Mini-ITX case market driving me insane, advice pls

Enclosures, modding, blowholes, and the power needed to run it all.

Moderators: Nemesis, SpotTheCat

Mini-ITX case market driving me insane, advice pls

Postposted on Fri Apr 19, 2013 9:41 pm

I'm having a hard time finding a case I'd be happy with. This is frustrating. For about two years now you've been able to find tiny nettops with USB3+audio front ports and an integrated card reader and purchase everything but the RAM and HDD for well under $200. But if you want that plus a faster processor and an optical drive, heaven help you if you're trying to fit it into anything noticeably smaller than a full ATX case, and the situation hasn't gotten much better in the last few years.

Size: I may want to put this in a space that's 12"x10.5"x13.25" (WxHxD) (it does have space at the side and back for cooling). If I find something compelling enough I may get it even if it doesn't fit there, but that's about the I'm not going with a big honking 36L case like the BitFenix Prodigy. Why use a mini-ITX case that's almost as big as an ATX case? Anything that's much bigger than the 17L Antec NSK1380, a microATX case, starts to look doubtful.

Connectivity/Expandability: Essential to have front audio+USB3 ports, and space for an optical drive. I'd like an internal card reader. I can do the USB3+card reader with a 3.5" device, either in its own bay or using one full 5.25" bay, a slim drive, and something like this. I want at least one expansion slot (low-profile is fine); two expansion slots is a plus (in case I get a double-slot card in the future or for things that attach to motherboard headers). The only hard drive I'll use is one 2.5" SSD.

PSU: my system won't need more than a 150W PSU, so the preference is for SFX or DC-DC + brick. For cases that take ATX or for cramped SFX cases I'll probably go PicoPSU and grab one of these blanking plates/picopsu mounts.

Quiet: Needs reasonable airflow, and no ZOMG 2X 60MM 4000RPM BLU LED 1NT4K3 FANZ 4 TEH G4M0RZ need apply.

Some examples of the many contenders I've looked at and not felt great about:
Lian Li PC-Q07: a bit taller than I'd like, but well built. WHY THE DEVIL DOESN'T IT HAVE FRONT AUDIO PORTS? But if I'd seen the recent newegg $40 deal in time, I'd probably have just bought it, grabbed a dremel, and tried to find a way to rectify that myself.
Apex MI-110: only aesthetics improved over the old MI-008, but meets a lot of my desiderata. It comes with a PSU that's awful enough I'd pay them $5 to not include it.
Thermaltake SD101: mostly a rebadged & facelifted IN-WIN BM639 +USB3. Included PSU has enough wattage and reasonably efficient. But mounting an optical drive gets in the way of airflow, and the PSU's 40mm fan, though it's been reviewed as quiet, seems likely to get noisy down the line esp. in a dusty room.
Antec NSK1380: I'm seriously considering hunting one of these old beasts down. Too bad Antec got complacent the last few years.
jensend
Gerbil
Silver subscriber
 
 
Posts: 23
Joined: Fri Jun 04, 2004 11:34 pm

Re: Mini-ITX case market driving me insane, advice pls

Postposted on Fri Apr 19, 2013 10:17 pm

I've built a bunch of A10 systems in these:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6811208055

What do you think? (´・_・`)
i5-3570K @ 4.4 (NH-C14), 4x8GB DDR3-1866, GA-Z68MA-D3H-B2, ASUS GTXTITAN-6GD5, 128GB Vertex 4 / 2x60GB Vertex Plus R2 / 2x2TB Barracuda 7200.14 RAID0 / ANS-9010 (4x4GB), SST-DA1000 (PSU), 2x VS229H-P, 1x VG248QE, 1x MIMO 720F, Corsair Vengeance K90+M95
auxy
Gerbil Elite
 
Posts: 781
Joined: Sat Jan 19, 2013 4:25 pm
Location: the armpit of Texas

Re: Mini-ITX case market driving me insane, advice pls

Postposted on Fri Apr 19, 2013 10:50 pm

It's tough to find one that has an external 3½" drive bay that fits into your space. You may need to use an external card reader.

How about the Silverstone Sugo SG05 or SG06? They accept full-power processors and two-slot 10" long gaming graphics cards.

The Antec ISK300 can only take a half-height card (hello, Radeon HD7750), and even then you'd want to keep an eye on the 150-watt power supply.

