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Need case recommendations

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December 26, 2009 3:07:26 PM

I'm planning on putting together a system in the next month or so. I'd already selected a case I liked, but one of the components I was counting on scavenging from my current system is failing and I was wondering if there were any cheaper case alternatives so that I can stay on budget.

I live in a 100+ year old house with no A/C, so both "dust proofing" and airflow are of primary concern (I'm more than willing to add additional fans, noise is less of a concern for me). Future upgradeability (i.e. will it fit newer GPUs) is also important as I intend to use this case for the next several builds. Side vents are not ideal, but tolerable. Side-mounted intake fans are fine, but side exhaust fans will not work as I don't want it blowing air directly onto my desk. Of secondary importance is having a door or a power button near the top of the case (I have toddlers in the house and the system sits on a low table). I would prefer not to have a side window, but it's not a deal-breaker.

The case I had originally picked was the Antec P183, which runs about $160 with shipping. The plusses for me were the dust filters, separate airflow patterns for the PSU and the rest of the system, the simple look and the front door.

I've heard good things about the Antec 200 and 300, but the lack of dust filters is a little concerning. I know that dust filters sacrifices airflow to some extent, but I've already burned two GPUs, most likely due to dust causing overheating.

Any recommendations?

More about : case recommendations

December 26, 2009 4:03:20 PM

For cases without fan filters, you can always buy something like this separately

For a cheaper alternative to the case I'd recommend the Cooler Master RC-690
It can fit 6 fans: 2x 120mm or 140mm on the side (though one is blocked if you use a tall heatsink), 2x 120mm or 140mm on top, and a 120mm in the front and back, has a bottom mounted PSU, and fits a GTX 285 with 3-4 cm to spare.

If you've got the money, I've heard good things about the Cooler Master Cosmos 1000. Especially if you plan to use it for future builds as well, it has plenty of space inside

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a c 248 ) Power supply
December 26, 2009 6:07:18 PM

I have one of the brand new Lian Li / Lancool Dragon Lord cases. They come in a variety of configurations with and without windows on the side panel. The PC-K60 version probably comes closest to what you're looking for. It has washable dust filters for the front bezel and the intake fans. There is no lid but at least the power buttons are on top of the case

Here is a link to the different models:

http://www.lancoolpc.com/en/microsite/01/

Check out the PC-K60 version.

I think mwave.com has the cheapest prices in the USA:

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

frozencpu.com has some with optional side panels on them:

http://www.frozencpu.com/search.html?mv_profile=keyword...

There are a ton of positive technical reviews and videos reviews on the web.
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a c 140 ) Power supply
December 26, 2009 6:26:10 PM

The 1200 is only a few $$ cheaper but that's no great savings.....could you perhaps make up the difference on the PSU.....the CP-850 for example is $118 at mwave, $100 less than the SG-850 and $40 cheaper than the Corsair HX-850
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December 28, 2009 10:51:49 AM

JohnnyLucky, I think your recommendation is spot on! A friend of mine who does his own builds recommended that series as well and I like what I've seen of it so far.

The K60 you linked to MWave is definitely the cheapest at ~$75, but with a $30 shipping charge, it becomes a little less compelling.

Newegg has the K58 for $70 and free shipping (sadly, they don't carry the K60, just the K62 for $100+$20 shipping). My question is whether the airflow would be sufficient with only the front and rear fans (many of the technical reviews I've seen have suggested installing the upper fans). If it makes a difference, I'm planning on overclocking an E6600 I was given, and am leaning towards Sapphire's Vapor-X 5770, which shouldn't produce as much heat as many other GPU's.

If it's not sufficient, what sort of fans should I be looking for? Coolerguys (one of the few who carry the Lian Li mounting screws) has Yate Loon 140mm's for $8 each. Assuming shipping is reasonable, that may be a slightly cheaper option, although there's obviously something to be said for having a complete factory install. (Performance PC has the actual Lian Li fans, but at $15 each, plus mounting screws, there'd be no savings over ordering the K60 and paying for shipping).
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December 31, 2009 7:16:14 PM

cchadwick said:
JohnnyLucky, I think your recommendation is spot on! A friend of mine who does his own builds recommended that series as well and I like what I've seen of it so far.

The K60 you linked to MWave is definitely the cheapest at ~$75, but with a $30 shipping charge, it becomes a little less compelling.

Newegg has the K58 for $70 and free shipping (sadly, they don't carry the K60, just the K62 for $100+$20 shipping). My question is whether the airflow would be sufficient with only the front and rear fans (many of the technical reviews I've seen have suggested installing the upper fans). If it makes a difference, I'm planning on overclocking an E6600 I was given, and am leaning towards Sapphire's Vapor-X 5770, which shouldn't produce as much heat as many other GPU's.

