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 Post subject: Best choice for Micro ATX gaming system?
PostPosted: Sun Jan 06, 2013 10:14 am 
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I'm trying to decide what case to use for a fairly hot and fast Micro-ATX gaming system. Think overclocked i5 and mid-range to high-end video card. I'm using an Accelero on the video card and probably an HR-02 Macho on the processor. Storage is SSD-only, so I don't much care about hard drive mounting options. SPCR hasn't reviewed many mATX cases lately, and I'm having a hard time sorting through the old reviews and figuring out what would work well.

It doesn't have to be ridiculously tiny, it just needs to be smaller than an ATX case (otherwise I'll just go big and get a P280).

1) Must have front USB 3.0.
2) Must have separately-vented power supply with enough space for an extra-long modular unit. Bottom mount preferred.
3) Must have front panel controls and ports near or on the top of the case.
4) Must be reasonably quiet with fairly hot components.

I've looked mainly at a couple of Fractal Design cases. I don't especially like the looks of the Define Mini, but I'll entertain it as an option if it's the best choice. I really like the looks of the Arc Mini, but SPCR doesn't have a review of it and I'm concerned about all the missing sound-reducing features.

Thoughts/ideas? Thanks!


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 Post subject: Re: Best choice for Micro ATX gaming system?
PostPosted: Sun Jan 06, 2013 1:00 pm 
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Personally, I don't care much about how "leaky" the case is. A component should be quiet regardless of how much damping the case has. It could also be said that a more ventilated case will result in lower temperatures and therefore fans running at lower speeds. A computer can definitely be quiet without a noise isolating case.

I don't know many mATX cases that meet your requirements, except for the Fractal Design Mini of course. Perhaps an Antec Solo II which is quite small for an ATX case.

Perhaps you could even go mini ITX and buy a Bitfenix Prodigy which performs very well in regards to thermals. There's room for a big CPU cooler, but there will not be much room to strap on a fan on the Accelero.

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 Post subject: Re: Best choice for Micro ATX gaming system?
PostPosted: Sun Jan 06, 2013 2:37 pm 
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Location: UK
tehcrazybob wrote:
2) Must have separately-vented power supply with enough space for an extra-long modular unit. Bottom mount preferred.

How long a PSU do you need? Many cases work fine with 160mm PSUs which there are plenty of. Longer 180mm+ PSUs will be more of a problem to find a MicroATX case for. With the components you won't be using more than a couple of hundred watts max so the extra long high power PSUs won't be required anyway.

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 Post subject: Re: Best choice for Micro ATX gaming system?
PostPosted: Sun Jan 06, 2013 8:32 pm 
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edh wrote:
tehcrazybob wrote:
2) Must have separately-vented power supply with enough space for an extra-long modular unit. Bottom mount preferred.

How long a PSU do you need?
I got a good deal on a 550-watt Kingwin Lazer Platinum. It's 170mm deep. And it's probably overkill, but the reviews looked good and the price was right. However, I bought it when I was aiming for a full ATX build, and now it's occurred to me that I'll only have two expansion cards and one SSD, and just might be able to get away with a mATX build instead.

kuzzia wrote:
Perhaps you could even go mini ITX and buy a Bitfenix Prodigy which performs very well in regards to thermals. There's room for a big CPU cooler, but there will not be much room to strap on a fan on the Accelero.
I'm definitely stuck with mATX or bigger. I use a fan on my Accelero already, and I'm hoping to use a dedicated sound card as well. I do like your point about well-ventilated cases, though. I certainly don't have any huge noise sources in a system like this. And if I turn out to be completely dissatisfied with my setup, I can always go up to a full ATX case anyway, as long as I'm not making any sacrifices to use the smaller motherboard in the first place.


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 Post subject: Re: Best choice for Micro ATX gaming system?
PostPosted: Fri Jan 11, 2013 1:20 pm 
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Joined: Wed Apr 09, 2008 1:15 pm
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Location: belgium
I have been looking for a mATX case also, I don't need big ATX cases anymore. Especially I don't need an ATX board, to many slots for my needs.

So far I have the Fractal define Mini and SIlverstone TJ08-E on my list but I don't know yet...


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 Post subject: Re: Best choice for Micro ATX gaming system?
PostPosted: Fri Jan 11, 2013 3:11 pm 
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Karkee, have you considered the Antec Solo II? Though an ATX case, it has roughly the same size as the Fractal Design Mini.

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"SSD's: The difference between a casual jogger and a dog chasing a ball"


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 Post subject: Re: Best choice for Micro ATX gaming system?
PostPosted: Sat Jan 12, 2013 2:13 am 
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Location: UK
On a budget there is the Antec NSK3480 although as you already have a PSU lined up the included PSU might be wasted.

The SIlverstone SG03 has worked out for me well over time. The only issue I've had with it for noise is that the hard disk mounting is problematic, even when I've soft mounted it. As you're going SSD this won't be a problem. The SG03 remains the smallest way of getting a MicroATX motherboard, big graphics card and fullsize PSU together.

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 Post subject: Re: Best choice for Micro ATX gaming system?
PostPosted: Sat Jan 12, 2013 3:33 am 
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Location: 128.0.0.1
Silverstone has introduced the SG10 at CES. Should be out soon.

It is essentially the prohibitively ugly SG09 with a better looking front. The SG09 is the smallest Micro-ATX case that can take a full length graphics card, CPU-cooler of 16cm and ATX-PSU.


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