Edit: It looks like the Rosewill RS-MI-01 meets all of your criteria except USB3. You might be able to rectify that situation by modifying a backpanel USB3 port adapter to replace the USB2 ports on the front of the case.
Last edited by JustAnEngineer on Fri Apr 19, 2013 11:27 pm, edited 3 times in total.
i7-4770K, H70, Gryphon Z87, 16 GiB, R9-290, SSD, 2 HD, Blu-ray, SB ZX, TJ08-E, SS-660XP², 3007WFP+2001FP, RK-9000BR, MX518
JustAnEngineer
Gerbil God
Gold subscriber
 
 
Posts: 15401
Joined: Sat Jan 26, 2002 7:00 pm
Location: The Heart of Dixie

Re: Mini-ITX case market driving me insane, advice pls

Postposted on Fri Apr 19, 2013 11:10 pm

Not 100% what you're looking for but the Silverstone Fortress FT03-mini has room for a slim optical, a full size graphics card and audio ports. It also looks very good.

http://www.silverstonetek.com/product.p ... 33&area=en
kumori
Gerbil Team Leader
Silver subscriber
 
 
Posts: 282
Joined: Sun Dec 18, 2011 12:11 am

Re: Mini-ITX case market driving me insane, advice pls

Postposted on Fri Apr 19, 2013 11:14 pm

Auxy- Well, what do you think? I'd looked at that case before (well, the black version); I remember I went to the trouble of inspecting pictures and comparing with standards spec sheets to deduce what PSU form factor it used, but I can't remember what it was. I was too worried about the possibilities of problems with shoddy quality from an unheard of manufacturer to jump on it. Only info I found was newegg reviews; there are complaints of dying PSUs and non-functional front USB3 ports, and some of them get creative in their insults (e.g. "engineered by a single celled organism"). If you've done a bunch of A10 systems in such cases, your experience would be valuable information about the quality and reliability question.

A few of the other minuses I'm remembering, none of which would be a deal killer if this is a diamond in the rough quality-wise:
Not sure how I feel about vertically mounted optical drives. Does it work well horizontally (airflow-wise, for instance)?
It's deeper than the space I was thinking of placing this in (13" vs 15") - taller too if vertical
HDD bracket would require adapter for my 2.5" SSD but I probably have one somewhere if I clean up thoroughly

I'm actually doing an FM2 build myself- A6-5400K for now (purchased on the cheap), upgrade sometime next year to Kaveri (if it has an FM2 version as rumored) or a Richland A10-6700 (should be cheap by then).
jensend
Gerbil
Silver subscriber
 
 
Posts: 23
Joined: Fri Jun 04, 2004 11:34 pm

Re: Mini-ITX case market driving me insane, advice pls

Postposted on Fri Apr 19, 2013 11:43 pm

JAE and Kumori, I don't have any need for full-length graphics cards or high TDP processors. I'll be just using integrated graphics in the near term, though perhaps someday down the road I might grab a low-midrange card (e.g. the future equivalent of today's 7750). FT03 seemed like an awkward form factor and is considerably taller than the space I was thinking to fit this into. I'd counted the SG05/06 out largely because they only have a slim optical drive, which means extra expense immediately (getting a slim drive; I already have an available full-size drive) and constraints down the road (no way to do the 5.25"->slim optical + 3.5" adapter I mentioned). More on that below. I've wondered whether the SG01/02 might be worth the (very considerable) extra volume.

WRT the ISK-300 I looked at that back in the day and thought "after a few iterations Antec will have a really nice design on their hands here." Then they stopped innovating entirely. Still not a bad case, but again only slim optical and cramped enough I might need to replace the 150W PSU with a PicoPSU for better airflow with a 65W proc. Also, it's hard to guarantee you're getting the version with USB3 front ports.

WRT the difficulty of finding 3.5" bays, I suppose I can give up on the internal card reader, but I'm not sure how I feel about the lack of future expandability. I've kept boxes going for as long as 10 years (indeed one of several reasons for building this is that a Northwood P4 is finally kicking the bucket) and this isn't going to be in a location where it's convenient to have a dozen USB gadgets hanging off the device.

