A decent all-around case, not too expensive?

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A decent all-around case, not too expensive?

Postposted on Tue Mar 30, 2010 2:26 am

I build computers as part of my computer-fixing business. I've used the following cases:

E-eye (the brand was something like that anyway) white/silver nokia-style case
Nokia-style silver case
Foxconn TLA-397
Coolermaster Elite 330

They're all midi-tower cases (I don't use micro-ATX boards - usually lacking in particular features), and they're in the order that I used them, top being the first I used when I started system building for my business. I was pretty happy with the first, but when I had difficulty getting them for a while, I moved on to the second (well, what I used was a variant of that with a see-through side panel and a side fan). The silver one particularly had issues with dodgy buttons on delivery, but so did the first and a black variation of it too. The silver one was pretty tacky-looking though.

I only built two or three using the Foxconn TLA-397 case. I can't remember the reason for not using it any more, but I think it was to do with the securing bracket for the add-in cards being unreliable (or it didn't fill me with confidence). This was also the time that I moved to choosing a decent PSU instead of a generic el cheapo one. I've also had one customer who bought a PC (not through me) that used this case, the power button broke, so I inspected the assembly of it and it's pretty poor - the customer's finger versus a couple of tiny little plastic clips.

I'm currently using the Coolermaster Elite 330 case. I'm happy with it, except for the power button. I've learnt how to press it in the right way so it doesn't stick, but quite a few customers (I would say 5 or 7 in 20, maybe 30) have broken the power button. Coolermaster have sent me some spares free of charge, which is good of them. Personally I think the customers who have broken the buttons (well, it's the plastic brackets behind the buttons which are the problem) have jabbed the button rather than just pressed it, but still. Customers like the look of it as well, so perhaps I shouldn't be so critical. It costs me about £30, give or take £5.

Any suggestions?
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Re: A decent all-around case, not too expensive?

Postposted on Wed Mar 31, 2010 5:42 pm

Have you looked at the Antec 300? For the money it's quite a nice case.
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Re: A decent all-around case, not too expensive?

Postposted on Thu Apr 01, 2010 1:36 am

It's a standard ATX, isn't it? The PSU being at the bottom confused me into thinking it was BTX for a while.

How many actual fans are in the case when I buy it? On another thread the quality of their fans was called into question, should I think of replacing it/them? The Coolermaster Elite 330 has a 12cm chassis fan that comes with the case, and when it it plugged in to an Asus board with fan management, it spins as low as about 600rpm. If the fan(s) in this case are reasonably-decent quality, will they do the same?
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Re: A decent all-around case, not too expensive?

Postposted on Thu Apr 01, 2010 2:10 am

mikeymike wrote:It's a standard ATX, isn't it? The PSU being at the bottom confused me into thinking it was BTX for a while.


Yeah, it's an ATX case - the PSU is just bottom-mounted for slightly improved stability (or at least I think that's why it's down there).

How many actual fans are in the case when I buy it?


Four total: Two in the front, one on the top, and one in the back. There's also a slot for a fifth on the side of the case if you wanted extra cooling.

On another thread the quality of their fans was called into question, should I think of replacing it/them?


The ones that ship with it are ok and will do if you're not too picky about such things, I'm happy with them at the moment and will likely not upgrade them unless I need to.

The Coolermaster Elite 330 has a 12cm chassis fan that comes with the case, and when it it plugged in to an Asus board with fan management, it spins as low as about 600rpm. If the fan(s) in this case are reasonably-decent quality, will they do the same?


That sounds about right if you set the fans on "low" (although I will admit I've not actually looked at the RPM of all the fans).
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Re: A decent all-around case, not too expensive?

Postposted on Thu Apr 01, 2010 3:30 am

The Green Fairy wrote:
mikeymike wrote:How many actual fans are in the case when I buy it?
Four total: Two in the front, one on the top, and one in the back. There's also a slot for a fifth on the side of the case if you wanted extra cooling.
There's actually two versions of the Three Hundred. The regular one comes with the rear 120 and the top 140 exhaust fans (and you can add the two front intake fans yourself). For $10 more, the "Illusion" version includes two blue LED 120 intake fans.
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Re: A decent all-around case, not too expensive?

