Micro ATX case recommendations

Enclosures and acoustic damping to help quiet them.

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Micro ATX case recommendations

Post by ~El~Jefe~ » Mon Aug 23, 2010 5:38 pm

I am looking to do a 1090T on a micro ATX board. I figure I never really ever used the additional slots for a main gaming + audio editing computer. One sound card, one 5770 ATI card.

PSU will be fanless 450 Nightjar, it works great for me.

I dont mind Aluminum. I might use my Zalman reserator on it, but I might want to go fully air. There will be a decent amount of heat to evacuate, but I doubt any more than 3 cores will be pumping 99% of the time, so its more for continuous, idle or gaming that the build is for vs non stop 6 cores blazing. 8 gigs of ram, one 7200 1TB drive.

Looking for something that takes 120mm fans. I see a lot with 90mm and 120mm, but not many aside from Lian-Li's jobber: Lian Li PC-A05NB. Nothing wrong with it at all, might just get it. However, be nice to see some options. Willing to spend up to 129 for the case I am guessing. I hope there's some heavy chunk steel one someoen knows of with 120mm holes for cheap.

Note: If anyone finds and awesome but pricey case thats tiny, I would hit it. There's not much better at the 100 dollar marker than the Lian Li PC-A05NB however, so far.

EDIT: I looked at the review for Antec Mini p180 case. The PSU area is blocked off from the case..... sucks for fanless psu's who use air being drawn into the case to cool them! I would have to put a FAN on my FANLESS psu.... if you ever used a fanless psu like me for 5 years, you know you never want to go with a fanned psu or like putting a fan on it...

cost like 160 dollars to get it fanless!

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Post by Parappaman » Tue Aug 24, 2010 12:56 am

The Mini P180 has a slide door on the separating wall, all you have to do to draw air from the bottom-mounted PSU (and retain its passive operation) is to keep it open. It's a really nice case to live with, I chose it to host my main PC, but keep in mind it is roughly the size of a mid-tower even though it only holds micro ATX boards, so if you have space constraints you have to look elsewhere. Also, you should consider right away to get a new fan to swap the rear Tricool. :wink:

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Post by ~El~Jefe~ » Tue Aug 24, 2010 5:08 am

OH. The case is big. I did not realize that. Yes, I want a compact case.

Hm. It is a good case though. Hm.

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Re: Micro ATX case recommendations

Post by speedkar9 » Tue Aug 24, 2010 5:50 am

~El~Jefe~ wrote: I figure I never really ever used the additional slots for a main gaming + audio editing computer. One sound card, one 5770 ATI card.
This means the sound card will be jammed right up against the (dual slot) graphics card. Yikes!

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Post by ~El~Jefe~ » Tue Aug 24, 2010 1:11 pm

That is possible. Unless I get a pci-e card. They have micro atx boards with a 1x pcie above the 16x slot. Then it gives 3x slots about open to the end.

I want a tiny comp with 6 cores and pimp-ness.

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Post by quest_for_silence » Tue Aug 24, 2010 2:13 pm

Do the tower Sugos work for you?

Regards,
Luca

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Post by ~El~Jefe~ » Tue Aug 24, 2010 7:19 pm

OMGOSH YOU ROCK

BOUGHT

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Post by tim851 » Tue Aug 24, 2010 10:17 pm

I have one and I love it.

Though cooling a 1090T silently will be a challenge. Due to the placement of the PSU the Scythe Big Shuriken is the best possible CPU-cooler.

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Post by quest_for_silence » Wed Aug 25, 2010 2:25 am

tim851 wrote:Due to the placement of the PSU the Scythe Big Shuriken is the best possible CPU-cooler.

I guess there are two other viable options: the Nexus LOW-7000, and the Cooler Master Gemini IIS equipped with the same Scythe Kaze Jyu Slim (or even two of them if possible, with a relative cable splitter, like the Akasa one).

Regards,
Luca

P.S.: more probably that not, the maybe forthcoming HDT55TWFK6DGR 95W X6 Thuban processor could be a better candidate for the role.

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Post by ~El~Jefe~ » Wed Aug 25, 2010 6:00 am

hm. Well, the 1090T will assist with gaming. It has some impressive punch in games.

I remember seeing silverstone's recommendation for heat sink and fan. It also explained the maximum height of the heatsink + fan. I cant remember where it was ... grrr.....

Well, Anyone know how the super slim fans compare vs the regular thickness 120mm Scythe's?

