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First build: overwhelmed by case selection

There are SO many cases out there, I don't even know where to begin looking!

My only frame of reference is my current Dell Studio which I dislike for one reason only: not enough hard drive bays. If it wasn't for that, I would probably keep it.

Is there anything else I should look for in a case?

Here are current specs of the system I'm building:

i7-3770, 32 Gig, not OC
GTX 570 or similar
RAID card
600 watt modular psu
card reader for SD/CF
one DVD-ROM
6-8 internal hard drives (inlcuding SSD)
[it would be nice if one HDD was accessable from the outside for easy replacement]
eSATA, USB 3, audio preferably on the front panel and in the back

Quietness is important!

I know nothing about fans!
66 answers Last reply Best Answer
More about first build overwhelmed case selection
  1. how much you are prepared to spend would be a good place to start to narrow it down a bit

    and do you prefer a black case or white or other colour

    and plain looking or a bit of bling?
  2. Black and no bling will work.

    I don't know what features cases have, so I don't really know why I would spend anything on them.

    The only thing I know is I want it to be somewhat quiet, and have room for a bunch of drives.

    I guess I wouldn't want it to have sharp edges on the inside :)

    I am not looking for extremely hot components...
  3. have a look at corsair cases

    theres a few models which are black and no bling

    they wont have have sharp edges on the inside as they are a quality manufacturer

    may be a model where the HDD was accessable from the outside for easy replacement--think some of them have hot swap

    bays for that

    also coolermaster cases are very good

    silverstone cases as well

    that should give you a few choices

    but it always comes down to how much you want to spend on the case
  4. What do you think of Lian Li. They seem big on aluminum. Is that important? Should I care if the psu is top or bottom mounted? What else to look for? Thanks!
  5. lian li is a quality maker--though not sure if they are still making cases now

    they were expensive though great quality

    aluminium is quite expensive--main advantage is its lighter than steel

    most cases are steel with plastic bits

    doesnt really matter if psu is top or bottom--though if its bottom you may need a psu with longer cables

    good cases now usually have holes with rubber grommets to allow passing all the cables behind the motherboard--tidier and

    less to interrupt the airflow
  6. Do cases come with the fans you need already installed?

    Thanks, I will add good cable management to the list of things to make sure the case has!

    How much clearance do you need for a high-end GPU?
  7. most higher end GPU range from about 10 to 13 inches some are slightly bigger and most are smaller. how many HDD bays are u needing. if your not going to use more than 5 id look at a cooler master haf case. they generally support large cards and come with plenty of preinstalled fans.

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811119257

    if your looking for liquid cooling without modification that could be a whole different story. the one below can support 2 240mil rads without modification but if your going air it may need more fans.

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811119216

    edit: just for curiosity why so many HDD and SSD?
  8. ratsa said:
    What do you think of Lian Li. They seem big on aluminum. Is that important? Should I care if the psu is top or bottom mounted? What else to look for? Thanks!

    Nice cases
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811112337
  9. any good case will come with fans pre-installed

    though it will also have mounting points to add further fans if you want to

    think my coolermaster storm trooper came with 2 front 120mm --1 rear 120mm and one top 200mm

    i added 2 side panel 120mm to aid cooling the graphics card

    coolermaster storm trooper would hold all your components--has an x-dock so you can just plug in an ssd or any 2.5 drive in

    the front which can be quite handy

    built in fan controller as well

    its not plain black as such--but a great case--had a haf-x before and this is better

    if you have a large budget then i love the cosmos 2 ultra--but was a bit expensive for me
  10. rinval said:
    edit: just for curiosity why so many HDD and SSD?


    Video editing demands it.

