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Need help choosing a case

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  • Gigabyte
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March 4, 2003 1:15:12 PM

I'm putting together a new computer at the moment and have got everything figured out except the case. I just learned a week ago that maybe it wouldn't be a good idea to clean out my four year old compaq case and just stuff the new things in there.

So, I don't know squat about cases and need help.

The system specs are:
P4 2,53
Gigabyte 8SQ800 Motherboard
512 DDR433 RAM
Gigabyte Radeon 9700 Pro
Seagate 80 (maybe 120), 7200rpm, 8mb cache drive
Some DVD/CDRW combo drive

Now, from reading I've understood that the 12V rail is the critical part and pretty much all cases have sufficient power at he 3,3V and 5V rails, correct? If anyone could bother counting the power demand for this system I would appreciate that since I don't have any clue whatsoever about how to do this.

What differs a good case from a bad one? From what I've read it seems that Antec and Enermax are the best cases available, why?

What is the difference between a cheapskate case for $50 and a $150 Antec case for example? Please speak newbie lingo here since "stability" won't make me any wiser than right now. What makes a case stable anyway?

In closing, please recommend the perfect case for this system and also include reasons for that choice (remember, newbie lingo). If you know the price even better, I've calculated on spending about $150 on the case since people have told me it's one of the most important parts on the computer (reading different forums seem to confirm this).

Hope someone can help, thanks in advance.

Best regards,
Erik

More about : choosing case

March 4, 2003 3:30:58 PM

I'd estimate your power needs at 300watts, maybe a bit more or less depending on disk drives and other internally powered devices.

Case choice is rather simple... Think "future proofing".

Buy a good sturdy case, with an excessive powersupply. That way it can stay with you through several upgrades.

Sometimes it is preferable to buy the case, then purchase an aftermarket powersupply, keeping the case's original as a spare.

There is no harm in running 450watt a power supply on a system that only needs 200 today. It will run cooler and last longer. The opposite is not true... a 200 watt supply will last about an hour with 450 watt demands.

Some of the best cases I've worked with are these:
<A HREF="http://www.aopen.com/products/housing/default.htm" target="_new">http://www.aopen.com/products/housing/default.htm&lt;/A>

There are many sizes and models to choose from... be sure to get one for your motherboard's "form factor"... ATX, Micro-ATX, Flex-ATX, etc. You can put a smaller board in a bigger case but, obviously, not the other way around.

Good luck!


<b>(</b>It ain't better if it don't work.<b>)</b>
March 4, 2003 3:48:08 PM

You keep saying "cases" and then talking about the power supply, not picking on you, just clearing confusion a little.

"Now, from reading I've understood that the 12V rail is the critical part and pretty much all cases have sufficient power at he 3,3V and 5V rails, correct?"

The voltage on the rails are important, but it's the power supply's job, the case got nothing to do with it.

"If anyone could bother counting the power demand for this system I would appreciate that since I don't have any clue whatsoever about how to do this."

I have a similar system and the power consumption is around 110 watts according to the software I got with APC battery backup. It does not mean that I could use a 110 watts power supply, that would only make my system crash a lot. I got a power supply free case and got myself an Enermax 550Watts power supply, should last me a long time.

"What differs a good case from a bad one?"

A good case have space inside for easy access to your components, option to add 2 or more case fans for decent cooling, a removable motherboard tray is a plus for those who change motherboards often, edges don't slice you up while working insuide. A bad case is too small making you suffer trying to work inside or even just installing your new components, some even got the power supply put in sideways right front of the motherboard. Also cheap bad cases come with matching cheap bad power supplies! Some are also so tight that you loose the lower large bays because nothing fit in there with out hitting the motherboard, or hanging out in the front of the case.

"From what I've read it seems that Antec and Enermax are the best cases available, why?"

Those two companies do make cases, but they're also manufacturing high quality silent power supplies. Enermax more know for their powersupplies, Antec for both. They're quality.

"What is the difference between a cheapskate case for $50 and a $150 Antec case for example?"

$100

There are some low cost cases that are low cost because they don't come with power supplies. Also there are lots of low cost cases that are just super cheap quality and design (real cheap ones also come with $10 exploding and system killing power supplies as a bonus).

"What makes a case stable anyway?"

I would guess fold out feet would make a large case more stable, but I never had one that tipped over.

"please recommend the perfect case for this system and also include reasons for that choice"

You will receive 50,000 answers to this one.

These are the cases I like right now and will buy one.
<A HREF="http://www.antec-inc.com/images/400/SX1040BII.jpg" target="_new">3x80mm fans</A>
<A HREF="http://www.antec-inc.com/images/400/PLUSVIEW1000AMG1.jp..." target="_new">3x80mm fans</A>
<A HREF="http://www.microbytes.com/turbogamers.jpeg" target="_new">aluminum 4x80mm fans</A>
<A HREF="http://www.antec-inc.com/images/400/lanboy.jpg" target="_new">aluminum 2x120mm fans</A>, bit small but great for people who don't always have to be inside the case to do something and I like the 2 120mm fan setup a lot.

