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 Post subject: What is the smallest full-featured m-atx case?
PostPosted: Sat Jan 21, 2012 1:18 pm 
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I'm looking into upgrading my main system later this year when Ivy Bridge comes out. I've been using a P180 for the past 4 years, but I'm thinking of downsizing for my next build. The design choices focusing on silence is great, but I've found I simply don't need the space. My new system is going to be quite spartan: a gpu, cpu, and single SSD for the boot drive. So far the smallest case I've found that uses a (more or less) traditional internal layout is the Siliverstone TJ08-E. Does anyone else have suggestions? I'm open to non-conventional designs, like some of those cube-style cases, only if they can accept full-size parts without preventing the use of quiet-friendly components we all love here at SPCR (large fans, large semi-passive heatsinks, etc.)


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 Post subject: Re: What is the smallest full-featured m-atx case?
PostPosted: Sat Jan 21, 2012 3:03 pm 
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The NSK3480 from Antec is smaller, but I think the TJ08-E is a better case. Or maybe the PS07, also a Silverstone case, which basically have the same internal layout. Even though some cube cases are smaller they often have a limited amount of space to fit a large heatsink.


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 Post subject: Re: What is the smallest full-featured m-atx case?
PostPosted: Sat Jan 21, 2012 3:30 pm 
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Among the smallest you can build are on mini ITX cases, check Lian Li Q11 and Silverstone Sugo 05/06, both should allow all you want as long as you are fine with the mITX factor. But in these cases you will be limited to low profile coolers, so keep that in mind.

If you want a bigger setup, then micro ATX should be fine, i would probably go with PS07 given that the TJ08 frontal fan is not quiet, i would prefer to have 2x120mm on the front to swap them into better and more quiet fans, but its not so bad on the TJ08, you just need to undervolt the frontal fan around 600rpm or less for a quiet setup.

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 Post subject: Re: What is the smallest full-featured m-atx case?
PostPosted: Sun Jan 22, 2012 3:42 am 
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I wouldn't really call this a small case, but the Fractal Design Define Mini? But for your needs, the TJ-08E seems like a good bet. You can always remove the front 180 mm fan but that depends on how much cooling your system needs. Otherwise, consider some of the smaller mini-ITX cases with removable HD cages. That'll give you much more internal space, and you can always find somewhere to place the SSD, perhaps you could use some gaffer tape?

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 Post subject: Re: What is the smallest full-featured m-atx case?
PostPosted: Mon Jan 23, 2012 6:36 am 
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COOLER MASTER Elite 100

I think you would have to look far and wide to find a smaller Micro-ATX case than the COOLER MASTER Elite 100. It is a Micro-ATX that is smaller than many mini ITX cases.
Dimensions: 12.50" x 10.30" x 2.70"
It has an optional VESA mounting bracket that permits you to attach it to the back of your monitor.

Some users complain about a noisy PSU fan. It can be replaced with a scythe mini kaze ultra SY124020L. The PSU itself is only 65 watts, but that can work for the latest generation of Intel CPUs.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6811119211

Elite 100 with VESA mounting bracket
Can be mounted on to the back of the monitor
Can be mounted on to the wall
Rear ventilation
Easy slide slot to install the slim DVD device
Supports 3 5" HDD with mini-ITX motherboard installed
Supports up to three 2 5" HDD with mini-ITX motherboard installed
Able to place vertically and horizontally

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 Post subject: Re: What is the smallest full-featured m-atx case?
PostPosted: Mon Jan 23, 2012 12:40 pm 
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Thanks for the suggestions guys, but a lot of the smaller cases use proprietary PSU form factors or have space restrictions that prevent the use of common tower CPU heatsinks. Or both. I'd really like to stick with standard parts as much as possible for compatibility. The Fractal Mini has great features to minimize noise, but comes with just too much extra space I don't need. Not doing mini-ITX.


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 Post subject: Re: What is the smallest full-featured m-atx case?
PostPosted: Mon Jan 23, 2012 11:26 pm 
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PartEleven wrote:
Thanks for the suggestions guys, but a lot of the smaller cases use proprietary PSU form factors or have space restrictions that prevent the use of common tower CPU heatsinks. Or both. I'd really like to stick with standard parts as much as possible for compatibility. The Fractal Mini has great features to minimize noise, but comes with just too much extra space I don't need. Not doing mini-ITX.

