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mATX case with room for large cooler?

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 
I'm in the process of putting together a list of parts for a LAN rig, and I'm in need of a good case that is easy to transport but can hold the beef I want inside. I'm a bit of a power freak, and will probably want to put a large cooler in this build so that I can overclock relatively well, as well as a pretty high end video card. This will be my first mATX build so I'm not sure what the better cases are right now for a project like this.

Right now, I'm looking at the NZXT Vulcan. I'm thinking that with the side fan removed I should have room to throw a Noctua/Thermalright tower cooler inside it and make it fit, but I'm not 100% sure on how badly the airflow will take a hit without that fan. I know it will fit the 570 I plan to use as a video card, but I'm worried the lack of side fan and cramped space compared to what I'm used to will cause some heat problems. I'm not partial to the case in particular, but it seems to have a good combination of price and space/portability.

Does anyone have any input on this, or perhaps any suggestions on a case that would work for this? Here's the list of criteria I'm looking at:

- Needs to fit a cooler of similar dimensions to the TRUE 120mm /Noctua NH-U12P (I definitely will not be watercooling this system)

- Has to be able to fit a large video card (I know the 570 isn't huge, but down the line I'd probably recycle this case for another build, so this would be future proofing)

- Decent airflow, at least enough to keep my 570 or equivalent happy and maintain decent NB temps

- Portability. This can mean a handle, or it can mean being able to fit easily in a duffle bag.

Anyone have any thoughts?
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post #2 of 12
Most (really small) mATX cases will limit you to around 120-130mm height with the CPU cooler, wich doesnt fit any GOOD one.

What about small almost-watercooler kits? Like the Corsair Hydro Series, or Antec H2O? You dont need to assemble them, they are pretty simple, efficient, and reliable. And fit in almost every mATX case, wich has a 120mm fan place.
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post #3 of 12
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by LocutusH View Post
Most (really small) mATX cases will limit you to around 120-130mm height with the CPU cooler, wich doesnt fit any GOOD one.

What about small almost-watercooler kits? Like the Corsair Hydro Series, or Antec H2O? You dont need to assemble them, they are pretty simple, efficient, and reliable. And fit in almost every mATX case, wich has a 120mm fan place.
Well, the case doesn't have to be super small as long as it has an easy method to transport it. I know there isn't some magical ITX sized case that's going to fit this.

The Hydro series is a valid option, I actually use a H70 for my current gaming rig and it has performed very well. Most mATX cases I've seen would require a wonky install though, such as the Vulcan which would require me to put it in front, and it worries me about the airflow again.
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post #4 of 12
Corsair actually recommends, that you put it in front as intake That should not be a problem.
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post #5 of 12
I would suggest taking a look at Silverstone's TJ08's & Lian Li PC-A05's owners threads so you can decide for yourself if they can fit your needs/wants as those cases sound like they would be worth the consideration for what you want. I've been checking out those threads myself and they have a clearance for cpu coolers of 165mm in height, which would allow for some high end coolers to be used for overclocking
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post #6 of 12
FT03 can fit H80 Push pull, D14 and SA. The only mATX case which can fit those 3 with no problems. TJ08-E with D14/SA= HDD cage blocked, no room for H80 Push pull (bumps into CPU block).
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post #7 of 12
Just a quick look at the TJ08's owners thread lists Corsair H50, Corsair H70, Noctua C14, Antec 620, Tuniq Tower, Thermaltake Silver Arrow, Noctua D14 as confirmed coolers that fit inside, while the PC-A05's have a 210mm clearance for cpu coolers so that means pretty much everything on the market at this time. The OP did state that he would need a TRUE 120mm cpu cooler or similar and that it doesn't have to be a water cooling unit, so these cases are worth considering in that regard. Generally speaking, most high end air coolers can outperform closed loop water cpu coolers.
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post #8 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by xlilmissmjx View Post
Just a quick look at the TJ08's owners thread lists Corsair H50, Corsair H70, Noctua C14, Antec 620, Tuniq Tower, Thermaltake Silver Arrow, Noctua D14 as confirmed coolers that fit inside, while the PC-A05's have a 210mm clearance for cpu coolers so that means pretty much everything on the market at this time. The OP did state that he would need a TRUE 120mm cpu cooler or similar and that it doesn't have to be a water cooling unit, so these cases are worth considering in that regard. Generally speaking, most high end air coolers can outperform closed loop water cpu coolers.
Did your quick look at the TJ08-E owner's thread also list this?
http://www.overclock.net/14373577-post112.html
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post #9 of 12
So it rules out the D14 if he uses 3.5in HDD's, he still has plenty of other high end air coolers to choose from though that will allow for decent overclocking, so no big loss there at all.
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post #10 of 12
Thread Starter 
Yeah, my jaw dropped so hard when I saw the TJ08-E thread that I forgot to post here, haha. It actually appears I could use the D14 if I only use one 3.5" drive from one of the posts there, as the bottom slot won't get in the way, but I plan to use the N-U12P anyway since it's also stellar and should give me more case room

The TJ08-E is my frontrunner now. I've also looked at the Danger Den Tower 16, which is a new case they make. A lot of people I know recommended those to me, but there's probably some bias because DD sponsors one of the big lans I go to locally, PDXLAN. While I'm sure it's a fine case, and it looks like it could pack a serious airflow punch if set up with good 120mm fans, I'd need someone to confirm it is good before I would spend triple the TJ08 cost on one.

Quote:
Originally Posted by LocutusH
Corsair actually recommends, that you put it in front as intake That should not be a problem.
Yeah, but in a case like the Vulcan where there's not a lot of room and there's only the one intake fan, it would worry me. Of course, I never work in mATX cases, so I could be totally off base about the airflow.

In any event, the TJ08-E looks to be my frontrunner by a large margin. I'm also going to look at the FT03, but it seemed a lot of the posters in the TJ08 thread were disgruntled FT03 owners so I doubt it will take the spot.
Edited by Themanbeast - 8/15/11 at 9:49am
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My System
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Hard DriveOptical DriveCoolingOS
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MonitorKeyboardPowerCase
BenQ XL2420T Blackwidow ultimate 2013 Corsair HX650 Bitfenix Prodigy 
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