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Looking for opinions/suggestions on case for HTPC

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 
I have a bunch of pc components that are left over builds that i want to put in use in HTPC,

CPU: Intel Core i3-2120
CPU Cooler: Scythe Mugen 3
MOBO: Intel DQ67SWB3
GPU: Sparkle GeForce GTS 450
HDD: Crucial M4 64GB
Memory: G.SKILL ECO Series 4GB
Fans: Scythe Kama FLEX PWM 120 SA1225FDB12H-P (have 8 that i didnt use on the server build).

On the PSU im stil deciding between Seasonic X-560 or Seasonic X-400, probably dont need the 560W but both are at the same price.

I game a lot but on my desktop, i dont plan to play on the HTPC but on a rare ocasion with friends over i might. This HTPC is going to be mostly used for 1080p playback, probably madVR.

Now where i need opinions is the case, the problem is that i want to use Mugen 3 and the Sparkle GPU, but with both i think it rules out most of the HTPC horizontal cases, although im open for one if you know it will fit a 158mm height cooler. I dont mind it to be a vertical tower so im looking into those atm, i would like it to be as quiet as possible, this is what im looking atm but im open for suggestion,

Antec Mini P180 Case
Like a lot the looks specially black interior, its micro atx but seems big, i would dump both hdds cages for dual frontal fans (spinning at 300rpm), seems wide enough to fit the mugen 3 and has sound dampening on the side panels, easy to access fan filters. Worried a little about the top 200mm fan if its going to be quiet or noticeable on low.

Antec Sonata Series SOLO II
Wasn't planning on considering ATX cases, but seems this case is materialistic and with dual fan on front, seems to have good cooling and very low obstruction for the fans, like the looks although not a big fan of glossy finishes. The fan filters seems semi easy to access as you need to take out the side panel to push the ledges, but after that seems very easy to remove. Not a big fan of top PSU mounted cases, but seems it helps to keep the gpus cool with fans oriented there. Don't like the lack of CM holes, but i guess its not that bad either.

SilverStone FT03B
Micro ATX, like the design, but not sure if it would be a quiet case, i might not be able to use the intake cpu case fan cause of the orientation and the mugen3. Like a lot its a mate finish and the cables stay fully hidden with the design of the PSU. Not sure how would compare on cooling with the other two.

Thanks for taking the time on reading, looking forward to your opinions and im open for other case suggestion.
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GameMi
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post #2 of 6
Solo II: http://www.anandtech.com/show/4730/antec-solo-ii-sonata-evolved
Solo II (2): http://www.silentpcreview.com/antec-solo2
FT 03 (maybe not quite the same revision): http://www.anandtech.com/show/4294/silverstone-ft03-nothing-else-like-it
FT 03 (2): http://www.silentpcreview.com/silverstone-ft03-redux
FT 03 (3): http://www.silentpcreview.com/silverstone-ft03
P180 Mini: http://www.silentpcreview.com/article810-page1.html

...another option Silverstone Temjin: http://www.silentpcreview.com/ss-tj08e
Temjin (2): http://www.anandtech.com/show/4533/silverstone-temjin-tj08-fat-case-in-a-little-coat

Upon reading the first few lines of your post I thought "P180 mini" because of the need for a dGP and some expansion slots, but then I saw your options. In the end the others have desirable features, too. Also the P180 mini is kind of a pig to work with, but once you manage to sort it out, which could take a day or two considering the difficult cable routing but also the (many) possible configurations, you'll have probably one of the most silent PCs. I placed a bunch of links from anadtech and silentpcr as they post pretty comprehensive reviews, anandtech being more performance oriented while spcr more silent-computing. You should check them out if you haven't already done so.

cheers

*EDIT: About the PSU, read the post in the sig (below) why you should get the smaller one
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post #3 of 6
Thread Starter 
Thanks for your reply,
Quote:
Originally Posted by dragosmp View Post

Upon reading the first few lines of your post I thought "P180 mini" because of the need for a dGP and some expansion slots, but then I saw your options. In the end the others have desirable features, too. Also the P180 mini is kind of a pig to work with, but once you manage to sort it out, which could take a day or two considering the difficult cable routing but also the (many) possible configurations, you'll have probably one of the most silent PCs. I placed a bunch of links from anadtech and silentpcr as they post pretty comprehensive reviews, anandtech being more performance oriented while spcr more silent-computing. You should check them out if you haven't already done so.
Thanks for the links, upon reading SPCR review on the FT03 im ruling it out, so its just P180 mini vs Solo II, Looks - I like a little more the P180mini out of not bieng gloosy finish, not a big deal but prefer outuside not to be a fingerprint magnet or to show the slightest dust layer. Both seem to have similar frontal fan placements, P180mini has bottom PSU but also bottom 5.25 bays, so fans end up mobo oriented and with the Solo II the top PSU design ends up with almost the same placement of the frontal fans. The Side Panels on the P180mini seem to be thicker, not sure if they are better or not than Solo II, for dampening noise. Fan fileters seem easier to access on the P180mini with just frontal door and clicking the individual doors, while on the SOLO II i would need to remove the side pannel and clip out the hatches, not that bad but a little more work. The mounting of the hdds is irrelevant as ill remove all the cages and obstruction of the frontal fans, the SOLO II has an Side 2.5 SSD mounting, so this is a plus, but not a big deal i would just velcro it on the P180 mini. One thing that worries me is the top fan on the P180mini, i have an antec 1200 and also has 200mm top fan, and while at low is very quiet and the fan is performing very well after 3 years of operation, im not 100% sure is the same and how will it be on a envoirement that noise matters, watching movies.

