Full-ATX yet small case with no 5.25 bays?

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Full-ATX yet small case with no 5.25 bays?

Postposted on Wed Oct 26, 2011 11:27 am

Hello,

I'm looking for a case that would sacrifice slowly getting useless 5.25 bays for a better form factor and there seems to be none out there. The idea would be that a case could have PSU and 2-3 3.5 inch bays in place of the larger drives trimming the size to that reserved for mATX board cases. Ideally, a Lian-Li A-05NB that cuts couple of inches of length while still being able to work with full ATX boards and a decent cooling and GFX card.

Since I use SSD for speed critical stuff, I could even use a case with 2-3 2.5 inch bays, with 500 gig notebook drive as a mass storage and SSD for the rest - this could save a bit of space.

I know the question is more like 'where can I order a custom case' but maybe there are some products like this.

There are some great builds with mATX boards with one PCIe and the PSU mounted horizontally parallel to the mobo but it drastically limits the cooling solutions and even basic tinkering inside the box. Not to mention a bit crippled board without many options of expansion. The cases are almost cube like, about half of the size of your average midi-tower but still, without the 5.25 bays this probably could be done with full ATX.

A little off-topic - there seems to be not many truly interesting cases out there. Only higher, lower, shorter, blacker, heavier, lighter. And Antec skeleton. Not many designs that try to come up with some neat layouts. For me, the mentioned Lian-Li with forward facing PSU seems revolutionary in comparison to other tower cases. only those truly SFF try new stuff to make it more compact.

Correct me if I'm wrong :)

Cheers, Halik
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Re: Full-ATX yet small case with no 5.25 bays?

Postposted on Wed Oct 26, 2011 2:02 pm

Yeah I agree that most cases except for the absurdy expensive are pretty vanilla. I typically look for cases that have decent sound and dust mitigation while providing decent airflow. So, i go for steel/plastic because it tends to dampen sound fairly well compared to full aluminum cases, with some type of dust filter on all the vents/fans. I find 5.25 bays useful for hiding extra wiring if there isn't enough space behind the mobo panel, or installing converter spacers to fit 3.5 or 2.5 inch drives when you run out of the 3.5 inch slots. Also you can install 3.5 inch drive in those spaces with elastic suspesion to reduce vibration and noise from these drives as shown here http://www.silentpcreview.com/article8-page2.html.

Right now I'm a fan of the corsair 400r and the rosewill thor v2 case since they have plenty of interior space and a lot of 3.5 inch slots. Even if some of the vents don't have filters on them, that's something that's easy to install.
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Re: Full-ATX yet small case with no 5.25 bays?

Postposted on Wed Oct 26, 2011 2:26 pm

Huh, I've got my drives suspended that way. One of the best ghetto mods ever :)
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Re: Full-ATX yet small case with no 5.25 bays?

Postposted on Wed Oct 26, 2011 4:39 pm

IronHalik wrote:Huh, I've got my drives suspended that way. One of the best ghetto mods ever :)

Some of the new cases feature that design for the hard drive. http://www.silentpcreview.com/article1218-page4.html I think it's something that's gaining some popularity since hard drives by themselves create a lot of noise by vibrating the case.
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Re: Full-ATX yet small case with no 5.25 bays?

Postposted on Thu Oct 27, 2011 1:13 pm

Being a bit of a devils advocate - I found that many micro-ATX boards are fairly well featured these days a nd might even be worth consideration
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Re: Full-ATX yet small case with no 5.25 bays?

Postposted on Thu Oct 27, 2011 3:41 pm

pikaporeon wrote:Being a bit of a devils advocate - I found that many micro-ATX boards are fairly well featured these days a nd might even be worth consideration

Agreed. With 5+ SATA ports, LAN, audio, USB 2/3, etc. standard on all motherboards these days, most people don't actually *need* full ATX any more. Unless you know you have a need for the extra slots, micro-ATX is worth a look.
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Re: Full-ATX yet small case with no 5.25 bays?

Postposted on Thu Oct 27, 2011 9:48 pm

pikaporeon wrote:Being a bit of a devils advocate - I found that many micro-ATX boards are fairly well featured these days a nd might even be worth consideration


That's what I was going to suggest. You can find great mATX boards at the enthusiast level.

I just rebuilt my wife's system, and used the Lian Li PC-A04B mATX tower which sounds exactly like what you're looking for. Only two 5.25" bays, but plenty of space for internal 3.5" storage and three 120mm fans stock (two intake, one exhaust). USB3 support, too.

Silverstone's Temjin TJ-08B is a good alternative too.
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Re: Full-ATX yet small case with no 5.25 bays?

