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Old 03-01-2011, 02:01 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Lightbulb The Last Case I'll Ever Buy

Ive been building my own PCs for about 8 years, but there has always been a big elephant in the room that ive managed to just sneak by build after build: Organization & cable management.

Cheap mid-tower ATX cases have always been my go-to, and I should have learned my lesson by now. Cramped workspace, laughable cable management, poor airflow, high dust buildup, and shotty case construction has claimed many a hardware in my time.

Today I have decided to change that. I am looking to go big, and hopefully never have to purchase a case again. I want something very durable and very expandable. I want the maximum amount of space with the minimum amount of clutter possible.

Considerations:
Housing a 3D graphics workstation. Will want to accommodate the future possibilities of: 3-way SLI, E-ATX (or even EEATX) motherboard, water cooling, and probably some other nifty stuff. The number of drive bays are not as big of a deal to me because I use a 2.5 SSD for boot and an external RAID enclosure for storage. Chances are, I will remove any 3.5 holding bays.

Cable management has always been an issue for me, and I do not currently own a modular PSU. I definitely want a case with openings for cable routing behind the motherboard tray. Dust buildup is also an issue in my apartment, so cleanable intake filters would be great.

Ive always hacked and finagled intake fans into my empty 5.25 and 3.5 bays, so Id love something that has the front face already lined with fans and wide open ventilation.

I dont have immediate plans to dive into water cooling, but it is something I believe I will want to try out one day. That being said, I am still looking for a case that has water cooling accommodations such as in/out holes in the rear, and maybe even a space inside for a reservoir or whatever might be able to squeeze in there.

Cost is certainly worth mentioning, but if a case has serious potential to be the best and last, then I am willing to pay.


Initial Consideration
Lian Li PC-x1000


Pros: Massive. Three heat zones with unobstructed airflow directly to motherboard components, with no bays in the way to block any airflow. Comes with air filters over all intakes. Simple, clean, and very unique design. Comes with 2.5 mounts. With the 3.5 bays gone, there is loads of room to spare.

Cons: Price is $400+. Not explicitly specified for E-ATX use, which seems surprising considering the size of this thing...it's even called a "Super Full Tower" Chassis!


Second Consideration
Lian Li PC-P80


Pros: Large, E-ATX support, and appears to leave ample room at the bottom for an EEATX board - it does have 10 expansion slots after-all. 3x 140mm intake fans and once 3.5'' bays are removed, will offer direct airflow to motherboard components. Slightly more reasonable price: $320

Cons: No heat zones. Not as crazy about the design aesthetics. No cable management holes in mobo-tray...does it still leave enough space for routing cables behind?

Last Ditch Consideration
Corsair 700D


Pros: Heat zones. Cable management portals out the wazzoo. Looks solidly built. Lifetime of great reviews across the web. Cheapest of the lot I have here: $270.

Cons: Too many bay obstructions and more concealed intakes in the front (modding opportunity). Probably not enough room for anything larger than E-ATX. Pretty ugly on the outside.


I must admit I'm not 1000% thrilled with the options I have here. None are perfect in my book. The Lian Li x1000 would be perfect if only it were endorsed on Lian Li's site as as being E-ATX compatible. Ilooked at various other cases at Thermaltake, Aletc, and Silverstone and found none that trump Lian Li in quality, size, and features. Any suggestions are welcome, though.

What is the word on EEATX anyway? Is that even something I should be concerned about? I am just trying to leave the door wide open for myself in the future, and have noticed that some of the higher end multi-CPU boards require it, or at least are said to be "larger than standard E-ATX." However if EEATX is being phased out or something, then I wont bother accommodating it. Supermicro is the only brand that I am realizing actually utilizes EEATX, it seems, and ive yet to see any case that explicitly lists it. I just want to make sure my options are wide open for dual CPU boards when I do upgrade.

Anyway, I'm just thinking outloud and was interesting in hearing some feedback/suggestions for choosing the ultimate case. I'm new to the forums this week, but have a lot to say and plan to stick around for a while!

So, what is your ultimate case?

Thanks all.
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Old 03-01-2011, 05:56 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: The Last Case I'll Ever Buy

I have the Lian-Li PC-A70B, it's a great case

Lian Li Industrial Co., Ltd. - PC-A70B
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Old 03-01-2011, 06:10 PM   #3 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: The Last Case I'll Ever Buy

Corsair is about to release the 650D Basically the 600T inside and the 700/800 outside.

Alot nicer for air flow.

I'm considering one of them right now.

