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Decent Air-flow, Fits EATX, Ultra-quiet, NO Budget Case

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March 30, 2011 1:37:25 PM

Hello all,

I've been reading forums & reviews for days and I still can't make up my mind. I'm starting a new build for the first time in 5 years. My current machine is a Pentium 4 from 2006. Yup, you read that correctly, a P4!. So, with my new build, I need to do it in stages due to budget. However, I want to start with the best foundation possible - a case that will be ultra-flexible as my budget gets replenished over time. I've decided that price for the new case is basically no object at this point and I plan to load it now with some hand-me-down freebie hardware from friends . Because, after all, any hardware they give me will be leaps and bounds over what I'm used to. Then eventually I want to start replacing (starting with a quality mobo/cpu, of course) all of the hardware over the rest of the year. I can't use my current case as the psu is burnt up and the case/psu is proprietary dell crap and they want a couple hundred bucks to replace psu (it's a separate, completely enclosed unit that mounts on the bottom of the XPS case) - besides it's time for new tech anyway.

These are what I think my case requiments are:
-almost no budget
-supports ATX, EATX, micro ATX
-supports larger GPU's
-very, very quiet (did I say quiet?)
-descent or better air cooling (I'm not sure that I ever want to deal with the mess of liquid cooling)
-clear side panel (to gaze in amazement once I get everything upgraded :)  )
-very clean cable management
-easy to clean and maintain i.e filters (or at least recommendations on after market, washable filters for the appropriate size fans
-semi-toolless or completely toolless

Any quality input is much appreciated!
Sincerely, Nebo

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March 30, 2011 2:48:40 PM
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March 30, 2011 3:20:12 PM

Thanks for your response. Actually, I have been still looking since my post and I have been leaning toward the Haf-X. Do you own one? Anyone able to comment on the quietness of the Haf-X. My old case sounded like a jet once it got hot. Still irritates me thinking about it.
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March 30, 2011 5:24:25 PM

Realize that your case isn't going to be making any noise; it's your components. Make sure your case has good airflow and isn't in a place where it can build up heat (e.g. cabinet) and you should be fine. GPU fans tend to be the loudest at high RPMs.
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March 31, 2011 11:07:13 AM

Of course, you are correct. I guess what I meant was the fan air cooling components in the case. Good point about the higher rpm gpu fan. With regards to this thread, I have settled on the Haf-X. I'll post back after this weekend to give my report on it. Perhaps that will be useful to anyone else out there that was waffling like me. As always, thanks to the Tom's Hardware community. These forums are invaluable.
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March 31, 2011 1:12:58 PM

Good choice, the HAF X is a solid full tower. It also comes in NVidia green hahaha
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April 11, 2011 4:16:32 PM

Yes, the Haf-X NVidia Green Edition suckered me in...It is really an awesome case - Why the thing is so big, that I could fit both of my dogs inside it :) 

If you are anal-retentive like me about cable management, then this may be the case for you. It even has a bottom-mounted psu (supplied separately) , but comes with the 8pin cpu power extension you will need for most psu's to cleanly reach your mobo.

The tooless features are great, but I found myself not liking the 5.25 bay tooless adapters. I feel they don't hold the hardware as firmly as I would like - I pulled the adapters and used just old-fashioned bay screws. The 3.5 bays are pretty great however. Although, keep in mind that if you are running multiple 2.5 SSD's, you'll need to already have some hardware that converts the 3.5's to 2.5's as the case has only one 2.5 tray but four 3.5 trays. Not sure on the particulars on this point, as I am running four 500Gb 3.5's in mine.

The fans are huge and quiet with pretty good airflow. Washable screens on all but rear exhaust.

If anyone has any questions on it, I'd be happy to share....
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April 11, 2011 5:49:13 PM

Nice :)  I've been looking at a new case for liquid cooling, but no standard cases support dual 120.3 radiators (at least, cheaply). I considered modding a HAF X, but the airflow channels are so well-defined that it might require more work than I can really afford to put into it in order to remove some of the extra stuff.
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April 11, 2011 6:21:05 PM

Hmm, although my build knowledge is rather limited, I think I agree...the Haf-X would require extensive modding. I think I'll stay with air-cooling myself. It's cheaper and less maintenance. Although my dogs do shed a lot...Nah, air is still better for me, after all, I'm an old computer dude who is still learning the new tech.
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April 11, 2011 7:00:40 PM

Yeah, it can support one radiator in the top, but fitting that second one is the tricky part ;) 

I only need LC because I now have 3x470s, and one of them idles at 54C hahaha
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April 18, 2011 12:56:44 PM

Best answer selected by Nebo7207.
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