Describe your ideal mATX mini tower

Enclosures and acoustic damping to help quiet them.

Moderators: NeilBlanchard, Ralf Hutter, sthayashi, Devonavar

hans007
Posts: 80
Joined: Sun Oct 09, 2005 3:37 am

Post by hans007 » Mon Jun 29, 2009 10:27 pm

my ideal case would basically be as small as possible.

i'd probably want something like 2 rubbed grommeted 3.5" bays. even 1 would probably be ok.

a laptop slim drive slot, and an SFX 300 watt psu shoudl be included.

And I'd probably want 120mm fan in the rear.

if it could be made smaller, by say making just the pci-e x16 horizontal and the 3 other slots half height i'd do that too.

LodeHacker
Posts: 628
Joined: Sat Dec 13, 2008 1:25 pm
Location: Finland

Post by LodeHacker » Tue Jun 30, 2009 12:03 am

Small as possible, the looks of Hi-Fi equipment, slot loading DVD drive, picoPSU :mrgreen:
[size=75][i]Fight spam! [url=http://www.silentpcreview.com/forums/viewtopic.php?t=54326][color=darkblue]The Official Anti-Spam Thread[/color][/url].
Have a nice day.[/i][/size]

Mats
Posts: 3044
Joined: Fri Dec 26, 2003 6:54 am
Location: Sweden

Post by Mats » Tue Jun 30, 2009 9:17 am

I perfer SFF sizes, but most models available are horrible to say the least. Way too big, with cramped CPU cooler space, and yet it has 5.252 slots?

However, "Small as possible" doesn't really sound like a tower to me. I guess we need another thread. :D

Lodehacker: Maybe you'll like Silverstone GD04, 440*150*325mm?

LodeHacker
Posts: 628
Joined: Sat Dec 13, 2008 1:25 pm
Location: Finland

Post by LodeHacker » Tue Jun 30, 2009 10:12 am

Mats wrote:I perfer SFF sizes, but most models available are horrible to say the least. Way too big, with cramped CPU cooler space, and yet it has 5.252 slots?

However, "Small as possible" doesn't really sound like a tower to me. I guess we need another thread. :D

Lodehacker: Maybe you'll like Silverstone GD04, 440*150*325mm?
With small as possible I didn't really refer to small form factor like Mini-ITX. Before realizing it, I thought the Mini P180 from Antec was as "small" as other Micro-ATX cases, but it turned out to be nearly as large as the Antec SOLO, an ATX case. Also, I've seen some OEM Fujitsu-Siemens Micro-ATX cases that are indeed very small for their size, so as long as one can fit in an Micro-ATX motherboard and a full height expansion card, I'm in.

That SilverStone Grandia is beautiful, would love to have one but can't find it here in stores :(
[size=75][i]Fight spam! [url=http://www.silentpcreview.com/forums/viewtopic.php?t=54326][color=darkblue]The Official Anti-Spam Thread[/color][/url].
Have a nice day.[/i][/size]

Mats
Posts: 3044
Joined: Fri Dec 26, 2003 6:54 am
Location: Sweden

Post by Mats » Tue Jun 30, 2009 10:34 am

LodeHacker wrote:That SilverStone Grandia is beautiful, would love to have one but can't find it here in stores :(
It's not available yet. If you can find other cases like the SG03 in Finland then you'll probably find this one too.

LodeHacker
Posts: 628
Joined: Sat Dec 13, 2008 1:25 pm
Location: Finland

Post by LodeHacker » Tue Jun 30, 2009 10:48 am

Mats wrote:
LodeHacker wrote:That SilverStone Grandia is beautiful, would love to have one but can't find it here in stores :(
It's not available yet. If you can find other cases like the SG03 in Finland then you'll probably find this one too.
Pfft... looks like eBay is the only way to get hold of such beauty... Too bad actually, I love the fan grilles of SilverStone cases and their aluminium finish is excellent. They also make the most attractive HTPC cases (never ever recommend me an Antec for this!)

One thing that bothers me though is bad planning for available space in a Micro-ATX enclosure. This is where the picoPSU comes into play. An external power brick will make much more room available in a Micro-ATX case, which could be the ground for a new era of optimal airflow designs.
[size=75][i]Fight spam! [url=http://www.silentpcreview.com/forums/viewtopic.php?t=54326][color=darkblue]The Official Anti-Spam Thread[/color][/url].
Have a nice day.[/i][/size]

hans007
Posts: 80
Joined: Sun Oct 09, 2005 3:37 am

Post by hans007 » Tue Jun 30, 2009 3:58 pm

honestly if I could make a silver stone SG06-B with 2 more slots, and say slightly taller to accomodate maybe another 3.5" bay under the slim drive slot I think that would be a very good compromise between mini itx- and the much larger micro atx towers out there.