As you see all the cases I like have doors, <A HREF="http://gmc.co.kr/english/good_e_noblesse.htm" target="_new">my current case</A> does too and it cut down a lot on the cd and cdrw noise while using them. The only thing I don't like about my case is that the factory front fan spots are useless, but I put 2 120mm fans in the side cover so it's sweet now.

Here is a bonus, can see some real fancy cases <A HREF="http://www.thermaltake.com/products.htm" target="_new">here</A>.

Forgot, when you see a power supply make sure you read all the info on it, some say 350 watts total, or max, or even peak, all different and can end up short. Some even say different wattage for different rails. Don't try to go cheap on power supply, buy more than you need and then it will run cooler/safer since you're not pushing it close to the limit. Amp count (more the better) so don't get fooled into the wattage game!

<b><font color=blue>Press 1 if you want to be on hold, 2 for disconnect, 3 for a representative who will put you on hold before disconnecting.</font color=blue></b>
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March 4, 2003 11:13:22 PM

The difference between a cheap and expensive case can be two things

A. construction quality and added extra's supplied and
B. quality of the PSU.

Both may come with 300W PSU's... but there is a HUGE difference between a 300W craptacular generic PSU and a 300W antec or enermax.

you do get what you pay for.

<b>"If spam wasn't totally bogus, Hotmail users would be well-endowed, slim people with hair who make big money working at home and having great sex provoked by free porn and herbal Viagra.</b>
March 5, 2003 12:36:29 AM

I would recommend Lian Li case. It is easy to work with, good construction, and looks great.
March 5, 2003 2:17:47 AM

I know from experience that a bad case can literally add an hour--even more-- to a system install. Ever try installing cabling in a tight-fit that won't allow you to get your hands in a good position? Ever try to install screws in a motherboard or drive bay with poorly-aligned or cross-threaded drillings? Ever get your MB installed, realize you forgot a jumper, and then tried to get the little bastard off and back on without taking the motherboard out of the case?

I hated my old case so much that I decided to throw down some extra cash on an aluminum case with a pull-out motherboard tray and thumb screws. <A HREF="http://www.kingwin.com" target="_new">http://www.kingwin.com&lt;/A> This case is, by far, the easiest case I've ever worked with and provides ample air flow to all my components. The thumb-screws mean I won't have to search for a screwdriver when I just want to take off a side panel. USB anf Firewire ports are cleanly routed to the front of the case, meaning I don't have to grope around the back of the case to plug stuff in. It's even lighter than my old steel case!

Two years ago, if you had told me I would spend $225 on a case and power supply, I would have said you were nuts--it's only a case. Now I realize that the case I have will be with me for as long as I need, and I don't dread the day I will do my next upgrade. It makes a big, big difference.

<-----Insert witty sig line here.
March 5, 2003 2:24:22 AM

I agree. I upgrade my computer often and a great case make it a lot easier.
March 5, 2003 10:22:59 AM

Absolutely. My case cost a bit (It's no great shakes, but it's good to work on.), but next time I'll lay some serious cash out on something like a Coolermaster.

I had a job several months ago to build a cheap, bog standard PC. Just an office machine. Bought a cheap case (£15 UK). POS! So much grief. Ripped my hands to pieces. Cabling for the led's sucked, drive bays were awkward. Generally, a bucket of shite.

Moral of the story? Buy cheap = buy twice.
March 7, 2003 1:38:12 AM

The case I 'm using is "Maxtop " cool case , can be found at NewEgg.COM
has lots of Room , plenty of fan space
Bundle this with a Antec true 430
you'll be happy
case $35 USD
p/supply $78 USD
March 7, 2003 6:48:01 AM

Bad case: sharp edges, back flexes so much that AGP video card can come out of its socket, not enough front-back depth for clearance between large motherboards and the rear of the DVD and CD (18-19" depth is desirable and more important than height), bad power supply (often Macron, Raidmax, Powmax, or another mystery brand).
March 7, 2003 1:51:36 PM

"depth for clearance between large motherboards and the rear of the DVD and CD"

yes I forgot about that! seen way too many of those cases, had a few myself :( 

<b><font color=blue>Press 1 if you want to be on hold, 2 for disconnect, 3 for a representative who will put you on hold before disconnecting.</font color=blue></b>
March 8, 2003 3:47:54 AM

I just picked up this EXTREMELY OLD ATX case with a "Marl" pattern Pentium 1 motherboard for FREE. It's high quality and about <b>THREE INCHES DEAPER</b> than a normal tower. Are you interested?

HOLY HABENARO THAT'S HOT, my nose won't quit running, want one?

