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Comparing 3 Full Towers

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October 12, 2009 5:40:11 PM

I have read all the forums here on cases- great info! I cannot make up my mind comparing three different cases for my needs:

COOLER MASTER ATCS 840
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

COOLER MASTER HAF 932
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

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

Priorites:

Cooling 2 hard drives and 2 video cards, Intel i7 with ASUS P6TD Deluxe motherboard.

I have been reading how important the cooling is.
My thoughts are having the intake fan/fans placed in front of the hard drives, and possibly putting two on the other side to help draw any dead air between the hard drives and push upward. Have another intake on the bottom of the case. The idea is the exhaust fans located on top would draw out the hot air on top and keep turbulance at a minimum. I don't mind adding fans- just want to make sure the case has the design and ability for it.

Filters- It would be nice having the intake fans filtered b/c of my dusty room. I don't think the HAF 932 comes with filters, but I didn't know if it would be worth rigging up something.

CPU- Would like it located on top unless someone can explain why I would want it on the bottom. My thoughts for wanting on top, are keeping heat on top and easier wiring. It looks like the Cool Masters have the ability to be installed on top; however, is there enough room with the top fan and my Corsair TX850w? I have been reading that in some cases the CPU won't fit with the top fan.

Material- Sturdy door and insides. I have been reading a lot about flimsy covers and insides being made out of plastic or thin aluminum. I wouldn't mind having mostly metal to give up on some cooling that aluminum would give. I would hate having to fight a flimsy door or latch everytime trying to get inside.

I'm new at this, so any advice would be greatly appreciated.
Thanks.

More about : comparing full towers

October 12, 2009 6:27:13 PM

I have the HAF932 and highly recommend it if cooling is a concern. Not widely advertised is the fact that you can replace the 230mm fans that come with the 932 with 120mm fans of your choice. So, instead of having a 230mm in the front, side, and top of the case, adding 120mm fans would give you 1-120mm fan in the front, 4-120mm fans on the side, and 2-120mm fans at the top. While the 230mm fans certainly push enough air to keep components cool, the ability to swap them for 120mm fans allows you to install any combination of high/low speed fans to suit you cooling needs.

As noted in my sig, I have a D0 i7 920 oc'd to 3.6GHz (Scythe Mugen2) along with a 4890 oc'd to 920/1125 (stock cooling) and at idle the i7 is 40'C and the 4890 42'C, under load the i7 has never gone above 55'C (8 threads Prime95 Torture Test 12+hours) and the 4890 has never gone over 58'C after several hours of Crysis, W@W, MW4, etc...

The HAF932 does not come with filters, which for me is no big deal because it is nothing that a can of air and 5 minutes every couple of months can't fix. Personally, I prefer to not have filters because, aside from not only having to clean the filters, I always ended up taking a can of air to the interior of the case anyway.

Given that Intel dropped the BTX standard, ATX is still the reigning form factor, the CPU at the top with the power supply at the bottom of the case has proven to the best ATX interior set-up. There is no concern about the CPU and heatsinks near the top of the HAF932 coming into contact with the top fan(s); plenty of room inside. The HAF932 is also made out of steel and as a result is heavy, the side panels are not flimsy, and the case is very solid overall.

The only other case I even considered aside from the HAF932 was the CoolerMaster 840, and while I wanted a case with a removable mobo tray, the HAF932 won on price.

My 2 cents, but the Antec 1200 is over-rated...

Whichever you choose, enjoy and good luck!
a c 248 ) Power supply
October 12, 2009 6:29:09 PM

All three cases are very good. Sometimes case selection is a matter of personal preference. I have the Coolermaster HAF 932. Ventilation, airflow, and cooling are excellent.
Related resources
a c 139 ) Power supply
October 12, 2009 7:36:17 PM

Dang, used the back button and have to type this all over gain :( 

1. This question has been oft asked here and you can start by:

a) Read this article
http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/full-tower-case,210...

b) Search the forum for threads like these:
http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/267906-31-gaming-buil...
http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/265907-31-core-2000-d...

2. To my mind the decision is really between the 1200 and the HAF 932, the other really isn't a match for those 2 IMO. From a styling point of view, I mush prefer the 1200 and I will address why your questions below relative to that choice.

3. On the downside, the 1200 doesn't offer an "out of the box" solution for 3 pin fan connections as all the case fans have Molex connectors. Oddly the two optional fans you can purchase from Antec for the two empty fan mounts are 3 pin w/ Molex adapters. I bought these:

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

Like the case fans, the LED's can be turned off and each ahs a 3 speed switch.