Tephras' original recommendations are the way to go. The Antec NSK3480 at 350x350x200mm, or the Silverstone TJ08-E at 380x380x210mm. Both will fit the huge 160mm high CPU tower coolers, as well as the wide Accelero S1 GPU heatsink. You'll need to be careful with PSU and ODD lengths in the NSK3480 (eg. longer Blu-Ray drives and/or 160mm+ PSUs), while it's less of an issue with the TJ08-E.


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 Post subject: Re: What is the smallest full-featured m-atx case?
PostPosted: Sun Feb 12, 2012 4:05 am 
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PartEleven wrote:
Not doing mini-ITX.
Why not? There are rather good full-featured Mini-ITX mainboards and not all Mini-ITX cases are designed for miniature systems.

You might check my Mini-ITX build with Silverstone Sugo SG-05. You can use pretty much all normal components (except the oversized heatsinks) in that system.
viewtopic.php?f=20&t=59950

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 Post subject: Re: What is the smallest full-featured m-atx case?
PostPosted: Sun Feb 12, 2012 10:05 am 
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Location: Markham, Canada
Lian Li PC-A04

viewtopic.php?f=14&t=63878


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 Post subject: Re: What is the smallest full-featured m-atx case?
PostPosted: Sun Feb 12, 2012 3:45 pm 
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If you can do without a GPU, perhaps using the ZOTAC Z68ITX-B-E LGA 1155 Intel Z68 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 Mini ITX Intel Motherboard with the integrated NVIDIA GeForce GT430 you can use a smaller Micro-ITX case.

See:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6813500070

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"Aristotle calls man the rational animal. All my life I have been seeking evidence to confirm this" Bertrand Russell
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 Post subject: Re: What is the smallest full-featured m-atx case?
PostPosted: Sun Feb 12, 2012 7:11 pm 
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Have you looked at the APEVIA X-QPACK2. It is an aluminum Micro-ATX case that comes with a handle and it takes a standard sized PSU. It even features a slide out motherboard tray to make it easy to work on. You don't see those much anymore.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6811144140

The standard PSU isn't the greatest. You can replace that with a Seasonic modular PSU and it works great.

" This case CAN fit an HD5870, something many of its much bigger, much heavier, and more expensive brothers can't do. Looking at the remaining space, it looks like an HD5970 could fit as well, because the power connectors are on the top edge of the card, not the front edge."

"Case fans are quiet and are of the 4-pin molex variety (buy 3-pin adapters to connect to motherboard chassis fan headers)."

"Actually very roomy for a mATX case. Room enough for 3 HDDs if you only use a single optical. One of the few mATX cases you can get with a single 120mm fan (lower frequency sound is *considerably* less aggravating than the whine of 40mm fans). Multiple 5.25 bays allow for a fan controller/LCD display as well as an optical - hard to find in mATX."

"VERY IMPORTANT IS THAT THE CPU FAN IS LIMITED TO 75MM IN HEIGHT."
Scythe Scythe Kozuti = 40mm
Zalman CNPS8700 = 67mm
Prolimatech Samuel 17, with a 25 mm thick fan, the heatsink is 71 mm tall


"SFF, Micro ATX. All metal no stupid cheap plastic. No silly see through panels. 120mm rear fan (included). Comes with a power supply (regular sized ATX not some custom underpowered small job). Light weight. Carrying handle (that retracts!!!). Front ports. No front panel door and keys! (those are sooo useless) Add a memory card reader (with or without floppy) to the front 3.5 slot. Inexpensive! No stupid flashy colors and lights (but you can buy them)"

"For 15 yrs I have used EVERY SFF and HTPC case out there. This case comes the CLOSEST to what I have been looking for. "

" I have used over 20 of these and they all fit together well if you take your time and have some skill. Airflow is MORE than adequate for the non-overclocker or mild over-clocker. "

"This has the best layout LAN case on the market.. It would corner the market with either with a set of options or a mild rework by Apevia. Apevia kudos on a fine layout. Apevia did a remarkable job on compacting the layout to a maximum amount."

