need help on choosing a case
I have read several other posts about cases on here but they weren't very helpful. I tried an addtronics case because I heard they were so good but it wasn't tall enough. the power supply would hang down over the mobo and it was such a tight fit the p/s cables would be smashed so i returned it for a refund. the case i have now is just an offbrand case thats almost 19 inches tall and the mobo fits fine. most mid towers i see online are only about 17. could someone suggest a roomy case inside where the power supply doesnt hang over the mobo or even a full tower? please dont tell me another addtronics because im never buying from them again. It would be cool if I can find a nice one without a p/s because i already have a 300/w that i don't want to waste. even a good website with case reviews would be nice. I have built several systems now and I think a good case and monitor is the best investment. I have also looked at colorcase.com and they are kinda high + i dont think i can get one without a p/s and there not very tall. I would appreciate any help!
I've just put together a system using the ANTEC SX1240 (yes it's really big!). It has LOTS of room, which I like, to keep things separated a bit, and for the extra drives I'll put in when I use the RAID on my mobo. It comes with 2 fans built in. I haven't pushed things too hard yet, but it runs cool with just the P/S and the std. 2 fans and a so-so HSF. The air in the case moves mostly front to back and then out. I've actually blocked off the top rear optional fan opening to make sure it draws from the bottom front instead of recirculating the warm P/S output air. The removable 3.5 in drive bays are very convenient, leaving NOTHING over the mobo. ANTEC makes the 1030 and 1040 as well which are like a shortened 1240. You may have to buy their power supply's to get their cases. I also like the 1240 better because the 5-1/4 bays are NOT behind a door, better for CDR's and HD coolers if needed. The P/S is given mixed reviews, but I'm hoping that w/ 400w, I'll be OK. I see ~27C at idle and 37C at full load on the CPU temp, case stays under 30C. My only complaint it the divider plate between the power supply and mobo. It makes access to that edge of the mobo very tight (for HSF clamps, mobo mounting screws, etc).
Iwill KK266-R mobo w/ Athlon 850B@850,100FSB (so far),
256mb Crucial PC133C2, ATI AIW RADEON, IBM 45mb HD,
Pioneer 16xDVD, onboard sound
Win98SE/Win2k dual boot
the more I learn, the less I'm sure I know...
After much time spent researching this topic with great interest, I have found that there are many excellant cases out there. If picking out the best, in my personal opinion there really are two out there that stand out above the rest.
One of which would be the <A HREF="http://neoseeker.com/Hardware/Products/LianLiPC60/index.html" target="_new">Lian-Li PC-60</A>. All-aluminum cases such as this and the Coolermaster ATC-201 are a recent revolution in computer cases. Touting over 3 times the heat conduction of steel acting like a large heatsink and several times lighter are obvious qualities, but not the most important (since it may only decrease your case temps by 1 degree or so and most people don't transport their desktop PC much). The reason behind picking the Lian-Li PC-60 is the great hard drive cooling setup (twin 80mm intake fans right in front of the hard drive), filter over the intake fans to control dust, thumbscrews, good airflow, wonderful craftsmanship, and great looks. It is a bit pricy and some people don't like that it doesn't come with a power supply, but I like that you have the freedom to choose a quality power supply to go with it (I would suggest the Enermax 330W Whisper series). Lian-Li also makes smaller cases such as the PC-30 and a larger PC-70.
The other would be the modified Chenbro Genie by <A HREF="http://www.coolcases.com" target="_new">coolcases.com</A> and resold by <A HREF="http://www.caseetc.com/cgi-bin/caseetc/000287.html" target="_new">CaseEtc.com</A>. Jim Hansan at coolcases.com has a stellar reputation for doing great modifications to already good cases for a very good price. His modded cases usually feature regular screws replaced by thumbscrews, regular PSU replaced by a great PSU, professionally made blowholes, grommet mounted fans to reduce vibrations, and more. The modified Chenro Genie with dual 120mm Panaflo intake fans is considered the best all-around case he makes and is very well designed. You can see coolcases.com's reseller rating <A HREF="http://www.resellerratings.com/vendone.cgi?coolcases.com" target="_new">here</A> and caseetc.com's <A HREF="http://www.resellerratings.com/vendone.cgi?CaseEtc." target="_new">here</A>
Of course these are just my personal recommendations and there are several other great cases out there such as the Addtronics W8500, Supermicro line, Palo Alto line, Antec SX830, Enlight line, PCmods.com, Tornado from 3dcool.com, the Max Cool case from thecardcooler.com, the soon to be <A HREF="http://www.faraday-cases.com" target="_new">Coldforge AA-15</A>, and a couple others I am probably forgetting. The bottom line is you should pick out which is best for you. Good luck.
With a dremel and drill, there's pretty much no mod you can't make fit into a full tower. Any full tower will do you much better over the long run than a desktop/mid-tower case.
If you have the $70+, a full tower case is the best way to go. My Q500 seems like it's made from Class B armor, and it's well designed.