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Need A compact case to downsize system! Suggestions?

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February 23, 2013 12:06:12 AM

I am going of to college soon and I plan on bringing my desktop PC. When i built my PC, I didnt think ahead and got a Super-Mid size case, the Antec 1100. Theres no way this will fit in my tiny dorm, so im looking to transfer to a new more compact case. I will probably have to get a new CPU heatsink (have the Hyper 212 EVO right now) to downsize as it protrudes the most other than my huge GPU. Any suggestions for a smaller case that will fit everything AND have good circulation for cooling?

System:
CASE: Antec 1100
CPU: i5-3570k
CPU HEATSINK: Coolermaster Hyper 212 EVO
MOBO: ASRock z77 Extreme4
GPU: ZOTAC GTX 670 AMP! Edition
RAM: G.SKILL 8gb (4x4gb) RAM
HDD: Seagate Barracuda 1tb 7200rpm 6mb
SSD: 128 gb Vertex 4
PSU: OCZ FATAL1TY 750W

Thanks for the help!
a b ) Power supply
February 23, 2013 1:26:03 AM

There are a lot of mid size cases that are designed for that kind of thing.
My concern for you would be that the footprint of any tower case is likely to be fairly similar, the biggest change is usually the height, followed by more depth. There's only so much you can change the width of a case as it is usually defined by the size of a drive bay + a sensible amount to hold it together.

Having a full atx board limits you with regards to downsizing, but if you are willing to change to an mATX or ITX board you could reduce your PC dramatically in size. The trade off is mainly going to be in terms of flexibility, a lot of modern smaller cases have quite effective airflow.
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February 23, 2013 1:40:28 AM

Rammy said:
There are a lot of mid size cases that are designed for that kind of thing.
My concern for you would be that the footprint of any tower case is likely to be fairly similar, the biggest change is usually the height, followed by more depth. There's only so much you can change the width of a case as it is usually defined by the size of a drive bay + a sensible amount to hold it together.

Having a full atx board limits you with regards to downsizing, but if you are willing to change to an mATX or ITX board you could reduce your PC dramatically in size. The trade off is mainly going to be in terms of flexibility, a lot of modern smaller cases have quite effective airflow.


Are there any mATX or ITX boards that dont compromise on performance? I have an ASRock Z77 Exreme4, and that is nowhere near "high performance". Can you recommend any smaller boards that is good for gaming and can fit my big graphics card, and 4 ram slots?
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a b ) Power supply
February 23, 2013 2:00:02 AM

It really depends what you mean by "compromise on performance". There is always going to be a trade off, and ITX boards have their limitations which are purely practical. As a generalisation, you'll have potential issues with CPU coolers, you'll have a limited number of SATA ports, limited number of power phases and are limited to a single PCIe slot and 2 ram slots.
While that might seem a concern, remember that most people only ever use 1 PCIe slot these days, and 2 ram slots is as many as you need for dual channel. Unless you are ram-disking you don't even need much RAM. As for graphics, they all use the same slot so there's no reason you can't put a GTX690 or something silly into an ITX board.

As you have an ASRock Extreme 4, I can recommend the ASrock Z77E-ITX, it's essentially a very small version of your board. The Asus Z77ITX board is better but usually a fair chunk more expensive.

Alternatively, mATX has few comprimises. You basically loose the bottom 1/3 of a normal ATX board but you can still (potentially) use stuff like SLI. Sticking with ASRock, the Z77 Extreme4-M is very similar to what you have but smaller.

I think you need to consider what you actually want to reduce.
A smaller mid-tower will fit all your current components, be lighter and smaller so easier to transport, but it's probably not going to be much smaller in the real world because if you have it sitting on the floor (or desk), all that really matters is the footprint.
A specialised mATX case (and board) can be a fair bit smaller but it means spending money on a new motherboard.
An ITX case is going to mean a new board, and half your RAM can't be used. You might also face issues with component size (probably less so graphics cards, more likely PSU/CPU cooler clearances)

A couple of cases I often link to people to give them food for thought are the Silverstone FT-03 (mATX) and FT-03 mini (ITX).
http://www.silverstonetek.com/product.php?pid=291
http://www.silverstonetek.com/product.php?pid=333
They are definitely limiting in a lot of ways, but it's a good illustration of how much space you can save by flipping the conventional orientation of components to produce a more compact result.
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February 23, 2013 2:26:06 AM

I dont think im willing to go for an ITX size, thats a bit too small for me. After some quick research, I was looking at the mATX board: Asus Maximus V gene. I belive that can fit all of my parts and is a step up from what I currently have. I just dont know if the size difference isworth the effort and money. I would really love something like the BitPheonix prodigy case but thats only itx.
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a b ) Power supply
February 23, 2013 2:41:11 AM

Got a Prodigy myself, it's got some issues but I'm pretty happy with it. Too big for an ITX case really though, its wide enough to fit a mATX board so some people have modded it.

The Fractal Design R4 Mini, Silverstone TJ-08 and SG-03F pop into my head as pretty tiny but fairly conventional towers.

As with any SFF case though, you'll need to check things like maximum PSU length, CPU cooler clearance and graphics card length.
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February 23, 2013 2:57:27 AM

Do you have any suggestions for an mATX mobo that is on par or better than my current one? I know the least about the impact of motherboards on performance. Other than having slots to fit everything, I cannot tell the difference. Obvously the Maximus V gene is a gaming mobo, but are there others that will fit my components and still have room for future expansion

Youve been a big help by the way, thanks so much for the help
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a b ) Power supply
February 23, 2013 5:26:11 AM

No problem.

ASRock extreme 4M is pretty much identical to your current motherboard, it just has less power phases.
To be honest, a lot of "enthusiast" motherboard stuff is a lot of rubbish. Lots of fancy heatsinks and things, not a lot of things that people are likely to need. The Asus Sabertooth is a prime example.

Also, was thinking about cases and Lian-Li offer a fairly large range of smaller cases too. Though I'm not exactly sure about the bonkers shell shaped one.... http://www.lian-li.com/v2/en/product/product06.php?pr_i...
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