Mats
Posts: 3044
Joined: Fri Dec 26, 2003 6:54 am
Location: Sweden

Post by Mats » Sat Jul 04, 2009 3:04 am

LodeHacker wrote:Pfft... looks like eBay is the only way to get hold of such beauty...
You don't get it, do you? :D Silverstone haven't started distributing it yet!
It's not available here in Sweden, in Germany, or at Newegg in the US.

Patience.

redironman
Posts: 13
Joined: Wed May 07, 2008 3:47 am
Location: Poynton, UK

Post by redironman » Fri Aug 07, 2009 6:28 am

Here's an idea...

Image


http://i993.photobucket.com/albums/af59 ... design.jpg

The lower external/internal bay could even house that hot-swap drive slot from the new two hundred...

Main points:-

Two proper 120mm fan mounts at the front, with filters,

HD/optical drives away from the main "oven"

CPU/GPU in main cage to benefit from clearer airflow

holes to enable behind the motherboard cable management

Silicon grommet mounting for drives

slots above the PSU mount to allow for 120mm fan

Options for side panel fan mount or complete side panel

Cables from front panel go behind keyboard tray initially.
Rig:- C2d E8400 @4.05GHz with Xigmatek HDT-S1283, GigaByte G33M-DS2R, 4Gb Corsair Dominator PC2-8500, XFX GTX260 Black edition, Seagate ST3500320AS 500GB, Samsung SH203B DVD RW, Antec NSK3480, Antec truepower trio 550w.

cordis
Posts: 1082
Joined: Thu Jan 15, 2009 10:56 pm
Location: San Jose

tower vs. compact

Post by cordis » Fri Aug 07, 2009 10:54 am

It seems like if you want a tower case, you aren't all that interested in the smallest footprint anyway. A super-minimalist tower seems like a contradiction. The smallest mATX cases seem to be cubes and such, lately. But anyway, I've been looking at a replacement for a seriously poorly ventilated cube box I have now, and I'm currently leaning toward the coolermaster elite 360. It's kind of innovative because you can have it sit straight up like a tower, or you can rotate it and make it more like a desktop case. Gives you some more options for placement. The ventilation also looks pretty decent, and it's really cheap. It also has the power supply shifted toward the front, and that's a placement that's been intriguing me more and more. I'd love it if it were a little wider (or taller?) to accomodate a taller cpu heat sink, and it doesn't have any specific silencing features, I guess that's what the Sileo is more for. If they could take the silencing features from the Sileo, move it into a form factor like the elite 360 that can be tower or desktop, that would be pretty ideal for me.

MikeC
Site Admin
Posts: 12283
Joined: Sun Aug 11, 2002 3:26 pm
Location: Vancouver, BC, Canada
Contact:

Post by MikeC » Fri Aug 07, 2009 11:10 am

I like this but maybe narrower (20cm? Maybe 18 would be enough) and flipped over so that the PSU is on the bottom, pulling in air from the outside. There would have to be at least ~2cm gap between platform and case (or PSU fan intake) to ensure low impedance/noise. Sort of like a minimalist Antec Mini P180.
Mike Chin, SPCR Editor/Publisher
Support SPCR by buying your gear through this link: Amazon

redironman
Posts: 13
Joined: Wed May 07, 2008 3:47 am
Location: Poynton, UK

Post by redironman » Fri Aug 07, 2009 12:20 pm

@MikeC the drawing doesnt show but the design is very nsk3480 and the line under the psu/drives would be a sealed barrier. The psu could intake from above (120mm) or have 80mm exhaust.

We all seem to have different needs for SFF to accomodate. I wantedto be able to cram as high power sys as is quietly possible.
Others want to make a nettop.
Maybe there is no mini panacea?
Rig:- C2d E8400 @4.05GHz with Xigmatek HDT-S1283, GigaByte G33M-DS2R, 4Gb Corsair Dominator PC2-8500, XFX GTX260 Black edition, Seagate ST3500320AS 500GB, Samsung SH203B DVD RW, Antec NSK3480, Antec truepower trio 550w.

