Best mATX case as of February 2013

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Re: Best mATX case as of February 2013

Postposted on Fri Feb 08, 2013 10:08 am

Chrispy_ wrote:The damn thing supports the whole drive cage and is only held on by two short-thread screws into plastic, only at the bottom of the cage (so the top is unsupported), and only on one side!

Funny, I have no worries about the sturdiness of the cage or it's attachment to the case. There are some "cleats" on the bottom of the cage that mate with cleats in the case - those do at least half of the work, while the plastic screw flange does the other half. I imagine the "bucket" part of the screw flange is there to catch the screws when you unscrew them.

Oh, and you mentioned the top fan filter on the case - I just throw that thing away. And I always mount the PSU with the fan facing down so it sucks air out of the case. The PSU external air vents never make sense to me. I want the PSU helping out with case ventilation.
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Re: Best mATX case as of February 2013

Postposted on Fri Feb 08, 2013 10:34 am

Chrispy_ wrote: I don't know what the aim of the silly plastic basket on the side of the cage is, but it gets in the way, feels cheap and flimsy, and seems to serve absolutely no purpose whatsoever.
Antec has these on some of their drive cages, too. It's where you store those fancy case-specific noise-isolating screws and washers when you don't have every available drive bay filled. That way, they're with the case when you go to install a new drive, not in a box somewhere that you can't find.
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Re: Best mATX case as of February 2013

Postposted on Fri Feb 08, 2013 11:25 am

yeah the plastic boxes on the back of some antec drive cages (specifically P180, P182) are great, because they snap shut.
The open bucket design is what confuses me. It's all but useless and, sure, it catches the screws as you undo them, but the bucket itself is a hinderance to undoing them ;)

Oh, and flip - Hopefully build quality has improved in the later revisions but the early TJ08-E's that I built had pretty loose cleats that let the whole drive cage rock a good few milimeters, pivoting around the screws in the plastic bucket. It's been almost a year since I touched a TJ08 now.
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Re: Best mATX case as of February 2013

Postposted on Fri Feb 08, 2013 12:46 pm

I think that plastic piece on the drive cage is meant to be a support for long video cards and to prevent possible shorts of video cards against the drive cage rather than being a case hardware box like Antec's. Does it even open up?

flip-mode wrote:
Chrispy_ wrote:The damn thing supports the whole drive cage and is only held on by two short-thread screws into plastic, only at the bottom of the cage (so the top is unsupported), and only on one side!

Funny, I have no worries about the sturdiness of the cage or it's attachment to the case. There are some "cleats" on the bottom of the cage that mate with cleats in the case - those do at least half of the work, while the plastic screw flange does the other half. I imagine the "bucket" part of the screw flange is there to catch the screws when you unscrew them.

Oh, and you mentioned the top fan filter on the case - I just throw that thing away. And I always mount the PSU with the fan facing down so it sucks air out of the case. The PSU external air vents never make sense to me. I want the PSU helping out with case ventilation.


If you want to use the PSU for case venting in the TJ08, be prepared to dremel. The 5.25"/PSU bay is separated from the rest of the case and is solid underneath the PSU.
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Re: Best mATX case as of February 2013

Postposted on Fri Feb 08, 2013 1:47 pm

Maybe true for the TJ08, but that's not an issue with the TJ08-E

Here'a a HUGE thread with some pictures
http://hardforum.com/showthread.php?p=1037715213
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Re: Best mATX case as of February 2013

Postposted on Sat Feb 09, 2013 2:02 am

flip-mode wrote:
AbRASiON wrote:I'd need to own one to see for myself about your predicament but I've got no real hesitation doing light work on a case with a dremel as long as it was well designed to begin with and it's only internal non visible changes. I think I added a motherboard tray rear access on my P183 or SX-635-II (I can't recall) - it was worth dicing up a new case for the convinience.

Dremmel work won't fix it. The drive cage is pushed all the way up to the back face of the intake fan. The distance between the back face of the intake fan and the front face of a 120mm tower-style CPU fan is shorter than the length of a 3.5" drive with a straight cable plugged in. An angle cable will work except for the fact that it's still so tight that you can't insert/remove the angle cable without pulling the drive cage. And again, this is all said in the context of having a 120mm tower-style CPU heatsink with the fan in the typical "push" configuration. It seems to me that if Silverstone simply figured out a way to turn the drive cage 90 degrees, all problems would be solved.

The best solution is simply putting the CPU fan on the pull side. That fixes all issues and doesn't really matter for CPU cooling unless you're OC'ing to the bleeding edge. If you're using the stock CPU cooler or other types of coolers that don't come right up behind the hard drives then there isn't any issue to speak of.

