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Need help deciding on an SFF case

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May 9, 2010 7:10:15 PM

Hey all,

Let me start by saying that I must have a small PC for portability as my job tends to move me around the world every year or so. I plan on building a powerful rig that can do everything from TV, movies, work, games, etc. in as small of a size as possible with as much room for upgradability in the future as possible. I plan on building an mATX AMD system consisting of either a 4 core 955/965 or a 6 core 1055T depending on the deals available in a few weeks. I would like to cool the CPU with either a Corsair H50, Coolit ECO, or Xigmatek HDT-S1283 (or similar). The video card will either be a 5850 or 5870 depending on the deals available and I would like this system to remain as quiet as possible so I plan on adding some Gentle Typhoon's if the stock fans are too loud for my taste.

I have narrowed my choices down to these five cases:

Cooler Master Elite 342

Pros: 1. Cheap price. 2. Nice depth. 3. Good weight. 4. Removable hard drive tray.

Cons: 1. 90 mm rear and side fans 2. Must mod to make Corsair or Coolit fit. 3. Very thin metal.

Cooler Master Elite 341

Pros: 1. 120 mm fans front, rear, side. 2. Very light weight 3. Cheap.

Cons: 1. Very very thin metal. 2. Uglier than 342. 3. Less depth than 342.

Lian Li PC-A03

Pros: 1. Aluminum finish and quality. 2. Good depth. 3. Very light. 4. Unique? (Upside down Mobo placement and LED fans)

Cons: 1. Expensive. 2. Ugly grill up front. 3. Unique? (Same as the pro). 4. Requires modification for Corsair or Coolit.

Silverstone TJ-08

Pros: 1. Good quality. 2. Relatively light. 3. 120 mm front and rear fans

Cons: 1. Shorter Depth similar to 341. 2. Very Expensive. 3. Power Supply and Optical drive issues sometimes.

Silverstone SG-03/04

Pros: 1. Sleeper style. 2. 120mm fans. 3. Smallest of the bunch.

Cons: 1. Perhaps too small (only fit 5870 with slim fan). 2. Must use a Corsair or Coolit. 3. Potential temperature issues. 4. Scary expensive.

As you can see all 5 cases have some very appealing positives and some not so appealing negatives. However, I believe that all of these cases have relatively good portability and pack a hell of a punch for their size. The Antec NSK3480 and Antec Mini P180 are out of the question as the NSK3480 cannot really fit a full size power supply and the mini P180 is way too large and heavy. Also, no cubes please as I am a fan of the tower style cases.

I will be back in the States in 2 weeks and plan on purchasing my components then but I'm really stumped at this decision as I seem to be changing my mind about all 5 cases regularly. I really like the appeal of the cost effective Cooler Masters (especially the 342 with the removable hard drive tray) but also am partial to the quality of the Lian Li and Silverstone cases as well. what would you guys go with based on what I've told you about my needs for a do-it-all micro PC?

Thanks guys.

More about : deciding sff case

a b ) Power supply
May 9, 2010 9:36:43 PM

take which ever one you want (i know thats not what you wanted to hear)
however,
personally, i would go with one of the cooler master cases becuase they are the least expensive, and i personally dont have lots of money to throw around on cases. honestly, i would go with the below-linked case if i were to build a microatx computer:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
!