I'm in the process of making a parts list for a friend for building a PC. The rest of the parts have been chosen but I have a concern with the current case. I have looked at a Fractal Design Core 1000, which annoyingly includes the power button, USB and audio connectors on the right side of the case. Due to the layout of the room the PC would be sitting flat on it's side, with the front panel facing up, which means that the internals of the case will be hanging from the motherboard (which in turn is hanging mostly off the motherboard stand-offs . The fan will be the stock Intel one and the PCI cards should be mostly supported by the usual expansion slot screws at the back of the case.
My main concern is more about heat than supporting it. Although I have picked pretty power efficient components (i5 3450 and 7850 twin frozr) I am worried that the heat coming off them will not radiate away out the case like it would in a normal orientated case, but instead be trapped around the motherboard (given that heat rises). Do you know if having the case orientated like this will reduce the lifespan of the parts considerably or cause the mobo to overheat? Has anyone had any issues if they have had a similar setup where the motherboard is suspended?
The alternative case is the Cooler Master Elite 343, which seems a lot more practical in the front panel location. He doesn't want/expect any fancy features and want's quite a good bang for the buck type gaming PC if you see where I'm coming from, he's used to an Xbox 360 and Dell tower PCs so isn't expecting much, so if you do have a better suggestion (UK shops only please) then please keep it under £40.
You are correct in considering that there will be pockets of hot air lingering across all the surface of the motherboard being on the highest point in your setup. Apart from the issue of hot air, there is the matter of the CPU cooler pulling down on the motherboard instead of sitting on top of it. A stock cooler might not be an issue though.
Better get a case that you can lay flat on the side with the motherboard facing up. As long as there is ample space on all sides, warm air will be expelled from the case via the fans.
If you're talking about laying it 90 degrees from its normal orientation, why can't you lay it on its back cover so the board is facing up?
I would have to lay it with the motherboard facing/hanging downwards because the front panel buttons and connectors are on the right hand side of the case. If I were to lay it on the back cover so the board is facing up the front panel buttons and connectors would be facing downwards into the table, rendering them unusable.
Thanks to all for the help, I have decided against the core 1000 because I just don't want to risk it. I'll probably get the Elite 343 I mentioned before unless I can get him to raise the budget £30