Besides that and the fan (which I consider too loud in a home environment - but totally acceptable in my louder office environment) it's a very excellent case. Lot's of cable routing possibilities, fan filters, no problems with enough space between optical drives and PSU, the thing is highly modular down to a removable motherboard tray, the construction quality is very decent, and it looks quite svelte.



I have every intention of running my dual fan Noctua in a TJ08-E - fans on both sides, one in push, one in pull config - it's such an impressively quiet and reliable cooler (I do hope they fit Haswell M-ATX Asus boards)

Hence me completely removing the tray. As for my suggestion I was wondering if you could literally mount the disk somewhere - well strange, elsewhere - where it normally wouldn't go, like literally on the very bottom of the case somewhere.
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Re: Best mATX case as of February 2013

Postposted on Sat Feb 09, 2013 2:07 am

MadManOriginal wrote:I think that plastic piece on the drive cage is meant to be a support for long video cards and to prevent possible shorts of video cards against the drive cage rather than being a case hardware box like Antec's. Does it even open up?

flip-mode wrote:
Chrispy_ wrote:The damn thing supports the whole drive cage and is only held on by two short-thread screws into plastic, only at the bottom of the cage (so the top is unsupported), and only on one side!

Funny, I have no worries about the sturdiness of the cage or it's attachment to the case. There are some "cleats" on the bottom of the cage that mate with cleats in the case - those do at least half of the work, while the plastic screw flange does the other half. I imagine the "bucket" part of the screw flange is there to catch the screws when you unscrew them.

Oh, and you mentioned the top fan filter on the case - I just throw that thing away. And I always mount the PSU with the fan facing down so it sucks air out of the case. The PSU external air vents never make sense to me. I want the PSU helping out with case ventilation.


If you want to use the PSU for case venting in the TJ08, be prepared to dremel. The 5.25"/PSU bay is separated from the rest of the case and is solid underneath the PSU.



Is this specific to the 08 and the 08-E or just the first one?
EDIT
At least at the time of this review, the TJ08-E edition seemed to be clear?
http://www.silentpcreview.com/article1215-page3.html (5'th picture down)

The review does seem to indicate it's not as quiet as my glorious P183 which is mind smashingly quiet, very very happy with it.
I'll have to pony up for high end 120mm fans and some kind of regulator for the 180mm :/
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Re: Best mATX case as of February 2013

Postposted on Sat Feb 09, 2013 7:29 am

Abrasion, the TJ08-E is open below the PSU. The PSU can be installed fan up or fan down.

As for unorthodox hard drive mounting, I think you could make it work.
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Re: Best mATX case as of February 2013

Postposted on Sat Feb 09, 2013 10:40 am

I see, it's good that they gave that option. I am sad that my long-winded post about the Rosewill case has gone totally ignored though :cry:
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Re: Best mATX case as of February 2013

Postposted on Sat Feb 09, 2013 10:52 am

MadManOriginal wrote:I see, it's good that they gave that option. I am sad that my long-winded post about the Rosewill case has gone totally ignored though :cry:

It looks like a decent option, but it's not blowing my socks off. It looks cheap and I'm willing to pay more just for good looks/materials. It's got a bling-bling fan which can be replaced easily enough. 3.5" drive accommodation looks inadequate for me personally, but is probably quite fine for most. Air flow looks fantastic.

I've had my current Antec Sonata II (or is it a III, I forget) for a long, long time, and even though it has it's shortcomings I don't see retiring it any time soon - it should be good for as long as ATX/mATX systems can be built. So I'm willing to spend more on a case given how long they can stick around.
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Re: Best mATX case as of February 2013

Postposted on Sat Feb 09, 2013 4:22 pm

I'm thinking of grabbing this fan for pull configuration at the back
http://www.pccasegear.com/index.php?mai ... ts_id=6223
http://www.pccasegear.com/index.php?mai ... s_id=11497 4 of those mounts (can I assume the front fan is mounted with screws and it would be best to replace with the rubber grommets? - is ths possible?)

I also would probably mount the PSU upside down to pull from the video card area. Although I see the 2 cards 'fighting' for air perhaps. I do hope the next gen cards as quiet as my 5850, best card I've ever owned.
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Re: Best mATX case as of February 2013

Postposted on Sat Feb 09, 2013 6:43 pm

If you're buying a fan for your CPU, you want one with pulse width modulation (PWM) speed control.
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Re: Best mATX case as of February 2013

Postposted on Sat Feb 09, 2013 7:09 pm

Nah I've got the CPU one already, I believe it's a Noctua NH-U12P SE2
http://www.pccasegear.com/index.php?mai ... s_id=12931

I plan to add another 120mm Noctua, fan dampening silicone mounts on the 2 case fans and use a fan modulator to run them as quiet as possible. I'm also diskless so the only noise should be the GPU fan or simply poor wind design / resonance.

