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 Post subject: Cheap case for brother's HTPC
PostPosted: Tue Jul 26, 2011 5:54 pm 
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I'm trying to build my brother an HTPC on the cheap, using some old components I've got, but I still need to get a new case (and PSU and HD, but that's another topic).

I'm trying to keep costs down, so I'm looking at spending around £30 on a case and saw this NZXT Source 210, which looks OK.
http://www.nzxt.com/new/products/classi ... source_210

Sure, it hasn't got any damping, but it does have bottom mounting PSU, 120mm front intake and rear exhaust fans and 20mm "wire management space", which seems pretty good for a £30 case.

It's probably only going to have a single WD Green HD in there, and I'll probably block up the top fan hole (I always worry someone's going to spill something in those damn things!). The CPU has got a Mini Ninja on it and I'll probably stick a Accelero S1 Rev2 on the graphics card (it's quite old, something like a HD3600), so there's not going to be much noise generated in the first place.

I was thinking about suspending the HD, but that's rather impractical for shipping the PC to my brother and whilst I could always rig up the suspension, ship the HD in it's own box and get my brother to connect it up himself, that's just more hassle that I'll have to talk him through! Ideally the HD mounts would have rubber or silicone washers, but you can't really expect that on a cheap case.

So that's my thoughts. It looks like the best case around for the money, but I'd be interested to hear what others think.

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2nd PC: MSI 990FXA-GD80, Phenom II X4 955@3.5Ghz, TRUE Rev. C/Nexus, HD6850 1GB, Yate Loon 140mm intake, Nexus 120mm exhaust, HD103UJ, WD6400AAKS, Nexus Value 430W, Bach VX case


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 Post subject: Re: Cheap case for brother's HTPC
PostPosted: Wed Jul 27, 2011 12:31 am 
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The NZXT is about the least expensive case with USB 3.0. Build quality is supposedly good,too.
Only very few alternatives in the price bracket come to mind.
The Silverstone PS05 has some degree of hard drive dampening but only USB 2.0.
I also found an older Chieftec design pretty cheap. The Aegis has been around forever, it's very sturdy but huge for £35.94. No USB 3.0 of course.

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 Post subject: Re: Cheap case for brother's HTPC
PostPosted: Wed Jul 27, 2011 2:03 am 
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Thanks. I'm not actually bothered about USB3 as the motherboard is only an old P4 one.

That Silverstone case looks interesting and it's nice that it's got some HD dampening, although I think the NZXT looks a bit sleeker on the outside and has better cable management. I guess I could just use some 5.25" adapter for the HD that will dampen it a bit, but then it moves the HD away from the front intake airflow, which will increase it's temp somewhat.

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2nd PC: MSI 990FXA-GD80, Phenom II X4 955@3.5Ghz, TRUE Rev. C/Nexus, HD6850 1GB, Yate Loon 140mm intake, Nexus 120mm exhaust, HD103UJ, WD6400AAKS, Nexus Value 430W, Bach VX case


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 Post subject: Re: Cheap case for brother's HTPC
PostPosted: Wed Jul 27, 2011 11:12 pm 
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Just thought I'd mention that generally I prefer cases with the PSU mounted at the top, if that throws up any other options. This is mainly because it's easier to get to the power switch and cable, and also it means that when the audio/video cables go down to the floor they don't cross the mains cable and potentially pick up interference.

A removable 3.5" drive bay or one that doesn't reach all the way to the bottom (can't say I've ever seen any such cases though) would be nice as well, as then it gives me the option of rigging up some HD suspension.

The cable management on the NZXT is pretty cool though and I'd be somewhat reluctant to get a case that didn't have that, although I've always managed without before so it's not the most important thing I guess.

One downside of the NZXT I've just noticed is that it doesn't have any external 3.5" bays, which means I wouldn't be able to use the audio/USB bay I've bought for my brother's system. Although the case does have audio/USB sockets already, they're at the top of the case, which is great for the USB sockets but isn't ideal for the audio sockets as it means the mic/headphone cables get in the way of the DVD drive, which is why I prefer to use a 3.5" bay mounted in the middle of the case, although I guess I could just use a 5.25"->3.5" adapter to mount the socket bay.

