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Question I Want Either A Coolermaster Stacker 830/832 Or A Case With Certain Features

BonzaiDuck

Lifer
Jun 30, 2004
14,656
980
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To my estimation, the Coolermaster Stacker 830 or 832 is a case design that is at least 15 years old.

A friend sold me the one I still have back then -- new in the carton because he'd bought two and didn't need the second.

For a few years between successive deployments, I had the case in storage. Then, in mid-2016, I began to plan how I might use it in a Skylake system with a Sabertooth Z170 S motherboard. I toyed with the idea of using an AiO or expandable AiO, and provided minor modifications to the case forward side to make it possible. But finally, I just chose to use a Grand Macho ThermalRight heatpipe cooler, and I was gratified that the monster cooler fit nicely allowing a maximum of 3 140mm fans installed in the Coolermaster's hinged sidepanel fan-frame.

My Coolermaster came fitted with a removable slide-out motherboard panel which had a rectangular array of 3/8" diameter holes that vented the processor and VRM area on the motherboard bottom. It also had a 2.5"x12" rectangular hole with four tiny holes for screws to fit Coolermaster's 12" barrel-fan. This allowed me to draw air from above the motherboard and below a motherboard Lexan duct-plate, as well as air from below the motherboard drawn through the matrix of holes in the motherboard-pan -- to be exhausted out the right side of the case.

I don't think Coolermaster or anyone else had figured out or imagined how this might work, but I did. And I see that this was truly effective ducting for the motherboard: I had created a custom filter using magnetic tape and foam-art-board with scrap case screen material, which fit on the opposite side of the motherboard pan. The dust accumulation that I now discover on this filter confirms that the airflow performed exactly as desired.

So now, because I borked the USB controller of my Sabertooth board and this week confirmed that nothing can fix it, I'm replacing the board. In the process of preparing for the RMA because the Sabertooth is still under ASUS warranty, I picked up an identical Sabertooth and an ASUS Z170-WS workstation board. I realized with the RMA return I'd be left with two extra boards and two spare processors to build one or two additional machines after repairing the original Skylake. I took my stimulus money and purchased a Kaby Lake processor for this original system, so I can use the Skylake in one of these additional builds.

I simply want to replicate what I'd done with the Stacker 830/832. But all the used units that I find on EBay show motherboard pans without the matrix of holes and no place to fit the barrel-fan (of which I have a brand-new spare) and exhaust air the same way.

Aluminum is easy to cut and drill with a Dremel and a Makita, but it's still a pain in the ass to do it.

I suppose I can sacrifice the side panel fan frame ( and fan deployment) if I could just find a case that has the vent holes and barrel-fan cut-out in the motherboard pan, but I'm not sure which Coolermaster models have those features. The latest line is the "MasterCase" series.

Any thoughts or ideas? Know of any sources for the Coolermaster Stacker identical to the one I have?
 

BonzaiDuck

Lifer
Jun 30, 2004
14,656
980
126
UPDATE: WOW! I found exactly what I want on EBAY after a few more targeted searches. From the pictures, it's missing the little 1.5" caster wheels with brakes. But the essentials are all there. $155. Shipping brings it to $200+, and ships from USA.

But it has the fan-frame, the motherboard pan with vent-hole matrix, and the 12"x2.5" hole for the barrel-fan. I can see a project for this year replicating what I built in 2016-2017.

Happier than a pig in redacted . . . .

Here's a casual question, even so. More recent cases put the PSU at the case-bottom. I have some cases like that. But never had a problem putting my Seasonic at the top of the Stacker, given the case design.

Was there ever really an advantage to case-designs with the PSU on the bottom?


Profanity is not allowed in the tech forums.

AT Mod Usandthem


So sorry! I usually say s*** or poop. It's an old red-neck expression I picked up in Virginia. I won't split hairs, but other than being an "Anglo-Saxon monosyllable", it means "excrement" or "feces". Now . . . the F-bomb, that's something different. But I need to make note of these restrictions. It's no problem.

Anyway, another update. I found the caster wheels for $8 set of five at Amazon. Whoopee.
 
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BonzaiDuck

Lifer
Jun 30, 2004
14,656
980
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So . . . nobody but the forum-mod replied to this thread.

I still have a question -- maybe a few.