I did just read the silent PC review of the Fractal Design Define Mini and I must say, boy I wish that had a full length GPU slot, that's also a pretty nice looking case with a lot more dampening material inside.
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Re: Best mATX case as of February 2013

Postposted on Sat Feb 09, 2013 7:34 pm

If I'm plugging a fan into the controller on an Asus motherboard, I also want it to be PWM.
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Re: Best mATX case as of February 2013

Postposted on Thu Feb 28, 2013 11:36 pm

Um, um, I know IN WIN isn't the most popular manufacturer of ca-- well, anything, really, but... (。 >艸<)

Well, I wanted to speak up for my awesome little case that nobody else seems to like!

It's the IN WIN DRAGON SLAYER (hehe), a really cool-looking little MicroATX case. It's kinda heavy, and it's a little larger than the average MicroATX, but that's because it has five expansion slots, which allows you to comfortably run SLI in a MicroATX enclosure without jamming the cards up against one another. It's not too expensive, it has great cable management features, and did I mention it looks FABULOUS? If you're into gunmetal, anyway, hehehe. (*≧艸≦)
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Re: Best mATX case as of February 2013

Postposted on Fri Mar 01, 2013 7:38 am

Auxy, if I built a PC in that case and set it on one of the desks at work I'd get a serious reprimand and it would call into question my aesthetic judgement as an architect. 8)
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Re: Best mATX case as of February 2013

Postposted on Fri Mar 01, 2013 7:46 am

In-Win, on average, makes decent cases. Nothing special, in my opinion.

Unless you're talking about this: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6811108431

I heard they were making a mATX (or maybe it was ITX?) in the same version for later this year. I'd buy that in a heart beat if the price was reasonable -- or if money was no object.
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Re: Best mATX case as of February 2013

Postposted on Fri Mar 01, 2013 8:15 am

I've become a huge fan of the ACE Ecco 250, which is very like the Fractal Design 1000 but with a few differences - it has a 120mm exhaust fan, solid side panels and a nicer looking fascia (IMO).

http://www.aceofsweden.com/ace/case/mic ... co250.html

It's also about as compact as it can be and still take a standard PSU and full-width expansion cards. If it had a small offset 3.5" bay below that external 3.5" bay (maybe for 2 drives), rather than the unusual side-mounted drives, and better front fan grills it'd be perfect.

Also a simple solution to the TJ08-E CPU cooler problem is to use something like an Antec Kuhler 620/920 or one of the Corsair Hx0 all-in-one watercoolers for CPU cooling and mount the radiator at the rear 120mm fan spot. To me the case is practically designed for that :). The Thermalright HR-02 Macho is also not a bad choice, as it's asymmetric and offset to the rear of the motherboard.
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Re: Best mATX case as of February 2013

Postposted on Fri Mar 01, 2013 8:36 am

The Ecco 250 looked good until I realised that it had those vertical drive rails like the Fractal Core 1000.

In theory, you just unscrew them and move them out of the way to access the rest of the innards.
In practice you are forced to leave cable-spaghetti everywhere during your build. you can't tag them anywhere, because then you have to cut the tags to take the drive cage out.
Whilst it looks like AoS have at least provided some kind of clip to help with the cables, I would very much like to see a real drive cage below the 5.25" bays for at least two or three drives; That would in no way interfere with the PCIe slots.
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Re: Best mATX case as of February 2013

Postposted on Fri Mar 01, 2013 9:01 am

Chrispy_ wrote:The Ecco 250 looked good until I realised that it had those vertical drive rails like the Fractal Core 1000.

In theory, you just unscrew them and move them out of the way to access the rest of the innards.
In practice you are forced to leave cable-spaghetti everywhere during your build. you can't tag them anywhere, because then you have to cut the tags to take the drive cage out.
Whilst it looks like AoS have at least provided some kind of clip to help with the cables, I would very much like to see a real drive cage below the 5.25" bays for at least two or three drives; That would in no way interfere with the PCIe slots.


In a case of this depth (~15.5") front horizontal drive mounts will always overhang a mATX motherboard. There's just no way around it with the standard dimensions of the parts involved. So, cable spaghetti issue aside, putting the drives on the side that way is a good way to maximize drive mounting options while allowing for free airflow. Another open style drive mount hanging off the external 3.5" bay wouldn't hurt though. Whether cables being in the way matters depends on how much you mess around inside the rig too though, plus SATA cables can be routed pretty cleanly even if you do need to unplug them. Imagine building it with PATA cables :lol: A more important problem is the other one you mention, the decrease in headroom. There are plenty of video card options that don't go above the standard height in the direction now (for a while too many cards had heatpipes extending out above the normal expansion card height) but aftermarket CPU coolers would be limited. One could always just not use that second HDD mounting rack at all, or not use the position over the CPU.