EDIT: I've just seen the Gigabyte Setto 1020 http://www.gigabyte.com/products/produc ... id=2834#kf, which is of interest, because if the interior is the same as the Setto 1024 http://www.eclipsecomputers.com/product ... SETTO1024B (why can't Gigabyte provide more pictures on their website!) it has two separate 3.5" sections inside, so there's the possibility of removing the bottom one and using the space to suspend a drive. It also has a nice selection of mid-mounted sockets on the front case and just two 120mm fan mounts (one front, one rear), which is all I need and means I don't have to block up any unwanted fan holes.

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2nd PC: MSI 990FXA-GD80, Phenom II X4 955@3.5Ghz, TRUE Rev. C/Nexus, HD6850 1GB, Yate Loon 140mm intake, Nexus 120mm exhaust, HD103UJ, WD6400AAKS, Nexus Value 430W, Bach VX case


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 Post subject: Re: Cheap case for brother's HTPC
PostPosted: Thu Jul 28, 2011 11:16 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jul 16, 2007 2:35 pm
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What`s the size of your p4 board? If it`s uatx then the coolermaster elite 342/343 has a removable 3.5'' drive cage. Otherwise it`s pretty hard to find such a feature at this price range, you might have to move up to a case like the nxzt beta.

Still, of all these cases, I think the nxzt source has by far the smartest looks, especially in white. Given the cable management options at hand, it should be possible to root the power and audio cables in a way that they clear each other. As for the headphone cables interfering with the optical drive, perhaps mounting the later at the bottom slot would help a little.

The hard drive cage is probably the weakest feature, I would be really tempted to pop out the rivets and take it out. It won`t be easy though as there`s not enough room to maneuver a dremel over the rivets at the top. You could suspend the drive in the 5.25'' bay and live with the higher temps, hopefully the caviar green will not get too hot, even without forced ventilation.

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 Post subject: Re: Cheap case for brother's HTPC
PostPosted: Thu Jul 28, 2011 11:33 pm 
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Maybe COOLER MASTER Master Elite 360 PC Tower Case £30.87, some pics if you want to look how it ends up,

Image Image Image

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 Post subject: Re: Cheap case for brother's HTPC
PostPosted: Fri Jul 29, 2011 2:00 am 
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Location: London
ntavlas wrote:
What`s the size of your p4 board? If it`s uatx then the coolermaster elite 342/343 has a removable 3.5'' drive cage. Otherwise it`s pretty hard to find such a feature at this price range, you might have to move up to a case like the nxzt beta.

Still, of all these cases, I think the nxzt source has by far the smartest looks, especially in white. Given the cable management options at hand, it should be possible to root the power and audio cables in a way that they clear each other. As for the headphone cables interfering with the optical drive, perhaps mounting the later at the bottom slot would help a little.

The hard drive cage is probably the weakest feature, I would be really tempted to pop out the rivets and take it out. It won`t be easy though as there`s not enough room to maneuver a dremel over the rivets at the top. You could suspend the drive in the 5.25'' bay and live with the higher temps, hopefully the caviar green will not get too hot, even without forced ventilation.


The P4 board is uatx so the coolermaster elite 342 would be pretty cool thanks. It's a shame it's only got 80/90mm rear fan, but as long as there's room for the minja I can live with that, and obviously removing the drive cage will allow the front fan to be more effective anyway.

It's also got the advantages (from my point of view) of having the audio sockets in the middle of the case, an external 3.5" bay and a top-mounting PSU. My concern was the power and audio cables (from the rear motherboard sockets) crossing outside the case, not internally, so the NZXT's cable management wouldn't help with that, but there may well be an issue with having the PSU at the bottom of the case, as then the front audio cable can't avoid the power cables by running along the bottom of the case.

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2nd PC: MSI 990FXA-GD80, Phenom II X4 955@3.5Ghz, TRUE Rev. C/Nexus, HD6850 1GB, Yate Loon 140mm intake, Nexus 120mm exhaust, HD103UJ, WD6400AAKS, Nexus Value 430W, Bach VX case


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 Post subject: Re: Cheap case for brother's HTPC
PostPosted: Fri Jul 29, 2011 2:05 am 
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Abula wrote:
Maybe COOLER MASTER Master Elite 360 PC Tower Case £30.87, some pics if you want to look how it ends up,


Thanks, I actually came across this rather peculiar case yesterday but had to eliminate it once I realised the Minja wouldn't fit. I'm not sure I would have found it acceptable even if it had though, as it's so different it just makes you think "Hmm, will this fit/will that work?". Not that I wouldn't like to see an entirely new case design, but I think we'd need a new motherboard design first!