Postposted on Thu Apr 01, 2010 1:11 pm

If you live close to A microcenter they sell the antec 300 for around $40-$50 depending on current sales. 10-15 cheaper than newegg with no shipping. :wink:
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Re: A decent all-around case, not too expensive?

Postposted on Thu Apr 01, 2010 1:24 pm

this is a low cost case Thermaltake V3 Black Edition
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Re: A decent all-around case, not too expensive?

Postposted on Thu Apr 01, 2010 1:29 pm

i have an antec 300. it's a good case; nice understated looks and fairly easy to work with. however, a 9.5" graphic card is about the largest you can fit into it, and even that takes a bit of fancy cable management. fitting a 10.5" card like the 5870 looks to be almost impossible.
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Re: A decent all-around case, not too expensive?

Postposted on Thu Apr 01, 2010 1:39 pm

moriz wrote:i have an antec 300. it's a good case; nice understated looks and fairly easy to work with. however, a 9.5" graphic card is about the largest you can fit into it, and even that takes a bit of fancy cable management. fitting a 10.5" card like the 5870 looks to be almost impossible.
I disagree. The Radeon HD3870X2 is 10.5" long, and it fits into the Antec Three Hundred case with 5/8" to spare. An 11.0" long graphics card could be squeezed in.

Edit: I just put the measuring tape on it.
Last edited by JustAnEngineer on Thu Apr 01, 2010 2:23 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: A decent all-around case, not too expensive?

Postposted on Thu Apr 01, 2010 1:58 pm

Another vote for the Antec 300. It's my new standard case. Previously I was using the Coolermaster 330 as you were, nice looking for sure and pretty easy to work in - just feels a little cheap compared to the Antec. I haven't quite bought my 5870 yet but I can confirm that after a lot of reading it will fit just fine; 5970s however will not.
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Re: A decent all-around case, not too expensive?

Postposted on Thu Apr 01, 2010 3:45 pm

JustAnEngineer wrote:
moriz wrote:i have an antec 300. it's a good case; nice understated looks and fairly easy to work with. however, a 9.5" graphic card is about the largest you can fit into it, and even that takes a bit of fancy cable management. fitting a 10.5" card like the 5870 looks to be almost impossible.
I disagree. The Radeon HD3870X2 is 10.5" long, and it fits into the Antec Three Hundred case with 5/8" to spare. An 11.0" long graphics card could be squeezed in.

Edit: I just put the measuring tape on it.


my bad. i was under the impression that the 5870 has the power connectors on the rear like the 5850, where it actually on the side. it's a struggle to fit a 9.5" card WITH the power cables sticking out the rear of the card. with the connectors on the side, it shouldn't be a problem.
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Re: A decent all-around case, not too expensive?

Postposted on Thu Apr 01, 2010 4:11 pm

Can someone provide a close-up of the top front of the case, where the power button and USB ports are?

Are there any disadvantages of this case?
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Re: A decent all-around case, not too expensive?

Postposted on Thu Apr 01, 2010 4:27 pm

You can zoom in on Newegg's photo with their Flash viewer.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ImageGall ... ter%20Case
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Re: A decent all-around case, not too expensive?

Postposted on Thu Apr 01, 2010 4:32 pm

mikeymike wrote:Are there any disadvantages of this case?


I've used the antec 300 on my last 3 builds prior to the one in my sig,and I would have to say no.At least not when comparing it to anything else in it's price range ,or for under $100 really.hell only reason i went with the CM 690 for my newest build was because it was on sale and a bit roomier.To be honest though i almost wish i had went with the antec 300 again.My cm 690 is nice but i liked the cable management scheme on the 300 a bit better(they don't show it most pics but the 300 has a space behind the drive bays to strap down cables)and i liked the old fashion hard screws setup.Screwless is nice but i can her my HD vibrating sometimes in it's plastic screwless bracket.
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Re: A decent all-around case, not too expensive?

