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 Post subject: Need a compact case, restricted depth
PostPosted: Mon Nov 19, 2018 2:00 am 
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Joined: Sun Nov 18, 2018 11:54 pm
Posts: 3
I'm looking to replace the chassis I'm currently using with a different one. I have to replace my desk with a much smaller one, which means restricted depth compared to my current one (and the case will be blowing back against a wall, which is also important). I'm going to be making the desk myself, so I have some freedom with regards to making it rigid (I can put the rear support plate where I want) and I can route cables where they won't impact airflow -- the choice of the chassis will affect the design, not the other way around, although the dimensions are limited: max. 43 cm depth if blowing to the rear (like most cases out there), max. 48 cm if blowing above (like Silverstone FT03). Max. width is, say, 23 cm. Max. height is limited by desk height at 71 cm (but that would restrict top vent to zero).

Components I'm going to move:
- Ryzen 5 1600X with Scythe Kotetsu cooler and memory
- Radeon R9 Nano card
- Qlogic Fibre Channel HBA
- Patriot Hellfire M.2 SSD
- Kingston SATA SSD
- Sound Blaster X-Fi card

I currently have my rig in an Aerocool DS230 case (really nice and quiet, but I found it's much too deep at ~48 cm), and the motherboard I have only supports voltage control for CPU fan, and all other fan headers (three) are PWM only.
I have experimented with my cooling and found that having three 120 mm fans in front was basically necessary (lower temperatures and less noise with three fans running at lower speed than two or one intake fans). I also added a 120 mm fan in the rear to exhaust air and tried running that, but this configuration would still raise CPU temperatures (due to still and recirculated air in the cavity around and above the CPU). I added two exhaust 140 mm fans on top of the case, this solved the problem, and lowered noise as well.
The fans are PWM bequiet! pure wings fans, I also have a few other fans sitting around that I might reuse here (or to get other fans).

I will be replacing my motherboard. I have a few musts:
1. B#50 or X#70 chipset
2. Primary M.2 slot not covered by the GPU -- either somewhere on the motherboard, or in position 1 (with GPU in position 2).
3. Chipset PCI-e 4x lane slot somewhere far down the motherboard for the FC HBA (preferably in the last position)
4. PCI-e 1x slot from the CPU (not shared with the 4x slot)
Funny how these basic design tenets are simply ignored by motherboard manufacturers. Virtually all motherboards from Gigabyte, and a lot from MSI cover the M.2 slot with the GPU. A lot of manufacturers don't wire the 1x slot to the CPU, a lot don't offer the PCI-e x4 slot at all, and the list goes on.

Nice to haves:
1. At least six chassis fan headers with voltage control (not just PWM). I think this is just a pipe dream, only a few EATX or ATX-XL motherboards seem to offer that many.
2. Fan control software that considers GPU temperature.

--

The question boils down to choosing the right chassis. I narrowed down the choice to:
1. Fractal Design Define C (Meshify C is virtually the same chassis with a better front air intake and perhaps looking a bit better, but no sound deadening panels at all and is somewhat more expensive).
2. Silverstone FT05

Considerations for each choice:
Define C
Pros:
+ I would be able to migrate my current cooling 1:1 to the Define C
+ I already know how to optimize a front-to-back case
+ The case is the least deep chassis I found, there's going to be 8 cm behind the case to disperse air
+ The case is very affordable.
Cons:
- I would migrate my current cooling 1:1, i.e., there's no solution for the fan splitter cable, FD's moduvent is limited to all or none (all mesh or all solid), and there's no provision for installing a single top exhaust fan
- No professional review focused on noise in controlled conditions
- Perhaps the understated design is both an advantage and disadvantage. I'd really prefer this chassis in gunmetal or white.

