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Archmage Silver

New Mid-Tower Case - Taking Suggestions

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Ok, so I'm looking for a new mid-tower case, sub 200$ / 150€ (Finland, ordering from abroad is fine though). I'm currently using a Cooler Master HAF 912 Plus, but the thing is a freaking dust magnet even sitting on the desk. There are just too many exposed filter surfaces, and I'm not entirely convinced I need this much airflow anyway.

 

What I'm Looking For:

  • Not a dust magnet(!)
  • Looks decent (AKA not too garish, although my current case isn't the most subtle one either)
  • Made from steel/aluminum (weight is not an issue, I don't need to move this to any LAN parties)
  • Enough airflow for a setup similar to mine
  • Cable management
  • Min. 2x front USB 3.0 ports
  • Pref. 4x back USB 3.0 ports, a split with 2.0 is fine here though
  • My current hardware fits in the case (duh)
  • Changing the fans is fine, but if I can recycle the 200mm ones it would be great

 

What's Inside™:

GPU: Asus Radeon HD 6950 2GB DirectCU II (Unlocked Shaders) @ 860/5200 MHz
CPU: Intel Core i5 2500K Sandy Bridge Quad-Core @ 4.2 GHz
CPU Cooler: Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO
Mobo: Asus P8Z68-V LE, Intel Z68 Chipset, UEFI
RAM: Corsair Vengeance 8GB Low Profile 1600 MHz DDR3 @ 9-9-9-24 CR T1
SSD: Samsung 840 Series 500GB, TLC NAND, SATA 6GB/s
HDD: Western Digital Caviar Black 1TB, 7200 RPM, 64MB Cache, SATA 6GB/s
Sound Card: Creative SB X-Fi Xtreme Gamer, 7.1
DVD-RW: Asus DRW-24B3ST, SATA
PSU: Seasonic X-Series X-660, 80 PLUS Gold Certified
Front Fan: Cooler Master MegaFlow 200mm
Top Fan: Cooler Master MegaFlow 200mm @ 500 RPM (Zalman Fan Mate 2)
Back Fan: Scythe Gentle Typhoon AP-13 120mm

 

Thanks for your input! :)


Exile in Torment

 

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Back USB ports are just the motherboard, nothing to do with the case. So you have the two blue ports at the rear according to your specs, and a header to connect two front USB 3.0 ports, the only way to get more is via an PCI-E expansion card.

 

Anyway, some of the better cases I reckon:

 

Fractal Design Define R4 (there's also an XL version which is even larger)

Antec P280^ or P183

NXZT H2

Nanoxia Deep Silence 1

Bitfenix Ghost *

Corsair Carbide 330R *

(* Not really heard much about these two, but they target the same segment as the others and are of similar philosophy)

 

If you prefer no front door

Silverstone Fortress FT02^ (there was a midlife update to this model that added USB 3.0 support, so make sure you get the new version)

Antec Solo II

Corsair Obsidian 550D

 

(^ These cases are quite a bit larger than the other options)

 

 

If you want just the one pick - well, I recently bought myself the Fractal Design so that's obviously where I lean. Without a door, I'd say the Solo II is the pick.

Edited by Humanoid

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Lol, ofc you're right about the ports. That's what I get for drinking eight cups of coffee in a day. The details! :p

 

Thanks for the suggestions, I'll check them out.


Exile in Torment

 

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The SilverStone FT02 has an interesting design choice going for it with the reversed mobo mounting, but it's definitely beyond my budget. I gave some thought to the NXZT H2 and Corsair Carbide 330R, but given everything the Fractal R4 has going for it, including its price (which is less here than the NXZT H2 and on par with the Corsair Carbide 330R), I think I'm leaning towards buying the R4.

 

Regarding the Fractal R4, which configuration do you guys have, windowless or with a window? Any idea if either one is better for airflow?