Also NOTE: I just noticed a SG04-FH. This has a handle and an open screen? on the side door. It would increase noise, but maybe it would be better for both A) carrying (obviously) and B) keeping a fanless psu cool. I duno. I normally have solid sides on my builds. hm. The handle is just gravey, I could easily get case straps for something for a few dollars.

hm.

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Post by MikeC » Wed Aug 25, 2010 7:44 am

~El~Jefe~ wrote:Also NOTE: I just noticed a SG04-FH. This has a handle and an open screen? on the side door. It would increase noise, but maybe it would be better for both A) carrying (obviously) and B) keeping a fanless psu cool. I duno. I normally have solid sides on my builds. hm. The handle is just gravey, I could easily get case straps for something for a few dollars.

hm.
Don't do it! It puts the PSU tightly up against the CPU area, on the left side. Very cramped space for cpu heatsink, and likelihood of high cpu/psu heat interaction.

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Post by ~El~Jefe~ » Wed Aug 25, 2010 11:43 am

well, that's that. : )

I will not. I was wondering about my fanless psu's heat being drawn into the cpu area. I would be burning 200 watts on load, so thats like 240 watts of heat from the psu being pulled into the cpu.

Darnit. Any recommendations then for a micro-Atx case? I like the double 120's in of this one. hm.

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Post by tim851 » Wed Aug 25, 2010 12:08 pm

I have a Seasonic X-650 in there. You can mount it with the fan facing the CPU are or the side panel (despite what I said in an earlier thread... *whistle*). I mounted it with the fan facing the side panel. There's maybe 5mm of space. Should be more than enough.

The max cooler height listed by Silverstone is 82mm. Before I got the Big Shuriken, I had a Scythe Zipang in there. It is 87mm high and fit with "a little push". In this setup I hoped to use the PSUs fan as the CPU fan (different PSU then). While this worked, my genius brain did not think hard enough about it. With the PSU physically touching the CPU cooler, its metal casing obviously got heated up. The resulting temps after a gaming session were too much for my taste.

The GeminII is 82mm high. A fan will NOT fit on there. You could try to replicate my setup and turn the PSU so its fan will act as the CPU fan. With the Geminii, the PSU will not touch the heatsink and thus should suffer less of a heat problem.

But with the 1090T in there, it will most likely not work any way. The Big Shuriken is definitely your best option (according to SPCR it should beat the Nexus). I swapped the Slim Slipstream with a Gentle Typhoon.
But as I said, once the hexacore monster produces heat like crazy (125W TDP after all), it will not be a silent setup.

Alternative:
The Silverstone TJ08. I've been having a crush on this case for 4 years or so. It is marginally bigger than the SG04. And it has a standard layout, tower coolers will fit. Has two 120mm fans as well, one intake, one exhaust.
I ultimately decided against this case, because her baby sister SG04 is prettier *g*
Also, it gets a lot of mixed reviews on newegg, apparently the build quality of the panels and such is not exactly overwhelming.

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Post by MikeC » Wed Aug 25, 2010 12:47 pm

tim851 wrote:Alternative:
The Silverstone TJ08. I've been having a crush on this case for 4 years or so. It is marginally bigger than the SG04. And it has a standard layout, tower coolers will fit. Has two 120mm fans as well, one intake, one exhaust.
I ultimately decided against this case, because her baby sister SG04 is prettier *g*
Also, it gets a lot of mixed reviews on newegg, apparently the build quality of the panels and such is not exactly overwhelming.
This issue of the thin panels is par for most mATX cases, for whatever reason. They are generally flimsier. Among mATX cases, only the Antec 3480 has really sturdy panels, but it has its own issues.

My take on mATX cases is that if you can find one with a 120mm vent in front and in back, that's all you really need to start -- it's easy to make quiet w/ today's components.

Coolermaster Elite 341 has roughly the same qualities as the TJ08 -- w/o the aluminum and cleaner look, for just $40 at newegg.

If you don't mind the looks, NZXT Crafted Series Vulcan Black Steel / Plastic Gaming mATX Computer Case for $70 is actually pretty good all around w/ great features -- bottom mounted PSU, built in carry handle, wide enough for big CPU heatsinks, access hole for access to back of mobo... etc. Pretty wide open, but if you use quiet enough components, it'll probably do fine -- maybe put an acrylic sheet on the inside of that perforated right panel.

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Post by quest_for_silence » Wed Aug 25, 2010 1:00 pm

tim851 wrote:The GeminII is 82mm high. A fan will NOT fit on there.

The Gemini IIs is 63mm, 88mm with a regular fan, 78mm with a slim one/two.
tim851 wrote:You could try to replicate my setup and turn the PSU so its fan will act as the CPU fan

He already owns the SS Nightjar 450.

