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A Quick Review For Beginners Wanting A Budget Build

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 
I've helped friends do 3 different builds this past week (1x i5 2400, 1x i5 2500K and 1x i3 2100) and each one had a different "budget" case (I let them choose after showing them a list of choices).

Cases used:
1. CM HAF 912
2. Fractal Design Core 3000
3. CM Storm Scout

For the heck of time-saving (for me as a writer and for you as a reader), I'm only doing a PROS/CONS list with a short conclusion. Do keep in mind that I am looking at all the cases from a "budget" POV. However, I'm not going to mention prices as I am located in Canada whereas I see that majority of the people on this forum are from the US as well many others spread across the globe, so all you need to know that it is in the "budget" range.

1. CM HAF 912
- originally 2 fans (1x 120mm front intake, 1x 120mm rear exhaust)
- added a 3rd fan (CM Blade Master 120mm) with Zalman fan controller for top exhaust. I must mention that this is a great fan (up to 2000 RPM) but it is exceptionally loud so a controller is a MUST.

PROS:
- LOTS of room (but it's bulky)
- LOTS of cable management holes
- LOTS of room between mobo-tray and back-panel
- tool-less design (DVD, HDD, left side-panel)
- looks great (to certain people)
- removable HDD cage (in middle) if you don't have many drives and want more room for a longer GPU or better ventilation from front intake fans
- can hold 2x 200mm fan (front and top)
- bottom PSU vent with air filter

CONS:
- no window
- no black interior
- bulky (but there's LOTS of room)
- no rubber grommets for cable management holes
- right side-panel not tool-less, as well only comes with 1x tool-less dvd holder
- no fan-controller
- can be a pain to look at (to certain people)

Conclusion: Seems to me that all the PROS are "needs" while all the CONS are "wants". What I mean by this is that, all the CONS seem to be "luxury" features in a computer case which are not necessary (unless, of course, you got the $ to burn). From a budget-POV, this case is the best of the 3 as it was the easiest to work with and "gets the job done".



2. Fractal Design Core 3000
- originally 3 fans (1x 120mm rear exhaust, 1x 140mm top exhaust, 1x 140mm front intake)
- no new fans added

PROS:
- black interior
- 3-fan controller included
- very clean look for people who don't want such a game-looking PC
- partial tool-less for HDD
- tool-less side covers
- removable HDD cage (in middle) if you don't have many drives and want more room for a longer GPU or better ventilation from front intake fans
- bottom PSU vent with air filter
- 4x front-panel USB
- LOTS of HDD bays

CONS:
- no window
- not much room to work with on the inside
- very little cable management (had to run the 8-in inside)
- very little room between mobo-tray and back-panel
- optical slot not tool-less, and HDD only partial tool-less (had to screw the HDD on to the bracket and then slide the bracket into the case)
- power LED very bright and harsh on the eyes (it faces straight up so better if you put this on a table or something)
- only 2 optical bays

Conclusion: Might be okay if you are working on a m-ATX board and using onboard GPU with a modular PSU because the amount of interior room is very limited and I had the most difficulties working with this case and the cables.



3. CM Storm Scout
- originally 3 fans (1x 120mm rear exhaust, 1x 140mm top exhaust, 1x 140mm front intake)
- no new fans added

PROS:
- black interior
- side window with capability of holding 2x 120mm fans
- clean look for the front as it's just mesh from top to bottom
- handle for easy holding
- full tool-less design for side panels, HDD and optical
- bottom PSU vent with air filter (see CONS)
- red LED for front/rear fans with on/off switch

CONS:
- not much cable management
- not much room to work with on the inside but better than the Core 3000
- very little room between mobo-tray and back-panel but better than the Core 3000
- the bottom PSU air filter can only be removed from the inside (by taking off side-panel and lifting PSU)
- (this one is my friend's POV) the CM Storm logo on the front/top is very ugly

Conclusion: If you want a "sick" looking gaming budget case then this could be the right case as it looks very gamer, got red LED (with on/off switch) and a handle (great for LAN-parties). But from a builder's perspective, I'd prefer the CM 690 II Advanced more than this one.

-----

My Rank: HAF 912 > Storm Scout > Core 3000

Hope this can help some of you new builders out there looking for a "budget" case. I'm sure there are many more options out there but since I've just done these 3 this past week I want to write up a short review when my memory is still fresh.

Everyone can join in and either add to my lists or post up PROS/CONS of another "budget" case if you like




+REP if you like what you see!
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post #2 of 9
on the CM 912, where did you add the fan you added? (in the front, back, top, side, etc)
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post #3 of 9
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr. Chocolate View Post
on the CM 912, where did you add the fan you added? (in the front, back, top, side, etc)
I indicated that it is for top exhaust (the rear one since it is able to hold 2x 120mm top fans)
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post #4 of 9
The CM BladeMaster 120mm fan is only a 2,000RPM fan, not 4,000. I've yet to see one spin faster than 2,100, and even that is a rarity.
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post #5 of 9
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by PapaSmurf View Post
The CM BladeMaster 120mm fan is only a 2,000RPM fan, not 4,000. I've yet to see one spin faster than 2,100, and even that is a rarity.
That's what I thought, but HWMonitor is telling me it's running at 4000 RPM? I do have it connected to a controller, and when on MIN it's running at about 1000-1200 RPM, and on MAX it goes up to 4000.
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post #6 of 9
Then the rpm sensors are mis-calibrated. They definitely don't spin at 4,000 rpm. If they did you wouldn't be able to stand to be in the same room with them as the Db level would be in the 60's or higher.
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post #7 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by PapaSmurf View Post
Then the rpm sensors are mis-calibrated. They definitely don't spin at 4,000 rpm.

Indeed, the CoolerMaster-USA website spec's them @ 2000rpm MAX



BTW thanks OP for going to the effort of doing a Case write-up / shoot out
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post #8 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by PapaSmurf View Post
Then the rpm sensors are mis-calibrated. They definitely don't spin at 4,000 rpm. If they did you wouldn't be able to stand to be in the same room with them as the Db level would be in the 60's or higher.
if you have more than one app reading the rpm at the same time it'll inflate the rpms dramatically, i've seen fan speeds as high as 337500 with hwmonitor on my hyper 212+(it uses a 120mm blademaster fan) the highest i see it go with one app reading rpm open, it goes to 2010-1990 rpm
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post #9 of 9
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by PapaSmurf View Post
Then the rpm sensors are mis-calibrated. They definitely don't spin at 4,000 rpm. If they did you wouldn't be able to stand to be in the same room with them as the Db level would be in the 60's or higher.
You're right. I checked BIOS and it's only 2000 RPM there.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ()ut[@st View Post
Indeed, the CoolerMaster-USA website spec's them @ 2000rpm MAX



BTW thanks OP for going to the effort of doing a Case write-up / shoot out
Thanks, it's because I get a lot of questions on "what to get for a budget build?" so thought it might help some people.

Quote:
Originally Posted by somebadlemonade View Post
if you have more than one app reading the rpm at the same time it'll inflate the rpms dramatically, i've seen fan speeds as high as 337500 with hwmonitor on my hyper 212+(it uses a 120mm blademaster fan) the highest i see it go with one app reading rpm open, it goes to 2010-1990 rpm
Wow...............HWMonitor FTL? Haha..
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