Question Looking for a budget mid-tower to put my old 3770k into, can't find one that fits.

Cyber_Akuma

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Looking for a mid-tower that has at least one 5.25 external bay, at least one intake and exhaust fan, and it would be a BIG plus if it had more than 1 USB 3.0 and/or 2.0 port. Ideally if it had 2 of each, and it would be really nice if it had at least 4 internal bays for 3.5 drives. Also, I currently have a Noctua NH-D14 cooler attached to said Z77 motherboard, so I would need a case that is compatible with that. Was hoping for under $100, preferably $50-60, but seems like the only case I can find that has what I want is around $120-130.

I am rebuilding/replacing my current 3770k with a new z490 motherboard/cpu/ram/psu in place of the existing case/hardware.

However, I am not 100% sure if it was my old z77 motherboard that was what was causing the issues, or my old PSU. And since the RAM and CPU itself are fine according to stress tests, I don't really have a place to store them after taking them out of the case, and selling them won't get me much, I figured I could get a budget mid-tower case to put them in and replace the part that is broken so I could have a decent backup system.

And since I am currently keeping all the old case, gpu, other cards, drives, etc from my existing z77 build, but will slowly upgrade them when I have the money since they will be rather mis-matched for a 10700k, I can also move those parts into the z77's case as I replace them.

But I am having a hard time finding an affordable case that is both good, has the features I want, and the biggest issue..... is actually still being sold.

Originally I was looking at this article: https://techguided.com/best-budget-pc-cases-under-50/

That Fractal Design Focus G seemed good at first, but looking into it. It doesn't have an exhaust fan, and is lacking in USB ports. And with the cost of buying more fans and putting in a USB front bay, I might as well buy a more expensive case..... plus it seems to be sold out everywhere.

I considered the other one that was listed by Cougar (never heard of that brand) but it lacks an intake fan..... and according to Noctua's site the case is too small to fit most of their coolers, including the D14 I have.

I tried https://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/best-pc-cases,4183.html but they were not really budget cases, except for one.... which had no 5.25 bays, only one fan, and/or were out of stock everywhere.

The last last of cases I attempted to look up was https://www.gamersnexus.net/guides/3604-best-gaming-pc-cases-for-airflow-in-2020-right-now and the only option there seemed to be the Cooler Master NR600, but the version that has 5.25 bays doesn't seem to be sold anywhere, I can only find the one without any.

So I gave up on those and tried setting my preferences in PcPartPicker. About 99% of them after I filtered them were sold out, but the one that would come up the most, over and over, was the Fractal Design Define R4.... but it has apparently been discontinued and out of stock long ago. Second one that came up the most was the Corsair 200R.

It looked like that was about to be my go-to.... but then I saw this review: https://www.anandtech.com/show/6515/corsair-carbide-200r-case-review-how-low-can-you-go/5

The main thing they complained about was the SSD cage, and when they tested it's temps I can see why, SSDs were considerably hotter than most other cases tested. Considering I have a spare Samsung 850 Pro I am going to put in it, SSD heat is a concern.

After all this, the only case I could find that seems to fit (I am still looking up good reviews though) is the Fractal Design Define R5. It seems to have everything I want. Intake and exhaust fan, two usb 2.0 and 3.0 ports, a 5.25 bay, and has more than 4 3.5 internal bays. The only issue..... it's $120-130, a bit more than what I wanted ot pay.... but this so far seems like the only case that has everything I want AND is in stock.

Is this my only option if these are my limits for what I am looking for in a case? Does anyone has any other cases they can recommend that have all these features I am looking for and are actually still being sold?
 
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Darkbreeze

Retired Mod
The Focus G doesn't support that many internal 3.5" drives, nor does it have more than one external front panel USB 3.0 Type A port (Although it does have both a 3.0 and 2.0 Type A port there) but otherwise is a decent budget case. It's a little bit tight to work in when it comes to cable management on the backside of the motherboard tray though.

Why does a case need to COME with said fan configuration? Why can't you add a fan? For something in the 50 to 70 dollar range you could add a COUPLE of halfway decent fans and still be within your 100 dollar budget.

Do you require that this case has an acrylic or tempered glass side panel?

Honestly, when you start getting picky about the features and specifications of your case, which is fine and I ALWAYS am, you need to expect to spend about 100-150 dollars, under normal circumstances. These are NOT normal circumstances.