If I let THE MAN wear me down and I give up on the card reader, future 3.5" expansion, etc I might as well relent on slim optical too since it opens up a lot of options including the SG05/06. But I'm not quite to that point yet.
jensend
Gerbil
Silver subscriber
 
 
Posts: 23
Joined: Fri Jun 04, 2004 11:34 pm

Re: Mini-ITX case market driving me insane, advice pls

Postposted on Fri Apr 19, 2013 11:54 pm

JAE: from what I can tell the Rosewill is, like the MI-110, basically just a facelift of the Apex MI-008. (Same crappy Apex/ALLIED AL8250SFX PSU but with a Rosewill sticker on it.) I may yet grab something like that, in which case a 3.5" bay device can also take care of the USB3 port (e.g. this).

One of the reasons I haven't just grabbed one of those, besides feeling like they should sell me the case without the bad PSU, is that if I use a picopsu and cover up the SFX plate I'm not yet sure how the airflow will be. The ecosmartpc guy linked above (orig. just an enthusiast doing some diy, dougiefresh on xbmc-forum) who sells PSU blanking plates with or without picopsu connector mounting holes said that he originally tried making the SFX plates with fan mounts too but found that the resulting plates were brittle.
jensend
Gerbil
Silver subscriber
 
 
Posts: 23
Joined: Fri Jun 04, 2004 11:34 pm

Re: Mini-ITX case market driving me insane, advice pls

Postposted on Sat Apr 20, 2013 12:12 am

BTW just wanted to add my thanks for everybody's input so far. I'm going to bed; maybe by morning I'll have given up my insistence on the card reader. (I only use SD and its variants, and it just seems silly given the prevalence of those and the ubiquity of slots on laptops and nettops that so few case manufacturers ever build such a tiny and useful slot in, but if I can find a good way to make sure my external reader stays near the case maybe that's fine.) Will have to think harder about expandability/futureproofness, obviously there are limits to that on an ITX board anyways.
jensend
Gerbil
Silver subscriber
 
 
Posts: 23
Joined: Fri Jun 04, 2004 11:34 pm

Re: Mini-ITX case market driving me insane, advice pls

Postposted on Sat Apr 20, 2013 8:15 am

Running optical drives vertically is okay if they're designed for it. There should be little plastic retainers on the tray that you rotate out so that they hold the disc when it is being inserted and ejected. Once the drive hub engages, the tray doesn't matter any more. On many of the slim optical drives, the hub is built into the tray and you have to snap the disc into place anyway.

I agree that the Rosewill RS-MI-01 is similar to the Apex MI-110. The Silverstone Sugo SG01 and SG02 are 393 mm deep. You told us that you have only 336 mm of depth available. The SG05 is 276 mm deep and the SG06 is 286 mm deep.

You may need 20 to 50 mm of clear space behind the case for the cords and some ventilation. Shopping for flat right-angle cords and such can be annoying if you didn't plan for it in advance. I once had to cut a hole in the back of an entertainment center to accommodate the protruding power supply from a laser disc player.
i7-4770K, H70, Gryphon Z87, 16 GiB, R9-290, SSD, 2 HD, Blu-ray, SB ZX, TJ08-E, SS-660XP², 3007WFP+2001FP, RK-9000BR, MX518
JustAnEngineer
Gerbil God
Gold subscriber
 
 
Posts: 15401
Joined: Sat Jan 26, 2002 7:00 pm
Location: The Heart of Dixie

Re: Mini-ITX case market driving me insane, advice pls

Postposted on Sat Apr 20, 2013 9:25 am

The Thermaltake Element Q might be an option, though it's close to your maximum depth.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6811133093

http://techreport.com/review/21515/ther ... -enclosure

Lacks front USB3, but has a 3.5" and 5.25" bay. Would need a 2.5" - 3.5" adapter to mount your Also if you got rid of the stock PSU, you'd improve the cooling dramatically.

EDIT - oops, it's basically a rebadged Apex MI-110, sorry. I kinda like the look of the Thermaltake, though.
i5-2500k @ 4.5ghz | ASUS P8Z68-V | nVidia GTX780 | 32gb DDR3| 2x SSDs 2x HDD | Antec Solo II | Dell U2713HM
Mentawl
Gerbil XP
Silver subscriber
 
 
Posts: 448
Joined: Sun Dec 26, 2004 5:21 pm
Location: UK

Re: Mini-ITX case market driving me insane, advice pls

Postposted on Sat Apr 20, 2013 9:49 am

jensend wrote:WRT the ISK-300 I looked at that back in the day and thought "after a few iterations Antec will have a really nice design on their hands here." Then they stopped innovating entirely. Still not a bad case, but again only slim optical and cramped enough I might need to replace the 150W PSU with a PicoPSU for better airflow with a 65W proc. Also, it's hard to guarantee you're getting the version with USB3 front ports.