4) The case is designed to pull in air at the front and exhaust it at the back. The fans are pre-installed this way and you don't want to mess with it. The case has 12 drive bays, the fans are pre-mounted as follows with numbering from the top down:

a) Bays 1-3 have no HD cage and therefore no fan
b) Bays 4-6 have a HD cage with 120mm variable speed fan blowing into the case.
c) Bays 7-9 have a HD cage with 120mm variable speed fan blowing into the case.
d) Bays 10-12 have a HD cage with 120mm variable speed fan blowing into the case.

Putting a fan at the top therefore is probably an option though you might be able to relocate a HD cage there if you take out the tray and other doo dads. I have the fan controller and optical(s) in that spot typically and don't think most would go to a lower position with those.

Looking at the rates fan cfm's here's how the case comes w/ the two optional fans installed:

(5) 120 mm blowing in @ 56 cfm = 280 cfm
(2) 120 mm @ 56 cfm + (1) 200m @ 134 cfm + (1) PSU fan @ 34 cfm blowing out= 280 cfm

Keep in mind that two of those 56's blowing in are in series one behind the other so it's gonna come up a bit short of that 2 x 256 number.

5) The 1200 has rather nice filters that are a bit of an effort to access though. You have to perform the following tasks to swap the filters:

a) Take off both side panels
b) Remove door mounted filter
c) Unscrew 8 HD cage thumbscrews and slide out cage about an inch to remove filter
d) Clean, Replace filter, slide back and replace 8 thumbscrews
e) Rinse and repeat steps c & d for other two cages.
f) Reinstall side panels.

6) CPU goes on top right below the 200mm top fan. If your HSF has the flexibility such as provided for in the Prolimatech models, you can align HS fans to blow "right out the chimney" so to speak.

7) The PSU gets installed at the bottom of the case for both the 932 and 1200 so clearance at top of case should be no issue.

8) Case is sturdy and well finished....no latches, only thumbscrews

Now for what you didn't ask :) 

How you going to control all those fans ? My son is doing his first solo build using this case and when he asks me questions, I been kicking him on THG to "get his own answers" so when I'm not around ....

What "he's learned" about the 1200 is, as I said above, the 6 case fans have Molex connectors. This had him frowning as he had hoped to wire all the fans to the MoBo and the headers are all 3 pin of course. Later he decided to go w/ a fan controller, main idea being, no going to the rear of the case to adjust the fan speeds (L-M-H) w/ the switches on the back of the case. So here's what we did when case arrived:

a) Removed two rear 120mm fans and rotated them so wires came out at a common point (Bottom right looking from inside on top fan and top right on bottom one). Removed molex connectors, sleeved the wires and used a single 3 pin connector on the end. This will go to Channel 1 on Fan Controller
b) Removed molex on 200mm fan, sleeved wires and installed 3 pin connector for Channel 2 on Fan Controller.
c) Removed 3 pin connector, sleeved wire and replaced connector for door fan for Channel 3 on Fan Controller.
d) Removed 3 pin connector, sleeved wire and replaced connector for door fan for Channel 4 on Fan Controller.

Of course a simple adapter as is provided in the two optional fans would have sufficed but as we w ere seleving anyway for appearances sake, it was a non issue.

As an option, we made a sleeved 3 pin Y splitter which we may combine c & d above onto Channel 3 and use Channel 4 for the twin CPU fans. For these we removed the 3 pin connectors, put both wires in a single sleeve and used a single 3 pin connector.
a b ) Power supply
October 12, 2009 7:45:40 PM

Antec 1200 all day every day.... HAF looks slightly tacky. Antec 1200 won case test (including HAF's) in Custom PC using a thermal chamber and thermal camera..
a b ) Power supply
October 12, 2009 10:57:45 PM

It's not on your list, but the Antec P182 is a full-sized case I've found to be quite nice. It has very effective filters that are a snap to remove and clean, as well as a separate chamber for the PSU / hard drives so that their heat is isloated from the rest of the system. You can read a review here: http://www.silentpcreview.com/article741-page1.html
a c 139 ) Power supply
October 13, 2009 12:26:09 AM

JohnnyLucky said:
Here is a link to a Tom's Hardware article that compared 4 full size tower cases, including the Coolermaster HAF 932 and the Antec Twelve Hundred. The article included results for cooling and noise:

http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/full-tower-case,210...