MikeC
Site Admin
Posts: 12283
Joined: Sun Aug 11, 2002 3:26 pm
Location: Vancouver, BC, Canada
Contact:

Post by MikeC » Fri Aug 07, 2009 3:56 pm

redironman wrote:@MikeC the drawing doesnt show but the design is very nsk3480 and the line under the psu/drives would be a sealed barrier. The psu could intake from above (120mm) or have 80mm exhaust.
The problem with that is that the PSU fan then has a direct sound path to the user. Hence my idea of flipping it. It would not change anything in your setup, just be reversed vertically. With short optical drives, you could even have them on top w/o adding more than an inch or two in depth.... but middle or lower is better for airflow to CPU/GPU.
Mike Chin, SPCR Editor/Publisher
Support SPCR by buying your gear through this link: Amazon

echn111
Posts: 161
Joined: Thu Nov 02, 2006 2:15 pm
Location: UK

Post by echn111 » Sat Aug 08, 2009 6:09 am

LodeHacker wrote:Small as possible, the looks of Hi-Fi equipment, slot loading DVD drive, picoPSU :mrgreen:
+1 for the hi-fi look. I don't want it to look like a computer, but a proper piece of professional looking hi-fi equipment. In fact if it's made of cheaper but high quality plastic or fiberglass, I'm ok with that too as long as the end result is something that looks high quality and professional.

But I don't mind if it is "big enough" to accomodate slow turning 120mm or larger fans.

nutball
*Lifetime Patron*
Posts: 1304
Joined: Thu Apr 10, 2003 7:16 am
Location: en.gb.uk

Post by nutball » Sat Aug 08, 2009 10:47 pm

redironman wrote:Here's an idea...

Image
I quite like that, that's quite close to what I'd like for my next system build. Though I'd get rid of the 3.5" external bay (who needs them these days? they just clutter up the fascia!).

Mike has a point though flipping the setup vertically would improve things.
cordis wrote:It seems like if you want a tower case, you aren't all that interested in the smallest footprint anyway. A super-minimalist tower seems like a contradiction.
I don't see why. Cube-style uATX cases are only smaller than towers in two dimensions, and if one of those is the wrong dimension they're not the best!

I hang my PC under a desk, so I want something as narrow as possible, little more than the width of an optical drive so it doesn't stick too far into the space under my desk usually occupied by my legs. I want it as short (vertically) as possible so it's as far off the ground as I can get to make cleaning under the desk easier. Oh, and I'd like to stick a moderately high-power system in it (say 250W at load). I realise I'm probably crazy but there you go. :)

redironman
Posts: 13
Joined: Wed May 07, 2008 3:47 am
Location: Poynton, UK

Post by redironman » Sat Aug 08, 2009 11:11 pm

Yeah, the 3.5 was really a nod to flexibility. I would have a hard disk soft mounted/suspended as those two upper bays are the only places for drives.

An optical disk thick system sounds like acer revo or ion based system? But if you could have a 90degrees PCI-E adapter you could get some graphics power in there...
Rig:- C2d E8400 @4.05GHz with Xigmatek HDT-S1283, GigaByte G33M-DS2R, 4Gb Corsair Dominator PC2-8500, XFX GTX260 Black edition, Seagate ST3500320AS 500GB, Samsung SH203B DVD RW, Antec NSK3480, Antec truepower trio 550w.

nutball
*Lifetime Patron*
Posts: 1304
Joined: Thu Apr 10, 2003 7:16 am
Location: en.gb.uk

Post by nutball » Sat Aug 08, 2009 11:39 pm

I meant width not height of the optical drive. :) So typical width of a uATX tower (~20cm) but not wider like cube-style cases tend to be because they mount the motherboard horizontally rather than vertically. Slot-loading optical drives are a couple of centimetres narrower (13cm v 15cm) so could shave a bit off the width, but you're probably constrained by the width of the ATX PSU anyway.

redironman
Posts: 13
Joined: Wed May 07, 2008 3:47 am
Location: Poynton, UK

Post by redironman » Sun Aug 09, 2009 5:53 am

Gotcha!