I am in the same boat as you as I cannot find a case that I am 100% happy with. I tried most of the Lian Li ones and I found their quality lacking considering the price you are paying. The best one i've used so far is the Antec ISK-300. I've built three systems with the Antec ISK-300 for relatives and it has worked out very well. Cable management is a pain so get some zip ties handy.

In regards to airflow for the ISK-300; I wouldn't worry about it too much. There are grills on the sides and they go almost along the length of the case and the holes are fairly large. I built one system with a Core i3 3225 using IGP only with the stock fan on low and it worked out perfectly fine. I don't remember actual load/idle temps but I recall it was within the normal ranges.

The second HTPC system I built with the ISK-300 had a Core i3 3220 with a passive Radeon HD6570 videocard. I threw away the stock case fan and put in two noctua 80mm fans in there. Airflow was great, system was silent and temps were in the safe ranges.

At this time, if you order from Amazon or Newegg, you should be getting the one with USB 3.0 ports.
vandy
Gerbil
 
Posts: 84
Joined: Wed Feb 16, 2011 2:53 pm

Re: Mini-ITX case market driving me insane, advice pls

Postposted on Sat Apr 20, 2013 10:10 am

This InWinn case was at the top of my HTPC list before I decided to just build the case myself.

Dimensions: 12.2"d x 10.4"h x 3.9"w
Front 2-USB3 ports and Audio
1 external 5.25" drive bay
TFX PSU (300W I believe)
Says two 3.5" hdd mounts, but I think it's only one that supports either 0.8" or 1" thick drives.

The only real downside I've noticed is that some people complain about the fan noise. Not a big deal to me since I was planning on sticking one of these fans in it. I already own the fan, completely silent.
i5-3570K, ASRock Z77 Pro4-m, Asus GTX660 TOP, 120 GB Vertex 3 Max IOPS, 2 TB Samsung EcoGreen F4, 8GB G-Skill @1.25V, Silverstone PS07B
DPete27
Gerbil Jedi
Silver subscriber
 
 
Posts: 1633
Joined: Wed Jan 26, 2011 12:50 pm
Location: Madison, Wisconsin

Re: Mini-ITX case market driving me insane, advice pls

Postposted on Sat Apr 20, 2013 4:17 pm

jensend wrote:Auxy- Well, what do you think? I'd looked at that case before (well, the black version); I remember I went to the trouble of inspecting pictures and comparing with standards spec sheets to deduce what PSU form factor it used, but I can't remember what it was. I was too worried about the possibilities of problems with shoddy quality from an unheard of manufacturer to jump on it. Only info I found was newegg reviews; there are complaints of dying PSUs and non-functional front USB3 ports, and some of them get creative in their insults (e.g. "engineered by a single celled organism"). If you've done a bunch of A10 systems in such cases, your experience would be valuable information about the quality and reliability question.

A few of the other minuses I'm remembering, none of which would be a deal killer if this is a diamond in the rough quality-wise:
Not sure how I feel about vertically mounted optical drives. Does it work well horizontally (airflow-wise, for instance)?
It's deeper than the space I was thinking of placing this in (13" vs 15") - taller too if vertical
HDD bracket would require adapter for my 2.5" SSD but I probably have one somewhere if I clean up thoroughly

I'm actually doing an FM2 build myself- A6-5400K for now (purchased on the cheap), upgrade sometime next year to Kaveri (if it has an FM2 version as rumored) or a Richland A10-6700 (should be cheap by then).
Um, well, I like the case a lot. It definitely isn't superior build quality, but what do you want for $30 with a power supply? The PSU is also cheap and awful, but it should work for a no-GPU Mini-ITX build.

I actually used a more expensive version of that case which included a 450W PSU, as well as mouse and keyboard; there's a few niggles -- the power supply cable comes out of the bottom of the case; they include a cable with an L-shaped connector but it's still a little weird. Airflow-wise, I think it would be fine laying down; a few people I sold these machines to use them that way.