Regards,
Luca
Last edited by quest_for_silence on Wed Aug 25, 2010 1:33 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by tim851 » Wed Aug 25, 2010 1:02 pm

quest_for_silence wrote:The Gemini IIs is 67mm, 92mm with a regular fan, 82mm with a slim one/two (Sanyo Denki, Scythe).
http://www.coolermaster.com/product.php?product_id=140

Gives the impression it's without fans.
quest_for_silence wrote:He already owns the SS Nightjar 450.

What, you had to expose my lack of proper reading...?! ;)

From what I've heard the Nightjar is running quite hot (the X-650 is cold as my ex-girlfriend's heart), which would indeed lead to problems.

---
AFAIK the CM 341 is the same case as the TJ08, just with a different front panel.

The SG04 has regularly sturdy side panels. It obviously won't hold any candles to the P182 but is on par with the Zirco AX that I owned.

I once bought a cheapo mATX case off ebay and I though they were kidding me, they might as well could've called it the Origami Case...

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Post by quest_for_silence » Wed Aug 25, 2010 1:36 pm

~El~Jefe~ wrote:any recommendations then for a micro-Atx case?

Give a full read here.

Regards,
Luca

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Post by ~El~Jefe~ » Thu Aug 26, 2010 5:56 pm

I am reading that thread, Luca. Thank you.

Lian Li PC-A05NB has what looks like poor VGA cooling. Hm. I have a 5770 dual slot. I will not be using the stock hsf setup as it is noisey as hell. Hm.

confusing stuff.

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Post by quest_for_silence » Thu Aug 26, 2010 11:18 pm

For high performance parts, and if you like that genre, a good viable product should be the LanGear Da Box: it may worth a look at what our SPCR's forumer ryboto's made with the mITX version of this case.

Regards,
Luca

P.S.: high performance parts + compact size don't lead to actual quietness...

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Post by Fëanor » Fri Aug 27, 2010 5:22 pm

MikeC wrote:
~El~Jefe~ wrote:...SG04-FH...
Don't do it! It puts the PSU tightly up against the CPU area, on the left side. Very cramped space for cpu heatsink, and likelihood of high cpu/psu heat interaction.
Think it'll be that bad? I'll find out.

My plan is to use the SG03-F with one of the new Seasonic fanless 460W PSU's that are coming, and a Dynatron G618 2U fanless CPU cooler on a 130W CPU. There will also be a fanless HD5750.

The SG03-F seems much more open for airflow than the SG04-FH. I'm hoping that the 2 fans blowing air toward the back of the case will do enough to keep everything at acceptable temperatures. Even more, I'm hoping to do it with the low-RPM Noctua fans. I'll try first without the resistor but if I can get away with it I'd love to add it in.

The video card is what I'm most worried about; my HR-01 and Zen 400 have been incredibly easy to cool, but my fanless 8600GTS has been the warmest part of my current setup. The 2U server heatsink does have very dense fins meant for higher airflow, but I'll see if I can get away with it.

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Post by tim851 » Sat Aug 28, 2010 8:32 am

Fëanor wrote:My plan is to use the SG03-F with one of the new Seasonic fanless 460W PSU's that are coming, and a Dynatron G618 2U fanless CPU cooler on a 130W CPU. There will also be a fanless HD5750.
Never! ;)

The video card is not a problem, because the front intake fan is close by to blow air across the passive cooler.

But a 130w CPU with this passive cooler - Never!

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Post by MikeC » Sat Aug 28, 2010 8:42 am

tim851 wrote:
Fëanor wrote:My plan is to use the SG03-F with one of the new Seasonic fanless 460W PSU's that are coming, and a Dynatron G618 2U fanless CPU cooler on a 130W CPU. There will also be a fanless HD5750.
Never! ;)

The video card is not a problem, because the front intake fan is close by to blow air across the passive cooler.

But a 130w CPU with this passive cooler - Never!
Agreed. Dynatron G618 is called fanless only because a 2U case design does not allow room for a fan on the HS. In a 2U case that this HS is designed for, there are usually 4~6 super high speed 40~60mm fans all in a row across the width of the case, blowing air with lots of pressure across the mobo/cpu from the front to the back. A 2U "fanless" heatsink and a Thermalright HR-01 are totally different animals -- like comparing a poodle to a rottweiler and saying they're both canines. lol!

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Post by ~El~Jefe~ » Sun Aug 29, 2010 3:58 pm

It seems that MikeC thinks that 2x 120, 1 in 1 out, is good enough for cooling.

