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Computer case recommendations

Postby dodecahedron on Sun Oct 03, 2004 8:13 pm

hi.
i'm thinking of finally getting myself a decent computer case :D
after longing for one for quite a long time.
and the wife is pushing me to buy one for myself, as a birthday gift.

oh well.

i'd like a really good case, well made, with those neat tray mounts for drives, mountings for fans, intake filter (very important in this dusty country) etc.
good looks are a second consideration. aluminum is nice though.

any recommendations, guys?

LoneWolf, in this topic, got me thinking of the Antec 'Performance One' P160. i kind of like it, but not so sure of the look of the front face.

the Chenbro Gaming Bomb II looks very nice but isn't out yet, and probably won't be available for quite a while in the hinterlands (read: Israel).

i kind of like the Lian-Li PC-V1000/V2000, but it's pricey :(

any opinions & suggestions, guys?
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Postby LoneWolf on Sun Oct 03, 2004 10:45 pm

Dodec, there are about four cases I looked at before settling on the Antec P160. All are great cases, but depend on your taste. I like tasteful cases, so I looked at the following:

Chenbro Gaming Bomb II
Antec P160
Thermaltake Tsunami Dream
CoolerMaster Praetorian

The Chenbro would have been my first choice, but I couldn't find it and couldn't get a response for the longest time from the company.
The Thermaltake has a front door that makes it look classy, but I don't like the look when the door is open, and front doors get in the way in a cluttered office, and can be broken off if you're not careful. If you don't mind the door though, the setup is quite good.
The Coolermaster seemed almost ideal, but has no side window, no removable hard drive cage, and uses lots of 80mm fans (2 front, 1 rear, one top). The fans are all included, a big bonus, but I'm trying to quiet my case, so they aren't the best choice for me. If you don't mind 80mm fans and don't want a window, the Praetorian is a good case for a good price (about $105 when I checked), I'm just super picky. When I buy a case, it better last 5 years minimum. My solid steel AOpen HX-08 full tower has been around since `96 or `97. This time I wanted lighter, a bit smaller, and quieter, but with expansion room and front mounted USB/Firewire.

The Antec has the benefit of top-mounted front USB/1394 ports, a plus for a tower case put on the ground. It uses 120mm fans. It has a removable drive cage, and the hard disks are mounted on rubber grommets to reduce vibration, and therefore noise, and you can mount the hard disks with their interfaces inwards to clean up cable clutter. It has two plates to hide beige CD drives instead of a case door, a big plus. It has a removable mainboard tray, and can be ordered with a windowed side panel. My only beefs with it were lack of a top blowhole, and that you still have to remove the expansion cards to remove the mainboard tray. These are minor compared to what it does do, so it's my choice.
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Postby dodecahedron on Mon Oct 04, 2004 7:58 am

from another topic
dodecahedron wrote:i was wondering if you had been considering the Lian-Li V1000 case, if not why not and if so why you didn't choose it in the end.

LoneWolf wrote:I looked a little at the Lian-Li. My first reservation was that it came with only one CD faceplate. I never have less than two drives in my system, and I want a clean look. It doesn't have as many external drive bays as the Antec either, though if expansion isn't the biggest deal to you then that's not an issue. I'd rather have the power supply on top, where it's exhausting already-warm air out of the case (I use dual-fan power supplies); the Lian-Li's config puts the power supply on the bottom, where the air is apt to be a little cooler. Its cable routing looks nice though.
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Postby dodecahedron on Mon Oct 04, 2004 8:36 am

thanks for the input.

the Chenbro Gaming Bomb II looks very nice, i like it too.
but like you said it still isn't out.
i wonder if it will be sold here in Israel at all. i might be positively surprised...i discovered that the Xpider Gaming Bomb I is sold here! maybe Israel is not as much the hinterlands as i had imagined.
but if it is, it will probably be quite a while till it gets here and will most likely be very expensive.

the Antec P160 looks nice. read a few of reviews. sounds very good.
too bad i could only find the P160 here and not the P160W. :(
the fron faceplate looks a bit tacky though...

Thermaltake Tsunami - i have to read up on that one.
i did read in one review about the Thermaltake XaserV (one of them anyway) and i don't think i like them.
the door is one reason. i'd probably keep it open all the time, so why bother??? anyway i wasn't impressed by the design of the Xaser cases, the front face of the case - the designs seem gaudy to me.
too bad, as these cases are available here, and not as expensive as some others.

CoolerMaster - i'll have to read up on those. got any links to good reviews of them? (or for that matter, websites that are known for good case reviews?)

as for the Lian-Li, apart from being expensive i rather liked the special design of the V1000.
as for it only coming with CD faceplate, well apparently you can purchase more such faceplates separately.

