Well I'll be the first to admit it my build has out grown my oem case. Now I am looking for a good atx/m-atx mid or full tower case with lots of room. I don't really like lights or crazy design I just want a good reliable rugged case I can take with me from build to build. 3.5 bays are more important to me than 5.25 bays. I would like to put my four 2tb drives and my 320gb drive in it so five 3.5 bays would be nice. Also is there any thing wrong with taking an oem board out of it's case and putting it in a new one? Theoretically a m-atx board should fit a m-atx case right?
Hmm... Some of those Cheiftec cases look nice. I should have also mentioned in the future I want to do sli. Some cases say they do it and some people say in reviews to cases that didn't say they do sli that they didn't.
What GPU are you planning to SLI with? If you want both hard drive space and GPU space then you gotta go with a Full ATX case. I don't see much mid towers that offer both. If 5 hard drives are all you want to, then the CoolerMaster HAF 932 or 922 is pretty nice. If you need more, space for hdds, then you can alwasy get those 3.5 to 5.25" adapters.
I'm not sure what gpu I'll go sli with because they haven't come out with next gen cards yet. Right now I have a 9800 gtx+ witch will fit in any atx case. In the future I'll get an atx board with sata 3 usb 3.0 and a core i7 or an octocore depending on price ( needless to say this will be 1.5-2 years in the future). I guess 5 hdd bays will do it will take a long time to fill 8tb worth of space.
I would recommend the Coolermaster HAF 932. It is toward the top of your budget but I don't think you would be disappointed. I just got mine a few months ago and it has made me happier about the case than most other components I have. It has (5) 3.5 in bays, (6) 5.25 bays, (3) 230mm fans (that are dead silent) + (1) 140mm fan. It is a full tower and a wide one at that (not as tall as some full towers and I like that, keeps it in proportion), I have the Thermalright 120 HS and it easily fits inside with room to spare before it runs into the opposite wall. All the big fans are easily replaced because of ample screw install points for sticking in 120mm fans instead of the bigger 230mm ones. Lots of people seem to put in 4 120mm fans on the side wall instead. All 11 bays are quick connect with no screws needed! makes it very simple for changing out drives. It is definitely rugged, made of steel. Kind of heavy for that reason but that isn't a negative for me. Comes with low profile legs or wheel casters if you want to role it around. The air movement is great, aside from the fans it has honey comb grates all over it for easy exhaust of heat. I considered the Antec 1200 but I'm quite happy I went with this. I got mine for $125 free shipping, for get where but I'm sure you can find it on newegg or amazon easily enough. Here is a link with good specs and pics.
1. The 2 side panel doors are a little awkward to get used to. I'm used to having a case with a top and bottom connection that temporarily locks the door in place before putting in the screws in back. This one is different. You slip the front of the door into a groove toward the front of the case, then close the door, when closed you have to be aware the door could open under its own weight if you bump the case with your elbow. This hasn't happened to me yet but I can sense that it might. I would be better if they made it slide and lock into place so that it wouldn't be of risk falling. The doors are light weight enough but I would hate to see anything fall on the desk that size. Within the first day I was accustomed to this issue and it doesn't bother me at all anymore but at first I was a little nervous about it.
2. I was a little apprehensive about getting this case because of the red led fan in front. I prefer simple rather than showy. But the red fan is very dull and not distracting at all, I even have it on my desk and I am not bothered by it. I actually installed a couple CM red led fans on my Thermalright 120 just to match the red fan in front (very quiet fans btw and cheap).
3. Another negative you would notice, the case has 2 blue LED lights in front to show HDD activity and power. These LED's are very bright, I solved this by just not connecting the power LED to the mobo therefore it doesn't light up (I know when the pc is on anyway so why do I need a light to tell me). The HDD LED is less obvious for some unknown reason and doesn't bother me.
4. Some reviews worry about dust accumulation inside the case but that really hasn't been an issue for me. I have it on top of my desk (which helps I'm sure), hard wood floors, with a big shedding dog too.
OHH! another positive point. The back wall behind the motherboard has a hole for changing out heat sinks and the cable management set up is superior. Tons of tie in points for hiding cables and securing them to the frame so they aren't loose and in the way. Also for those who use or hope to use water cooling systems this case is touted as a very friendly case for that. You can read about that in the link I posted though, I don't use water obviously.
Anyway, by far I find a lot more positive points than negative. I actually love this case!
Hey, thanks for all the responses masterasia and 4trees I really do like (and ordered) the HAF 932. I've done a lot of research over the last two weeks it's a great case and it'll be a good keeper case from build to build.