    1 drive for booting and OS
    2 drives for various caching functions (previews, media cache, exports etc.)
    + as many drives as it takes to store the actual media (terabytes)

    That's the beginner's version. The more advanced version would have 1 boot drive + RAID 5 array (4 drives and up) for everthing else. I don't like too many external enclosures.
  11. delluser1 said:


    Do you see any drawbacks to this one?
  12. ratsa said:
    Do you see any drawbacks to this one?


    this case seems to meet all your needs. the only thing about this case would be its limited airflow. you have a max of 2 140 mill in the front and 1x120mil in the back. this does give plenty of positive pressure to minimize dust but if your using a high end graphics card and at full load the majority of the time the limited airflow could cause an issue other than that looks good to me.

    http://www.lancoolpc.com/en/product/product06.php?pr_index=51&cl_index=1&sc_index=25&ss_index=96&g=f
  13. doesnt look a bad case but yep only one 120mm exhaust and 2 intake

    so might get a bit warm in there with all your stuff installed

    and cable management doesnt look as good as some cases--especially given the amount of drives your installing


    but if you were to give a maximum budget it would help to narrow it down more
  14. Can I do better for $150 max?

    Speaking of temperature, are temperature monitors usually built into case or mobo?
  15. for $150 max

    yes

    though not familiar with prices in the usa

    temperature monitors arent usually built into the case--usually read from the motherboard
  16. if you are constantly rendering and editing video it will keep a medium high load and could cause and issue with heat you could probably get away with something like the fractal design arc. which has 8 3.5 bays that are 2.5 compatible and comes with 3 140 mil fans but supports many more and gives plenty of room for SSD and HDD raiding. and its only about 20ish more than what you had but does have limited cable management. so you might need some zip ties to keep everything nice and tidy.

    http://www.fractal-design.com/?view=product&prod=57
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811352007
  17. how about the new smaller version of the haf-x?

    havent read up on it yet but the original haf-x was a great case

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811119257
  18. for the 150ish range would still go fractal but would look more to a full ATX case like this one. the fractal design define XL it will support up to 10 HDD, has plenty of preinstalled cooling and great cable management.

    edit: oh and i forgot to mention it also has sound dampening which is good for audio rendering.

    http://www.fractal-design.com/?view=product&category=2&prod=68
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811352017
  19. mcnumpty23 said:
    how about the new smaller version of the haf-x?

    havent read up on it yet but the original haf-x was a great case

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811119257


    lol i had mentioned that one. he was looking for more HDD bays for extended raiding. the half only has 5-6 bays.
  20. rinval said:
    lol i had mentioned that one. he was looking for more HDD bays for extended raiding. the half only has 5-6 bays.


    sorry must have missed where you mentioned that one

    its also got 2 hot swap bays so 8 bays plus 1 ssd bay

    the fractal you linked looks like they love their soundproofing

    but would be unsure how good the airflow is with that door shut

    heres a review of it

    http://www.legitreviews.com/article/1782/1/
  21. or heres the case i have

    think it takes 8 x 3.5 hard drives and 4 x 2.5 drives plus one 2.5 drive in the external x-dock

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811119245
  22. mcnumpty23 said:
    or heres the case i have

    think it takes 8 x 3.5 hard drives and 4 x 2.5 drives plus one 2.5 drive in the external x-dock

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811119245


    i would say if you don't need the sound dampening this would be a far better choice for your needs.

    the reason i mentioned the fractal case is with alot of video editing he may also be generating custom audio tracks for the video and you would not want the rumble of fans in the background of your audio track if this computer is going to be in a room where he is recording audio or video.
  23. It's going to be tough deciding.

    Does the COOLER MASTER CM Storm Series Trooper really come with 8 fans? It seems (from the pictures) to be highly refined. More so than the Fractal.

    Which is the model that has 2 hot swap bays? I lost you there :)

    I like the minimalist design of the Fractal, and quietness is a good thing. The bigger Fractal-design seems to have possible airflow issues, according to that review, that the smaller one does not (not as many panels inside blocking the air).

    Right now this Cooler Master seems to have all the expansion space and cooling I could ever ask for. How is it with noise?

