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Mod Cooler master rc 310 or buy a new case

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June 2, 2011 9:13:42 PM

I have a cooler master elite rc 310
I really like this case but it doesn't provide adequate cooling for my parts anymore.
120mm front intake fan and 120mm rear exhaust fan (adding a 120mm to the side panel doesn't affect my temps).

I'm planing on replacing a core i3-530 with a i5 2500K and getting a second 6950.

Option 1. Mod the case.
120mm top exhaust fan.
2x 120 mm bottom intake fans.
This would be the hardest option, this being my first mod, but it would be the cheapest.

Option 2. Get a cooler master storm scout and slightly mod it.
I really like this case but I would have to remove the hard drive cage in order to fit my 6950.
I would also have to throw in one of these to fit hard drives.

Option 3. Get an antec nine hundred v3 and call it a day.
This would be the easiest but most expensive option.
The only problem I have with this case is that it's 13lbs heavier than my rc 310.

Let me know what you think.
I'm open to suggestions. I'm looking for good cooling and I want a side panel window.
Water cooling is not an option. I don't mind dabbling into modding if it's worth it.

Thanks a bunch.
a c 144 ) Power supply
June 2, 2011 9:22:32 PM

Yep. Steel cases tend to be heavier than aluminum cases.

I like the Antec 900 - have 3. Great cooling; awful cable management.

Unless you are prepared to put a little work into the case, I'd suggest something else - maybe one of the CoolerMaster cases.

Antec 900 case mods for cable management:
http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/264112-28-antec
June 2, 2011 10:34:11 PM

jsc said:
Yep. Steel cases tend to be heavier than aluminum cases.

I like the Antec 900 - have 3. Great cooling; awful cable management.

Unless you are prepared to put a little work into the case, I'd suggest something else - maybe one of the CoolerMaster cases.

Antec 900 case mods for cable management:
http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/264112-28-antec


Sorry for the confusion jsc , I meant the 900 v3
Related resources
June 2, 2011 10:44:51 PM

Corsair case? Lian Li? Silverstone? Zalman Z7?
a c 274 ) Power supply
June 3, 2011 1:30:24 AM

Yeah a 902 V3 is a great case i have the original 902.
Cable management is ok but not terrible.
Other options.
COOLER MASTER RC-692-KKN2 CM690 II Advanced - good case i have the Basic model
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
COOLER MASTER HAF 912
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
You can buy windowed side panels from the CM Store for either case = $25
Or check out the Bitfenix Shinobi. $70
https://store.bitfenix.com/index.php?route=product/prod...
Available at many well known etailers =click where to buy at main Bitfenix site
June 3, 2011 1:36:08 PM

Thanks for the suggestions but how about some advise on the 3 options I listed?

PS: I'm looking for a small and light case (ideally about the size of the my rc 310 or the antec 300).
It must have a side window and great cooling.
Not looking for full towers or space ships.
a c 274 ) Power supply
June 3, 2011 11:03:21 PM

Buy a CM 430 Elite then it's cheap.
June 4, 2011 2:09:22 AM

Thanks Davcon. I was considering that case but I don't trust the build quality of such a low budget case.
Besides, since I already have a low budget case, if I'm going to get a new one instead of modding, it would make more sense to get a more expensive case (not corsair expensive) and get much better build quality and other useful features in the process.
a b ) Power supply
June 4, 2011 2:18:56 AM

all i would suggest is if your happy with your case get some high cfm fans 75+. this will push more air though the case and help cooling. you may want to invest in a fan speed module so you can controll them and reduce case noise when you dont need them maxed out.
June 4, 2011 7:58:27 PM

If I keep the CM elite rc 310 I'd have to mod it to get decent cooling.
I tried all the fan configurations I could and saw no significant drop in temps.
June 4, 2011 10:34:58 PM

Actually I have a CM 310, the one with no windows, and you got me thinking about modding mine, it is a good looking case, the only problem is that it does not have cable management, but it fit everything fine, and cooling is not that bad at all. If you decide to mod it, I would appreciate if you show your work. Thanks
June 5, 2011 2:10:34 PM

Cooling was not that bad for me either until I got a 6950 (these things get really hot).
I ended up having to get an aftermarket cpu cooler.
Now that I want to add another 6950, I absolutely have to mod the case or get a new one.
June 5, 2011 9:44:12 PM

