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TheEmrys
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New HTPC case wanted

Wed Feb 18, 2015 3:40 pm

The time has come to retire my old, enormous htpc case. We are hoping to get something into a nice unit/console with our BR and A/V receiver. I am open to a ton of options. Here are the needs:

3-4 HDD (not SSD) not in RAID
mATX
1 PCI-express x1 slot (TV Tuner card)
1 5 1/2" bay (negotiable).

Prefer black.

Currently, its an i3-2120T (35W) and we use on-board graphics, so no need for much heat dissipation.
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Chrispy_
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Re: New HTPC case wanted

Wed Feb 18, 2015 7:39 pm

Fractal and Silverstone are the go-to options.
Silverstone has a whole bunch of HTPC cases that sit nicely with other AV equipment on a shelf. Fractal has just one, but it's decent.


Beware of nice looking cases that are too deep - most AV equipment is shallow and there's plenty of furniture out there that can't accommodate a deep HTPC case. This is why I got rid of my Antec NSK and bought a GD04
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JustAnEngineer
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Re: New HTPC case wanted

Wed Feb 18, 2015 8:55 pm

Chrispy_ wrote:
Silverstone Grandia GD04/GD05
That's my suggestion for a Micro-ATX HTPC. It's as large as a home theater receiver. Choose a graphics card no more than 11" long (e.g.: GeForce GTX970) and a CPU cooler no more than 70 mm tall (e.g.: Argon AR06, GeminII M4, Shuriken b.3 or Big Shuriken 2.b) and you won't have to make many other compromises with that case.
Chrispy_ wrote:
Silverstone Milo ML07
That's Mini-ITX.
Chrispy_ wrote:
Fractal's Node 605 is worth a look.
That's a larger ATX case. A micro-ATX motherboard would still fit, of course.
Last edited by JustAnEngineer on Mon Feb 23, 2015 10:05 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Chrispy_
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Re: New HTPC case wanted

Thu Feb 19, 2015 1:08 pm

The Milo07 is really nice and compact, but yes, you'd need to go mITX board and SFX PSU.
It's quite the investment to save a bit of space.

My experience with the Grandia series is that they're not tall enough for oversized graphics cards. Many cards now stick up beyond the screw-in bracket that holds the cards in the slot, and they also have PCIe power connectors facing upwards along the top edge. Since you're you're not interested in a dGPU at all, this won't be an issue for you, but I'm finding that it limits my graphics card choices. It's amusing that a reference GTX980 will fit but the compact ASUS mITX 960 won't!

I actually removed the "drive cage" in the Grandia and changed it up a bit - I have an SSD just hot-glued on top of the PSU, and I used a drive cage from an old case to put two 3.5" drives behind the PSU. The original cage allows the exact same configuration but it was a bit of a cable-routing nightmare and all the drive power and SATA cables clogged the space the GPU needs to breathe. Again, with no dGPU you won't care about that.
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DPete27
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Re: New HTPC case wanted

Thu Feb 19, 2015 1:19 pm

The Cooler Master Elite 361 is SUPER compact and appears to check all your boxes. It's worth a look. I've built a system on the CM Elite 360 predecessor.
Main: i5-3570K, ASRock Z77 Pro4-M, MSI RX480 8G, 500GB Crucial BX100, 2 TB Samsung EcoGreen F4, 16GB 1600MHz G.Skill @1.25V, EVGA 550-G2, Silverstone PS07B
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TheEmrys
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Re: New HTPC case wanted

Thu Feb 19, 2015 1:38 pm

The Granda GD04 seems to me too big... it isn't significantly smaller than my current Lian-Li C34F. Yeah, I would pick up 4" on one side, but I was hoping for something more low profile.
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Re: New HTPC case wanted

Thu Feb 19, 2015 4:22 pm

I'm running a full-size ATX board inside a GD07-B, along with a 10.5" videocard, 6 drives (3xHDD, 2xSSD, 1xOptical), and a discreet soundcard. One of the most difficult builds I've ever done. Cabling of the drives was the worst part. If you have a large number of drives to be fit inside a tight case, consider using a NAS instead.
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EndlessWaves
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Re: New HTPC case wanted

Thu Feb 19, 2015 5:27 pm

DPete27 wrote:
The Cooler Master Elite 361 is SUPER compact and appears to check all your boxes. It's worth a look. I've built a system on the CM Elite 360 predecessor.