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2nd PC: MSI 990FXA-GD80, Phenom II X4 955@3.5Ghz, TRUE Rev. C/Nexus, HD6850 1GB, Yate Loon 140mm intake, Nexus 120mm exhaust, HD103UJ, WD6400AAKS, Nexus Value 430W, Bach VX case


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 Post subject: Re: Cheap case for brother's HTPC
PostPosted: Mon Oct 17, 2011 11:20 am 
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OK, I've decided to upgrade my brother's system with my Biostar TA790GXBE board and an Athlon II X2 260 and my OCZ StealthStream 400W and I think I'm going to go with the Silverstone PS05B case as it seems pretty good and I particularly like that it's good a good amount of 5.25" and 3.5" bays, as well as at least some HD dampening, which saves me having to try and rig up some suspension (which I wasn't keen on, considering I've got to ship it to him anyway!).

The only thing I think I'll do to it is block up the top vents, to stop cat fluff (she's bound to sit on it) and food/drink falling in!

Does anyone know what this thing sticking out the back next to the PCI slots is though?
http://www.silverstonetek.com/images/pr ... Inside.jpg
http://www.silverstonetek.com/images/pr ... B-back.jpg

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2nd PC: MSI 990FXA-GD80, Phenom II X4 955@3.5Ghz, TRUE Rev. C/Nexus, HD6850 1GB, Yate Loon 140mm intake, Nexus 120mm exhaust, HD103UJ, WD6400AAKS, Nexus Value 430W, Bach VX case


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 Post subject: Re: Cheap case for brother's HTPC
PostPosted: Thu Nov 17, 2011 6:19 pm 
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Turns out that thing sticking out the back is just the clip to lock the cards.

Anyway, I've kinda gone off this case since I found out the PSU filter (and the one next to it) are inside the case, so you'd have to remove the PSU to clean the filter! I guess I could just take the filter out completely, but then dust/hair is going to get sucked into the PSU, which doesn't seem like a good idea.

I wish they'd put the filter on the outside, like with the Rosewill Challenger http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/nzx ... 723-9.html

I think front facing power/reset buttons would be better as well (cat might sit/press on top mounted ones), like on the Casecom 6788, which also has the clips for the filter like the Rosewill, but doesn't come with a filter, although maybe it's easy to buy one that will slide in there http://forums.hexus.net/chassis-mods/17 ... w-pob.html

However, this doesn't have a hinged door (you have to pull it off, which is a bit dodgy and I can see my brother breaking it), nor does it have a removable filter for the front fan, unlike the Silverstone:
http://www.overclockersonline.net/revie ... chassis/4/

So I'm still looking for a case with:
front facing buttons
4 5.25" and 1 or more 3.25" external bays (although I could probably make do without any 3.25" bays if I have to)
external PSU fan filter (if bottom mounted PSU)
hinged door and removable/cleanable front fan filter
either vibration damped HD mounts or removable drive cage

If I can't find anything suitable, I'll have to keep modding this old case I've been working on instead. It'd be less of a pain if I hadn't lost the motherboard standoffs (which were 7.5mm, not the easy to find 6mm)! It's only got a bottom intake fan (PSU at top) and I'll need to put a removable fan filter on the outside but I think I could screw something like this to the case and then the other part unclips (would need to be done without tilting the case) to remove the filter http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Dustproof-120 ... 3463wt_952

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2nd PC: MSI 990FXA-GD80, Phenom II X4 955@3.5Ghz, TRUE Rev. C/Nexus, HD6850 1GB, Yate Loon 140mm intake, Nexus 120mm exhaust, HD103UJ, WD6400AAKS, Nexus Value 430W, Bach VX case


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 Post subject: Re: Cheap case for brother's HTPC
PostPosted: Fri Nov 18, 2011 12:50 pm 
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I'm still considering whether I could use the Silverstone with a few mods. I think the power button being on the top probably wouldn't be a major problem, as it has to be held down to power off the PC anyway and the cat's probably not that clever! I'll just leave the reset button unconnected (I never find I use them anymore anyway).