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811119245&nm_mc=AFC-C8Junction&cm_mmc=AFC-C8Junction-_-RSSDailyDeals-_-na-_-na&AID=10521304&PID=4176827&SID=erlky5k439cn
  24. this one has 2 hot swap bays

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811119257

    the storm trooper comes with 2 x 120mm fans front

    1 x 120mm rear and 1 x 200mm top

    it can hold more--i added 2 x 120mm on the side panel

    it can also take a 120mm on the bottom but you need to remove the ssd bay to do that

    to rinval dont know much about audio editing--wouldnt it only pick up noise if you were recording with a microphone?

    the trooper comes with a built in fan controller which does low/medium/high but i added a nice nzxt six fan controller to give precise control over cooling/noise

    my pc is in the main living room so although i want it fast it also has to be quiet--you can only hear a little airflow noise the way i tuned my fans even though i am at 5ghz with my 2600k and still good temps

    the loudest noise from my pc is actually when my mechanical hard drive kicks in--and i only have one mechanical drive--the rest are ssd
  25. ratsa said:
    It's going to be tough deciding.

    Does the COOLER MASTER CM Storm Series Trooper really come with 8 fans? It seems (from the pictures) to be highly refined. More so than the Fractal.

    Which is the model that has 2 hot swap bays? I lost you there :)

    I like the minimalist design of the Fractal, and quietness is a good thing. The bigger Fractal-design seems to have possible airflow issues, according to that review, that the smaller one does not (not as many panels inside blocking the air).

    Right now this Cooler Master seems to have all the expansion space and cooling I could ever ask for. How is it with noise?

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811119245&nm_mc=AFC-C8Junction&cm_mmc=AFC-C8Junction-_-RSSDailyDeals-_-na-_-na&AID=10521304&PID=4176827&SID=erlky5k439cn



    here is a review from tweaktown. but as for the bd level with all the fans 120+ mil i would assume it would peak somewhere in the ball park of 30-45ish db if its not next to any mics it should be about like white noise and semi noticeable. you will have to get a response from 23 to get a more accurate range.

    http://www.sengpielaudio.com/TableOfSoundPressureLevels.htm
  26. rinval said:
    i would say if you don't need the sound dampening this would be a far better choice for your needs.

    the reason i mentioned the fractal case is with alot of video editing he may also be generating custom audio tracks for the video and you would not want the rumble of fans in the background of your audio track if this computer is going to be in a room where he is recording audio or video.



    I like the look of that one. The interior looks very refined, and it has all the expansion I could wish for. It may be a tad too customizable. Do I have to decide whether to turn the HDD cage 90 degrees? How is the sound level with the 8 fans?

    If I decided that being a newbie, I should go with something in the sub-$75 range until I knew more, is there anything that you would recommend?
  27. mcnumpty23 said:


    Is it possible to convert a normal external bay to an hot swap bay with quality after market parts?
  28. Maybe one of these if you're looking for something cheaper - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Productcompare.aspx?Submit=ENE&N=100007583%20600006322&IsNodeId=1&Description=nzxt&page=2&bop=And&CompareItemList=7|11-146-083^11-146-083-TS%2C11-146-084^11-146-084-TS%2C11-146-078^11-146-078-TS%2C11-146-075^11-146-075-TS
  29. yes its possible --but more work and more expense

    my second pc is a silverstone raven

    and silverstone do the parts to do that

    so assume the parts would work for any external 5.25 bay

    coolermaster probably sell the parts to do it themselves
  30. mcnumpty23 said:
    to rinval dont know much about audio editing--wouldnt it only pick up noise if you were recording with a microphone?


