Indecisiveness over case and PSU...any suggestions?

texasnightowl

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I'm planning a new build sometime between now and the end of October. Could be next week. Could be October 30th. I am having a hard time making a decision on both a case and a PSU. There are many cases that look suitable EXCEPT I'm having a hard time finding one I like that also has easily accessible USB ports. My system will sit UNDER my desk basically on the floor (just off the floor on piece of metal that is attached to one of the "legs" of the desk). So finding a case that has USB ports on the upper half of the front or the nearer half of the top has been challenging. If the ports are on the top they can't be too far back or would be harder to reach than ports on the bottom of the front! I don't want USB ports that are on the sides. I want to stay under $150...preferably at $100. Prefer 120 fans. A few of the cases I've been looking at are:

Thermaltake Armor VA8000BWS $149.99
- Worried that the ports on top are too far back...especially considering the box looks tall. Case seems huge!

Antec P180B $129.99
- possible...I'd like ports higher up but at least these aren't on the extreme bottom.

Thermaltake Tsunami VA3000SWA $105.99
- Again, worried that the ports are too far back (on the top)

Cooler Master CM Stacker STC-T01-UW $144.99
- Great port location but huge side vent? Case looks huge? Noise due to side vent?

Antec Nine Hundred $119.99
- May work. Ports look close enough to front and slightly angled. Easier access than those cases with ports halfway back on the top?

Gigabyte 3D Aurora 570 $149.99
- Ports are towards the middle of the front, just under the door but at least not all the way at the bottom.

NZXT Apollo Black $69.99
Gigabyte Triton 180 $64.99
Gigabyte Poseidon GZ-XA1CA-STB $79.99
NZXT Zero $139.99

I love the placement of the ports on the CM Stacker BUT it has that HUGE side vent! What does that do in terms of noise? Does that huge side vent get me anything? Overall I seem to be leaning towards the Antec 900.

Now, on to PSU's...I have reviewed the tiered list and all the PSU's I'm considering are Tier 2. Now I just have to choose one! I'd prefer to stay closer to $100 than $150 which would mean the Antec TP3, FSP, or OCZ. On the other hand, eveyone seems to love the Corsair and Seasonic models.

CORSAIR CMPSU-620HX
SeaSonic S12 Energy Plus SS-650HT
Antec True Power Trio 650
Antec NeoPower 650 Blue
FSP Group FX700-GLN
OCZ GameXStream OCZ700GXSSLI
PC Power & Cooling 610
Thermaltake W0106RU


My build will be:

Intel Core 2 Duo Conroe E6750...probably not OC'd
Gigabyte P35-DS3R
evga 8800-GTS 320
Crucial Ballistix 2GB (2x1GB) DDR2 800 Dual Channel
Arctic Cooling Freezer HS/F for CPU (since I don't plan to OC)
2 hard drives - 1 80gb for OS and 1 320gb for storage/backup
1 dvd burner - probably liteon or samsung
OS - not sure if it will be XP Pro or Vista Ultimate yet.

Does anyone have any feedback on the cases or PSU's to help me make up my mind?
 
How much room do you have? Some of those cases are tall or deep. You could eliminate the USB location requirement by using a powered USB hub on the desk. Do you like doors, or bling? I don't.

All the psu's are good. For your build, even the 550w versions would be good.

XP pro and vista ultimate do not give the home user much more than the lower priced XP and vista home premium versions. Check the comparisons to see if there is anything essential you need in the higher priced versions.

Is the 80bg os drive a raptor? If so, good. Otherwise, it costs little more to get another 320gb drive which will perform better.

---good luck---
 

texasnightowl

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Thanks geofelt. I have a lot of room actually. The "stand" for the PC is to the side so it doesn't infringe on my leg room under the desk. The system sitting there now is roughly 8" w x 17" h x 19" d and I could go another inch or 2 in width and 3 to 4 inches taller but probably wouldn't want to go more than another 2 inches in depth.

As for doors...I don't care too much. If they cut down a bit of noise then great but I can take them or leave them. As for bling...its under the desk and I don't look at it...I don't care for the lights or side doors. I'm not too hung up on how it looks though I do care a tiny bit.