I was thinking about:
a) putting the PSU fan up, but I'm not sure if this will mess up the airflow by drawing the air from the front intake fan (and maybe a bottom intake fan) into the PSU and thus not allowing enough up to the RAM/CPU/NB/cards.

b) removing the bottom fan filters and fitting some externally (either those screw in two piece frames, or I've seen some magnetic clip-on ones as well). If I did this, I could fit the PSU fan down as intended, but also fit a bottom intake fan for extra airflow. This might be important as this case doesn't seem to cool particularly well with only a single intake fan, and indeed even with the top fans (which I won't be using) without removing the top mesh and filters. http://www.tweaknews.net/reviews/silver ... index6.php

c) blocking the top fan holes. I thought of stuffing some foam in the gap, but this idea might be better
viewtopic.php?p=550561#p550561

d) cutting some cable management holes, but I don't think there's enough space behind the motherboard tray to put much there anyway, so this will probably be pointless.

The last is a bit of a sticking point, but I think I might still consider buying this case if I knew I could sort out the PSU/fan/filter issues.

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2nd PC: MSI 990FXA-GD80, Phenom II X4 955@3.5Ghz, TRUE Rev. C/Nexus, HD6850 1GB, Yate Loon 140mm intake, Nexus 120mm exhaust, HD103UJ, WD6400AAKS, Nexus Value 430W, Bach VX case


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 Post subject: Re: Cheap case for brother's HTPC
PostPosted: Sun Nov 20, 2011 9:34 am 
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The Xclio Nighthawk looks like it might be an option.

There's no PSU fan filter (and probably no room to fit one externally) so I'd have to fit it fan up, and I don't think there's any filters on the front fan(s) either, so if some can't be added it would have to be opened and cleaned occasionally, but it does have removable HD cages with trays which would maybe damp vibrations a bit (or they could just be removed and some suspension rigged up) and cable routing holes and space behind the motherboard, as well as 6 5.25" external bays (when only using the bottom 3.5" cage).

I'd still need to block the top fan hole, but that should be a fairly simple mod.

I also need to find out what thickness the front fans are, as I doubt the installed ones are quiet and need to be sure I can fit a 25mm replacement (Nexus) instead.

EDIT: Seems there's some issues with IDE connector clearance and the pre-installed fans are only 20mm thick. It might be that if the drive cage is removed, the IDE connector clears the drives and there's room for a 25mm fan, but I'm dubious, so I think I'll have to keep looking.
http://www.hardwareheaven.com/reviews/9 ... ation.html

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2nd PC: MSI 990FXA-GD80, Phenom II X4 955@3.5Ghz, TRUE Rev. C/Nexus, HD6850 1GB, Yate Loon 140mm intake, Nexus 120mm exhaust, HD103UJ, WD6400AAKS, Nexus Value 430W, Bach VX case


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 Post subject: Re: Cheap case for brother's HTPC
PostPosted: Mon Dec 05, 2011 8:15 am 
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I think I might have found a suitable case, the AeroCool VS4.

The positives are:
No top vents
four 5.25" drive bays
rotatable and removable drive cage with anti-vibration rubber rings (could also be removed so that drives can be suspended, although I won't be doing this).
cable management
Cheap (£38)

The negatives are:
no front fan filter, or a hinged door for easy access to one (I might see if I can remove the fascia and make a hinged door which I can fit a filter behind)
internal PSU filter (so I'd have to fit the PSU fan up. I'll probably stick a magnetic filter on top as well, as there's no front filter so dust will get in the case and I'd like to keep it out of the PSU)
vents on the bottom and side panel (which I can easily block with tape):
http://traficantesdehardware.com/images ... S4/004.jpg
http://cdn.techiser.com/wp-content/uplo ... r-Side.jpg
the front's a big ugly (but if I can replace it with a hinged door, that will solve that!)

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2nd PC: MSI 990FXA-GD80, Phenom II X4 955@3.5Ghz, TRUE Rev. C/Nexus, HD6850 1GB, Yate Loon 140mm intake, Nexus 120mm exhaust, HD103UJ, WD6400AAKS, Nexus Value 430W, Bach VX case


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