    audio and video recording are sensitive to noise. ie im sure you have heard white noise in the background when you turn a movie up too high it sounds like static. the biggest this is you want a computer as quiet as possible to keep under that threshold. if the computer is close to where your recording obviously u want it silent if its going to be farther away you will have more room for noise. it also depends on the mic. high end studio mics can pickup a pindrop from 15ft away. im assuming with his focus being primarily on editing he will not have a quiet room for recording so he will have more room for noise.
  31. personally i would go for the better quality case from the beginning

    rather than buy a cheaper case,build it all then decide its not adequate

    you can always grow into the better case as you go along

    as already said my mechanical drive is louder than my fans--but if i can find an android app for decibel reading for my phone i will

    give you a more accurate noise level
  32. rinval said:
    audio and video recording are sensitive to noise. ie im sure you have heard white noise in the background when you turn a movie up too high it sounds like static. the biggest this is you want a computer as quiet as possible to keep under that threshold. if the computer is close to where your recording obviously u want it silent if its going to be farther away you will have more room for noise. it also depends on the mic. high end studio mics can pickup a pindrop from 15ft away. im assuming with his focus being primarily on editing he will not have a quiet room for recording so he will have more room for noise.


    i get you

    for some reason i assumed he was editing stuff that had already been recorded or videoed so background noise wouldnt matter
  33. lycros said:
    Maybe one of these if you're looking for something cheaper - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Productcompare.aspx?Submit=ENE&N=100007583%20600006322&IsNodeId=1&Description=nzxt&page=2&bop=And&CompareItemList=7|11-146-083^11-146-083-TS%2C11-146-084^11-146-084-TS%2C11-146-078^11-146-078-TS%2C11-146-075^11-146-075-TS


    if you want to go cheap, i am a penny pincher, and dont mind adding fans and a little noise then the 210 elite is a good plain choice it is a case i was looking at for a begginer build for my 6 yr old.

    it has your hardrive space. but you may need a converter for 2.5 drives. it is tooless. and can scale up to 5 120 mil and 2 120/140 mill fans. plus it will fit an aftermarket cpu cooler if needed. as most of the more expensive cases can.
  34. I'd go with the 550d that lycros suggested or the fractal ... ( just saying )
  35. mcnumpty23 said:
    i get you

    for some reason i assumed he was editing stuff that had already been recorded or videoed so background noise wouldnt matter


    in most cases for editing you would have a prerecorded file but in some cases the editing requires a new audio track (hopefully not) but it happens and that is where he could use the same computer with the dampening to record and not have that issue. but as i said it sounds more like he is just cropping and such over actually replacing segments and audio.
  36. rinval said:
    if you want to go cheap, i am a penny pincher, and dont mind adding fans and a little noise then the 210 elite is a good plain choice it is a case i was looking at for a begginer build for my 6 yr old.

    it has your hardrive space. but you may need a converter for 2.5 drives. it is tooless. and can scale up to 5 120 mil and 2 120/140 mill fans. plus it will fit an aftermarket cpu cooler if needed. as most of the more expensive cases can.


    How does the 210 Elite compare to this Lian Li?

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811112304
  37. mcnumpty23 said:
    personally i would go for the better quality case from the beginning

    rather than buy a cheaper case,build it all then decide its not adequate

    you can always grow into the better case as you go along

    as already said my mechanical drive is louder than my fans--but if i can find an android app for decibel reading for my phone i will

    give you a more accurate noise level


    +1 for the better case for build. if you get a good case to start with that does everything you need then you can reuse that case in future builds and save money. im going cheap b/c i know my 6 yr old is going to destroy her case... or draw on it :o ... anyway im still useing a case i bought 6 years ago when computers first started getting 120mil fans and it works great today even though my wife broke the front usb ports...
  38. ratsa said:
    How does the 210 Elite compare to this Lian Li?

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811112304


    your loosing 2 3.5 bays and going down to 3 preinstalled 120mil with a option 140mil slot. which with all the fans should be sufficent for what you need. but it does support 11 in graphics cards. where as the 210 only supports 9 in cards with the hdd cage in.
    http://www.lian-li.com/v2/en/product/product06.php?pr_index=526&cl_index=1&sc_index=25&ss_index=62&g=spec
    http://www.nzxt.com/new/products/classic_series/source_210_elite
  39. keep in mind your looking at a gtx 570 so you need support for 9in VGA card plus clearance for power cords if they connect on the back.

