Hey guys, first time poster to the site here. I stumbled upon this thread after someone mentioned it in a Newegg review of the case.
I've read about 40 pages so far... this thread is HUGE. I'm about to make it longer with a super long post... If you don't want to read WHY I'm asking these questions, just skip to the bottom for the TLDR section.
After reading a few pages of this thread I've found out that:
-Putting a 200mm fan at the top isn't entirely beneficial
-Some cats like to pee on PCs (mine don't!)
-People have done some awesome custom modding to this case!
-If you're smart about putting a hard drive in the front 2.5" bays, it CAN be done without killing the hard drive
I'm an "older" guy, been out of the PC modding area since about 2005 or so, so this is actually bringing back a lot of memories with my custom Danger Den water cooling setup and cold cathode lights when they first came out!
I'm researching this case because believe it or not, I want to use it as a HTPC case.
I currently have a Silverstone Grandia Series GD01B-R ATX Media Center / HTPC Case
It works ok and is wife approved, but I've had it over 3 years now, and it's really starting to show it's age.
The door that covers the 3.5" bays has broken off, and the long skinny door at the bottom of the case to cover the USB ports pretty much stays open all the time, for my wireless keyboard/mouse plug-in.
You see, I'm a gamer, and I need a case that can fix a full ATX motherboard and long (ish) video card. This is an HTPC/Gaming case. The PCI-E cable that plugs into my video card (eVGA GTX 660 Superclocked) comes out the top of the card, and is bent at almost a 90 degree angle with the top of the case pushing it down -- not the best.
I showed the wife this HAF XB case, and while she isn't in love with it, she approved it for purchase. I need the wife's approval, because this will be sitting front and center in our entertainment center with no door to block the view/airflow. Everyone in my living room watching TV on my 60" Samsung LED (which I also use as my computer monitor) will be seeing this thing.
Since this is a dual purpose rig and it's sitting in my living room, I need it to do two things:
1) Be quiet
2) Have minimal lighting inside the case (if any at all)
It's got to be quiet so when we're watching a movie and it gets to a quiet part I don't gear some high-pitched fans whining.
It's got to have very minimal lighting (i.e. no cold cathodes, and no fans with LEDs) so it won't distract/bother us watching TV or a movie.
Rummaging through the thread answered my question regarding the top fan, but I'm still curious. I was going to buy a CM 200mm fan for the top and ask what my options were with a CPU cooler. The case specs says it has 180mm clearance for a CPU cooler. The CM 200mm fan I was looking into is 30mm deep, so that would theoretically leave only 150mm room for a CPU cooler. That eliminates almost every high rated CPU cooler, since they're pretty much all over 150mm from base to top. I was wondering if anyone has had success with having the fan on top as well as a high end 120mm air cooler for the CPU inside the case? Is my math off? Am I missing something? Or should I just skip the top fan and get a good high end CPU cooler?
I guess it's worth mentioning my system specs:
CPU: Intel Core i7 3770-k
CPU Cooler: Arctic Freezer 7 Pro 2.0 (small case = smaller cooler... best I could get to fit the case)
MOBO: ASUS Z77 Sabertooth
RAM: G.Skill Ripjaw 8GB (2x4GB) DDR3 1600
HDD: Western Digital Black 1TB SATA
VIDEO: eVGA GTX 660 Superclocked
PSU: 850W Modular PSU I won at a LAN party
CASE: Silverstone Grandia Series GD01B-R ATX
With my current case and CPU cooler, I can't overclock my 3770k at all without the temps rising above 80C. Not even 4GHz on stock voltage. There's not enough airflow in the case, and that cooler just can't keep up. Keeping stock voltage and stock clock speed, it's at about 77-79C when Prime95 is running. I also rip and encode every move I buy, so I've got handbrake going pretty regularly. The wife and I recently just digitized our entire blu-ray/DVD collection, and it's taken about a month (we have about 300 movies). I want to be able to overclock and lower our encoding times even more.
Stock speeds are fine for gaming. My TV is 1080p, so gaming at 1920x1080 is fine with stock everything. I can play every game I have on ultra/max settings.
***HOLY COW BRO YOU TALK TOO MUCH*** (TLDR Section)
I know all of my current items will fit into the case without any issues. I would like to put a fan at every possible location that the case has a fan spot for. So that's 3x120mm fans (two up front, one in the back), 2x80mm fans (two on the back), and possibly a 200mm on the top. (did I miss any?)
Are the stock 120mm fans that come with the case in the front any good? Are they quiet enough for HTPC use? Are there better/more efficient/quieter fans I can buy? (needs to be solid black/no LEDs)
If I DO decide to get a 200mm fan for the top, does that limit my options for a CPU cooler? (most are more than 150mm tall)
Would a 240mm closed loop watercooling solution (like http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16835181032
) work better? (although I see the noise is over 37dBA... seems a bit loud) Or would I achieve similar cooling results with 2 silent 120mm fans in the front, a solid CPU cooler, and a silent 120mm on the back?
If you want to know WHY I'm asking these, read above. Or, if I didn't explain something enough, or you need more info, just let me know! Thanks for the advice everyone!