I wonder if I would bother doing 1 from the side too.

My OTHER problem is that I have a 5770 dual slot XFX vid card. That has the worst setup for aftermarket cooling. I hear only the tiny accelero cooler works for it, kinda crappy.

Anyone have ideas about how to securely attach a 3.5" HD in a case without rubber gromets? That coolmaster 341 looks really perfect and simple aside from its low-tech HD system. HD vibration is more annoying at like 12 feet in a room I noticed. (Vibrations carry over fan noise like 3x)

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Post by Solo » Sun Aug 29, 2010 6:38 pm

I've got a Coolermaster Elite 341 now. I upgraded from a SG-02, which has so many holes and so little volume that any of the smallish fans you can fit ramp a bit and there's no metal to dampen/baffle the noise.

I'm using a Coolermaster Hyper 212+ heatsink - it sits about 5mm away from the side grille holes, so I couldn't mount a side fan even if I wanted to (which I don't - I hate dust inside my computer).

I'm also using a 5770 - but I got the HIS one with extra spacing so I can mount an Accelero S1r2 on it.

The HDD noise is indeed a little worse than I'd want, it carries over the fan noise anything more than about 1m away, but then I have 4 HDDs so go figure. The HDDs are screwed in, since there's no space for soft mounts and I'm not about to elastic cord mount my data.

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Post by MikeC » Sun Aug 29, 2010 6:56 pm

Solo wrote:The HDDs are screwed in, since there's no space for soft mounts and I'm not about to elastic cord mount my data.
Why not? Havent lost a byte to elastic cord in nearly 10 yrs. Here's a good way in that case --
Aphonos' Dual HDD Bungee-cord Suspension

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Post by Solo » Sun Aug 29, 2010 9:12 pm

That's a pretty good way of doing it, most of the others I've seen are just slipped in with the twisted cord / drive slipped in the middle method, gripped only by friction and cord tension.

I'd take it up, but my case is pretty cramped: Case
If I got a new case I might try it!

I was interested in the NZXT Vulcan (toying with the idea of an upgrade) but considering the CM 341 almost doesn't fit the Hyper 212+ at 185mm wide, the 180mm wide Vulcan with its bulging sides didn't seem promising. Not to mention the dust getting in the perforated side if you don't block it up.

Really the Mini P180 seems the about the best around, except that its size almost makes it a full ATX case.

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Post by speedkar9 » Mon Aug 30, 2010 8:03 am

~El~Jefe~ wrote:Anyone have ideas about how to securely attach a 3.5" HD in a case without rubber grommets?
You mean hard drive suspension? Or hard mounted? With only one HD, I think you could easily rig up some quiet mounting in the CM341.
Solo wrote:That's a pretty good way of doing it, most of the others I've seen are just slipped in with the twisted cord / drive slipped in the middle method, gripped only by friction and cord tension.
You could reduce HD noise if you drilled out the mounting holes a bit bigger and used some thin rubber grommets between the screw and HD cage. It did wonders to reducing seek noise when I had a thin metal generic case 4 years ago...
Solo wrote:I've got a Coolermaster Elite 341 now.
Contrary to your username... :lol:

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Post by flyingsherpa » Mon Aug 30, 2010 8:27 am

I also have an Elite 341 and recommend it. Check out my gallery post on it, it shows how I decouple my hard drive. I just rest it on the bottom with some foam and sorbothane underneath. I've actually changed it a little since that post... the drive wasn't getting enough cooling sitting that low, so I attached a small bracket to raise it up an inch or two (still sitting on the foam and sorbothane). Now it's sitting more in the intake airflow and stays cooler.

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Post by ~El~Jefe~ » Mon Aug 30, 2010 5:56 pm

my case is going to be put on its side and upside down and moved all around to different people's houses. not a lan party (im 35) but to do number crunching for projects. Hence, the high powered 6 core and 8 gigs of fancier ram.

Looking at lower weight, lower height cpu coolers too. Going to hit up that forum. most of the recommended's are Tower style, not really the portable types with all that leverage.

So: Do you think elastic can not bang around if stuck in the back of a sportscar?

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Post by flyingsherpa » Tue Aug 31, 2010 4:42 am

If you're going to move it around, maybe try something like I did with my tivo's hard drive. Strapping it down onto sorbothane with zip ties or shock cord (probably zip ties if you're going to move it often). Adjust the tension to make it secure enough for your use.

I think I'd go with a Scythe Big Shuriken for a good cooler with low leverage.

The Elite 341 is very light.

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