<font color=blue>Watts mean squat if you don't have quality!</font color=blue>
March 8, 2003 3:52:10 AM

Antec doesn't make cases. Chieftec makes most of Antecs cases. I don't think Enermax makes their own cases either.

<font color=blue>Watts mean squat if you don't have quality!</font color=blue>
March 8, 2003 4:08:45 AM

I have this noblesse tricked out and loaded with all I got so I'm set for now. but you never know, once we were looking for a car for my dad and I ended up with a "new" car. just for the hell of it, got a few pictures of it? :) 

thanks for the offer btw!

<b><font color=blue>Press 1 if you want to be on hold, 2 for disconnect, 3 for a representative who will put you on hold before disconnecting.</font color=blue></b>
March 8, 2003 5:08:33 AM

I could take some pics, but they would take forever to upload! Here's a discription of the case: 3-4 inches deeper than standard, very narrow (1/2" wider than the full sized drive bays on each side), just tall enough to hold a standard ATX board and power supply, and with a 1 piece cover (built before removable side panels). If you remembered "marl" style ATX boards, you'd be able to realize just how OLD this thing is.

<font color=blue>Watts mean squat if you don't have quality!</font color=blue>
Anonymous
March 9, 2003 1:27:40 PM

Crashman,
when you say that Antec dosen't make good cases, I dont think that you've actually seen the PLUSVIEW1000AMG.
I just got this case a few weeks ago and I am really blown away by the construction quality. Loads of extras. The only thing that I dont really like about the case (and I am very picky) is the way that there are 'vents' over the window fan. The way that the air has to get sucked in through these makes a kind of "swoosh" noise that can get very loud.

Other than that, this has to be the best case that I have ever seen.


<A HREF="http://www.newegg.com/app/Showimage.asp?image=11-129-12..." target="_new">pics at newegg</A>
March 9, 2003 6:06:57 PM

oy! that's from the ice ages! :D 

<b><font color=blue>Press 1 if you want to be on hold, 2 for disconnect, 3 for a representative who will put you on hold before disconnecting.</font color=blue></b>
March 9, 2003 6:27:59 PM

If you get a Lian Li PC-6X then you will think Antec makes bad case. I have the Antec 1030B which is very similiar to the case you have. The Antec case is larger than my Lian Li case but have less drive bays. Antec case's hard drive cage is block by my video card. It does not have removable motherboard tray. Lian Li case is lighter and looks better.
Anonymous
March 9, 2003 6:38:52 PM

I really don't see whats so good about lian-li. I think that the cases look like crap. They are really small too. The just look plain. And I'm not sure about the fan placments. Also, only 1 exhaust fan on the back of the 6X. Although the exhaust on the top of the case is a good idea.

I think the antec plusview is way nicer than any liani-li case.

Sure, the PLUSVIEW has no removable motherboard tray, but the case is so big that you don't really need one.
March 9, 2003 7:14:29 PM

YOUR MISTAKE, I didn't say Antec doesn't make "good" cases, I said "Antec doesn't make cases". Let me rephrase that: Antec doesn't make ANY cases. There, now it's out. Chieftec makes the PLUSVIEW1000AMG along with most of Antec's other cases. Antec gets their own front panel, and in the case shown, their own window shape. It's still a Chieftec Dragon case.

You can get the Chieftec Dragon from various companies, with various custom front or side panels, in both steel and aluminum. My favorite Chieftec Dragon cases are sold by Thermaltake as the Xaser series.

<font color=blue>Watts mean squat if you don't have quality!</font color=blue>
Anonymous
March 9, 2003 7:29:40 PM

my bad
March 9, 2003 8:09:46 PM

Did you have experience with a Lian LI case?

The case it smaller but it is better designed and can hold more drive than Antec.

If you use a Lian Li case you will find out Antec's case is not as good as a Lian Li case.
March 9, 2003 8:13:38 PM

I have a Antec case. The case is big but a motherboard tray make installing motherboard a lot easier.
Anonymous
March 9, 2003 8:17:12 PM

OK, I agree that a motherboard tray is a good addition to just about any case. But what do you mean when you say that Lian Li cases are "better designed"? I really don't think that they are!
March 9, 2003 8:52:03 PM

Lian Li's case is easier to clean. Antec's case have large holes in the front make it very hard to clean. The intake fan in the front of Lian Li case are cover by fan filter so less dust will get into the system.

Lian Li case are a lot lighter than the Antec case. It is easier to move the system around.

I really hate design of the hard drive cage of Antec case. I have a floppy on the first cage. I have a fan installed on the second hard drive cage. Both hard drive cage are very hard to installed and remove for me. For the first cage my AGP Grapic card is always in the way and floppy drive also makes it harder to install or remove the cage. For the second cage I have to worry about not to broke the wire for the fan.
!