So how about a case that had a 120mm and the psuoutlet along the base as exhaust. Motherboard oriented so ports and slots at back, IGP and a ninja/minja passive. Intake at front and either side of top edge (or top surface if using standoffs to mount to desk. With IGP the psu could overhang the expansion slots to cut down vertical dimensions.
Drive suspension over southbridge/front edge area, slimline optical over RAM area or vice versa. Could get to 250h x 250d and 130w.
Rig:- C2d E8400 @4.05GHz with Xigmatek HDT-S1283, GigaByte G33M-DS2R, 4Gb Corsair Dominator PC2-8500, XFX GTX260 Black edition, Seagate ST3500320AS 500GB, Samsung SH203B DVD RW, Antec NSK3480, Antec truepower trio 550w.

swivelguy2
Posts: 404
Joined: Sun Jul 04, 2004 9:18 pm
Location: Illinois, USA

Post by swivelguy2 » Thu Nov 19, 2009 3:20 pm

To make my ideal matx mini tower, start with Cooler Master Centurion 541 and change it in the following ways:

- Remove all 3.5" drive bays entirely
- Relocate front buttons, LEDs, and ports to the very top of the front face in a neat little row
- Put 2 120mm intake fan mounts in the front
- Remove the holes in the side panel

I could do all of those modifications myself, I suppose, except for the 2nd one.

My reasoning:
- Tower computers fit into spots in desks designed for them. These spots don't have clearance on the sides, so side air intakes are silly. I also always put things on top of the computer, so exhausts on the top aren't good either.
- The tower is almost always located on the floor, so put the USB ports near the top where I can reach them.
- I like positive pressure and filters. 2x120mm intake spinning nice and slow is a great way to get positive pressure.
- Having the PSU exhaust from near the expansion slots makes more sense than from near the CPU. Either the CPU dumps a ton of heat into the PSU, or a duct over the CPU heatsink nearly blocks the PSU fan.
- With a 120mm-fanned PSU, the PSU is the obvious place where the straight-through front-to-back airflow is blocked, so it's a logical place to put the CD drives, which don't receive any airflow.
- We're gonna suspend our HDDs wherever we want them on our own. We don't need mounts preinstalled in the case for them.
- Nobody uses floppy drives anymore, and 3.5" bays on the front of a case always make it look ugly.
Last edited by swivelguy2 on Thu Nov 19, 2009 8:07 pm, edited 1 time in total.

diver
Posts: 327
Joined: Fri Dec 30, 2005 12:27 pm

Post by diver » Thu Nov 19, 2009 6:35 pm

The NSK3480 is as good as it gets. Just make it available without the PSU and fan so extreme silencers don't have to throw away those components.

JamieG
Posts: 822
Joined: Fri Dec 26, 2008 10:31 pm
Location: Melbourne, Australia

Post by JamieG » Thu Nov 19, 2009 7:52 pm

diver wrote:The NSK3480 is as good as it gets.
The 3480 is probably as good as it gets in stock form.

With some minor improvements it could be a little better, however. Ditch the floppy bay so you can go with 2 x 120mm front fans instead, and have some pre-cut holes for running cables down the rear of the motherboard tray.

Another possible improvement that would work better with 120mm fanned PSUs would be to eliminate the separate compartment at the top, move the PSU to the bottom and have it intaking cool air from a hole cut in the bottom of the case. Unfortunately this means that the HDD/DVD bays are at the bottom of the case, which is less than ideal for a case on the floor.
My PCs:
Main PC (E5200, G31, Lian Li Q07) | Gaming PC (E6850, X38, 5870 Vapor-X, P182) | HTPC (4850e, 780G, 3450, NSK2480B)

Shamgar
Posts: 454
Joined: Wed Oct 22, 2008 8:49 am
Location: Where I Am

Post by Shamgar » Fri Nov 20, 2009 8:49 am

swivelguy2 wrote:Nobody uses floppy drives anymore, and 3.5" bays on the front of a case always make it look ugly.
So not one person in the entire world uses a floppy drive? Is this the same as noone uses DOS anymore?
diver wrote:The NSK3480 is as good as it gets.
Which means there is still a long way to go...

Thus the search continues. Few, if any manufacturers are going to put in the effort of designing the ultimate mATX case for such little reward, unless users are prepared to pay a hefty premium for it. Reason why DIY may be the best solution for those who want "the ultimate design".

swivelguy2
Posts: 404
Joined: Sun Jul 04, 2004 9:18 pm
Location: Illinois, USA

Post by swivelguy2 » Fri Nov 20, 2009 9:19 am

Shamgar wrote: So not one person in the entire world uses a floppy drive? Is this the same as noone uses DOS anymore?
I guess you caught me in hyperbole. I don't use floppy drives anymore.

At the very least, it would be nice to see some bottom-PSU designs come to the matx size. A shrunken Lancool K-56 wouldn't be bad.

Post Reply