It's too bad that case doesn't seem to be available in the US :( but for me personally that's good because I'd have been pissed that I didn't know about it :D
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Re: Best mATX case as of February 2013

Postposted on Fri Mar 01, 2013 4:53 pm

flip-mode wrote:Auxy, if I built a PC in that case and set it on one of the desks at work I'd get a serious reprimand and it would call into question my aesthetic judgement as an architect. 8)
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Re: Best mATX case as of February 2013

Postposted on Mon Mar 04, 2013 6:09 pm

MadManOriginal wrote:So, cable spaghetti issue aside, putting the drives on the side that way is a good way to maximize drive mounting options while allowing for free airflow. Another open style drive mount hanging off the external 3.5" bay wouldn't hurt though. Whether cables being in the way matters depends on how much you mess around inside the rig too though, plus SATA cables can be routed pretty cleanly even if you do need to unplug them.


Yeah, that's pretty much what I did with the Core 1000 for a build. I used a PSU with longer-than-average cables, then ordered some longer SATA cables. That way, I could tag everything down (neatly in place) and route 3x SATA power and 3x SATA data cables to the drive "tray" in such a way that the unscrewed drive tray pivots using the cables as a hinge; As long as the cables aren't tagged too close/too tight to the joint, this is both convenient and (probably) healthier for the cables than constantly plugging/unplugging them ;)
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Re: Best mATX case as of February 2013

Postposted on Wed May 28, 2014 11:33 am

Hey folks

Anyone think the info in this thread has changed much? Still the same suggestions?
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Re: Best mATX case as of February 2013

Postposted on Wed May 28, 2014 11:41 am

DancinJack wrote:Hey folks

Anyone think the info in this thread has changed much? Still the same suggestions?


Without reading the whole thread I'm confident that nothing has changed. Case manufacturers just like to make new ATX cases or mini ITX cases while mATX kinda gets the shaft.

The only new ones I can think of that may have gotten released in this time frame are the Nanoxia Deep Silence 4 or the Cooler Master Silencio 352. I'm eyeing the latter myself, but Cooler Master just doesn't want to release the 352 in North America for some unknown reason. :evil: It's been selling overseas for almost a year now.

*EDIT* - Forgot that Fractal Design recently added the Core 1500 to it's line up. Nothing special, if you ask me, but since the Core 1000 has already been mentioned it might be worth a look.
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Re: Best mATX case as of February 2013

Postposted on Wed May 28, 2014 6:56 pm

My Temjin TJ08-E is still just as satisfactory as it was when I purchased it a bit over a year ago.
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Re: Best mATX case as of February 2013

Postposted on Thu May 29, 2014 5:34 am

Yeah, the Silencio 352 is amazing for what it costs, but availability seems to be Europe and Asia only.

Corsair have made a nice μATX Obsidian that completely misses the point by being bigger than several full-ATX cases.

IMO, μATX is dying off, people who want compact are moving to mITX and the improvement in mITX board availability makes the whole mITX scene more attractive than μATX these days.

As far as I can tell, μATX will likely be relegated to HTPCs where compactness is still needed, but one PCI-E slot isn't enough for, say, a tuner and a dedicated graphics card.
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Re: Best mATX case as of February 2013

Postposted on Thu May 29, 2014 6:06 am

To the contrary, more and more mainstream and enthusiast PCs are micro-ATX rather than wasting space for full-size ATX. The selection of micro-ATX motherboards available today is better than ever before.
Newegg has more than three times as many LGA1150 motherboards available in micro-ATX as mini-ITX, and there are only 1½ times as many ATX boards as micro-ATX.
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Re: Best mATX case as of February 2013

Postposted on Thu May 29, 2014 8:02 am

Yeah mATX motherboards have been great lately. I'm very happy with my Asus Gene IV (Z68). It's why the difficulty in finding a quality mATX case is that much more infuriating.
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Re: Best mATX case as of February 2013

Postposted on Thu May 29, 2014 8:52 am

Yeah, I think I'm just going to have to settle for something that is a tiny bit bigger than I want, but hits all the feature marks. Oh well.
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Re: Best mATX case as of February 2013

Postposted on Thu May 29, 2014 8:55 am

kuzzia wrote:You can add these.

Silverstone Sugo SG09/SG10
Fractal Design Define Mini

I've used the Silverstone Sugo's in past... the major issue with them was once stuff started getting installed the space was tight (no flip out cages or other conveniences) but you get what you pay for and they tended to be on the cheaper end of costs.
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