 52 dB at a distance of 15 cm. I run it at full speed which is 2000 rpm. This noise I can deal with and it doesn't bother me. It's only a nuisance if I leave the computer on when I go to bed, I can hear it in the next room.

That leads me to believe that finding fans that put about about the same noise/loudness/sound pressure would be fine. I'm not sure how much louder the system will be with the addition of each additional fan. What I mean is, is sound pressure additive in some way? I realise that dB increases exponentially, but what happens when you have a fan that puts out 40 dB and you add another? I guess it depends if the noise put out by each fan is in sync with the other or not.

Anyway, the other thing I'm trying to figure out is how much air flow is enough. I mean, what's the difference in cooling between 80 CFM and 110 CFM in terms of cooling? Or 30 CFM and 60 CFM?

Lastly, I guess I'm going to set up the fans accordingly:

Exhaust fans: top x 2, rear, left side (this one probably won't make much of a difference)
Intake fans: front, bottom, right side x 2 (or x 1 if the upper one doesn't fit with my CPU cooler)

I think this makes the most sense in terms of air flow. Just have to figure out what fans now. The details are driving me insane.
September 23, 2009 7:32:14 PM

i_hate_flying said:
I've been reading about case fans for the last few hours, but I'm nowhere closer to making a decision about buying any particular one than I was before I started.

At this point, from my research, I'm thinking that my TT Big Typhoon puts about about 46 dB at a distance of 60 cm, or 52 dB at a distance of 15 cm. I run it at full speed which is 2000 rpm. This noise I can deal with and it doesn't bother me. It's only a nuisance if I leave the computer on when I go to bed, I can hear it in the next room.

That leads me to believe that finding fans that put about about the same noise/loudness/sound pressure would be fine. I'm not sure how much louder the system will be with the addition of each additional fan. What I mean is, is sound pressure additive in some way? I realise that dB increases exponentially, but what happens when you have a fan that puts out 40 dB and you add another? I guess it depends if the noise put out by each fan is in sync with the other or not.

Anyway, the other thing I'm trying to figure out is how much air flow is enough. I mean, what's the difference in cooling between 80 CFM and 110 CFM in terms of cooling? Or 30 CFM and 60 CFM?

Lastly, I guess I'm going to set up the fans accordingly:

Exhaust fans: top x 2, rear, left side (this one probably won't make much of a difference)
Intake fans: front, bottom, right side x 2 (or x 1 if the upper one doesn't fit with my CPU cooler)

I think this makes the most sense in terms of air flow. Just have to figure out what fans now. The details are driving me insane.


Sound intensity (volume) isn't linear: two 40dB fans will sound just as loud as one.
Sound is a sinusoidal wave and thus has peaks and lows, when two waves are added to each other they will interfere and the resulting wave will have a different (horizontal) distance between the peaks, this means the frequency will be different when you have two fans, but the volume remains the same, unless the waves are exactly in sync at the point in space where you're listening to the sound, than the volume will increase at that spot, but this is highly unlikely and it would be localized anyway.

I believe 80 CFM is considered a lot for CPU coolers.
September 23, 2009 8:37:01 PM

I see, we covered that in physics a long time ago, but I'd forgotten that. I remember the electricity and magnetics semester so much better :) 

So do you think it would make much of a temperature difference to choose a fan putting out 110 CFM over 80 CFM? The extra cooling would be nice because I overclock the CPU, but I'm not sure it would make much of a difference. Probably changing out the cooler (like you said) would be better. However, my damn 8800GTX runs really hot. It hangs around 80 C and occasionally crashes my system. I don't see any reason in getting a different card at this point. It does everything I need it to so far and runs all the games I throw at it.
September 23, 2009 8:46:03 PM

i_hate_flying said:
I see, we covered that in physics a long time ago, but I'd forgotten that. I remember the electricity and magnetics semester so much better :) 

So do you think it would make much of a temperature difference to choose a fan putting out 110 CFM over 80 CFM? The extra cooling would be nice because I overclock the CPU, but I'm not sure it would make much of a difference. Probably changing out the cooler (like you said) would be better. However, my damn 8800GTX runs really hot. It hangs around 80 C and occasionally crashes my system. I don't see any reason in getting a different card at this point. It does everything I need it to so far and runs all the games I throw at it.


More CFM is always better but there's going to be a point where adding even more airflow is just overkill and will reduce temperatures very little compared to the amount of extra CFM you're throwing in.) You'll probably reach that point with 1 aft fan (exhaust) , 1 side fan on the side of the graphics card and all, not the back of the motherboard (intake), 1 front fan (intake), 1 exhaust fan at the topside (all fans 80 CFM) and one big CPU cooler, additionally a second exhaust fan at the topside could still be beneficiary.
September 24, 2009 5:18:36 PM

Damn it, I'm really having trouble finding 140 mm fans. They seem to be easy to get in the States, but I can't find anything comparable here that doesn't have a really low airflow.

Instead, for my exhaust fans I've decided to go with three Scythe Slipstream 120 mm fans that push out 110 CFMs running at 1900 RPM. For the three intake fans, I'll be running the 1600 RPM versions of the same that will bring in air at 88 CFM. I'm counting on the more powerful ones to create some suction on the lesser intake fans. Apparently these aren't any more noisy than what I have now. I'm going to order now and then I'll be ready to rock. I was thinking about getting a fan controller, but the one I like didn't get very good reviews. That would be the Scythe Kaze Master. Nice looking unit and a nice concept, but I've read that it breaks often. I don't want to be dealing with that.
September 25, 2009 5:17:29 PM

I have the Cooler Master Storm Scout and it's pretty good. It will probably fit a 5870 but if you ever wanted to CF 2 of them then the second wouldn't fit because of the hard drive cage. An 8800GTX should also fit but again, I don't think it would be possible to SLI 2 of them. But overall its a really nice case. It has good cooling, a nice design, and the only flaw is that it's not that great for huge video cards. I have the 4890 in there myself and there is quite a bit of clearance so that's cool. It's up to you in the end. I would have gone with the Antec 902 or the Scout and ended up with the Scout because too many people have the 902 :lol: 
!