"It doesn't have as many external drive bays as the Antec" - i'm not sure why you say that. as far as i could tell they've both got 4 external 5.25" bays (the Lian-Li has 5 but one of them is taken by the Floppy drive).

what i miss in the LianLi is the intake filter. but i guess this is impossible with such a case with "mesh" faces, like the Chenbro Gaming Bomb II as well. (another point for the Antec P160, in this dusty country at least).
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Postby eric93se on Mon Oct 04, 2004 9:07 am

I just picked up the Antec Sonata, with 380W (true power) PS. Awesome finish, it uses a 180mm case fan that can be controlled by the temp sensor in the PS to reduce noise. I'm personally running it full speed for max cooling, and I can barely hear it.

http://www.newegg.com/app/viewProductDe ... 127&depa=0
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Postby dodecahedron on Mon Oct 04, 2004 9:15 am

thanks eric.
i already saw the Sonata (and just about to read a review of it :) )
but i don't want it because:
1. the Sonata has a door.
2. i want 4 5.25" drive bays, the Sonata has 3
3. i have already purchased an Antec TruePower power supply, so i'm looking for a case that doesn't come with one.

wow, 180mm! :o
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Postby LoneWolf on Mon Oct 04, 2004 1:34 pm

I Google for all my reviews. Just so you know, just because I like one case from a vendor doesn't mean I like all their cases (Thermaltake is a good example of this). Sites I trust reviews from include the following:

Envynews
The Tech Report
SilentPCReview


There are others, but it's pretty easy to tell good from bad. A good site will fully mount a set of fans and components inside the case, testing everything for appropriate fit. A good site will review the case for noise (using more than just their own ears and subjective opinion) and if possible, for heat dissipation. Of course a lot of this depends on what gear you put in the case, but a good case review takes more than two pages and a few good pictures.
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Postby dodecahedron on Mon Oct 04, 2004 2:53 pm

thanks for the tips.
already read a few reviews at EnvyNews and TechReport - the Antec P160 reviews of both sites, and a few more.
if i have time i'll drop by the SilentPCReview site too.

did you already get your P160? if so, now do you like it?
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Postby LoneWolf on Wed Oct 06, 2004 4:25 pm

Dodec, I got my Antec P160 case, and knew you'd want to know. I'll post pics if you want when I have a chance.

Antec has listened to a number of reviewers, and made a few nice changes. First of all, there are two 120mm fans now, as opposed to one like the case originally used to come with. The early P160 cases came with pinned-out USB and FireWire cables for the front-mounted ports, where each individual wire had to be plugged correctly into the mainboard. The current layout has a pre-molded plug for each, but also trunks off into the individual wires still in case you have an unusual mainboard.

The case is decent sized, but incredibly light, especially when compared to my heavy steel AOpen HX-08 tower. The front CD doors look really good, and have spots for the lights to shine through from the drives. I'm waiting on some additional cooling gear from Plycon and a fan grill from Coolerguys, when that gets here I'll start work on it. I'm tempted to get some UV reactive paint for some of the components and put a blacklight in to give some components and cables a blue glow; I'm still thinking that one over.
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Postby dodecahedron on Wed Oct 06, 2004 4:42 pm

LoneWolf wrote:Dodec, I got my Antec P160 case, and knew you'd want to know. I'll post pics if you want when I have a chance.

thanks :)
BTW i meant to ask, in newegg there are 2 models listed P160 and P160W, the second comes with a window panel.
do you know if this is standard? in one review it was said that the window panel is an accessory, not a separate model that comes with it.
alas in israel i could only find the P160 without the window.

LoneWolf wrote:Antec has listened to a number of reviewers, and made a few nice changes. First of all, there are two 120mm fans now, as opposed to one like the case originally used to come with. The early P160 cases came with pinned-out USB and FireWire cables for the front-mounted ports, where each individual wire had to be plugged correctly into the mainboard. The current layout has a pre-molded plug for each, but also trunks off into the individual wires still in case you have an unusual mainboard.

good news.
what brand are these 2 fans? i guess you're replacing them with the Panaflow ones, right?
"has a pre-molded plug for each, but also trunks off into the individual wires still in case you have an unusual mainboard" i'm not sure i understand, can you clarify? (or better yet, a picture?)