The TJ08-E is out of the picture, i own one and been happy, but the frontal fan is way to noisy for what im intending on using, even at low setting its not good enough, i undervolt it to have it at 600rpm and even then its audible (bearly).
Quote:
Originally Posted by dragosmp View Post

*EDIT: About the PSU, read the post in the sig (below) why you should get the smaller one
Would love to see the article, but with the new OCN layout the link isnt working frown.gif
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Hard DriveCoolingOSPower
8x Hitachi 5K3000 2TB + 6x Samsung HD154UI 1.5TB Thermalright AXP-140 WHSv1 Antec CP-850 
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Case
Lian Li Q08 
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GameMi
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Intel Xeon E3-1230 SUPERMICRO MBD-X9SCM-F-O Matrox G200eW Kingston 4GB ECC DDR3 1333 
Hard DriveCoolingOSPower
8x Hitachi 5K3000 2TB + 6x Samsung HD154UI 1.5TB Thermalright AXP-140 WHSv1 Antec CP-850 
CaseOther
Antec 1200 + 4x Cooler Master 4 in 3 2x Intel SASUC8I 
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Intel Core i3-2100T Intel DH61DLB3 Intel HD2000 Kingston HyperX LoVo 4GB DDR1333 
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Hitachi 5K500B Thermalright HR02 Windows 7 HP picoPSU 150XT 
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Lian Li Q08 
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post #4 of 6
I pickup up a cheap case on ebay ($60 at the time, up to $90 now). Its roughly the size of standard stereo receiver, maybe a little deeper, holds a full ATX board, PSU, 5.25in optical drive, 3 3.5 hard drives, a good size cooler, full height graphics cards, even long bastards like my old GTS 250 fit in there. And it comes with a WMC remote, built in receiver in the front panel, and looks pretty classy.

Heres a link to an ebay listing, http://www.ebay.com/itm/New-HTPC-KT-600-Black-ATX-Media-Center-Case-Fast-shipping-/320796533484?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item4ab0f6a2ec#ht_1108wt_1270

and a link to a photo album of mine http://s17.photobucket.com/albums/b73/leveldowen/htpc/ note that this is with a micro atx board, but an atx board fits without issue. Theres also room for 2 120mm slim fans on the side right next to the processor, and another 80mm right behind the hard drives. The cooling on this case is really fantastic for what was such a cheap case. I still think it would be worth the $90 now though, especially if you're into modding your cases, it comes apart real easily for painting and whatnot.
    
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post #5 of 6
Quote:
Originally Posted by leveldowen View Post

I pickup up a cheap case on ebay ($60 at the time, up to $90 now). Its roughly the size of standard stereo receiver, maybe a little deeper, holds a full ATX board, PSU, 5.25in optical drive, 3 3.5 hard drives, a good size cooler, full height graphics cards, even long bastards like my old GTS 250 fit in there. And it comes with a WMC remote, built in receiver in the front panel, and looks pretty classy.
Heres a link to an ebay listing, http://www.ebay.com/itm/New-HTPC-KT-600-Black-ATX-Media-Center-Case-Fast-shipping-/320796533484?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item4ab0f6a2ec#ht_1108wt_1270
and a link to a photo album of mine http://s17.photobucket.com/albums/b73/leveldowen/htpc/ note that this is with a micro atx board, but an atx board fits without issue. Theres also room for 2 120mm slim fans on the side right next to the processor, and another 80mm right behind the hard drives. The cooling on this case is really fantastic for what was such a cheap case. I still think it would be worth the $90 now though, especially if you're into modding your cases, it comes apart real easily for painting and whatnot.

Does the LCD work right of the bat or a simple downloadable driver or a PITA to get working?
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post #6 of 6
Quote:
Originally Posted by Abula View Post

Thanks for your reply,
Thanks for the links, upon reading SPCR review on the FT03 im ruling it out, so its just P180 mini vs Solo II, Looks - I like a little more the P180mini out of not bieng gloosy finish, not a big deal but prefer outuside not to be a fingerprint magnet or to show the slightest dust layer. Both seem to have similar frontal fan placements, P180mini has bottom PSU but also bottom 5.25 bays, so fans end up mobo oriented and with the Solo II the top PSU design ends up with almost the same placement of the frontal fans. The Side Panels on the P180mini seem to be thicker, not sure if they are better or not than Solo II, for dampening noise. Fan fileters seem easier to access on the P180mini with just frontal door and clicking the individual doors, while on the SOLO II i would need to remove the side pannel and clip out the hatches, not that bad but a little more work. The mounting of the hdds is irrelevant as ill remove all the cages and obstruction of the frontal fans, the SOLO II has an Side 2.5 SSD mounting, so this is a plus, but not a big deal i would just velcro it on the P180 mini. One thing that worries me is the top fan on the P180mini, i have an antec 1200 and also has 200mm top fan, and while at low is very quiet and the fan is performing very well after 3 years of operation, im not 100% sure is the same and how will it be on a envoirement that noise matters, watching movies.
The TJ08-E is out of the picture, i own one and been happy, but the frontal fan is way to noisy for what im intending on using, even at low setting its not good enough, i undervolt it to have it at 600rpm and even then its audible (bearly).
Would love to see the article, but with the new OCN layout the link isnt working frown.gif
/fixed

BTW, on stock it does seem the Solo II is the most silent case. The upper fan can be more noticeable, I know my P182's only non-silent fan is the upper back simply due to its location. I own a pretty powerful PC and I would hesitate doing what I'm about to suggest, but for you it might work: why not dithching the upper fan altogether, put only a rear facing fan and cover the upper part with something like the removable acoustic foam panels in the Define R3
Centurion
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400W Silverstone Strider Antec P182 
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Centurion
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Phenom II 940 @3.3GHz 1.25V Gigabyte 790X-DS4 XFX 5850 8GB OCZ DDR2-800 
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400W Silverstone Strider Antec P182 
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