See post no. 4 ..... GMTA :) 
October 13, 2009 5:48:47 AM

Great info- thanks.

So my Corsair TX850w will fit on the top part in the HAF 932? Why are manu making their cases for them to fit on the bottom? It seems you would want the hot air on the top part of the case. What am I missing- just trying to learn?

Are the fans the HAF 932 and Antec 1200 come with good quality- ball bearing, etc?

The air filters seemed neat, but sure seems like a lot of work trying to clean. Even cleaning the filters, I guess it still gets dusty inside?

Adjusting the fan speeds is a great idea. Do these work good?
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
a c 248 ) Power supply
October 13, 2009 6:36:25 AM

Quite a few modern gaming cases are designed for power supplies mounted in the bottom rear of the case.

One idea behind the design concept is that a case with a heavy power supply mounted in the bottom is less likely to tip over than a case with a psu mounted at the top.

Another idea behind the design concept is that by moving the psu to the bottom of the case there is room for an exhaust fan at the rear of the top panel which could help to exhaust warm air.

A third idea behind the design concept is that the psu fan which pulls in warm interior air and exhausts out the rear panel can help cool the video card which is installed just above it.

I have the Coolermaster HAF 932 case. The stock fans are very good. Case ventilation, airflow, and cooling are excellent. I bought the case when it first came out in August 2008. I have not experienced any problems with the fans.
a b ) Power supply
October 13, 2009 11:55:04 AM

PSU at the bottom of the case leaves plenty of room in the roof for blow hole / exhaust fans - Antec use a 200mm fan in their design.

October 13, 2009 2:30:46 PM

JackNaylorPE said:
a) Read this article
http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/full-tower-case,210...
Don't bother reading the article, this is all you need to know...

Quote:
But at a more palatable price range from $150 to $200, we’re faced with three strong contenders. All of them prominently feature big fans and lots of circulation, but Cooler Master’s HAF 932 has to be our favorite for its strong design, easy installation and aggressive price.

The Antec Twelve Hundred is quite close, being an overall quieter case that requires a little more work to put together.


a b ) Power supply
October 13, 2009 3:03:59 PM

Both the 1200 and the Haf are excellent cases. I would say flip a coin... Or if you like RED go CM, If blue is you color of coice then go Antec.... The airflow in both cases will keep you hardware nice n cool.
October 13, 2009 4:37:30 PM

There has to be a reason the manu are putting the psu below- I just would like to learn the reason why, and that explains a lot.

Don't laugh at me (I am a rookie here), the fan on top of the psu is the intake? If so, I guess the psu operates ok pulling in the warm interior air? I guess the main focus is drawing the warm air off the video card/cards to take care of them, then it gets cool air from the front fan?

What usually gets the hottest, that you have to be mostly concerned about?
a b ) Power supply
October 13, 2009 4:45:00 PM

I personally like the PSU at the bottom due to the fact that the tower has a lower center of gravity and is less likely to tip over like others have said. As far as the hardware that gets the hottest, I would say the GPU, but that would be in my case only.... Normally all PSU's will pull air from inside the case and exhaust it out the back, well at least mine does.....
October 13, 2009 5:09:45 PM

I think it basically boils down to those two. I'm not much into looks- don't mind if its looks. I just want the best design for cooling, nothing flimsy, easy to assemble, and last for a long time= big, bad, and ugly.

I love 3 fans on the front and 2 on rear of the Antec- you would think that would cool it down a lot more than the HAF 932's 1 on front and 1 on back. Can anyone explain how they're so close?
a b ) Power supply
October 13, 2009 5:18:56 PM

TheOnion said:
The COOLER MASTER ATCS 840 is a good choice if you need some wife approval points. It is the classiest looking of the three.

It is also, i believe the only one with dust filters on all the intake fans.

It is Maximum PC's Best of the Best choice for a full tower case.

http://www.maximumpc.com/article/reviews/cooler_master_...

3dGameman also gave it a 100% kick ass product seal of approval.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r8_1cQkYTO4


I agree that it is an excellent case, but the Airflow in both the 1200 and Haf are superior ;) 
a b ) Power supply
October 13, 2009 5:27:27 PM

trey21 said:
I think it basically boils down to those two. I'm not much into looks- don't mind if its looks. I just want the best design for cooling, nothing flimsy, easy to assemble, and last for a long time= big, bad, and ugly.

I love 3 fans on the front and 2 on rear of the Antec- you would think that would cool it down a lot more than the HAF 932's 1 on front and 1 on back. Can anyone explain how they're so close?