LoneWolf wrote:The case is decent sized, but incredibly light, especially when compared to my heavy steel AOpen HX-08 tower. The front CD doors look really good, and have spots for the lights to shine through from the drives. I'm waiting on some additional cooling gear from Plycon and a fan grill from Coolerguys, when that gets here I'll start work on it. I'm tempted to get some UV reactive paint for some of the components and put a blacklight in to give some components and cables a blue glow; I'm still thinking that one over.

i don't know if you noticed in the other thread.
apparently you can get spare bevels (the covers for the optical drives) from Lian-Li for their cases (or at least so i read in one review). hoping the same is true for Antec, i checked their website. alas, no go. couldn't find such accessories listed, which is a shame since i'm sure i'll have more than 2 drives in my system (actually i would like to have more than 4 :D )
let us know how these things work for you.
at newegg, some of the customer's reviews said they had problems with these bevels, wouldn't work right with some drives (i think someone mentioned Sony).
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Postby LoneWolf on Thu Oct 07, 2004 8:28 am

I'll let you know on my drives, though most have said you can remove the drawer faceplate of your drives if they don't fit, and then things will work fine. The fans are Antec low-noise ball bearing, supposedly rated at about 55CFM at 28dB. They're supposedly pretty good. I'll have to keep the Antec in the front as the Panaflo fans are all 38mm deep, and the front only will take a 25mm depth. I'll use a 120mm Panaflo for the blowhole, and probably for the rear.

Some vendors sell both versions with the window and without; some only sell the version without the window. The actual Antec side window panel (as opposed to an aftermarket mod) looks just like the one on NewEgg.

To further define my cabling, imagine the cables your mainboard came with for backplate connectors, such as FireWire or additional USB ports. On your mainboard, each plug comes in a single molded unit with multiple wires going into it, to make it easy to connect to the pinned connectors on the mainboard . However, these connectors occasionally differ between mainboards. Antec's connectors for their front-mounted ports were originally pinned out so that each wire had to be plugged in separately; you had to figure out the correct setup for your mainboard wire by wire, a real pain. Antec's new setup uses connectors that are all-in-ones that should fit most mainboards, but still branches off a set of wires that will allow you to go one-by-one if your mainboard is an oddball.
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Postby dodecahedron on Thu Oct 07, 2004 2:11 pm

LoneWolf wrote:most have said you can remove the drawer faceplate of your drives if they don't fit, and then things will work fine.

makes sense.

LoneWolf wrote:The fans are Antec

duh! :o should've thought of that one myself :lol:

LoneWolf wrote:Some vendors sell both versions with the window and without; some only sell the version without the window. The actual Antec side window panel (as opposed to an aftermarket mod) looks just like the one on NewEgg.

well, on the Antec website there's only the P160 model with the regular side panel. you can get the window panel as an accessory (for some $30 or so) but there's no model that comes already with the window!
i wonder if those vendors simply make this 'combo' of replacing the regular panel with the window panel themselves...or maybe this is something that Antec won't sell (and advertise) directly on their website? now why would they do that?

LoneWolf wrote:Antec's connectors for their front-mounted ports were originally pinned out so that each wire had to be plugged in separately; you had to figure out the correct setup for your mainboard wire by wire, a real pain.

this is clear from the pics in reviews. for example (tech-report):

Image

LoneWolf wrote:Antec's new setup uses connectors that are all-in-ones that should fit most mainboards, but still branches off a set of wires that will allow you to go one-by-one if your mainboard is an oddball.

so that each wire from the FireWire socket on the front panel is actually split into two wires for the motherboard, one in separate plugs (like in the pic above) and one in a unified plug ?
if you can get a pic of what this looks like i'd be grateful.
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Postby LoneWolf on Fri Oct 08, 2004 11:44 am

There is an Antec model with the side window at NewEgg, that is how I purchased it. It's just not as easy to find in a search. Here's the link, but if that doesn't work, go to cases, and search by specifying Antec as the brand and saying Yes for 1394 ports. Doggoned if they didn't update the specs to mention the two fans, AND lower the price by ten bucks, within days after I ordered mine. Shipping is free on this case too.

http://www.newegg.com/app/ViewProductDe ... 144&depa=1

I'll get pictures for you when I can, I've been in Cisco training all week, so by the time I come home, my brain is totally fried.
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Postby dodecahedron on Fri Oct 08, 2004 11:56 am

yeah, i know. i had already seen it at newegg.
my point is, that's the only place i've seen this.
such a model doesn't even exist on Antec's website! hence my suppositions.
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Postby dodecahedron on Fri Oct 08, 2004 8:45 pm

say, LoneWolf, the front panel of the P160 case is made of painted plastic.
(what a shame it's not aluminium too, like the rest of the case :evil: )
how 'bad' does this look in real life?

another question:
you said Antec listened to some reviewers and made some changes.
did they by any chance lengthen the cabled for the front-panel USB and FireWire sockets? they were too short (in case your motherboard's sockets were on the side far from the fron panel) in some cases at least.
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Postby LoneWolf on Sun Oct 10, 2004 6:22 am

Doesn't look bad at all or I wouldn't have bought it. Antec isn't the only one to do this. While I read every review, I still take some of the gripes reviewers have with a grain of salt, because a feature or an issue may be due to their personal taste. In this case, I feel it comes down to that. Doing the Antec's face in aluminum would have been extremely expensive if they wanted to keep the current look they have now.