I dunno, I mean, it's a case; I'm not real picky about mine. They look nice sitting on a desk.
i5-3570K @ 4.4 (NH-C14), 4x8GB DDR3-1866, GA-Z68MA-D3H-B2, ASUS GTXTITAN-6GD5, 128GB Vertex 4 / 2x60GB Vertex Plus R2 / 2x2TB Barracuda 7200.14 RAID0 / ANS-9010 (4x4GB), SST-DA1000 (PSU), 2x VS229H-P, 1x VG248QE, 1x MIMO 720F, Corsair Vengeance K90+M95
auxy
Gerbil Elite
 
Posts: 781
Joined: Sat Jan 19, 2013 4:25 pm
Location: the armpit of Texas

Re: Mini-ITX case market driving me insane, advice pls

Postposted on Sat Apr 20, 2013 4:47 pm

You can look for a case with a standardized mini-itx power supply... Newegg sells them. Simply trade it out for a better one.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductLi ... rchInDesc=

I also had the same conundrum BTW. It's hard to find a really good, compact, well made mini-itx case with a decent PSU or one that can be swapped for a mini-itx PSU. Even Lian-Li and Silverstone haven't managed to figure it out yet. It's really quite silly.
Bensam123
Gerbil Elite
 
Posts: 949
Joined: Wed May 29, 2002 12:19 pm

Re: Mini-ITX case market driving me insane, advice pls

Postposted on Sat Apr 20, 2013 6:03 pm

If you want to spend a few extra bucks, you could consider a case with a 5.25" front bay and one of these conversion brackets. Then a slim DVD and 3.5" card reader.

Combo bracket

card reader with extra USB 3.0

Slim DVD

This Lian-Li PC-Q08 mini ITX case just about fits the bill. It's a hair over your height and depth requirements at 10.7 and 13.6"inches, respectively. But has front Audio, USB 3. Edit: Maybe you could remove the feet?
cynan
Gerbil Elite
Gold subscriber
 
 
Posts: 812
Joined: Thu Feb 05, 2004 2:30 pm

Re: Mini-ITX case market driving me insane, advice pls

Postposted on Sat Apr 20, 2013 6:19 pm

cynan wrote:If you want to spend a few extra bucks, you could consider a case with a 5.25" front bay and one of these conversion brackets. Then a slim DVD and 3.5" card reader.
It's worth noting that that case I suggested has a 5-in-1 card reader already.

They don't seem to have the red version of the one I've actually used, but here's the white version (which I have used before.)
i5-3570K @ 4.4 (NH-C14), 4x8GB DDR3-1866, GA-Z68MA-D3H-B2, ASUS GTXTITAN-6GD5, 128GB Vertex 4 / 2x60GB Vertex Plus R2 / 2x2TB Barracuda 7200.14 RAID0 / ANS-9010 (4x4GB), SST-DA1000 (PSU), 2x VS229H-P, 1x VG248QE, 1x MIMO 720F, Corsair Vengeance K90+M95
auxy
Gerbil Elite
 
Posts: 781
Joined: Sat Jan 19, 2013 4:25 pm
Location: the armpit of Texas

Re: Mini-ITX case market driving me insane, advice pls

Postposted on Sat Apr 20, 2013 6:26 pm

auxy wrote:
cynan wrote:If you want to spend a few extra bucks, you could consider a case with a 5.25" front bay and one of these conversion brackets. Then a slim DVD and 3.5" card reader.
It's worth noting that that case I suggested has a 5-in-1 card reader already.

They don't seem to have the red version of the one I've actually used, but here's the white version (which I have used before.)


Well, the OP did say he was worried about shoddy quality. The Lian-Li will not be an issue in that regard if he wants to pay. Plus, the case you recommended is taller than the requisite height. The Lian-Li is closer to the desired size spec. But yeah, shelling out the extra $35-$50 for the combo bracket and card reader on top of the Lian-Li will mean the net case cost will be in the neighborhood of $100 over the case you suggested. It all depends on how important build quality is, I guess. I wouldn't trust that 300W PSU further than I could throw it myself.

Edit: The Lian-Li also offers accommodation of full-size GPUs should there be a desire to upgrade in future, more internal drives, better cooling, and room for full ATX PSU (which means better PSU for the money).
cynan
Gerbil Elite
Gold subscriber
 
 
Posts: 812
Joined: Thu Feb 05, 2004 2:30 pm

Re: Mini-ITX case market driving me insane, advice pls

Postposted on Sun Apr 21, 2013 11:47 am

Bensam123 wrote:You can look for a case with a standardized mini-itx power supply...