Postposted on Fri Oct 28, 2011 2:03 pm

I have some kind of irrational fear that I will someday run out of expansion slots ;>
But maybe I could settle for some board with 3 PCI-e slots for a dual-height and Xonar DG on the bottom.
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Re: Full-ATX yet small case with no 5.25 bays?

Postposted on Fri Oct 28, 2011 4:12 pm

IronHalik wrote:I have some kind of irrational fear that I will someday run out of expansion slots ;>
But maybe I could settle for some board with 3 PCI-e slots for a dual-height and Xonar DG on the bottom.


Skip the Xonar if you have to (but I doubt you will). Here you go.

Image

Alternately:

Image

Second alternate:

Image
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Re: Full-ATX yet small case with no 5.25 bays?

Postposted on Fri Oct 28, 2011 4:48 pm

CB5000 wrote:
IronHalik wrote:Huh, I've got my drives suspended that way. One of the best ghetto mods ever :)

Some of the new cases feature that design for the hard drive. http://www.silentpcreview.com/article1218-page4.html I think it's something that's gaining some popularity since hard drives by themselves create a lot of noise by vibrating the case.

My Antec Sonata has those, as well. Surprised it took so long for those to find their way into the computing sector. They're cheap, and Industrial motor mounts have been designed like that for decades.

IronHalik wrote:I have some kind of irrational fear that I will someday run out of expansion slots ;>
But maybe I could settle for some board with 3 PCI-e slots for a dual-height and Xonar DG on the bottom.

Almost nobody runs out of expansion slots these days. Onboard sound and networking, with USB and eSATA for everything else, pretty well covers all expansion needs other than video. Worst case, you'll run into some old SCSI peripheral or PATA printer, and need to either get a USB conversion dongle or a network print server to bring it up and running.
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Re: Full-ATX yet small case with no 5.25 bays?

Postposted on Fri Oct 28, 2011 5:35 pm

Pretty much the only other card I would like in my PC is a TV card, for DVB-T viewing. And a Xonar for my headphones.
Were talking here what is integrated on the mobo while I am still convinced that by sacrificing 5.25 bays you could make slim, yet compact full-ATX case that could house even SLI setups.
Since there seems to be not many of those then maybe its an opportunity for a custom project. :>
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Re: Full-ATX yet small case with no 5.25 bays?

Postposted on Fri Oct 28, 2011 6:43 pm

I think you are too soon on this, but I don't think you're too far off. Optical media is on its way out; I also would love to build a desktop without an optical drive. I haven't used an optical drive on a computer in probably 4 years. The problem is operating systems still come on DVD. The day I can get one on USB is the day I don't have an optical drive on my PC.
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Re: Full-ATX yet small case with no 5.25 bays?

Postposted on Fri Oct 28, 2011 6:51 pm

Most newer motherboards can boot an OS install disc via an external (USB) DVD drive.
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Re: Full-ATX yet small case with no 5.25 bays?

Postposted on Fri Oct 28, 2011 7:41 pm

just brew it! wrote:Most newer motherboards can boot an OS install disc via an external (USB) DVD drive.


I also don't know of a Sandy Bridge mainboard that can't boot from USB key.

I installed Win7 on both my system and my wife's by using Microsoft's Windows 7 USB DVD Download tool to make a USB copy. Install is faster than a DVD drive.

I also install Slysoft Virtual CloneDrive on my systems, so that I can mount ISOs from my home server. I do that a lot more now, and burn discs a lot less.
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Re: Full-ATX yet small case with no 5.25 bays?

Postposted on Sat Oct 29, 2011 4:46 pm

Right, but I can't buy windows (yes, I need windows. software support required) doesn't come on network without being a very big corporation. Really, the $150 operating system should come on a $5 USB key.
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Re: Full-ATX yet small case with no 5.25 bays?

Postposted on Sat Oct 29, 2011 6:54 pm

SpotTheCat wrote:Right, but I can't buy windows (yes, I need windows. software support required) doesn't come on network without being a very big corporation. Really, the $150 operating system should come on a $5 USB key.


Windows can be bought in ISO (digital download) form from the Microsoft store.

Or, if you have the disc, there are ways to do it. You use DISKPART to create an active partition on USB prior to doing a full copy of the disk to USB even if you don't have an ISO.

http://www.maximumpc.com/article/howtos ... _7_usb_key
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Re: Full-ATX yet small case with no 5.25 bays?

Postposted on Sat Oct 29, 2011 8:14 pm

You can install Windows 7 and pretty much every other OS from USB. Microsoft supplies a tool to make bootable USB out of ISOs downloaded from Microsoft store.
Also, AFAIK, latest OSX comes on a usb stick, so the first stop has been done :>
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