Question Cases With DVD Bays & Fan Options

Mantrid-Drone

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Mar 15, 2014
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I'm slowly buying the bits and pieces I need for a new desktop build (Win11) and my focus this month is on case choice and fans.

Budget £150/$195 max but preferably <£100/$130.
ATX MB so Mid-Tower or Full Tower.
One but preferably two 5.25" DVD drive bays.
Sufficient width for a typical 165mm high CPU cooler + fans.
Big enough length for a decent mid-range GPU.
No side window panel.
No garishness ie. LEDs or tasteless colour scheme - preferably all black.
Lots of fan positions, both 120mm and 140mm, bottom intake desireable.
Good build quality in general and, possibly noise reduction lining.

Problem is that the cases with DVD drive bays (important for me) limits the choices considerably and there are a lot of those that don't meet my other preferences. I particularly dislike windowed side panels which so many seem to have.

I've come down to two choices:-

Corsair Carbide 200R (the same one I've used for my previous two builds)

Be Quiet Pure Base 600 T380660


The latter is specifically that model as there seems to be at least two other versions of that Be Quiet type on sale in the UK.

The Corsair, obviously, I have experience with and generally happy although the lighter than I'd like sheet metal construction and plastic HDD rack have caused me vibration noise problems which I, eventually, cured.

It runs very cool with 3x120mm and 2x140mm Akasa Viper fans I use. Noise is not a big issue but it could be lower which is why I was looking at the Be Quiet one.

The problem with the Be Quiet is that looks like you pay a price for quietness with higher heat due to the sound insulation. It also has a cheap (looking) and unnecessary, built in fan control slider switch which some user reviews have mentioned as a problem too.

On the subject of fans I will using better spec substitutes for those provided anyway so they're not an issue.

But I'm getting really OCD about my fan choice - I want both 120mm and 140mm ones to match and the problem with that is the bright yellow Akasa Vipers fit the bill and do a great job on my other two builds but I'd like something more subdued, colourwise, this time. Black and blue was what I was thinking about.

The Vipers come in black (and white too) but only in 120mm so I was looking at the new Akasa Alucias (together with the matched cooler) which come in both sizes. They look a bit like tastefully black and blue Noctuas but the spec is inferior to both them and the Vipers. I'm not going to go for looks ahead of performance.

So any comments/suggestions about those case or fan choices and alternatives welcomed.
 

JimKiler

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Oct 10, 2002
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I used to have the be quiet! Pure Base 600 with window and I never thought it looked cheap but i definitely did not have a orange trim piece. It does not have enough airflow for my taste so i switched the fans on the top of the case from output to intake fans and because there is no filters i bought a couple filters from newegg. It was not perfect but that helped.

I now have the be quiet! 500DX and it has the mesh front at the expense of no 5.25 drive bays. I used to have a BD writer but after losing 30 out of 33 BD-R discs I gave up on keeping copies of files on disc. Plus my secondary PC still has a DVD writer if needed.
 
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Mantrid-Drone

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Mar 15, 2014
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I didn't mean the whole case looking cheap just the fan switch which some reviewers had reported problems with. People don't tend to think about things like that but if a front control panel button goes bad how do you fix it?

I have a CoolerMaster 330E case and after I'd bought it I discovered that the main power button is notorious for failing after long term use. In fact it is the plastic spring it uses (dumb design choice). You could even get replacement ones it was such a common failing.

The solution I used right from the beginning was to bypass the main button use entirely - I fitted a PS/2 keyboard and enabled keyboard startup from the BIOS.


So there are cooling issues with the Be Quiet - helpful info, thanks.

That specific Be Quiet case comes in several colour flavours. I think the (orange) colour detailing actually looks quite good, it is certainly not obnoxious. But the case is available in all black too and that is what I'd choose if I decided on the Pure Base Be Quiet.
 

Tech Junky

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Jan 27, 2022
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Looks like plenty of options but, comes down to appearance.