I think you can probably fit one or two fans on the bottom of the case, and one on top. If you decide to mod it, Some nice black paint on the inside is what am thinking about. Not 100% sure but maybe a fan, on the DVD slots. But that's almost the price of a new case.
June 6, 2011 11:44:50 PM

I don't really like the idea of fans sticking out of the case but very useful link. Thanks cronos 117.
June 14, 2011 8:20:40 PM

Zalman Z9 Plus ?? 16 LBS
I have the CM HAF 912, not light and somewhat crude. Very good air.
Fan costs add up, especially with the 200 mm's added.
The Corsair Carbide 400R seems the best bet but its out of stock from the Corsair website and no other retailers listed. A June release item.
June 15, 2011 7:42:07 PM

walterm said:
Zalman Z9 Plus ?? 16 LBS
I have the CM HAF 912, not light and somewhat crude. Very good air.
Fan costs add up, especially with the 200 mm's added.
The Corsair Carbide 400R seems the best bet but its out of stock from the Corsair website and no other retailers listed. A June release item.

Thanks for the suggestions walterm.
I don't really like the Z9 plus, but the haf 912 and 922 are cases I have considered.
I just wish they were painted black on the inside and had a side window.
The 400R is gorgeous but has no side window either.
If I picked up any of these cases I'd have to do some modding to get them to look the way I want.
June 21, 2011 2:49:31 PM

I decided to go with option 1 and mod my rc 310.

I know that I should use a 4.5 in hole saw do drill 120mm fan holes.
Unfortunately, I only have a 4.1 in hole saw.

How would that affect the mod?
a c 104 ) Power supply
June 21, 2011 4:14:57 PM

Re:Holesaw question,
Mark out the 120mm circle where you want it (best to use masking tape to protect the rest of the panel)
get a small (2-3mm) bit and drill round the circle (about 2mm inside it)
snip the inside out with pliers, like dot to dot but with tools :p 
file/sand the edges of your nice 120mm hole
Moto
June 21, 2011 6:11:21 PM

cronos177 said:
This is a good place to look at, they painted and added fans, from the inside.(lots of pictures) http://www.overclock.net/case-mod-work-logs/933865-budg...

Thanks for suggestions. The pictures are really useful.

I will post pictures showing my work as I progress.
I've already taken out the hard drive cage (that was the easy part).
June 21, 2011 6:16:25 PM

Motopsychojdn said:
Re:Holesaw question,
Mark out the 120mm circle where you want it (best to use masking tape to protect the rest of the panel)
get a small (2-3mm) bit and drill round the circle (about 2mm inside it)
snip the inside out with pliers, like dot to dot but with tools :p 
file/sand the edges of your nice 120mm hole
Moto

What do you say I use the 4.1 in hole saw and dremel out the remaining 10mm?
I'm wondering if the last step will even be necessary.
I'm a bit worried about the noise that would result from those extra 10mm obstructing the fan.
a c 104 ) Power supply
June 21, 2011 7:05:34 PM

If you do it my way, do it my way,
that is to say, don't deviate from the instruction :p 
if you holesaw out the first part, you have a much weaker piece of metal to be drilling into, and you'll risk warping the section is all
filing and finishing off just make it neater and makes you feel like you've done a better job imo
and yes, that 10mm would interrupt airflow so possibly affect noise levels
That link guy has some nice cable management in there too (I could make it better tho :p )
Moto
June 21, 2011 9:54:51 PM

swiftor said:
MOD UPDATE:

CM elite rc 310 at stock.

Here it is with the hard drive cage removed. There's only 6 rivets to drill out.

I did this to improve airflow from the front intake fan.
I'll use this 5.25" bay adaptor to mount hard drives.
This particular one has orange LEDs to match the cases' front bezel.

If you have the version with a blue or gray bezel then this might look better.


Thanks for the Update! Keep up the good work. Are you putting a Fan on top, bottom or both?
June 21, 2011 10:50:49 PM

1 fan at the top and 1 fan at the bottom for now.
I'm contemplating putting 2 fans a the bottom.
There is a lot more room at the bottom now that the hard drive cage is out.
June 22, 2011 1:34:20 AM

Well, since the HDD cage is out, I think the GPU will be receiving more fresh air directly from the front. The fan on top, will do great, because hot air tends to go up. On the bottom, 2 120mm?
June 22, 2011 4:02:46 AM

120mm fans everywhere. I have some extras laying around and it makes it easier to keep track of the amount of air going in out of the case.
2x120mm at the bottom would be ideal but I'm not sure it would make that big of a difference -case cooling is so counterintuitive.
All the configurations I've tried before attempting to mod gave unexpected results.

