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Old 01-31-2013, 01:20 AM   #1
MKOdoric
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Default Replacing an Antec 900 - Input Appreciated

UPDATE:

Thank you everyone for your input, a lot of great advice in this thread. Going over the handful of cases that have been suggested there are a few that have caught my eye:

The Switch 810: Don't mind the looks and I like the features, but a bit pricier than I'm willing to go, not a fan of it in white either, which is all my local shop carries. If I bite the bullet it would be $190 locally.

Nanoxia DS1: If this were available today, I would probably end up picking it up. It really does, at least based on initial reviews, look to be a cooler running, quieter Define R4. Unfortunately from brief Google searches I'm seeing it will be available sometime in February in the US, therefore a bit later in Canada. I'm in need a case soon.

Define R4: Still considering it. Wary about the cooling but this could be somewhat mitigated by additional fans. $120 locally plus ~30 for 2 additional fans.

Antec p280: Taking Termie's advice for cooling I had a look at the Antec 1100, not a fan of it personally, but I am intrigued the the P280, which differs only slightly in design. I'm thinking that the P280 would be a middle ground for me between achieving the cooling I want and also getting the look and noise level right. If I were to pick this up, it would be $120, plus ~30 to install 2 additional fans in the front.

Anyone have any further thoughts?

END UPDATE



Hi Everyone,

Currently, I'm running an half decade old Antec 900. I've grown bored with it. It's too small, too bright, lacks cable management, and rivals a Dyson with it's dust sucking abilities. That being said, the cooling has always been up to par and the case hasn't let me down, aside from a grinding fan at start-up. Specs for my rig below, used primarily for gaming:

2500K @ 4.5 cooled with a Hyper 212
7970 factory cooling, slight OC, stock volts
16 gigs Ram
Asus P8Z68 Pro ATX motherboard
1 SSD
2x Hard Drives
1 CD/DVD R/W
Corsair 850X Modular PSU (New, switched out from a TX750 non modular in the 900)

I'm primarily interested in a case that provides decent cooling. With the 900, my 7970 would sometimes hit above 80 during heavier gaming loads, would prefer to keep it below that level. Also, I'd prefer a case that isn't bright or flashy. Noise levels aren't really a concern, but the ability to quiet down the case when not gaming would be nice. Budget is under $160, buying in Canada.

I've considered the following cases (researched reviews and build logs) and have included my thoughts:

Cooler Master HAF XM $130
Pros: Great cooling, side fan for GPU, plenty of room for cable management.
Neutral: Looks - bit too industrial for my tastes, but I could live with it.
Cons: Rather large, no fan controller, not the best fan quality (have read of issues with top fan), air filters are just mesh and not the greatest.

Corsair 500r White/Black $130
Pros: Great cooling, side fan for GPU, good cable management.
Neutral: More what I'm going for, not flashy (LEDs can be turned off) or industrial.
Cons: Proprietary fan controller only compatible with stock case fans (this really irks me for some reason), seems overpriced.

Fractal Design Define R4 White/Black $110 - No window, $120 - Window
Pros: Great looks, good cable management, Fantastic build quality, fan controller.
Neutral: Ability to turn down the fans for quiet operation when not gaming.
Cons: Cooling isn't as great, as the case is primarily geared towards silence. No side fan, though it can be added with the non-windowed version


Conclusion: At the moment, I'm more biased towards the Define R4, mostly because of it's looks. Loving the minimalist design. My main concern though is the cooling. I realize at stock the case is geared towards silence, however this idea has been running through my head: Remove the top HDD tray, add another 140 mm to the front intake, so that the front and rear fans are all connected to the fan controller. Then add a 120mm intake fan to the bottom mounting, which would be blowing air at the intake on my 7970. I guessing this would have a decent impact on cooling, while still maintaining the ability to control noise. I have to data to back this idea up, I'm just guessing.

Anyway, if you have the time, let me know your thoughts, recommendations, and ideas. Any input is much appreciated. Regards.

Last edited by MKOdoric; 01-31-2013 at 10:52 PM. Reason: Update
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Old 01-31-2013, 05:19 AM   #2
Vectronic
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Go with it... the R4 that is... enough said.

The only flaw I've found/have with it, is that it doesn't have an external 3.5" bay (also doesn't come with a converter like the R3 did).

I would also suggest if you are concerned about cooling, get more fans, I would suggest 2 more... even though you might not use them. I got one extra R2 when I got the case, don't even really need that, but if I had a fourth it would make me happy...lol

Much smaller GPU than you, XFX 7750 Core/Ghost, single fan, but it's never gone over 62C.

Keeps my 3570K OC'd to 4.5 with a Zalman 9900Max (roughly equal to yours) at 75C under 100% normal load, and that's with Zalmans crappy TIM, and my fans running at minimum.
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Old 01-31-2013, 06:01 AM   #3
lehtv
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Antec 900 is in another class in terms of cooling but the R4 is better in all other ways. Since you're running only a moderately OC'd single GPU setup, and with a blower-style exhausting cooler no less, case cooling isn't really that important. Go with the R4. The cooling should be adequate even with the stock setup set to low RPM.

If you want to improve the cooling regardless, get an additional 140mm front fan and possibly another 140mm top-rear fan. I'd downvolt all fans with the integrated controller, but few 140mm fans will spin up at 5V or even 7V - consider these:

Scythe Kaze Maru 2 140mm 800RPM $14 each - very quiet even at full speed, should be silent at 7V. If you buy two, you'll have four in total. To incorporate all four into the integrated controller you'll need one splitter cable.
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Old 01-31-2013, 06:27 AM   #4
Vectronic
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The R2's (the ones the case comes with), will run as low as 280RPM, I don't really know what voltage that is since my motherboard is crap for fan control (great chip, horrible BIOS settings)... I would assume about 3.3v since ~12v = ~1000RPM. However, they won't start at that speed, start-up voltage is about 3.8v.

66CFM at 12v... same price $14 CAD... 4dB louder than the Scythes though.

Last edited by Vectronic; 01-31-2013 at 06:30 AM.
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Old 01-31-2013, 09:04 AM   #5
Eureka
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The Phantom 620 got a favorable review on AT, as did the Thor v2. The Switch 810 looks to be good all around, and in black it isn't gaudy either. And the Bitfenix Ghost is strong competition to the R4.

Finally, while unavailable in the US, the Nanoxia DS1 is supposed to take everything the R4 does and do it better.
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Last edited by Eureka; 01-31-2013 at 09:10 AM.
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Old 01-31-2013, 05:24 PM   #6
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Do you want cooling or quiet? You're not going to improve both moving from an Antec 900. Just look at the graphs on this page: http://www.anandtech.com/show/6442/b...um-treatment/6

The Antec 1100, which is based on the 900 design, is in a class by itself in terms of cooling. The R4 is far behind, and surprisingly with OC'd components it's louder. I'd definitely consider the 1100 in your situation.
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Old 01-31-2013, 06:49 PM   #7
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My NZXT Phantom works great. I don't think I have the 620 mentioned above, I'm pretty sure thats the brand new one. My GPU (which has bad cooling anyway) has only hit 80 when I forget to turn my fans up, and that was before I installed 3 new fans and cpu cooler. Unfortunately it's kinda showy, but the fan LEDs can be turned off easily. Its quiet as hell, especially if you turn the fan sliders down. Cable management is plenty large, tons of HDD bays, plenty of 5.25 bays, and the magnetic door is a nice touch.

My only problems are that 1) When I try to set up my fans so all the sliders work, there's always one unlit because of the H60 2) Only one USB 3.0 external.
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