Stylish, mini-ITX case?

Enclosures and acoustic damping to help quiet them.

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littlebigman
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Stylish, mini-ITX case?

Post by littlebigman » Wed Jul 04, 2012 12:56 am

Hello

I'm tired of those boring PC cases, and would like to build a stylish and silent Mini-ITX box for moderate use (just office work, and light development).

Can compact cases like the Habey EMC-800S be made very quiet with a single hard-disk and an average CPU (dual core)?

Ideally, I'd like something stylish like the long-dead Cobalt Qube, but it's unlikely someone makes cases like this.

Thank you.

HFat
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Re: Stylish, mini-ITX case?

Post by HFat » Wed Jul 04, 2012 1:15 am

Style is subjective. I'm not sure what you're looking for. I haven't yet met a PC case that wasn't boring... it's just a case.

As long as you can fit a decent heatsink with a little room to breathe, your build could be very quiet. So the issue with cases like this Habey is: is it tall enough?
To get rid of the hard drive noise, pick a small SSD. You don't need much capacity for office work and light development.

littlebigman
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Re: Stylish, mini-ITX case?

Post by littlebigman » Wed Jul 04, 2012 12:09 pm

I'd like a compact case that looks like on a desk. If there are users of the really compact, Mac Mini-like boxes like the AOpen or Zotac Nano in the audience, how quiet are they? In terms of speed, they are probably fast enough for my needs.

Vicotnik
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Re: Stylish, mini-ITX case?

Post by Vicotnik » Wed Jul 04, 2012 1:33 pm

How about a chassis with built in heatpipe cooling, like the Streacom FC8? You can build a pretty powerful system in one of those.

ces
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Re: Stylish, mini-ITX case?

Post by ces » Wed Jul 04, 2012 4:15 pm

[quote="littlebigman"Ideally, I'd like something stylish like the long-dead Cobalt Qube, but it's unlikely someone makes cases like this.[/quote] You can start here:
http://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_trksid= ... +&_sacat=0
http://www.ebay.com/itm/Sun-Cobalt-Qube ... 651wt_1139
Then do a little work.

Or take a look at these:
viewtopic.php?p=546616#p546616

Lian Li has some nice red cases... they use a really tough powder coat type of process... and don't forget the striking Spider case:
http://www.lian-li.com/v2/en/product/pr ... s_index=64

ces
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Re: Stylish, mini-ITX case?

Post by ces » Wed Jul 04, 2012 4:19 pm

HFat wrote:I haven't yet met a PC case that wasn't boring... it's just a case.
Surely, whatever you would call this, it wouldn't be boring, would it?
http://www.lian-li.com/v2/tw/product/T1-b.jpg
http://www.lian-li.com/v2/en/product/pr ... dex=64&g=f

Olaf van der Spek
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Re: Stylish, mini-ITX case?

Post by Olaf van der Spek » Thu Jul 05, 2012 9:54 am


HFat
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Re: Stylish, mini-ITX case?

Post by HFat » Fri Jul 06, 2012 5:19 am

littlebigman wrote:I'd like a compact case that looks like on a desk.
That looks like what on a desk?

A common way to reduce the footprint of a computer is to attach it behind the monitor.
littlebigman wrote:... url=http://www.anandtech.com/show/5738/zota ... -factor-pc]Zotac Nano[/url] in the audience, how quiet are they? In terms of speed, they are probably fast enough for my needs.
If you're serious abiout a Nano being sufficient, you have a lot more choices since CPUs with that kind of computing power can be cooled passively.

I don't know how much noise the Nano makes but Shuttle for instance makes a similar noiseless barebone.
Pre-built computers or even CPU-less barebones tend to be a bit noisy by SPCR standards. It was much worse a few years back but (short of totally fanless products) it's not likely to improve further since the mass market doesn't care about the kind of noise most users of SPCR would like to get rid of.

Toneloc427
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Re: Stylish, mini-ITX case?

Post by Toneloc427 » Fri Jul 06, 2012 5:59 am

I use an AOpen MP45 both at work and at home as an HTPC. It's nearly silent as an HTPC, but spins up and gets pretty loud when running large spreadsheets at work.

We're in the process of updating some of the MP45s to DH61AG/T-series CPUs. They're almost as quiet at idle, but don't need to spin up as much under heavy loads.

If you're considering the Zotac Nano, you might want to look at the Jetway JBC371 - completely fanless barebone w/ T40 APU. I don't think it'd be robust enough for office work, but it depends on what you do. The JBC361 is smaller and better looking, but ran too hot in CPU burn.

Blood
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Re: Stylish, mini-ITX case?

Post by Blood » Tue Jul 24, 2012 9:03 am

I recommend the silverstone FT03-mini. It uses a bottom mounted 180mm fan for cooling. It won't be the most quiet case you've ever seen. But hard to beat for the combination of size, style, and acoustics.

jospoortvliet
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Re: Stylish, mini-ITX case?

Post by jospoortvliet » Fri Jan 04, 2013 7:07 am

Blood wrote:I recommend the silverstone FT03-mini. It uses a bottom mounted 180mm fan for cooling. It won't be the most quiet case you've ever seen. But hard to beat for the combination of size, style, and acoustics.
It's a 140mm fan, as 180mm is pretty much the footprint of the case... Otherwise, agreed ;-)

littlebigman
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Re: Stylish, mini-ITX case?

Post by littlebigman » Sat Jan 12, 2013 5:50 am

Thanks everyone for the infos.
HFat wrote:That looks like what on a desk?
Sorry: I meant "that looks stylish like a Mac mini on a desk". Doctors et al. aren't computer geeks and would rather have some nice-looking case.

I have a couple of questions:
1. Besides Lian Li and Silverstone, what are the major case manufacturers I should check for compact and stylish cases?

2. The CPU fan being the biggest source of noise, we should choose cases with enough room to use a big heatsink so that the CPU can be cooled by a big, slow-running fan or (for slower CPU's) be completely fanless: There are quite powerful laptops out there and still, they're very silent. How do they manage?

3. I occasionally need to doctor videos (compression, transfer) from my camcorder: How can I find which CPU (Intel or AMD) provides the best balance between performance and heat?

Thank you.

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