Exile in Torment

 

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I've never gone for the bling of a window, it's purely there for aesthetic reasons. No difference to airflow, the windowless version would be marginally quieter since the normal side panel (which is padded with noise-reducing bitumen) would provide better sound damping than the window.

 

I guess for case modders, cutting a hole in the window in order to install a fan would be easier than cutting through the padded solid panel. But that's so ten years ago. I have an overclocked 7950 and overclocked CPU, and I only have one 120mm intake and one 120mm exhaust (in my P182B), whereas the R4 has 140mm fans, so it's already superior in that regard.

Edited by Humanoid

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I have the Antec P183 and I absolutely love it. 

 

Dust management is amazing. I had to open the case when I upgrade my graphics card and was amazed to find it almost completely dust free (there was a light coat near the fan on my GPU, otherwise pristine).

 

The front door definitely helps with noise and the cable management is decent. From the "I didn't know I wanted it until I had it" department: having your PSU in a separate chamber from the rest of your components definitely helps to keep things uncluttered.

 

I recommended this case to buddy a year after I got mine and he's a big fan as well. 


"Art and song are creations but so are weapons and lies"

"Our worst enemies are inventions of the mind. Pleasure. Fear. When we see them for what they are, we become unstoppable."

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I'm using an older version of the Antec Performance case (P180), and I'm not as lyrical about it as you.

 

The fans are low quality and high in noise level. Mine broke after appr. one year (started whining and squealing). Not just one, but all three of the pre-mounted fans! Antec replaced them for free, but still.

 

The hinges on the door are plastic. Mine broke and the door fell off. No big deal, but still.. not good quality.

 

Lots of little design problems (might be solved in newer versions). Difficult to change CPU fans since the backplate of the case has no holes big enough. Difficult because the backplate is static also. The PSU tunnel has caused me more problems than anything as the hole between the actual case and the tunnel where you put your cables gets extremely cluttered after a while. Also unnecessarily difficult to work with. Lots of little details that can ratchet (those loop holds, little box lid, hard drive cages etc.).

 

All in all I would say it was way, way too expensive for what I got. I will not buy an Antec again (and I only still have it because I'm too lazy to switch).


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Yeah, I had an original P180 and currently have a P182. The P180 was a shocker to do work in, though it was excellent once assembled. I didn't even consider using the stock case fans though, replaced them with Scythe/Nexus fans straight away. The top exhaust is mostly pointless so I just got some craft foam and covered up the top grille (and removed the top fan, of course).

 

The initial release had an even bigger problem: the door wasn't initially designed with the same aluminium-plastic-aluminium sandwich as the side panels, and a moderate temperature fluctuation would cause uneven thermal expansion of the materials and some pretty severe warping. To their credit, they offered free replacement panels which didn't suffer the problem) I give Antec some leeway because it was the first product of its kind (it was co-designed by Silent PC Review editor Mike Chin), a highly experimental product which essentially carved out an entire new market now populated by the various cases suggested above.

 

The P182 improves cable routing significantly, mostly by cutting out some well-placed holes in the backplate so most cabling is well out of the way. The P183 is a further improvement, but I don't like the look of it as much, the new ventilation looks a bit tacky - hence the choice of the Define R4 now.


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Regarding the Fractal R4, which configuration do you guys have, windowless or with a window? Any idea if either one is better for airflow?

I have the R4 - and can recommend it without reservation. The window is entirely for aesthetical purposes, I prefer no window for better sound insulation.

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I have the P182 as well, upgraded cooling in various ways, and wanted to change that now, after about 10 years or so^^ for a newer case with more room: I am planning to build a water cooled system in the long run. So I had a look at multiple big towers, and actually none of the inspected ones (Nanoxia DS 5, Fractal Design R2 XL, and NZXT H630) felt remotely as good - the material choices of the Antec case really are superb, despite its plastic flaws.

 

Soo... if that is anything to go by, I'd recommend the P280 or the Nanoxia DS 1, but both are not high air flow cases.


Citizen of a country with a racist, hypocritical majority - as shown yet again

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