If it's not sufficient, what sort of fans should I be looking for? Coolerguys (one of the few who carry the Lian Li mounting screws) has Yate Loon 140mm's for $8 each. Assuming shipping is reasonable, that may be a slightly cheaper option, although there's obviously something to be said for having a complete factory install. (Performance PC has the actual Lian Li fans, but at $15 each, plus mounting screws, there'd be no savings over ordering the K60 and paying for shipping).


cchadwick..I am also considering the k60. However the specs indicate that the 1x120R, 1x140F and 2x140T fans are included in the $73 price. Not so? Also considering your 5770 choice or perhaps the xfx 5770. Any thoughts? Your Yate Loon option seems to have good reviews. Noise level is a main concern as the case will be in our bedroom.
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December 31, 2009 11:49:13 PM

The K58 and K60 are essentially identical, other than the two additional top fans on the K60 (the K58 only comes with front/rear fans). If it wasn't for the free shipping from Newegg, it might be a no-brainer to go with the K60, but I think I'm going to stick with the K58. With the open top mesh, my CPU cooler will effectively double as a top fan (I'm going with Sunbeamtech's Core-Contact Freezer primarily because of its good performance at low fan speeds) and I can always add additional fans later if I end up needing them. If I don't need them, I've just saved myself $35 and the noise of two more fans.

I don't have the link handy, but I read a review that directly compared Sapphire's Vapor-X and XFX's overclocked 5770. XFX had slightly better performance, but not a huge difference (and if you're going to overclock it further yourself, the Sapphire would probably win due to the better cooling). Essentially, it came down to price and the lower temperature for me, much as I love XFX's lifetime warranty.

I'd recommend checking out sites like silentpcreview.com if you're aiming for a quieter system overall. They usually have some great recommendations in terms of replacing stock fans with quieter models (and I know Yate Loon is one of the better ones, as are a variety of Scythe fans, but I haven't investigated too closely as it's an additional expense I can't afford currently).
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a c 248 ) Power supply
January 1, 2010 4:38:56 AM

Happy New Year! :) 

My K60 came with the 4 case fans. The large fan at the bottom front is an intake fan. The one one the rear panel and the two on the top panel are exhaust fans. Unfortunately I still can't build my new system. Last week I ordered the new Thermalright Venomous X cpu heatsink from the Heatsink Factory. They had the lowest price and I had previously purchased other items from them. Due to the Christmas holiday weekend shipment was delayed. Fedex delivered the heatsink today. As luck would have it I was not at home at the time of delivery. The driver dropped off the heatsink at the leasing office at the apartment complex where I live. When I got back I discovered the leasing office closed early for the New Year holiday weekend and would remain closed until Monday! It's quite frustrating.

For the K58 I would recommend installing one case fan at the rear of the top panel just above the cpu. The entire front bezel is perforated mesh so ventilation should be quite good. I use Scythe S-Flex fans. The Yate Loon fans are good too. Both are mentioned at silentpcreview.com.

I've been thinking about purchasing an ATI Radeon HD 5770 myself. Sapphire is a popular brand. Originally I was going to use the XFX Radeon HD 4770 in my old system but if I get a new 5770, then my old system will be intact and I can use it as an emergancy backup system.

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a b ) Power supply
January 1, 2010 9:00:18 PM

I have an antec mini p180 and like it very much so I actually support you in your choice for the antec.
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January 6, 2010 8:05:41 PM

I'm just now in the process of ordering parts for my system and Newegg is no longer offering free shipping on the K58 case, adding another $20 to its cost. :fou: 

With that price-hike, I think I'll probably go with the K60 offered by mwave.com, which is only $10 more for the two additional fans (which run about $7-8 each themselves). I suspect those two extra fans are overkill (a side-by-side review of the K58 and Coolmaster 690 had them rated at more or less the same temperatures, and the CM690 is considered a good airflow case), but on the plus side, the positive airflow will reduce the amount of dust filtering into the system from the top. At least while the computer is on, anyhow.
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January 7, 2010 12:19:35 AM

:hello:  I'm about to order my K60 from mwave myself. After 2 momths of reading forums, expert and user reviews, there does not seem to be the perfect case for everyone. I wanted a sturdy case that would last for several upgrades, with no leds or windows, with great airflow(I O.C.), nice looking but not sci-fi, pleanty of room for 2 large video cards, and as silent as possible considering required airflow--for under $110(incl shipping).
The K60 seems about the best compromise(nothings perfect :??: 
Question: Can these 4 fans be connected to/controlled by my 790FX MOBO?
Question: Need help finding a monitor 22 to 24", 2ms, 1080p or better, great picture ( 50,000:1 contrast seems no better than some 3000:1). DVI-D and HDMI outputs for under $250.
Few forums give much help, which I do not understand. Why create a super graphics/gaming foundation and have an sub-par monitor compromise the play/view?
The Samsung SyncMaster XL2370 is Cnet's EDITORS CHOICE and pureoverclock gives it a high(but not the highest) rating. It fits all the criteria but price($260-299).
The Dell SP2309W 23" also fits, but price is $250-299
The ASUS VH226H 22" also fits most of the criteria and at $160 from TD is inviting. I have never seen an ASUS monitor. Reviews seem mixed.
The ASUS VH236H 23" also fits. Price $179.97 at N.E.
The LG is priced OK- LG W2353V-PF at $199-$220 but reviews were very mixed. Several very recent reviews said they were trying to work out problems with LG to solve problems with Windows 7. Others complained about the wobbly base.
Please help. The monitor is the last, but very important, system piece to decide upon before I order all the pieces. I have a budget and may have to scale back on other parts.