Xp Pro & Ultimate - considering XP Pro because I'm very comfortable with it and it is what I'm currently running at home and it has been rock solid stable. I have a troubled conscience that says I should go legal that I'm trying to ignore. I'm only considering Vista Ultimate because I know a guy who knows a guy that works at Microsoft and is trying to get it for me at the employee store/price. If not, I'll buy Home Premium OEM.

Umm...the 80gb isn't a raptor...just a regular drive. I figured if I wanted to keep things clean and only have the OS on that drive, why waste space? Guess I could just partition a larger drive... Does a 320 really perform better than an 80 if they are otherwise a similar model?

PSU: I'll have to look at a few 550 or 600w models. Otherwise if I buy soon I'm leaning towards the FSP or OCZ which both have MIR's at the moment.

thanks!
 

itotallybelieveyou

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My recommendations:
NZXT Apollo (I have it)
Good: Good looking see through case. It's got 5 CD/DVD rom slots with a nice looking blue LED fan on the side.
Bad: Not so good airflow and it's a bit squeezed when everything is fitted it there and only allows 3 harddrives.

Thermaltake Armor (looked at it)
Good: BIG will fit whatever you wanna shove in there with plenty of fans all around. Hella good airflow
Bad: Besides the fact it doesn't look better then the Apollo... nothing.A tad more expensive.

The PSU just go with the antec trio 650 it's good
 

texasnightowl

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Thanks for the info on the NZXT Apollo and the Armor. Not crazy about the "Not so good airflow" on the Apollo. And the Armor is big! I compared it's specs to the system currently sitting where the new one will go and I'm not sure I want to add that much height and depth. Newegg gives the specs for the Armor at: 20.87" x 8.66" x 22.05" (H x W xD).

Ideally I think something about 18 or 19 in height; roughly 8+ in width and 19 in depth/length would be about right. I do seem to be leaning more and more towards the Antec 900 which is: 19.4'' x 8.1'' x 18.4'' (L x W x H). The Thermaltake Tsunami 19.5" x 8.3" x 18.9"(HxWxD) and the CoolerMaster Centurion 534 18.9" x 8" x 17.1"(D x W x H)
are still in the race too.

I'm thinking about the suggestion of using a powered USB hub too. Easily doable of course...just trying to keep as many cords and cables off the desk as possible ;)

 

systemlord

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I was just about to say get the Antec 900, it cools like no other. One thing you shouldn't do is put your computer anywhere near the floor, thats where everything ends up. If you still want to put it in that self down by your feet than at least use filters in the front of your case. You can get them at almost any computer store, they slip right on the fans.

One more thing, if you play a lot of games the 8800GTS 320 is/will limit how high in texture quality each game will allow you to play at. GRAW 1 & 2 blank out high quality textures for people who don't have at least 512MB of Vram, and if game makers are doing this now then they will continue doing so in the coming months.

Good luck on your new build. :)
 
For a good review of the Antec 900, go to : http://www.bjorn3d.com/read_pf.php?cID=996 . What I find really interesting is that at the end, they compare it to the Antec Solo and Lian-li G70 for the tradeoffs between cooling, and quietness at different fan speeds. The net is that at the same quietness, all three cool the same. For max cooling, the 900 is better, and for max quiet, the solo is best.
 

texasnightowl

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geofelt - thanks for the link to the review...it was a very good one. I also read their review of the Solo which looks very nice too. The reviewer does say he found the Solo to be a little cramped for space. What is your opinion of that? It does say something for Antec that 3 of the cases I am mostly closely considering now are all theirs! the 900, p180b, and Solo!

systemlord - I am still very tempted by the 900 especially since there seem to be deals on it often. But a filter it will have to be because the system will go on the metal tray near the floor. I have a tempered glass L shaped desk and while it probably does hold a fully loaded case with ease, I prefer not to tempt fate since it is already holding an 80 lb 22" CRT. Once I ditch the CRT for an LCD, then maybe. :ange:

As for the 8800GTS 320...it is probably more than enough for me at the time. I was actually initially considering going with just an ATI 1950XT. My gaming is mostly of the Caesar, Civ, Sims type.
 

texasnightowl

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So is the PSU Calculator fairly accurate? I put in my specs and it came out to 478w. If this is close to accurate, I'm thinking of just going with the Corsair 520HX.