"CPU temperature gauge hasn't crossed 40C (e6750 at stock), 7900GS <=50C. All areas accessible."

"Nice, compact form factor -- fits where others won't. Two temperature gauges included. Pleasing styling -- it doesn't look like it was designed by a 13 year old. Even my wife likes the looks of it. Quiet as a church mouse, even with 5 fans (2 case, CPU, PS, video card), and I DO mean quiet, as in barely audible. Excellent cooling -- CPU runs at 26C to 38C depending on work load; HD runs at 28C to 32C. Length will accommodate most power supplies and video cards. Light weight. Slide out MB tray. PS included, although to me it was a con as I bought a better PS. Exceptionally good 10 page manual, complete with 31 color photos."

"I have owned the Gen 1 version of this case for over 6 years and have been extremely pleased with it. I probably would have used it again except this Gen 2 case is 1" longer, which helps accommodate larger power supplies and longer video cards, and the cooling has been improved with added vents and an additional case fan. "

"It stays very cool and hides very easily. The fans are barely noticible unless you listen for them."

"I’ve been running this for a year and have been inside the case several times. It still looks like new and was almost silent until I added a 6600GT. I used a FanMate for the 120mm rear fan and I can’t even hear it running, and it still cools well even with the rear fan undervolted. My working case temp is usually around 30C."

"Overall, I have been pleased with the case. I installed a Zalman CNPS7700 CPU fan "

"Slide out tray for installing motherboard. Not deep at all - most desktop cases are too deep to use for an HTPC in my component shelves. The front LCD for temperature are nice. Carrying handle seems sturdy enough for me. Can fit full-height PCI cards (many HTPC solutions cannot). Comes with PSU and case fan. Front USB, audio and firewire were a cinch to hookup to the motherboard. Very easy to install components in - the first time at least. Power supply has lots of connectors, even SATA ones with no adaptor needed."

"With the 120mm fan blowing out, the psu's fan barely exhausts any air. I suggest turning the 120mm fan to blow into the case. Make sure you install the processor and ram before locking the motherboard tray in, it's a pain otherwise."

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"Aristotle calls man the rational animal. All my life I have been seeking evidence to confirm this" Bertrand Russell
"Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former" Albert Einstein


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 Post subject: Re: What is the smallest full-featured m-atx case?
PostPosted: Mon Feb 13, 2012 8:17 am 
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PartEleven wrote:
What is the smallest full-featured m-atx case?

For what definition of smallest? Lowest volume? Lowest weigth? Lowest footprint? Lowest width? Lowest depth? :p


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 Post subject: Re: What is the smallest full-featured m-atx case?
PostPosted: Mon Feb 13, 2012 10:52 am 
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Olaf van der Spek wrote:
For what definition of smallest? Lowest volume? Lowest weigth? Lowest footprint? Lowest width? Lowest depth? :p

Smallest volume.

hnyman wrote:
Why not? There are rather good full-featured Mini-ITX mainboards and not all Mini-ITX cases are designed for miniature systems.

Because I plan on overclocking and using a pretty beefy GPU. I haven't looked very closely at the Mini-ITX options lately, but as far as I know selection tends to be limited. I want to purchase a motherboard built with quality components and a flexible BIOS for tweaking. Most ITX boards don't have all of that. Plus an extra PCIe slot or two doesn't hurt to have for additional options. I thought I outlined what I wanted my new system for, but perhaps I wasn't clear enough. This is going to be a gaming PC after all. I'm going to have an overclocked CPU with a big air cooler mounted on it and a mid-high end GPU with most likely an aftermarket quiet heatsink (read: also huge). So I'm going to need ample space in and around the motherboard area. What I DON'T need is the bajillion expansion slots and drive bays with extra fan mounts everywhere that case makers like Corsair like to add.

Thanks for the suggestions guys. That apevia case is actually pretty interesting. I like how the PSU sits over the expansion slots and not the CPU area like pretty much every other case with that design. I've since purchased the TJ08-E to use for a different system and I really like the internal layout. Right now I'm leaning toward another one, but since I'm not building a new system yet I figured I might still look around. I also feel weird owning two of the exact same case.


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