Thanks!!
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a c 248 ) Power supply
January 7, 2010 3:42:28 AM

You're right. There is no such thing as the perfect case. Everybody has their own opinion. I often say that case selection is a matter of personal preference.

I just happen to have my Lian Li /Lancool Dragon Lord K60 open this very moment. All four case fans have the standard 3 pin fan connectors. If you have four connectors on your motherboard then you can connect all of them. Just remember that there is fan connection specifically for the cpu heatsink fan. You must connect your cpu heatsink fan to that connection on the motherboard. Check you motherboard manual for the location of that connector. It should be somewhere near the cpu socket.

I also have my Coolermaster HAF 932 running right now. I took off the side panel to make an adjustment for a cpu temperature test for another thread. The side panel on the Dragon Lord is definitely thicker and much more sturdy than the 932 side panel. The case frame is also more rigid than the 932.

The Dragon Lord came with the lower hard drive cage mounted sideways to make a little more room for longer video cards. I'm going to install an XFX Radeon HD 4770 which isn't very long so I rotated the cage 90 degrees for a traditional front to back drive orientation. It's easy to do. There are two small screws in the bottom of the case that is accessed from underneath the case and one small screw in the bottom of the upper drive bay. Just remove the screws, rotated the cage, screw into place.

I've been doing research past couple of weeks so I know what you're going through. I'm looking for a larger high end monitor suitable for professional digital imaging and video processing. You might want to take a look at the Dell Ultrasharp series and the Hewlett Packard equivalents.


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January 7, 2010 11:40:21 AM

I'm glad you guys brought up the question of fans as I've not built my own system before and it's an often overlooked section in most "how to" guides.

Aside from the CPU fan, my motherboard has five other fan sockets: two 3-pins, a 4-pin, a 3-pin labeled "power fan" and a 3-pin labeled "North Bridge fan." Which, if any, of these should I be using for the case fans? Some sites have actually recommended against connecting fans to the motherboard to prevent excess draw (since they said most fans don't really need CPU control).
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a b ) Power supply
January 7, 2010 2:57:14 PM

well if your going to use the mobo fans do not use northbridge or power fan. (and that adds up to 4 other sockets btw)

anyways use the sockets named "CHA" for chassis.

I would not reccomend using mobo connectors though, two of my boards I have blown up the internal fan controllers (only CHA not cpu its seperate from the rest). didn't affect anything except that they did not put out any power.

now on my 3rd board, waiting for the controller to say hi to god....
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a c 248 ) Power supply
January 7, 2010 3:00:50 PM

cchadwick - what is the brand and model of your motherboard?
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a c 248 ) Power supply
January 7, 2010 9:40:42 PM

OK! Your motherboard has quite a few fan connectors. You will will be able to run your cpu heatsink fan and 4 case fans off of the motherboard.

I hope I looked at the correct motherboard diagram. There were ten revisions to that motherboard.

The 4 pin cpu heatsink fan connector is located at along the top edge of the motherboard between the cpu socket and memory slots. It is labelled CPU_FAN

There are three 3 pin fan connectors in various locations along the edges of the motherboard labelled SYS_FAN1, SYS_FAN2, and SYS_FAN3. In addition, there is a fourth 3 pin fan connector labelled PWR_FAN. You can connect four case fans to those connectors on the motherboard.

On top of that there is a fifth 3 pin fan connector labelled NB_FAN. Years ago we used to replace the cheap heatsinks on the northbridge chipsets with forged copper heatsinks and attach fans to the heatsink to cool down the chipset. Modern technology has pretty much made it obsolete. It's okay to connect a case fan to that connector.

I am not very familiar with your specific motherboard but there is a chance if you connect the case fans to the motherboard you could use a utility to monitor the case fans. The Biostar motherboard in my old AMD system is like that. It monitors the cpu fan and two case fans. The mobo came with a small utility that can be opened to check the fan speeds and the voltage supplied by the power supply to each rail. Very cool!

No need to worry about power draw. Case fans use very very little power. In fact, they are almost insignificant when compared to power hogs like a cpu or video card.

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January 8, 2010 4:29:01 AM

Thanks so much for the reply! I ordered the case this morning, so can't wait to try it out! I've seen a few complaints here and there about the connectors to the fans in the K60 being short. Do you think I'm going to need some extenders of some sort to connect them all to the motherboard? Or should the provided lengths be enough?
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a c 248 ) Power supply
January 8, 2010 10:51:36 AM

Good Morning!

Well, it's morning in beautiful sunny southern Arizona where the sun shines 350 days a year and people do not shovel snow! :) 

I just measured the fan cables. They are a full 12 inches long. The case fan connections on your motherboard are located at various points around the edges of your motherboard. You should be okay.
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