I would avoid PSUs with 40mm fans (mITX PSUs) like the plague, especially if you'll be pulling more than say..50% of their rated capacity. Little fans like that can get LOUD. Especially in the junky units that typically come included with cases. The reason for my interest in the InWinn case I linked before was because it uses a TFX PSU.

While being about half as wide as ATX PSUs, TFX will (typically) house an 80mm fan. I have one of these Seasonic TFX PSUs (SS-300TFX) and they're perfectly quiet. According to SilentPCReview the fan on the SS-350GTM doesn't even start spinning until load exceeds 150W. I can't confirm if the SS-300TFX does the same (too lazy) but like I said, I can't hear it over my 92mm CPU fan (which is the only other fan in my open-air case) so that's good enough for me.
i5-3570K, ASRock Z77 Pro4-m, Asus GTX660 TOP, 120 GB Vertex 3 Max IOPS, 2 TB Samsung EcoGreen F4, 8GB G-Skill @1.25V, Silverstone PS07B
DPete27
Gerbil Jedi
Silver subscriber
 
 
Posts: 1633
Joined: Wed Jan 26, 2011 12:50 pm
Location: Madison, Wisconsin

Re: Mini-ITX case market driving me insane, advice pls

Postposted on Tue Apr 23, 2013 3:15 pm

I'll reply to individual suggestions in the next post, but first I'll say I've been rethinking this. I figure I have three roads to choose from:

1) Forget internal expansion, get something small like the ISK300 and rely on external gear for card reading and everything else. Maybe my desire to be able to build things in to the system is just an old-fashioned holdover from growing up around ISA cards, slow external interfaces, and motherboards with little integrated stuff and slower socket/mobo replacement cycles. Maybe what I really need is a way to neatly organize external devices and a plan to replace the system once it gets awkward to keep it up with the times using external stuff.

2) Try to do what I was talking about before. The MI-110 (or derivatives) seems like the closest thing available to what I was looking for, and after paying $55 for it and its junky included PSU, $76 for a 160W PicoPSU bundle, and $20 for a PSU blanking plate with PicoPSU lead mounting holes, this may be a decent solution but it's not terribly cheap for what I'm getting out of it.

3) Switch to a small mATX board and get an unusually small mATX case. Maybe part of the reason ITX cases with decent front bay expandability are hard to find is that people who care about expandability aren't often going to be happy with one PCIE slot.

After learning a couple things about the limitations of the ITX mobo I was about to buy and learning that Gigabyte's more capable FM2 ITX board (F2A85XN-WIFI), which was supposed to launch this March or April after some delays, has instead been put indefinitely on hold, I guess I'm starting to lean towards the third option.

As I said before, Antec's NSK1380 is, at 17L, smaller than many ITX cases, and it happens to fit the space I had in mind rather well. Its PSU is nonstandard but decent, and I could replace it with a 120mm fan + PicoPSU down the road. Main downsides are that it doesn't have USB3 or a 3.5" front bay.

One interesting mATX case I just came across is the In-Win BK644 (or BK623). Its SFX PSU is ok and would be easy to replace down the road, it has the expandability I was looking for, and at 12.5L it's smaller than most of the ITX cases. Main downside is probably the airflow limitations, but reviews seem to indicate the airflow is good enough to quietly cool the low power stuff I'm putting in it now.

These are rather old case designs, but maybe that just shows that recent market trends haven't been kind to my build preferences.
jensend
Gerbil
Silver subscriber
 
 
Posts: 23
Joined: Fri Jun 04, 2004 11:34 pm

Re: Mini-ITX case market driving me insane, advice pls

Postposted on Tue Apr 23, 2013 4:31 pm

jensend wrote:After learning a couple things about the limitations of the ITX mobo I was about to buy

Limitations? What limitations? I have that board paired with an A8-5600K for my HTPC. No complaints here.
i5-3570K, ASRock Z77 Pro4-m, Asus GTX660 TOP, 120 GB Vertex 3 Max IOPS, 2 TB Samsung EcoGreen F4, 8GB G-Skill @1.25V, Silverstone PS07B
DPete27
Gerbil Jedi
Silver subscriber
 
 
Posts: 1633
Joined: Wed Jan 26, 2011 12:50 pm
Location: Madison, Wisconsin

Re: Mini-ITX case market driving me insane, advice pls

Postposted on Tue Apr 23, 2013 4:46 pm

I've really only skimmed this thread but I'm quite impressed with the Coolermaster Elite 120.