Here's what I input:

Single Processor
Regular Desktop
Intel e6750
left at 85% TDP
no overclock
2 DDR2 RAM
8800GTS 320
2 SATA hdds
2 optical
1 PCI card (considering the effectiveness of a PCI Slot Fan for under the video)
2 USB devices
1 front bay card reader
2 92 fans
2 120 fans
100% peak
30% capacitor aging

all that gave me 478w.

That being the case, could I go with the Corsair 520 or the Antec Neo 550?

and btw, geofelt, I've been reading about the Solo at different sites most of the afternoon...I'm definitely moving it up my list. If the p180b were a bit smaller and cheaper I would go with it but the Solo is looking like a winner...especially for the price.
 

systemlord

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Ok for those types of games then the 8800 GTS 320 will do more than enough.
 
The solo is not cramped or difficult to work with--in my opinion---. Both sides and the front come completely off which makes it easy to work with. If you use the rubber suspension mode, you only can mount 3 hard drives. If you want 4 hard drives(the max) you must use the tray mount which is still very good. I don't like to fuss with doors, otherwise the P180(which I have had) is good, but larger. I have no experience with the 900, but it does not have filters for the fans.
 

ausch30

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I agree with you and understand your concern for USB placement, although it seems a lot of manufacturers don't. My case, Stacker 832, has USB's at the top and top front which is very handy and why would you buy a case then buy a USB hub when you could just get a case with USB's where you want them. My suggestion would be the Stacker you listed in your first post, it's an outstanding case and I don't think you have anything to worry about as far as noise as long as you take the same steps you would with any other case to limit it. There are several versions of the 810 and these are the differences

STC-T01-UW - Silver; Dual Power Supply Locations (top & bottom); ATX, mATX, BTX, mBTX motherboards

STC-T01-UWK - Black; Dual Power Supply Locations (top & bottom; ATX, mATX, BTX, mBTX motherboards

RC-810-SSN1 - Silver; Single Power Supply Location (bottom); ATX, mATX motherboards

RC-810-SKN1 - Black; Single Power Supply Location (bottom); ATX, mATX motherboards

As far as PSU I would suggest either the PC P&C, Corsair, or Seasonic. All are good but I think those are the best of the bunch.
 

zenmaster

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478w is a definately a strong over-estimate.

Reviews of the Corsair 450w show that it will handle just about any Single GPU system including the 8800GTX so the 520w Corsair gives you lots of headroom with that system.

You may want to get a slightly larger one since if it runs at lower capacity it will likely be a bit quiter.
 

texasnightowl

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Just saw the additional responses! I actually did go with the Solo and the Corsair 520 and put everything together last night. I did get the 8800GTS in with no problems but using the tray mounts I don't think anyone could really use the 2nd tray with that card unless I'm doing something wrong. Would be hard to plug cables into it. I have drives in trays 1 (top) and 3. The card just clears the SATA port plugs on the board.

I'm a little concerned with my load temps (which I'll probably start a new post for in the Cooling sections). With a room temp of roughly 24-25c my system temps at IDLE have been:
system: 40c
tcase (cpu): 26-27c
cores: 35c
and the 8800GTS idles around 57-60c.
(Temps are using speedfan with a 15c offset since the e6750 has a tjunction max of 100 instead of 85; rivatuner for the GPU temp)

I'm not OC'd and using the stock Intel hsf. The case has a 120 fan at rear and I have 2 Antec 92 fans in front.
 

systemlord

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If these are idle temps then thats great for the stock Intel HSF! If there load temps then great. Your running cool here.
 

texasnightowl

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Yeah...it's late...my post was a bit unclear...those are IDLE temps. Which seem reasonable.

My load temps...5 minutes into the Orthos Small FFT test is when temps seem to stabilize on the high end...are:
tcase/cpu: 55-56
and cores: 63

I'd prefer to keep the cores under 60 so I might have to go ahead and pick up a better HSF. Thanks!
 

systemlord

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This HSF is one of the best out there right now, the Tuniq Tower 120.


http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16835154001
 

texasnightowl

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Yeah...I've seen it at the top of many lists. not sure I'm crazy about the height and weight of some of these coolers! I know that they have backplates for mounting, but still! Since I don't plan to OC, or if I do it will be mild, I'm considering going with the new Thermalright Ultima 90 with a 92mm fan.
 

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