I've used a few Fractal's and they are sturdy / good looks / blend in

I currently use the Node 804 which does have a small side window but overall is stealth. I also use a Meshify 2 which I specifically went windowless because I don't need to see what's inside and all of the other options were 3-4 sides of acrylic. Both though have a single LED on the front for power indication.

I've also used Phanteks in the past and they're nice but, use tempered glass for their panels which makes them a bit heavier to deal with.

Both tend to have good air flow / mounting positions.
 
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Mantrid-Drone

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Thanks all good idea and many with 5.25" bays matching most of my other preferences which I'd not found in my own searches.

That Phanteks one looks particularly interesting but I'm not keen on the front see through grill. Probably means good air flow but I don't really want to look up and see the innards whizzing around - distracting. Otherwise definitely worth considering.

Looks like I'll have to do some more research.
 

Tech Junky

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Most of the mesh fronts aren't like a window into the guts of the PC. Looking at the front of my Meshify while being a grill you might see the fans if you're looking for them but, otherwise it's just the power LED. If you want to see completed builds on PCP there's a section for that to get a better idea based on the case.


Just pick the case, click on it, scroll down and you'll see completed builds and you can swipe through them.

https://pcpartpicker.com/b/XQFG3C - this one has an obnoxious RGB installed but, from the front it's not like looking through a pane of glass

https://pcpartpicker.com/b/h2ykcf - the one on the left is the meshify 2 but, the one on the right is the smaller version as well

https://pcpartpicker.com/builds/by_part/vVwqqs - Enthoo case

You can make them as tacky as you want with all of the RGB or stealth without any of the lighting options. IT all comes down to how you want it to look. Mesh is good for keeping things cool inside and performing well. If you use bigger fans it will keep it quieter than with smaller fans. 140's don't need to spin as fast as 120's and using PWM over static fans allow them to ramp up in speed as needed vs a constant 3000RPM or whatever fans you select.

I'm using Arctic PWM PST fans and have been for years now and they're virtually silent even under load. They're not the cheapest @ -pack / $45 but, they get the job done and last forever. If you happen to damage one and need it replaced you can email the company and they'll ship one out immediately.
 
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Mantrid-Drone

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Definitely don't want anything tacky - no internal or fan LEDs or such nonsense for me although I do like an HDD activity LED for quick visual confirmation something is actually happening. But I can live without that if I have too.

I've been looking at some of the other suggestions Fractal, Nanoxia and Phanteks. The one that is calling to me costs a bit more than I intended (£130+/$170) but seems to do everything I need and more than I want: the Fractal Design Define XL R2 Full Tower case.

It is a bit of a heavy beast but there's room for everything I could possibly want to add to it and with some more fans I'm sure its stock cooling rating could be improved significantly.


It seems less complex to configure than some of the other high end Fractal Design cases I looked at too like the very expensive Define 7. Fantastic modular customisation yes but you'd also need the PC equivalent of a Haynes car manual to work out how to do it. :)
 
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Tech Junky

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Fractal is one of the best beasts for over building in. I could potentially squeeze 13 x 3.5" drives into the meshify. That's some serious storage being crammed into a space other vendors would only put 6 drives into the same space.

190174.ade52e8e1f552dd57d06a90cc92fa399.1600.jpg

I spotted what you like about it.

They're really nice cases to work with though. They have multiple options usually for configuration internally.

212222.75d984de8a716ee9a02c7eb5434bb263.1600.jpg

Just looking at this you still get 8 x 3.5" and 4 5.25" spots on top.
 

DeathReborn

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Definitely don't want anything tacky - no internal or fan LEDs or such nonsense for me although I do like an HDD activity LED for quick visual confirmation something is actually happening. But I can live without that if I have too.

I've been looking at some of the other suggestions Fractal, Nanoxia and Phanteks. The one that is calling to me costs a bit more than I intended (£130+/$170) but seems to do everything I need and more than I want: the Fractal Design Define XL R2 Full Tower case.