Covid has made the world and particularly for PC hardware of just about every kind that isn't a drive or memory, anything BUT normal circumstances. The cost of all these parts are generally much higher for any in-demand parts, than normal, although budget parts that might not be as popular have generally dropped back to at least somewhat normal levels. This is because for months China shut down it's manufacturing and was not shipping out any hardware at all either. Parts shortages haven't helped things any since they resumed most manufacturing and the fact that it's a year where historic hardware has been released (And subsequently is almost impossible to get) doesn't help either because people have been building in droves, since they've been both stuck at home for most of the year AND a lot of them have received Covid checks that have gone directly into PC hardware purchases.

So, getting what you want might require that you spend more than you had planned unless you are willing to lose something from your list of requirements. If not, I'd suggest the Fractal Design R6, Fractal Design Define S, Phanteks Enthoo Pro (Full tower) or Enthoo Pro 2 (Mid tower), and some others I could recommend, would all be fine choices.

Any reason in particular why you NEED to have support for a 5.25" external drive bay? I mean, those cases support one, but your case options would be a LOT more expansive if you could simply get an external DVD or BD drive, or buy an external enclosure for your existing internal drive. Very few people even use optical drives anymore. I use them, but both of mine are external Blu ray drives. I have a stack of 5.25" optical drives sitting up above my bench that I doubt will ever find work again.
 

Cyber_Akuma

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The Focus G doesn't support that many internal 3.5" drives, nor does it have more than one external front panel USB 3.0 Type A port (Although it does have both a 3.0 and 2.0 Type A port there) but otherwise is a decent budget case. It's a little bit tight to work in when it comes to cable management on the backside of the motherboard tray though.
Well as I mentioned, on top of those issues that one also appears to be sold out everywhere.

Why does a case need to COME with said fan configuration? Why can't you add a fan? For something in the 50 to 70 dollar range you could add a COUPLE of halfway decent fans and still be within your 100 dollar budget.
At first I was considering going this route, but if I have to start adding fans, usb bays, etc it's going to come close to the cost of just buying a more expensive case.

Do you require that this case has an acrylic or tempered glass side panel?
No but it would be nice if it's an option while still being afforable.

Covid has made the world and particularly for PC hardware of just about every kind that isn't a drive or memory, anything BUT normal circumstances. The cost of all these parts are generally much higher for any in-demand parts, than normal, although budget parts that might not be as popular have generally dropped back to at least somewhat normal levels. This is because for months China shut down it's manufacturing and was not shipping out any hardware at all either. Parts shortages haven't helped things any since they resumed most manufacturing and the fact that it's a year where historic hardware has been released (And subsequently is almost impossible to get) doesn't help either because people have been building in droves, since they've been both stuck at home for most of the year AND a lot of them have received Covid checks that have gone directly into PC hardware purchases.
Yeah, I suffered this from trying to get the RAM, PSU, and Cooler for my build.... but I was told that cases are still being normally stocked.

Any reason in particular why you NEED to have support for a 5.25" external drive bay? I mean, those cases support one, but your case options would be a LOT more expansive if you could simply get an external DVD or BD drive, or buy an external enclosure for your existing internal drive. Very few people even use optical drives anymore. I use them, but both of mine are external Blu ray drives. I have a stack of 5.25" optical drives sitting up above my bench that I doubt will ever find work again.
Yeah just get a case without that 5.25" and just buy an external drive like this
I already have one in my current case that I want to move to it once I upgrade it, and I honestly use optical drives often enough that an external would be a hassle. I don't want to go the external route. And honestly, finding a case with a 5.25 bay is NOT really that limiting. I ran into this when I was building a system for my friend in late 2019. When I filtered cases by ones that had 5.25 bays because he wanted a blu-ray drive in it..... it barely made a dent in the result numbers (Mostly just Lian Li cases). What DID make a big dent was looking for a case with a front USB-C port. 5.25 ports in BUDGET cases is the issue, not cases with 5.25 ports at all.
 

Darkbreeze

Retired Mod
Says it's in stock at Newegg.

https://www.newegg.com/black-fractal-design-focus-g-atx-mid-tower/p/N82E16811352069

Also seems to be available from several Amazon sellers, and through B&H Photo, for about ten bucks more than through Newegg.


At first I was considering going this route, but if I have to start adding fans, usb bays, etc it's going to come close to the cost of just buying a more expensive case.
How do you figure that? Even if you pay 65 bucks for the case, and add a really decent Noctua, Corsair, Arctic, Scythe, Fractal Design, Thermalright or Be Quiet fan, which you aren't going to pay more than 10-15 bucks for unless you want the most premium models, you're still only going to be looking at like 75-80 bucks plus tax which is still well below your stated 100 dollar preference. I'm not sure why you'd need to add a USB bay either. There are USB ports on the case and there are additional USB ports on the rear motherboard I/O. If you need more USB ports than that you can certainly add an external USB hub to one of them for a few more bucks.