It might be too deep front to back (15.8") but it has great 120mm fan cooling, no expansion card or PSU issues and it comes with front USB3/Audio/5.25" bay. It's also well-made for the price and the styling is tastefully understated, unlike so much of the competition.
<insert large, flashing, epileptic-fit-inducing signature (based on the latest internet-meme) here>
Chrispy_
Gerbil Jedi
Gold subscriber
 
 
Posts: 1838
Joined: Fri Apr 09, 2004 3:49 pm

Re: Mini-ITX case market driving me insane, advice pls

Postposted on Wed Apr 24, 2013 12:24 pm

Chrispy_ wrote:I've really only skimmed this thread but I'm quite impressed with the Coolermaster Elite 120.
It might be too deep front to back (15.8") but it has great 120mm fan cooling, no expansion card or PSU issues and it comes with front USB3/Audio/5.25" bay. It's also well-made for the price and the styling is tastefully understated, unlike so much of the competition.

I completely forgot that the Elite 120 had an external 5.25" bay. Excellent recommendation.
Here's a review from anandtech. (they're pretty good at case reviews) The Elite 120 only really struggled when they put a 560Ti in there. Considering the 560Ti power consuption is on par with a 7950 or GTX 670, that's not surprising. I do wonder if a blower-style GPU would work better though. Also, keep in mind, there are mounts for a second 120mm fan on the motherboard side of the hdd cage for power-hungry discrete GPU situations. (sounds like that won't be the situation here)
Last edited by DPete27 on Wed Apr 24, 2013 1:28 pm, edited 1 time in total.
i5-3570K, ASRock Z77 Pro4-m, Asus GTX660 TOP, 120 GB Vertex 3 Max IOPS, 2 TB Samsung EcoGreen F4, 8GB G-Skill @1.25V, Silverstone PS07B
DPete27
Gerbil Jedi
Silver subscriber
 
 
Posts: 1633
Joined: Wed Jan 26, 2011 12:50 pm
Location: Madison, Wisconsin

Re: Mini-ITX case market driving me insane, advice pls

Postposted on Wed Apr 24, 2013 1:13 pm

Chrispy_ wrote:I've really only skimmed this thread but I'm quite impressed with the Coolermaster Elite 120.

It has great 120mm fan cooling, no expansion card or PSU issues and it comes with front USB3/Audio/5.25" bay. It's also well-made for the price and the styling is tastefully understated, unlike so much of the competition.


QFE. I've worked with the Elite 120 myself and it was very well thought-out. Here in SA it's the cheapest and best ITX chassis available and I think it looks great. The Elite 120 Advanced has two front-panel USB 3.0 ports, front audio jacks and space for a DVD drive and three 3.5" hard drives. And there's the other benefit of using a regular ATX power supply and the option of dual-slot discrete graphics up to the length of the Geforce GTX690.

Edit: And you can shove watercooling in there for the CPU.
NAG Online Hardware writer
Cataclysm_ZA
Gerbil In Training
 
Posts: 4
Joined: Wed Apr 24, 2013 12:00 pm
Location: South Africa

Re: Mini-ITX case market driving me insane, advice pls

Postposted on Wed Apr 24, 2013 2:59 pm

The Elite 120 IS pretty nice. That's what my girlfriend's PC is in. It actually will accept a standard ATX motherboard!

Okay, I actually haven't used the Elite 120. My girlfriend's PC is in the Elite 360, which has now been replaced with the Elite 361. The Elite 360 is a really nice, very compact case that supports full sized ATX motherboards and power supplies, and if you stick a smaller-than-full-sized PSU in it, it will accomodate some pretty long GPUs, too. I have a full-sized ATX PSU in her machine right now and it still takes a GTX460.

