I need some help in looking for a compact mATX case. Looking around it seems like there's not all that much in the way of good options. The mini P280 never made it to market, and while Fractal has some nice cases in the Define range, they're all massive. Their mATX Define mini
rivals my old ATX Antec Solo in size!
I've done some poking around to see what my options are, and the shortlist (plus dimensions in mm, W x H x D):
Antec VSK-3000 (173 x 365 x 393)
Couldn't find much information on this, but what I did find was not encouraging.
Antec NSK3180 (180 x 360 x 411)
I heard this was the successor to the NSK-3480 (which looked interesting), but from what I've read the build quality is a bit lacking: Screw holes for the rear fan not completely punched out and sharp edges. Also, I'm not a fan of the front panel or the large ventilation holes in the side.
Fractal Core 1100 (175 x 358 x 410)
One of the frontrunners in my search. Compact, seemingly well built, and lacking the top vent found in the Core 1300 & 1500. The PSU on top design works better for me as my place can get rather dusty, so vent holes on top would let dust in when not in use, and the PSU on the bottom could suck dust in, even with a filter. The mounting for 3.5" drives doesn't seem ideal, but I'd probably suspend a single drive in the unused 5.25" bays at the top. Looks OK, the "brushed aluminium" front panel finish isn't entirely to my taste, but it's not bad.
Fractal Core 1300 & 1500 (both 195 x 370 x 450)
Both basically the same case, except for the way they mount 3.5" drives. Slightly larger than the Core 1100, and has the design details I mentioned above which makes me prefer the 1100.
Silverstone TJ08-E (210 x 375 x 385)
Having read the SPCR review for this I guess there's not much to say. Again not really a fan of the front panel, and I doubt I could find any alternatives for the 180 mm fan where I live. Noise from the front panel might not be too bad though as I'm hoping it'll fit somewhat behind my monitor. The size is on par with the Fractal Core 1100 and among the smallest cases here. This and the PS07 are the other main options I'm looking at besides the Core 1100.
Silverstone PS07 (210 x 374 x 400)
Very similar to the TJ08-E but with dual 120 mm on the front, which is a plus. Like the front panel even less than the TJ08-E though.
Silverstone PS09 (170 x 360 x 407)
Fairly compact, but I'm mixed on the aesthetics. According to this review
, it runs rather warm though.
Silverstone SG03 (200 x 360 x 312)
The smallest mATX case that I know of. Unfortunately I don't think it's available anymore. From what I can remember though, it wasn't all that good in the cooling department, despite the front panel design.
In terms of components, there wouldn't be anything special about my system. A core i5 with stock heatsink, a nicely quiet Asus Geforce 660 Ti, a SSD and a quiet Hitachi 1 TB 3.5" drive. There's sufficient ambient noise where I am so the system wouldn't need to be completely silent, and most of it would be blocked my my monitor.
Besides the options above, have I missed anything? The Corsair Obsidian 350D also caught my eye, but it seems a bit bigger than these options so I left it out.