As for Antec not listing the windowed version on their site, I'm sure they'd probably rather you spent extra bucks on the Antec side window. If I'd had to do that, I'd have done my own side window kit or found another case. I'm not willing to pay twice. Others besides NewEgg sell the case with the window too.
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Postby LoneWolf on Tue Oct 12, 2004 9:43 am

Update for Dodec:

Dremel-ed my 120mm blowhole in the top of the case last night and drilled the holes for the bolts that will mount the fan. It's looking really good, but I'm going to be a bit of a perfectionist and round the hole slightly more, as I'm mounting the fan grill from the inside unlike most grills that would go on the outside. I'll show pictures when I'm done, and outline the tools I used.

Thank heaven aluminum is easier to work with than steel.
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Postby bill on Wed Oct 13, 2004 9:41 pm

LoneWolf wrote: Antec's connectors for their front-mounted ports were originally pinned out so that each wire had to be plugged in separately; you had to figure out the correct setup for your mainboard wire by wire, a real pain. Antec's new setup uses connectors that are all-in-ones that should fit most mainboards, but still branches off a set of wires that will allow you to go one-by-one if your mainboard is an oddball.


Lonewolf, here is a case that I just ordered - http://www.newegg.com/app/viewproductde ... 127&DEPA=1

If you have a minute, please zoom in on the photo that shows the case on it's side. Is that photo a good example of what you noted above? For both the firewire and usb?

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Postby dodecahedron on Wed Oct 13, 2004 10:23 pm

congrats, Monkey! it's a really nice case, from what i hear (reviews, plus a friend of mine has one). enjoy! :D


here's the pic you mentioned:

Image
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Postby LoneWolf on Thu Oct 14, 2004 10:40 am

BigMonkey, that's exactly what I mean.

Went to the auto parts stoor last night and bought door edge molding for the blowhole on my case. Still deciding whether to use black or chrome (decisions, decisions). Right now I'm leaning towards the black (the chrome looks a little blingy). Come this weekend, I need to order some gear for sleeving my power supply (some of it already is, but I want to make some changes). I want this to be the best looking cable job I've ever done.
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Postby bill on Thu Oct 14, 2004 10:44 pm

dodecahedron wrote:congrats, Monkey! it's a really nice case, from what i hear (reviews, plus a friend of mine has one). enjoy! :D


Thanks Dodec..... the case should be delivered next week, my only concern is if it will move enough air.
Btw, that refurbished Asus mobo that I ordered arrived today... posted and installed XP ok.. =D>
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Postby bill on Thu Oct 14, 2004 10:46 pm

LoneWolf wrote:BigMonkey, that's exactly what I mean.

Went to the auto parts stoor last night and bought door edge molding for the blowhole on my case. Still deciding whether to use black or chrome (decisions, decisions).


LoneWolf,

Black door molding on that case should look great... a nice contrast.

Thanks and good luck with the tweaking.
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Postby dodecahedron on Fri May 27, 2005 7:01 pm

OK digging up an old topic, but i think it's relevant info.

the Antec P180 is out.
http://www.antec.com/us/productDetails.php?ProdID=81800
http://www.silentpcreview.com/article249-page1.html
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Postby bill on Fri May 27, 2005 7:21 pm

I read that you're thinking about the P180... It has a nice interior but I think you forgot how good looking the P160 is on the front face. When I look at the P180, me thinks it's a beer cooler :D

I take that you haven't ordered your case yet?
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Postby dodecahedron on Fri May 27, 2005 7:29 pm

BigMonkey wrote:I read that you're thinking about the P180... It has a nice interior but I think you forgot how good looking the P160 is on the front face. When I look at the P180, me thinks it's a beer cooler :D

I take that you haven't ordered your case yet?

:cry: :cry: :cry:
yeah the P160 is beautiful and the (regular silver/black) P180 is horridly ugly.
but then i'm not a lanpartygoer, and the computer is after all first of all a tool.
got to get over that geeky "love my computer" sentimental-attachment-to-an-inanimate-object thing.
most of the time i'll hardly see it :o it's next to the desk on the floor
and functionally it's a great case.

haven't ordered yet.
i had just about worked myself (money is difficult right now, and in any case i'm very indeliberate when it comes to spending serious money on myself) into buying a P160 when i discovered of the impending P180.

it will be a while before the P180 reaches Israel.
i think buying one in the US and importing it myself is unpractical, shipping costs, the danger of the big box getting damaged in shipping etc.

alas, it appears (last page of the SPCR preview) that the black version will only be sold in the US and Canada. the black case looks great! (well, at least by comparison to the regular black/silver).
One Ring to rule them all, One Ring to find them,
One Ring to bring them all and in the darkness bind them
In the land of Mordor, where the Shadows lie
-- JRRT
M.C. Escher - Reptilien
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