I figured I would just make two holes at the bottom anyway and figure out whether or not I actually want two fans there later. At worst I'd just throw in a fan filter in the second hole without fan. The only problem is that fitting 2x120mm at the bottom might be tough/messy because the bottom of the case isn't flat.

Also 2 fans at the bottom would mean positive pressure by default, taking away the possibility of switching depending on how cooling is affected.
June 22, 2011 1:46:01 PM

Quote:
its either a i5-2300, 2400, 2500 or 2500K, the 2500K is the only one with an unlocked multiplier, so no 2400K.

Thanks. Meant 2500K
June 27, 2011 9:21:29 PM

MOD UPDATE: Got the holes drill out.

I used a fan grill to mark out screw holes and a center point for the hole saw.

Top.
Bottom.

For those of you trying to cut fan holes, you need to use a bi-metal (4-1/2 inch) hole saw.
I tried using a random one I borrowed and it couldn't cut through my case (not even with a corded drill).
I ended up buying a bi-metal hole saw and it worked without any hiccup (with a cordless drill).
It's fine to use a cordless drill but you need a pretty powerful one.

For the screw holes I used a 3/16 inch drill bit.
Top.
Bottom.

Next step: paint job.
June 27, 2011 9:44:45 PM

swiftor said:
MOD UPDATE: Got the holes drill out.

I used a fan grill to mark out screw holes and a center point for the hole saw.

Top.
Bottom.

For those of you trying to cut fan holes, you need to use a bi-metal (4-1/2 inch) hole saw.
I tried using a random one I borrowed and it couldn't cut through my case (not even with a corded drill).
I ended up buying a bi-metal hole saw and it worked without any hiccup (with a cordless drill).
It's fine to use a cordless drill but you need a pretty powerful one.

For the screw holes I used a 3/16 inch drill bit.
Top.
Bottom.

Next step: paint job.


That's looking very good so far, it will have tremendous air flow, with all those fans. What color are you planning to paint it? Did you decide on the HDD cage? The Xigmatek look very cool. Any cable management included?
June 28, 2011 12:52:30 AM

I'm going to paint the interior black. I'll leave the exterior intact.

I already got the Xigmatek hhd cage adapter. I like that it has an orange led fan to match the orange bezel on my case.
I didn't really like the CM one because a third of the intake grill is covered with a plastic guard (obstructs airflow). Also there seems to be no way to remove the fan if you wanted to (at least not easily).

The hdd cage adapter doesn't come with any cable management features but I drilled an extra hole on the motherboard tray for cable management using a 2-1/2 inch hole saw.
June 28, 2011 12:58:23 AM

swiftor said:
I'm going to paint the interior black. I'll leave the exterior intact.

I already got the Xigmatek hhd cage adapter. I like that it has an orange led fan to match the orange bezel on my case.
I didn't really like the CM one because a third of the intake grill is covered with a plastic guard (obstructs airflow). Also there seems to be no way to remove the fan if you wanted to (at least not easily).

The hdd cage adapter doesn't come with any cable management features but I drilled an extra hole on the motherboard tray for cable management using a 2-1/2 inch hole saw.


I see Can't wait to see the finished work! Thanks for updates.
June 28, 2011 9:55:46 PM

I like it. Enjoy.
June 28, 2011 10:37:06 PM

MOD UPDATE: Glossed up!

Image1
Image2
Image3

This is after two applications.
I used plastiKote high gloss paint. I found the spray button really inconvenient to use. Something by duplicolor or krylon might have worked better.
June 28, 2011 10:45:25 PM

walterm said:
I like it. Enjoy.

Thanks Walterm! Can't for the paint to dry.
June 28, 2011 11:28:29 PM

swiftor said:
MOD UPDATE: Glossed up!

Image1
Image2
Image3

This is after two applications.
I used plastiKote high gloss paint. I found the spray button really inconvenient to use. Something by duplicolor or krylon might have worked better.


Wow that looks very professional,how long have been the curing of the primer and the paint. Looks very good, I am definitely doing that, once I get another case.
June 29, 2011 2:24:33 PM

cronos177 said:
Wow that looks very professional,how long have been the curing of the primer and the paint. Looks very good, I am definitely doing that, once I get another case.

Let the primer sit for 24 hours. I didn't have as much time for the paint so I only let it sit for 12 hours.
July 13, 2011 3:41:41 PM

Any updates on the case, finished yet? how the cooling?
!