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A case quandry

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 
Hey guys,

First time poster, long time reader! I currently own a 650d and really want to get into water cooling putting my 2500k CPU and 7970 under water for a good thrashing before I move onto the newer hardware. My biggest gripe so far with the 650d is the large amount of noise that seems to come from the 200mm front intake fan.

I have my eyes on the Fractal Design Define XL r2 for a 2x240 rad setup (hopefully a Alpha Cool Monsta in the front). In my opinion this case is quite modest and silent which I like very much. Bitfenix and NZXT also offer full size towers (Shinobi XL and Switch 810, respectively) that can support a 360 rad in the top of the case, however, these cases use too much plastic for my tastes.

My question: would for a beginner to water cooling that wants a roomy case should I go with my gut instincts and get the Define XL or are there better options out there?

I am prepared to spend up to $450 and I live in Australia.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
post #2 of 13
Thread Starter 
Is this post in the right sub-forum or would water cooling be more appropriate?
post #3 of 13
You would be more then happy with the fractal. Fractal is a great brand and you wont be disappointed. Especially as a first time water build you will have plenty for what you need. If you like the fractal i say go for it thumb.gif
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post #4 of 13
I am also a huge fan of the fractal cases, but after I put together my Caselabs SM8 I was really sold on the quality and WC flexibility with the Caselabs offerings. Take a look into the Caselabs SM5/SM8 if you are interested - similar to the Fractal R2 XL in size.

You mentioned around $450 is the max for your budget. I am not sure how much shipping/customs would cost to get it to Australia but could be something to look into. The Caselabs thread could probably answer this. CL Pre sales thread

The fractal's are quiet, but more rads at low fan speeds are also quiet. I mention this because I have a Fractal define mini with a total of 5 fans 120mm @ 1100RPM, and I just tested 12 eloops @ 1000RPM and the two cases "subjectively" sounded similar.

Either option would be a good choice, let us know what you decide on.
Edited by skruffs01 - 8/26/13 at 2:42am
     
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post #5 of 13
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the response!

I am leaning towards the Fractal Define XL r2 more now. I was informed after emailing Fractal Design that the Arc XL will be coming out in October - which is a bit to long to wait unfortunately.

Caselabs cases initially sparked my interest in water cooling and I have always kept my eye out for a decent one here in Australia. Particularly, the SM8 Merlin which would be perfect for my needs. However, to get the case posted here costs >$250 minimum, which puts even their 'smaller' cases out of my price range.

The only other option I am considering is the 900d, which, undoubtedly, has the scalability I desire in a full tower case. But its aesthetics really bother me. Its window is massively over-sized ('look at my guts') and the two side panels don't seem to be in continuity with each other, in my opinion. I really like minimal right-angled cases, but the 900d just doesn't grab me. That said, from a functional point of view its water-cooling potential would be great; perhaps the windowed panel could be replaced with non-windowed panel with added adhesive sound dampening foam.

sigh..
post #6 of 13
Thread Starter 
So I have narrowed down my choice to two cases: the Bitfenix Shinobi XL or Fractal Design Define XL r2.

For water cooling which one is better?
post #7 of 13
the fractal is just better quality over the bitfenix. You would be just as happy cooling wise either way. Another one to look at just cause of sheer beauty:

http://www.xigmatek.com/product.php?productid=122&type=specification

double psu case with great water cooling potential (fits 420mm rad)
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post #8 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by Skeeze View Post

So I have narrowed down my choice to two cases: the Bitfenix Shinobi XL or Fractal Design Define XL r2.

For water cooling which one is better?

I would also go with the Fractal over the Bitfenix, plus the XL R2 should be a bit more quiet than the Shinobi (more sound treatments - side panels, front cover). Personally never had any complaints regarding my Fractal cases. One thing is that you could get a bit more rad in the Shinobi out of the box (triple top and front). I think the Fractal XL R2 supports dual rads (240/280mm) in both the top and front (slim rad). If you like the aesthetics of both cases, a quick look at your targeted components and cooling requirements could make the decision for you.

If you plan to mod your cases then anything is possible. thumb.gif
Edited by skruffs01 - 8/27/13 at 1:55am
     
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gskill sniper 16GB samsung 840 pro - x2 samsung external blu ray Alphacool 360 (UT60) - White x2 
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3x Aquacomputer Poweradjust Ultra  Mayhems Pastel White NB eLoop - 120mm x14 laning DDC 3.25 18W 
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aquacomputer aquaero 5 XT aquacomputer aqualis XT Res bitspower black sparkle compression fittings EK MF5 Mobo CSQ Plexi Block 
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EK GTX 780 Nickle CSQ Plexi Block windows 7 pro dell U2412m x3 Vizio 42" M-Series (Accessory Monitor) 
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post #9 of 13
Thread Starter 
On the 27th of August, I 'maned up' and bought the 900d.

Best PC related purchase so far!

I had my fears about the aesthetics of the case as I have mentioned above. But when I pulled the plastic coating off the case my fears evaporated. It looks stunning.

There is a glut of ideas floating in my head right now thinking about possible loop ideas. My advice to anyone in my previous situation 'umming and rring' about what case to buy for that water cooling build get a big case that gives you plenty of options now and into the future (unless you have a specific small water cooling case build idea). I have no doubt the 900d offers just that. I know if I had chosen a smaller full-tower then I might have been a little mad with myself after I start heavily overclocking my kit.

Can't wait to finish my shopping and start building. I'll keep those interested posted with a build log of some description.

Thank you all for your advice!
post #10 of 13
Thread Starter 
Just a quick update -

Parts are here and my build is almost complete.

I am tempted to put this in its own build log at some stage so others may see my first attempt at water cooling. (I am so addicted right now.) But for now this will act as a conclusion to my initial question/thread and I will update this post with a more complete build log when I get the time.

Pics: build.jpg 561k .jpg file
parts.jpg 203k .jpg file

I have been waiting to build a water cooled pc since early 2011 when I started lurking on this amazing forum. Thanks for the inspiration!
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