Obsidian Series 650D Mid-Tower Case - Obsidian Series - Cases
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Old 03-01-2011, 09:42 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: The Last Case I'll Ever Buy

Perhaps consider a Mountain Mods Case, either one of their cubes, or their Pinnacle Series.

MountainMods.com-Computer Cases-Pinnacle-Pinnacle 24 - CYO
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Old 03-02-2011, 11:40 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: The Last Case I'll Ever Buy

Or one of their(Mountain Mods) Ascension series cases. I have an Ascension and physically it's the same as two CoolerMaster HAF-X cases side by side.....I love it. It already supports HPTX (eVGA SR-2) standards too, you just need the motherboard tray. Be aware that they are proud of their work and the prices reflect this, but I dont see needing a case upgrade at any point in the near future. They also have some cool motherboard orientation options as well like the Horizon (horizontal or "bench-style") setup. Also you have the option to mount Pedestals (case extensions) on the top and bottom of the Ascension to increase it's vertical size.
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Old 03-02-2011, 10:00 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: The Last Case I'll Ever Buy

I would go with the 700, or maybe even the 800D, Im runnig a 600T right now and for its size its not too bad.
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Old 03-03-2011, 02:20 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: The Last Case I'll Ever Buy

Cool guys, thanks for the links! Those Mountain Mods certainly are solid looking. I've never been a huge fan of cube shaped cases, but these do look pretty leet:





I've been reading up some more on the Corsair Obsidian series, and am definitely loving how the 700D is looking. It makes the most sense so far considering their selling point is cable management and organization, which is the factor I am most interested in above all else. Plus there are also loads of images around showing fully contained water cooling setups piped on dual-CPU motherboards, which is exactly what I want to see.

The only thing that initially put me off of the 700D is that there are zero intake fans on the front face, which is something I was hoping to have. With this design, only one 140mm fan sucks air in and that is on the bottom face of the case. I suppose this can be justified considering there is space for four 140mm exhaust fans. Plus, I could always get some 5.25'' bay coolers.
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Old 03-03-2011, 05:56 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: The Last Case I'll Ever Buy

I run a standard MM UFO and it's been awesome. At one point I had tri-sli with 2 waterloops. Although I'd suggest going with the ascencion vs the ufo as you get a little more space out of the case.
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Old 03-05-2011, 02:20 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: The Last Case I'll Ever Buy

Well, I was tired of my browser at work being perma-filled with case related tabs, so I pulled the trigger on the 700D at Newegg. It's in the mail!

However, in my endeavour to find a case, I found myself constantly being teased with water cooling possibilities. Then I stumbled upon this thread which of course resulted in the loss of even more work hours.

That said, I am considering kicking this project up a notch and just dive into water cooling right now. Originally I was going to hold off on it, but why should I? Case swapping is the perfect opportunity to go ahead and introduce it.

I'm interested in this XSPC Rasa 750 RS360 liquid kit:



It has got great reviews and looks solid, but I must admit this would be my first liquid build. The reviews on this kit claim there is very little instruction included, but surely there are plenty of general walk-throughs around.

I also admit that I really do not NEED water cooling, but cannot resist. It sounds like a blast, and I am really excited about the opportunity to put some personal style into the setup design. Plus, I already have a SSD drive so this is just one step closer to a silent PC!
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Old 03-05-2011, 01:45 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: The Last Case I'll Ever Buy

Quote:
Originally Posted by TK421 View Post
Well, I was tired of my browser at work being perma-filled with case related tabs, so I pulled the trigger on the 700D at Newegg. It's in the mail!

However, in my endeavour to find a case, I found myself constantly being teased with water cooling possibilities. Then I stumbled upon this thread which of course resulted in the loss of even more work hours.

That said, I am considering kicking this project up a notch and just dive into water cooling right now. Originally I was going to hold off on it, but why should I? Case swapping is the perfect opportunity to go ahead and introduce it.

I'm interested in this XSPC Rasa 750 RS360 liquid kit:



It has got great reviews and looks solid, but I must admit this would be my first liquid build. The reviews on this kit claim there is very little instruction included, but surely there are plenty of general walk-throughs around.

I also admit that I really do not NEED water cooling, but cannot resist. It sounds like a blast, and I am really excited about the opportunity to put some personal style into the setup design. Plus, I already have a SSD drive so this is just one step closer to a silent PC!
I have to admit, for $150 it's not a bad setup, but the pump and waterblock are less than superb. What processor would this be cooling, and how far do you intend to push it.
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