    Edit: some of the bigger 570s are 11 in
  40. rinval said:
    your loosing 2 3.5 bays and going down to 3 preinstalled 120mil with a option 140mil slot. which with all the fans should be sufficent for what you need. but it does support 11 in graphics cards. where as the 210 only supports 9 in cards with the hdd cage in.
    http://www.lian-li.com/v2/en/product/product06.php?pr_index=526&cl_index=1&sc_index=25&ss_index=62&g=spec
    http://www.nzxt.com/new/products/classic_series/source_210_elite


    And quality-wise, does the Lian Li look like a quality case? Are there any drawbacks to aluminum?

    Btw, I missed where it says there is a 140mm fan option. I don't see it on the newegg page (in the picture), but some other picture show a hole on top for 140mm.
  41. got an asus direct cu gtx570 3 slot video card in the storm trooper no sweat

    heres the decibel readings from android app--dont know how accurate the app is

    totally quiet room with no background noise (well it was once the bloody girlfriend and the cat shut up)

    17db

    phone sitting directly on top of pc 42db

    phone 3 feet from the pc 35db
  42. ratsa said:
    And quality-wise, does the Lian Li look like a quality case? Are there any drawbacks to aluminum?

    Btw, I missed where it says there is a 140mm fan option. I don't see it on the newegg page (in the picture), but some other picture show a hole on top for 140mm.


    lian li cases are all good quality. generally they are overpriced for what options you can get is the biggest drawback. from the looks of it it looks like it will suit your needs if you go 6 HDD or less but yes the hole in the top is where the 140 goes though you may want to get a grill for it for a couple $. and also the lian li should support the standard 570 with no problem.
  43. mcnumpty23 said:
    got an asus direct cu gtx570 3 slot video card in the storm trooper no sweat

    heres the decibel readings from android app--dont know how accurate the app is

    totally quiet room with no background noise (well it was once the bloody girlfriend and the cat shut up)

    17db

    phone sitting directly on top of pc 42db

    phone 3 feet from the pc 35db


    lol sometimes i scare myself... i was almost spot on for this hahaha. i said 30-45db .

    edit: from across the room say 10+ ft this shouldnt be much more than standard ambient sound unless ur in a quiet room.
  44. Thanks guys. You have given me a lot to chew on. I think there are some solid choices here.

    ps: Hopefully the GTX 670 will be widely available soon, and Adobe will have worked out some kinks on the 6-series and Adobe After Effects.
  45. rinval said:
    lol sometimes i scare myself... i was almost spot on for this hahaha. i said 30-45db .

    edit: from across the room say 10+ ft this shouldnt be much more than standard ambient sound unless ur in a quiet room.


    It's a bedroom, so when no one is snoring it's pretty quiet!
  46. actually its a living room

    but some one is still snoring anyway :fou:

    from 10 feet away it shows 27db in between the snoring (that shows over 50db from 10 feet away :fou: )

    if the tv is on you cant hear the pc full stop

    so this app is pretty accurate then going by those measurements?
  47. ratsa said:
    Thanks guys. You have given me a lot to chew on. I think there are some solid choices here.

    ps: Hopefully the GTX 670 will be widely available soon, and Adobe will have worked out some kinks on the 6-series and Adobe After Effects.


    gtx670 is easily available in the uk

    but some issues are now being reported with v-sync induced stuttering on some of them so glad i held off on getting one

    heres a good forum link from gtx670 users

    http://forums.overclockers.co.uk/showthread.php?t=18400740
  48. mcnumpty23 said:
    gtx670 is easily available in the uk

    but some issues are now being reported with v-sync induced stuttering on some of them so glad i held off on getting one

    heres a good forum link from gtx670 users

    http://forums.overclockers.co.uk/showthread.php?t=18400740


    all the cases except the 210 should support the 9.5-11.5 gtx 670 so you should be good there. and hahaha snoring in ur living room... sounds like its time to find some warm water to put their hand in mwahahahaha!.
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