Question Durable Basic Rectangular Box Case

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Jul 19, 2019
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...OK if I were to be happy with the shape of any of these:
...do they make anything like that without plastic fronts or glass windows, and without a front door?

EDIT: newegg's search for case material doesn't seem to apply to the front...
 
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Jul 19, 2019
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It actually sounds like you might be able to put computers in rackmounted cases... if the "u-number" is big enough for graphics card clearance?
Like the one AllanGH put up or this one:
https://www.newegg.com/black-silver-chenbro-rm41300-f/p/N82E16811123155
The PSU screw pattern looks ATX...?
It looks like you might even be able to take off the handles if desired to get a box!
Is this my dream case?
Might still be plastic front... hard to tell.

EDIT: and I'd have to mod to get USB 3.0 and an audio jack...
 

gn842a

Respectable
Oct 10, 2016
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Wow some nice pix posted here. I actually do use a 20 year old rectangular case on my upstairs build. The air circulation is OK without being great. One fan in front, small one on top, one in the rear. You have to be careful which fans with which bearings you get because some fans are OK for horizontal others are OK for vertical.

But it works and has worked for ages and currently houses a 2014 build which you would never think from looking at it, it has a 3.5 inch floppy drive still in the front there. I am planning on putting another build in there but maybe I'll wait a while.

The good thing about a second computer is that when you need it you need it bad, because you're researching what went wrong with the first computer.

The bad thing about a second computer is that when you don't need it you tend to forget about it which isn't healthy from the point of view of updates and such.

I would be a little hesitant to turn the square PC every which way. I have at times had to turn it horizontal to fidget with stuff but I've never left it that way for operation. I use it standing up the way the OEM wanted. I'm not so sure about mounting it on a wall. I mean I see how one could do that but it is convenient to be able to access the innards from either side.

I would not make a couple of points about the flatness. In spite of the appeal of a flat surface, you won't in fact be using it for books or notes or whatever.

1. There will be a tendency for other gear to migrate up there, in particular modem and router, but in this household also an Ooma unit. You have to space them up there to respect the one vertical ventilation hole.

2. If you put too much weight on the top side you can do weird things to the top mounted fan. In particular wtih this case the psu and its hefty cables are lodged topside. The cables are much heftier than days of yore. So anyhow once you sort of crimp everything into that upper space you have to be careful that putting something top side does not push the fan blade down on the cables. It won't hurt the cables but it will make a dreadful racket.

Edit: And it does have one or two USB 3.0. But I don't use them much.
 
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Jul 19, 2019
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Does anyone know a real problem with using an HTPC or Rackmount case for a PC (other than they seem really really expensive)?
 

Karadjgne

Titan
Herald
Size. Because of the slim depths, many components you'd normally use are no longer viable. Some restrictions include single height or double hight only gpus, low profile cpu coolers, 80/92mm fans maximum, generally mediocre to bad airflow characteristics forcing use of low wattage cpus and ultra high rpm/sp fans (Delta 8krpm are popular), racks use server motherboards not ATX standards using differently placed i/o ports etc. And that's just off the top of my head, there are probably multiple other restrictions.
 
Jul 19, 2019
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Size. Because of the slim depths, many components you'd normally use are no longer viable. Some restrictions include single height or double hight only gpus, low profile cpu coolers, 80/92mm fans maximum, generally mediocre to bad airflow characteristics forcing use of low wattage cpus and ultra high rpm/sp fans (Delta 8krpm are popular),
Is any of that clearance and air flow stuff a real concern if I'm running 250W in a 4U case?
 

Karadjgne

Titan
Herald
Absolutely. Airflow is of vital importance to cpu/gpu cooling. It's physically impossible to cool a cpu below ambient temps by mechanical means. It takes a chemical process, such as liquid nitrogen or peltier or phase chiller to accomplish that. But thats where ppl get mixed up. To a cpu cooler, ambient temp is the temp of the surrounding air, inside the case, not the temp of the air outside the case. Gpu and cpu put out large wattage heat. With bad airflow, that heat stays inside the case, becoming the coolers ambient heat. So the case starts out at 40°C, you start gaming dumping cpu/gpu exhaust into the case. Won't take long before the coolers are both recycling 50° heat, and now the case temp is 50. And the gpu/cpu just gained 4-5°C, rinse and repeat until you started gaming at 55°, and 20minutes later cpu is now closer to 80°C or more.

Airflow is all about getting that exhausted heat out of the case, so the coolers do not lose efficiency. With a 4U case, there's no free and easy pathway for air to flow, there's obstructions everywhere, from drives, wiring, gpu, cpu coolers etc. So 4U cases need higher static pressure to force air past the obstructions. To get sufficient flow often requires uber high speed fans, like the Delta series which can run 8000rpm or more, creating ungodly amounts of static pressure.

It's like straws, try blowing through one of McDonald's big straws, doesn't take much effort. Try to get the same amount of air though the straws used to mix coffee in a gas station, and you'll hurt your lungs.

Ever been in a server room? You can't hear the pc's run, can't hear yourself think, all you can hear is the massive decibels from those rack mounted high pressure fans.
 
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Jul 19, 2019
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Well I have doubts about whether it was worth it but here it is...
No front door, no usb ports that are going to go out of date, no extra anything. No vent holes on the top to let dust in when it is not running.
All metal case, solid power button.


It was a pain to not have a fan mount. It was worse than a blank piece of steel because of all the stamped spaces. It's hard to find unstamped spaces in the right 140mm hole pattern to drill mounting holes. Two of my holes are actually partially merged with the spaces. The spaces are so big that the filter might have got compressed through the spaces where the fan hit it so I added washers (not shown) to space the fan back.


Air filter drooped over the front. Compressed when front plate is screwed on.


USB ports and audio access through a hub and extension cable from the back of the computer.


Had to add new PSU mounting holes since the case didn't have them for an ATX PSU. Cut off part of the inside drive bay so there was clearance for the mobo 24 pin connector. May need to cut away more of drive bay or remove entirely in the future, I had trouble getting the mobo in with the IO plate - had to put IO plate on mobo before putting in case.

Also not sure if I'm getting enough positive pressure since my GPU and PSU are both exhausting and I don't want to run my front fan too loud... oh well...

I really like the concept of just a power button on the front, and a solid rectangular design, but it was a lot of work, and is far from perfect so it may not have been worth it.

I liked the idea of a rackmount, but the noise and price, and ugly front panels pushed me away.

Thanks everyone for all the ideas!
 

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