Postposted on Thu Apr 01, 2010 5:21 pm

mikeymike wrote:Are there any disadvantages of this case?
The case's tradeoffs favor air movement over noise control (which is perfectly acceptable to me for a $50 case). There's no sound dampening material. The two intake fans make it noticeably louder (1000rpm Scythe slipstreams), but your case probably will be cool enough without them anyway.
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Re: A decent all-around case, not too expensive?

Postposted on Fri Apr 02, 2010 3:59 am

Would you use it for a pretty standard, average modern PC? I'm also a little worried about what you said about noise control. My computer builds are pretty much whisper-quiet, to the point that I hear the echo of the boot-up beep in the CoolerMaster Elite 330 case. I'm considering using it for higher-spec computer builds (like the Core i7-870 + QuadroFX 1700 build I just completed) in future, though I would consider it for my average computer builds if I am confident that I won't be making a noise trade-off in exchange for a more sturdy power button assembly.
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Re: A decent all-around case, not too expensive?

Postposted on Fri Apr 02, 2010 8:34 am

For a quiet case, you could spend about the same amount on a Sonata III.
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Re: A decent all-around case, not too expensive?

Postposted on Fri Apr 02, 2010 10:44 am

mikeymike wrote:Would you use it for a pretty standard, average modern PC?
I have two of them 8' from my desk running with all the fans full time. The noise is acceptable for my standards, but probably doesn't meet your definition of 'whisper quiet'. If one was 2' away, I'd prefer that the front intake fans spin slower (or be turned off). I'm guessing, but I think that without the front fans they'd still have more air flow than the Sonata. If you care more about noise than air flow, then strongly consider JAE's suggestion. I'm pretty sure some others have said they're running dual GPUs in a Sonata and are still happy with the temperatures.

But if you can get a Three Hundred for $50, it's not that big of a risk. If it is too loud for you, it sounds like you'd have an easy time using it later for a customer whose preferences it would meet.
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Re: A decent all-around case, not too expensive?

Postposted on Sat Apr 03, 2010 2:50 pm

Green Fairy just build one with a Three Hundred (although not with a Core i7-870 + QuadroFX 1700). You might ask him about his initial impressions of the noise in this thread. It might be respresentative of what your customers would think.
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Re: A decent all-around case, not too expensive?

Postposted on Sat Apr 03, 2010 3:20 pm

JustAnEngineer wrote:For a quiet case, you could spend about the same amount on a Sonata III.


Where?
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Re: A decent all-around case, not too expensive?

Postposted on Sat Apr 03, 2010 4:07 pm

Newegg frequently has the Sonata III with power supply for the about the same delivered price as the Three Hundred with power supply. Of course, they also offer the Three Hundred without a power supply, too. I picked up an EA-430D with the one that I recently ordered because of Newegg's combination discount, and just to have another spare PSU on-hand.
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Re: A decent all-around case, not too expensive?

Postposted on Sat Apr 03, 2010 4:45 pm

JustAnEngineer wrote:Newegg frequently has the Sonata III with power supply for the about the same delivered price as the Three Hundred with power supply. Of course, they also offer the Three Hundred without a power supply, too. I picked up an EA-430D with the one that I recently ordered because of Newegg's combination discount, and just to have another spare PSU on-hand.


Ah gotcha. I thought you were saying it was similarly priced to the cases the OP mentioned in his OP.

I gotta agree the Sonata III is the way to go if you want a good value/high quality silent case with a quality 500W PSU. I used this case for my wife's build and it works great. My only issue with it is that it collects dust around the ducts in the front of the case, but all PCs do that to a certain extent.
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Re: A decent all-around case, not too expensive?

Postposted on Sun Apr 04, 2010 9:02 pm

The Sonata Elite (no included PSU) is down to $75 w/ free shipping until Wednesday.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 29057-LM6A

Other than currently being $50 more (+$19 shipping), I'm not sure the Sonata III adds anything but a PSU.
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Re: A decent all-around case, not too expensive?

Postposted on Wed Apr 07, 2010 9:54 pm

I'll put in a vote for the Sonata III. Mine came with the 500W EarthWatts PSU, and was under $100 shipped. Newegg periodically offers great deals on this case. Mine was easy to build in, looks great and is very quiet, even with an after maket cooler and an extra 120mm fan.
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