Yeah, I suffered this from trying to get the RAM, PSU, and Cooler for my build.... but I was told that cases are still being normally stocked.
Whoever told you this is an idiot that has no actual knowledge of the industry. EVERYTHING coming from China is in short supply. The only reason that drives and memory are not is because those generally come from Korea or other regions with Korea made memory products. Korea did not shut down in the same way as China when it comes to industry. At one point the Fractal Design Define S2 that normally runs about 120 bucks was up around 200 bucks, as was the Lian Li Dynamic, Define R6, etc. So you might want to really consider whether whoever told you that is offering advice in the future that you actually want to pay attention to.

As far as cases with external 5.25" bays, it absolutely makes a huge dent in options unless you want a case model from five or ten years ago that lacks modern features. Aside from a small handful of them, any case model that was newly released in the last probably four years almost certainly does not have any external 5.25" bays. The Fractal Design Define R4, R5 and R6 for example, have one hidden behind a swing door. The Phanteks Enthoo Pro and Enthoo Pro M have one. There are a few, but they are mostly older designs OR are from lower end case manufacturers. There are some options there but they mostly include accepting that you are not going to get modern features with it like good cable management options, a lack of modern USB ports, no filtration, and so on. In the end you end up with only a handful of choices or the option to pay significantly more for a higher end model.
 
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Cyber_Akuma

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Says it's in stock at Newegg.

https://www.newegg.com/black-fractal-design-focus-g-atx-mid-tower/p/N82E16811352069

Also seems to be available from several Amazon sellers, and through B&H Photo, for about ten bucks more than through Newegg.
Huh, odd, I could have sworn I checked both Amazon and Newegg when I wrote that and it wasn't in stock.

How do you figure that? Even if you pay 65 bucks for the case, and add a really decent Noctua, Corsair, Arctic, Scythe, Fractal Design, Thermalright or Be Quiet fan, which you aren't going to pay more than 10-15 bucks for unless you want the most premium models, you're still only going to be looking at like 75-80 bucks plus tax which is still well below your stated 100 dollar preference.
Will have to re-look at fans, most of the ones I saw were $20+, probably was looking at the wrong ones.

And front-panel USB ports were $20-40, rear would be a pain to reach for in most of the places I keep the system.

Whoever told you this is an idiot that has no actual knowledge of the industry. EVERYTHING coming from China is in short supply. The only reason that drives and memory are not is because those generally come from Korea or other regions with Korea made memory products. Korea did not shut down in the same way as China when it comes to industry. At one point the Fractal Design Define S2 that normally runs about 120 bucks was up around 200 bucks, as was the Lian Li Dynamic, Define R6, etc. So you might want to really consider whether whoever told you that is offering advice in the future that you actually want to pay attention to.
I see, so even cases are a pain to find right now, great.

As far as cases with external 5.25" bays, it absolutely makes a huge dent in options unless you want a case model from five or ten years ago that lacks modern features. Aside from a small handful of them, any case model that was newly released in the last probably four years almost certainly does not have any external 5.25" bays. The Fractal Design Define R4, R5 and R6 for example, have one hidden behind a swing door. The Phanteks Enthoo Pro and Enthoo Pro M have one. There are a few, but they are mostly older designs OR are from lower end case manufacturers. There are some options there but they mostly include accepting that you are not going to get modern features with it like good cable management options, a lack of modern USB ports, no filtration, and so on. In the end you end up with only a handful of choices or the option to pay significantly more for a higher end model.
For mid-towers trying to find cases with at least one 5.25 bay limits my options from 2645 out of every case the site knows to 1382, that's still a ton of options, pretty much half your options are still open (and that's not even cutting out the insane ones, or ones at crazy prices, etc).

And if I wasn't trying to go compact and go full tower like I normally do, it drops my options from 448 to 373, almost no dent at all.

Meanwhile trying to find a mid-tower with ANY type of USB-C in it though, even ignoring 5.25 bays limits your options from 2012 to.... 208.

Also, my case from 2012, which I am going to be re-using, has two usb 3.0, 2.0, and cable management. That's not really a new thing.
 

Darkbreeze

Retired Mod
Arctic, Noctua (Redux line), Aerocool (DS series, 3 pin DC controlled so much have board that can do both DC and PWM on chassis fan headers, which is most modern motherboards from the last few years), Corsair and Be Quiet all have pretty decent budget fans for 10-15 bucks depending on whether you want 120 or 140mm fans.
 

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