Are you sure that's the case you meant to link? At 25L that's a bog standard mid tower case, exactly the sort of thing you'd receive if you bought a standard dell desktop.

@TheEmrys: Is your TV Tuner card half height? That'll be a big determining factor size-wise.

Looks like your current case is 33.4L. 2/3 the size is reasonable. Smaller than that may be tricky if you can't look at half height cases.

If you don't plan to actually use the three other expansion slots then something with a riser card is worth looking at as that'll allow a much shorter case even with a full height card. Although off-hand I can't think of any that allow more than two drives with a MicroATX motherboard.
 
DPete27
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Re: New HTPC case wanted

Thu Feb 19, 2015 5:38 pm

Also have a look at the Silverstone ML04 also. Holds three 3.5" hdds @ 4.1" x 17.32" x 13.78" (16L)

EndlessWaves wrote:
Are you sure that's the case [CM Elite 361] you meant to link? At 25L that's a bog standard mid tower case

Ummm. 25L is pretty darned small for a mid tower case actually (Silvestone TJ08 is 30L, Rosewill Ranger M is 24L, both mATX cases). Especially since the Elite 361 fits ATX mobos (doesn't apply here obviously). However, now that we know the previous case, I don't think the OP is looking in this price range. The ML04 looks much nicer.
Last edited by DPete27 on Thu Feb 19, 2015 5:50 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: New HTPC case wanted

Thu Feb 19, 2015 5:44 pm

TheEmrys wrote:
The Granda GD04 seems to me too big... it isn't significantly smaller than my current Lian-Li C34F. Yeah, I would pick up 4" on one side, but I was hoping for something more low profile.


The Milo ML02 is dead sexy, but only one 3.5" drive, so you'd need a NAS or something else in the house to deal with drives.
The Milo ML03 and ML04 are two-drive units and slightly larger but your main problem is that you want "small" and yet your 3-4 drive requirement mandates "big". Getting three drives into even a GD04 requires some DIY bodge-jobbing. Technically it can handle only two 3.5" drives and only three hard drives total if you have an optical drive too.

I would seriously consider buying a dinky case like the ML02 which looks great and suits your size requirements, and then buying a dedicated NAS for your storage needs and getthing those humming, vibrating drives stored in a different room. Synology make some great reasonably-priced 2-bay NAS options and with a couple of 4TB or even 6TB drives your would not be lacking storage.

DPete27 wrote:
Also have a look at the Silverstone ML04 also. Holds three 3.5" hdds

Sadly no, I have discovered (the hard way) that Silverstone are creative with their drive bay listing. When they say "holds 3 hard drives" it means "holds only three hard drives". Oh sorry, did you want to use a 2.5" mounting and an optical drive? Nope, one of those three hard drives is in the optical bay, and the other hard drive is a 2.5" *or* a 3.5" mount :\

They're still decent cases but you have to look at the pictures to realise that there's not enough room for everything they list. I guess at least their cases are flexible in terms of bay arrangement but just don't add the specifications together. Think of the specifications as the upper ranges of what's possible if you min-max drives of one type.
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DPete27
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Re: New HTPC case wanted

Thu Feb 19, 2015 5:54 pm

Chrispy_ wrote:
When they say [the ML04] "holds 3 hard drives" it means "holds only three hard drives".

I suppose I should have warned against that. However, the OP said the 5.25" bay was "negotiable" so stuff 'em full of hdds!!!
Main: i5-3570K, ASRock Z77 Pro4-M, MSI RX480 8G, 500GB Crucial BX100, 2 TB Samsung EcoGreen F4, 16GB 1600MHz G.Skill @1.25V, EVGA 550-G2, Silverstone PS07B
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Chrispy_
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Re: New HTPC case wanted

Thu Feb 19, 2015 6:38 pm

Heh, I got four in mine with a hot glue gun. There's enough physical space even if Silverstone didn't design it that way!
If you were feeling creative I bet you could max out the 6 SATA ports on most boards :P
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