It is a bit of a heavy beast but there's room for everything I could possibly want to add to it and with some more fans I'm sure its stock cooling rating could be improved significantly.


It seems less complex to configure than some of the other high end Fractal Design cases I looked at too like the very expensive Define 7. Fantastic modular customisation yes but you'd also need the PC equivalent of a Haynes car manual to work out how to do it. :)
The good news is it can be had for £120 from Scan.

 
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Mantrid-Drone

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I did see that - but its without delivery costs. Minimum £9.58 for local collection (impractical) and £11.50 for delivery from Scan direct.

Scan are selling it on Amazon UK for £131.49 which includes delivery so its actually the same price.

I'll do a bit more research before committing though......done.

Could not find it any cheaper so now on order.

Thanks for the suggestions/advice all.
 
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Mantrid-Drone

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Delivered today - amazingly quick. Unboxed it about an hour later.

Only minor issues: the polystyrene protection in the cardboard delivery box was badly broken in two places (bottom) and another piece from the side broken off and loose too. Suggests it was not handled too gently at some point. But the PC case itself hasn't suffered any damage that I can see so the protection obviously worked.

On cursory inspection the case is just what I'd hoped for. The only thing I'd question is why the front 'door' uses ordinary foam rather than the same sound deadening material used on the side panels etc?

The foam also has a small 1/4" indent/tear at the bottom, as if something hard has been trapped against it but what that was is certainly not there now. It suggests a manufacturing flaw. Not a serious issue for me but if I had been building the PC for somebody else even a small thing like that would be.

The panel thumbscrews or their receiving threads and the lining up with the side panel holes are not as good as I'd like. I've had this before with other cases and that's never been a major problem as they usually bed in better with use.

Only criticism of the case and accessories supplied is that I did not realise the, quite good looking, white bladed fans were going to be 3-pin only, not PWM. No concern for me as I have always intended to substitute my own fans anyway. But, surely, with an above average costing case wouldn't you expect 4-pin PWM ones as standard?
 

Tech Junky

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Cases tend to come with 3-pin 99.999% of the time. It's cheaper and sufficient for an average build. It's just enough to be able to cobble a system together and hit the power button to test functionality.

Minor defects also tend to be somewhat normal. Sound vs Breathability foam though is to be expected so you can get air into the case to keep things cool.

Packing foam is there to make sure it gets to you with the least amount of damage possible. Fractal on my last couple of cases arrived w/o any issues so, maybe the damage happened in the warehouse prior to being picked up or it could have been the carrier. Phanteks cases I've used in the past also arrived w/o any issues. There's always the off chance of something happening though.

Now you just have to move everything into its new home and you're off to the races.
 

Mantrid-Drone

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Mar 15, 2014
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I have to buy most of it first - I'm on a monthly budget and I did not want to do what I did with both my previous builds: buy the expensive stuff first, like the MB, CPU, RAM, HDDs etc then having to wait until I could afford the case, PSU, OS, additional fans, cables, filters etc.

My second PC build I actually started before the first and I kept on adding to the spec eg. deciding to use a SSD as the primary drive, fitting extra RAM and a better GPU.

The result was by the time it was pretty much complete the MB, CPU and original GPU were 18 months old and two or three generations behind the then current ones.

This time I'm buying backwards: pc case then fans, cables, filters, SSDs/HDDs and so on. Some things are obviously dependent on other components but I can be pretty sure of the PSU spec I'll need, at least to begin with.

What I'm intending to do is leave out the GPU until I can afford something decent and go with whatever on board HD graphics the latest round of i5 CPUs sport. I've found the HD 4600 i3 4th gen chip I'm currently using in my primary PC is more than capable for general use and good for most pre-2002 retro gaming purposes too.
 