The airflow on the 1200 is ridiculous, one of my best buddies has a 1200 with 6 2000RPM fans and the stock top fan and it moves a ton of air. A fan controller is a + since all 7 fans on high sound more or less the same as JET engine.....
October 13, 2009 10:36:22 PM

Never thought about living near an airport- I would think those jet engine noises would get old after a while; however, I know some of it is needed with a higher performance computer.

How does the HAF 932 even come close to the Antec with less fans? Probably leaning more towards the HAF 932, if I can get about the same amount of cooling as the Antec with less fans.

How does that fan controler compare with others? This is the one I saw:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] 6811998055

Thanks.
a c 139 ) Power supply
October 13, 2009 10:55:57 PM

The fans on the HAF are bigger.

As to PSU location, the big top fans yank out 130 cfm and up...... replace that with a PSU fan in the same spot and you're down by 100 cfm as PSU fans only pull about 35. Also, PSU manufacturers don't want their fan intake being comprised of air exhausted from your HSF which might be hot enough to pop corn :) .

a b ) Power supply
October 13, 2009 11:11:00 PM

trey21 said:
Never thought about living near an airport- I would think those jet engine noises would get old after a while; however, I know some of it is needed with a higher performance computer.

How does the HAF 932 even come close to the Antec with less fans? Probably leaning more towards the HAF 932, if I can get about the same amount of cooling as the Antec with less fans.

How does that fan controler compare with others? This is the one I saw:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] 6811998055

Thanks.


This is what I use for my fans :

Scythe KM02-BK 5.25" Bay Fan Controller - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...




a b ) Power supply
October 14, 2009 12:17:12 AM

Another thing to take into consideration is the fact that the 1200 is black on the inside and the Haf is grey, if that matters anyways....

Personally I think the Haf looks better aesthetically .....

October 14, 2009 2:53:49 PM

Aesthetics are my least priority b/c it's going to be under my desk.

Are they both constructed the same- made durable? My older case now is always a chore removing the door- very flimsy; therefore, I always hate having to open it.

Do they both have platic grills on the front? I have read that one had that.

Does anyone know the weight of the 1200? The HAF 932 is 29 lbs.
a b ) Power supply
October 14, 2009 3:07:18 PM

Yes both are durable, they both have plasic front bezels and both are heavy, specially once you are done building you might get a hernia just by lifting the case =)

October 14, 2009 3:10:20 PM

This might not matter, but I have heard the HAF 932 has some really sharp metal edges. Also, the COOLER MASTER ATCS 840 has a removable motherboard tray that runs on ball bearings (so cool).

October 14, 2009 4:52:33 PM

I have the antec 900 and its amazing.. the 1200 has updated features and filters..
its pretty great
a c 139 ) Power supply
October 15, 2009 2:21:52 AM

trey21 said:
Does anyone know the weight of the 1200? The HAF 932 is 29 lbs.


32 pounds
October 15, 2009 4:16:50 AM

How do you remove the hard drives out of the 1200? On the HAF 932, it looks like they slide out from the side.

October 15, 2009 1:42:26 PM

You have to remove thumb screws. The Antec designers must really hate toolless drives. It has no CPU cutout either.
a b ) Power supply
October 15, 2009 2:17:43 PM

I prefer the thumb screws, some like the tooless better...

The CPU cutout is only an issue if your sink has a backplate, if not there is no need for it.....
October 15, 2009 2:48:28 PM

trey21 said:
How do you remove the hard drives out of the 1200? On the HAF 932, it looks like they slide out from the side.
The HAF932 is tool-less for both the ROM drives and hard drives. The hard drives are mounted perpendicular to the case front as opposed to in-line with the case front like the 1200. Given the front 230mm fan at the front of the HAF932, all the hard drives have ample cooling. This makes it soo much easier to install and remove drives and mitigates heat related drive failure issues, believe that! The HAF932 also has a cpu cut out in the mobo tray to make installing and removing an aftermarket heatsink also very easy; no need to remove the mobo if you opt to install/remove heatsinks and installing the Scythe Mugen2 was easy-peasy.
a c 139 ) Power supply
October 16, 2009 6:14:53 PM

trey21 said:
How do you remove the hard drives out of the 1200? On the HAF 932, it looks like they slide out from the side.


See the 4th message, item 5. It's the same as cleaning the filters....except that instead of sliding out the cage an inch, you just take it all the way out.

!