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What are the features to look for in a good case?

Posted on 2006-07-13
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I've got a fully loaded system in  a cheap case that needs better cooling.  I've never bought a case before.  What are the items to look for?

 I don't need one with a PSU.  I already have that taken care of
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Question by:abpowell
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kode99 earned 1200 total points
ID: 17104811
You just want something that will have lots of space for easy airflow.  The more open it is the less you are going to have to force the air through with fans and the quieter it will be.  You might also want to look at things like front panel connectors for USB/firewire/audio etc.  

A couple of solid manufacturers I would recommend looking at Antec and Chenbro.  The features on these cases more or less cover the sort of things you should be looking for.

Here's a basic case from Chenbro,
http://usa.chenbro.com/corporatesite/products_01features.php?serno=8
Check out the internal shots.  Lots of room for cables, lots of bays,  ability to put some nice big fans in etc.  

Real nice case from Antec, the Sonata,
http://www.antec.com/us/productDetails.php?ProdID=15139#
Again check out the internal shots.  

This case has the internal bays sideways with slide out trays for real easy access.  It is a pretty quiet case and includes extra's like rubber grommits for the mounting screws to reduce vibration from the hard drives.

Another larger case from Antec,
http://www.antec.com/us/productDetails.php?ProdID=81802#
Again lots of capacity for fans and drive etc.  These look nice too.

If possible get into a store where you can actually see a case in person.  Also check for reviews with lots of internal shots so you know what  kind of space you are going to have.  Not all reviewers are fanboy's.  

I have had a number of Antec boxes and always been happy with them.  The above cases are more or less in order of price.
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by:garycase
garycase earned 400 total points
ID: 17105771
Simple answer:   Look at the cases that willcomp and I listed in your other question about cooling:  http://www.experts-exchange.com/Hardware/Q_21918404.html

In an ideal case I'd like all 120mm fans;  a top blowhole (a fan in the top of the case);  and plenty of interior space to mount everything with good cable-routing spaces.   No case is ideal in all these respects, but the ones I listed before are all excellent.  Just to rehash my list:

... a few examples  (these are all very nice cases and don't look like "something from star treck"):

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16811129017

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16811119035

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16811119030

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16811112102

... and to save willcomp some time, here's his list (post something willcomp, so you can get some credit if abpowell chooses to do so):

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16811129017   Antec Performance I P180 Black
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16811129154   Antec Performance I P180 Silver
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16811129155   Antec Sonata II

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16811119068    CoolerMaster Centurion
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16811119075    Coolermaster Cavalier Silver
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16811119074    Coolermaster Cavalier Black

My list tends to be slightly higher-end than willcomp's, but they're all nice cases.   I would not use a Sonata II for your system, however.  It's a very nice case (I've used it several times) -- and is designed for quiet;  but does not have good enough airflow for a high-end SLI system.

I'd suggest you read the details of the cases in my list;  look at the pictures; and simply choose the one you like the best.

Also, before you decide you have to change out your case;  don't forget to try your new power supply and perhaps a quieter CPU cooler.


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by:nobus
nobus earned 400 total points
ID: 17106372
I found the Thermaltake cases very good (a bit pricey though) :

http://www.thermaltakeusa.com/product/Chassis/chassis_index.asp
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