It's a little embarrassing that I forgot the Elite 120, since I was thinking about trying to cram MY machine (with an AsRock Z77E-ITX board) into one. Not enough space for drives, though... and I don't think my ANS-9010 would fit.
i5-3570K @ 4.4 (NH-C14), 4x8GB DDR3-1866, GA-Z68MA-D3H-B2, ASUS GTXTITAN-6GD5, 128GB Vertex 4 / 2x60GB Vertex Plus R2 / 2x2TB Barracuda 7200.14 RAID0 / ANS-9010 (4x4GB), SST-DA1000 (PSU), 2x VS229H-P, 1x VG248QE, 1x MIMO 720F, Corsair Vengeance K90+M95
auxy
Gerbil Elite
 
Posts: 781
Joined: Sat Jan 19, 2013 4:25 pm
Location: the armpit of Texas

Re: Mini-ITX case market driving me insane, advice pls

Postposted on Fri Apr 26, 2013 6:18 am

DPete27 wrote:
Bensam123 wrote:You can look for a case with a standardized mini-itx power supply...

I would avoid PSUs with 40mm fans (mITX PSUs) like the plague, especially if you'll be pulling more than say..50% of their rated capacity. Little fans like that can get LOUD. Especially in the junky units that typically come included with cases. The reason for my interest in the InWinn case I linked before was because it uses a TFX PSU.

While being about half as wide as ATX PSUs, TFX will (typically) house an 80mm fan. I have one of these Seasonic TFX PSUs (SS-300TFX) and they're perfectly quiet. According to SilentPCReview the fan on the SS-350GTM doesn't even start spinning until load exceeds 150W. I can't confirm if the SS-300TFX does the same (too lazy) but like I said, I can't hear it over my 92mm CPU fan (which is the only other fan in my open-air case) so that's good enough for me.


I guess... You don't really have much choice when you get down to things. That's really what this threads about, picking the lesser of two evils in order to settle on something decent because there isn't something that hits all the marks perfectly. I went through the same thing when I was looking for cases.

I've never heard of TFX before and it looks like there are a handful of them on Newegg as well... There are also Micro-atx PSUs as well, which look similar in size, just not as slim. It's kinda sad there isn't a settled form factor that everyone go to for small PSUs so big name makers can flush them out. The FTX and micro-atx PSUs are also quite a bit bigger then a mini-itx PSU.
Bensam123
Gerbil Elite
 
Posts: 949
Joined: Wed May 29, 2002 12:19 pm

Re: Mini-ITX case market driving me insane, advice pls

Postposted on Fri Apr 26, 2013 6:57 am

Amiga 1200, 68020@28MHz, 4MB+2MB RAM, Conner 80MB harddrive
FubbHead
Grand Gerbil Poohbah
 
Posts: 3483
Joined: Mon Apr 08, 2002 9:04 pm
Location: Borås, Sweden

Re: Mini-ITX case market driving me insane, advice pls

Postposted on Fri Apr 26, 2013 5:39 pm

FubbHead wrote:Amiga 1200, 68020@28MHz, 4MB+2MB RAM, Conner 80MB harddrive
There was a compact case.

I had the chunky Amiga 2000 with a GVP 22MHz Motorola 68030, 5+1 MB of RAM and a half-height 5¼" Seagate ST296N 85MB hard-drive.
i7-4770K, H70, Gryphon Z87, 16 GiB, R9-290, SSD, 2 HD, Blu-ray, SB ZX, TJ08-E, SS-660XP², 3007WFP+2001FP, RK-9000BR, MX518
JustAnEngineer
Gerbil God
Gold subscriber
 
 
Posts: 15401
Joined: Sat Jan 26, 2002 7:00 pm
Location: The Heart of Dixie

Re: Mini-ITX case market driving me insane, advice pls

Postposted on Sat Apr 27, 2013 3:54 pm

OMG! LOOK AT THIS FREAKING THING!

http://hardforum.com/showthread.php?t=1717132

LOOK AT IT! HOW GORGEOUS IS THIS?!

AUXY WANT!

I even have the CPU cooler pictured in the prototype picture, lol...

THIS THING should be the SteamBox!
i5-3570K @ 4.4 (NH-C14), 4x8GB DDR3-1866, GA-Z68MA-D3H-B2, ASUS GTXTITAN-6GD5, 128GB Vertex 4 / 2x60GB Vertex Plus R2 / 2x2TB Barracuda 7200.14 RAID0 / ANS-9010 (4x4GB), SST-DA1000 (PSU), 2x VS229H-P, 1x VG248QE, 1x MIMO 720F, Corsair Vengeance K90+M95
auxy
Gerbil Elite
 
Posts: 781
Joined: Sat Jan 19, 2013 4:25 pm
Location: the armpit of Texas


Return to Cases and Power Supplies

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 3 guests