Tech Junky

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Jan 27, 2022
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Makes sense to wait on higher priced pieces as the prices tend to go down over time. The basic foundation pieces tend to remain the same price with little variation. Also, frankenstein-ing the PC by porting over parts from the existing to the new works as well to an extent if they're durable enough.

GPU is more of a preference thing when it comes down to it. If you need something more powerful than the iGPU then it's necessary and ebay can be your friend to keep costs down. FB marketplace can do the same if you hunt around by region.

I opt to get the foundation pieces together all at once especially when it's a new gen requiring from the ground up building. Even though I dove into ADL just post launch I snagged the pieces at a decent price even as the market adjusted still paid about the same as current prices now. Post launch period pricing actually went up compared to timing things closer to the initial window. It's a bit difficult to know where prices are heading at any given point these days. If I had more patience and sniped products as they went on sale to save the extra ~$50 it could have taken a lot longer to throw together the system.

With my 8700K setup though I went through 3 different builds with it as targets changed on what I wanted it to do. Swap things out and sell them off as I went through them. It's a bit of a pain but, for me it worked fine.
 
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Mantrid-Drone

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Final comment from me on the Fractal Design Define R2 XL case and that is: the multi-language 'instruction' manual provided is really lousy. It tells you, literally, one or two useful things but the content you'd think they'd include (and other case manufacturers do) like an explanation/identification of the cable connections provided is just not there.

If you've done PC builds before then you'll know that stuff but making this assumption about the customer in no excuse for not including a decent manual.

They do tell you how to wash the PSU position air filter though............................doh!

Worse, the fold out diagrammatic exploded view at the back lists by numbers about a dozen different features of the case but nothing actually useful, like which fan mounts can take what size fans but it even more useless because the diagram itself does not include any numbering.

Maybe you can find a proper or better downloadable PDF manual online but if so where's the link in the written manual?
 

Mantrid-Drone

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Mar 15, 2014
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I was thinking about first time builders in particular, as said, if like me you've done a couple and re-cased one as well you can usually work out what goes where without needing to reference a case manual.

But as I mentioned earlier I was looking at the Define 7 model and even with a YT guide the complexity of the configurations and how its done make a good hard copy manual or downloadable PDF you can print essential IMHO.
 

Tech Junky

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Jan 27, 2022
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@Mantrid-Drone

I agree completely that the Define 7 instructions are lacking and I'm not quite sure why they are with the 2 examples I've personally used. Maybe there's something FD didn't / wasn't doing at the time of release of the D7 case. *shrug*

My 2 choices from FD were based more on a storage layout as both hold several drives conveniently. I also look for more airflow as the less resistance means quieter operation because the fans don't have to ramp up quite as often to keep everything cool. Considering I have the case sitting ~6 feet away and stream from it the noise would be annoying if it were loud.
 
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JimKiler

Diamond Member
Oct 10, 2002
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I didn't mean the whole case looking cheap just the fan switch which some reviewers had reported problems with. People don't tend to think about things like that but if a front control panel button goes bad how do you fix it?

I have a CoolerMaster 330E case and after I'd bought it I discovered that the main power button is notorious for failing after long term use. In fact it is the plastic spring it uses (dumb design choice). You could even get replacement ones it was such a common failing.

The solution I used right from the beginning was to bypass the main button use entirely - I fitted a PS/2 keyboard and enabled keyboard startup from the BIOS.


So there are cooling issues with the Be Quiet - helpful info, thanks.

That specific Be Quiet case comes in several colour flavours. I think the (orange) colour detailing actually looks quite good, it is certainly not obnoxious. But the case is available in all black too and that is what I'd choose if I decided on the Pure Base Be Quiet.
Gotcha, i never used the fan switch on the case, i always use the mobo to regulate fans which has never been an issue with Asus motherboards.

I used to boot on keyboard but it would get touched and easily turn on when not needed but hopefully it works for you. Sometimes static electricity would turn on for me but that is a different problem.

Hope you enjoy your new case.
 
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