FT05
Pros:
+ It's only 3 cm deeper than Define C, but doesn't need much (virtually any) space behind the chassis
+ With three chassis fan headers with voltage control, I can control the two intake fans and the CPU exhaust fan with no need for splitters
+ If needed, I could migrate my current cooling, but with no need for the two 140 mm fans (the 180 mm resell for a good price, which make this chassis cheaper than Define C)
+ Reviewed here with excellent results
+ I could get an optical drive if I feel like it
Cons
- Sound deadening looks much less effective than Fractal Design's, with only foam and no thick bitumen pads
- People reported problems with cable routing behind the motherboard
- The top is open, and looks like it might be susceptible to dust, at least when the PC is powered off?
- I noticed some users here have discouraged others from buying this case, are there any particular reasons for this?
- SPCR review notes that the 18 cm fans report low speed incorrectly (this might be a problem, but only for initial setup, no?)
- The price is high, unless I get it through Amazon (not available directly in Poland, have to buy from Germany)

I'm not partial to either design (unless there are obvious reasons why I should prefer one over the other). Perhaps I'm slightly partial to Fractal Design as a company, since I never had problems with their hardware quality (I built Define R3, Array (original, not R2) and Node 804) as opposed to the Aerocool DS230 I'm using now which has a badly spaced PCI grid and PCI brackets of cards attached towards the bottom don't line up with them, and it's not possible to mount low-profile cards on risers due to their lip position -- no such problems on any other case I worked on).

I guess that's it. Please advise or comment on this choice.

PS: I would appreciate other suggestions, too. Perhaps I'm missing other options that would be more suitable?


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 Post subject: Re: Need a compact case, restricted depth
PostPosted: Thu Nov 22, 2018 6:58 am 
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Joined: Sun Nov 18, 2018 11:54 pm
Posts: 3
Since I the FT05 is on sale for a very affordable price, I'm going to give it a shot. In case (pun intended) it doesn't work out, I think I will be able to resell it and get the Define C.

I'll update once I get the case and move the system to it. Any tips and tricks I should be aware of before proceeding with the build?


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 Post subject: Re: Need a compact case, restricted depth
PostPosted: Thu Nov 22, 2018 11:27 am 
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Joined: Thu Oct 06, 2005 4:36 am
Posts: 7161
Location: Monterey Bay, CA
Idle: With the case fan controller, I think it'll be a tie in noise between the case fans and the R9 Nano. When you get a new mobo, make sure it can also control the case fans. You might still have some rumble at the lower rpm, but should be ok.

Gaming: The R9 Nano noise will be primary source. Downside to small form factor/1 fan/175W TDP.

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1080p Gaming build: i5-4670K, Mugen 4, Asrock Z97 Anniversary, MSI GTX 760 2GB Gaming, 8GB 1866 RAM, Samsung 860 Evo 500GB, Crucial MX100 256GB, WD Red 2TB, Samsung DVD burner, Fractal Define R4, Antec True Quiet 140 (2 front + rear) case fans, Seasonic SSR-550FX. 35W idle, 45-55W video streaming, 170-200W WoW, 318W stress test (Prime95 + Furmark)

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 Post subject: Re: Need a compact case, restricted depth
PostPosted: Fri Nov 23, 2018 2:30 am 
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Joined: Sun Nov 18, 2018 11:54 pm
Posts: 3
When I was picking my current motherboard, I didn't pay attention to whether it's capable of controlling 3-pin fans, assuming all motherboards are compatible and allow fan voltage control (my el cheapo Asrock AM1 motherboard allows this, why wouldn't an AM4 B350 motherboard?).
I've already paid attention to this and this is why I picked the Asus ROG B450-F I mentioned in my first post, it pretty much covers all bases, has GPU in position 2, PCI-e position 1 is single lane and has the M.2 slot running behind it, plus it has a full length (16-lane physical, 4-lane electric) in the 7th position.
Too bad it doesn't have more fan headers, but I can live with what it has, especially in an FT05, which only needs three chassis fans.

I can live with the Nano's idle fan noise, it's not that intrusive, and I don't tax the card when gaming, so it's not going to be bad.

Thanks for the feedback.


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