First -- The Coolermaster Stacker 830, 831 and 832 mid-tower versions were all introduced around 2007. It's a 14-year-old case design, and there are even variants within one or the other 83[x] models. Usually, you'd figure that newer is better. But I'm not so sure now. Other than looks and the use of tempered glass, can one argue that there is a better new case design than the Stacker? What is it? NZXT? Corsair? Coolermaster? What is it?

Since my first CM Stacker 832 *, I've used CM HAF 922s and a Corsair Vengeance C70 . The HAF and C70 are built of SECC sheet steel. That makes them less expensive than the all-aluminum Stacker. Not a problem, unless you need to dremel the metal for some sort of modification. Aluminum is easier to work with.

[* I'm pretty sure the units I have (one being shipped to me as I write) are in the 832 line, but I've seen 832's that don't have the cutouts in the motherboard pan like mine, and others that don't have the same front-door design. The 831 in the link looks like mine, but without the motherboard pan features. ]

But the only mods I've made to my CM Stacker involve blocking off the bottom vent with foam-board, and blocking the top-vent with a Lexan plate. Anything else is "an addition": the motherboard duct, the CM barrel-fan placement and air-flow direction. You'll notice there there is a recessed "handle" in the top panel just behind the power-button and LEDs -- not too evident from these pictures. I stuffed it with a laminated foam-board plug, with holes cut for a dual eSATA adapter and an LED on either side of the adapter.

I believe you can add a 280mm AiO or other radiator assembly to the front, but most certainly guaranteed for a 240mm radiator. Of course, the case-bottom offers a cutout and steel-screen cutout for a 240mm radiator as well. But -- yes-- a 280mm radiator with 140mm fans will fit in front. You could even add SSDs to the space between the case side-panels and the forward HDD frames. That leaves two 5.25" drive bays. You can always put internal drives behind the radiator. For drive-bay devices, I used an ICY-DOCK Drive Bay adapter with two 2.5" slots and caddies and a single slim (laptop) optical disc bay.

I must be missing something. What is it about the CM Stacker 83[x] that makes it obsolete, aesthetically unpleasing, or whatever? And why wouldn't CM continue producing it? Is it the fan-frame door? Too much ventilation? Top-side PSU instead of case-bottom, like the HAF design? Why doesn't Coolermaster offer something "new" but equivalent to the Stacker 83[x]? Or DO THEY? Somebody must know . . .
 

SamMaster

Member
Jun 26, 2010
84
33
91
The Stacker is a nice case.

The trend nowadays appears to be tempered glass all the things. Not necessarily a bad thing, but alot of well built cases rarely had adequate upgrades or replacements.

The closest thing I can see CM offer new that is close to the Stacker is the Cosmos C700P/C700M, and that doesn't have all the expansion slots in the front (probably due to airflow). I'm still waiting for them to make a modern version of the HAF XB. I'm not changing that case until then.
 

BonzaiDuck

Lifer
Jun 30, 2004
14,656
980
126
The Stacker is a nice case.

The trend nowadays appears to be tempered glass all the things. Not necessarily a bad thing, but alot of well built cases rarely had adequate upgrades or replacements.

The closest thing I can see CM offer new that is close to the Stacker is the Cosmos C700P/C700M, and that doesn't have all the expansion slots in the front (probably due to airflow). I'm still waiting for them to make a modern version of the HAF XB. I'm not changing that case until then.
I used to recycle full-tower Gateway cases from the mid-1990s. Somebody made me a gift of a 1995 Compaq ProLiant Server case, which I extensively modded in some very nifty ways, and wish I hadn't given it to my brother who lives up in Nevada now. I'd fitted it with 3.5" double braked caster wheels.

For me to have bought a CM Stacker 83[x] when I did -- probably sometime around 2008 and for $150 -- was a departure from my sense of computer-case priorities. I had it in storage for about four or five years between deployments. But as I probably already said, I designed ducts and fan applications for the Skylake system (2016/2017), and I was amazed at what I'd done with the case after I took it apart for the first time last month to replace the motherboard. I didn't do anything to the case-metal; probably trimmed off a little bit of plastic from the hinged side-panel fan-frame to fit my Grand Macho cooler; mostly used foam-board constructions and Lexan to block off some vents or build fan-filters. I could turn it around and sell it for what I'd paid for it, and the buyer wouldn't notice anything different about the fan frame.

The HAF cases were pretty good, despite their budget SECC steel construction. You could replace the CM 200mm fans with NZXT or Bitfenix units.

I think I had looked at the Cosmos and it didn't inspire me. I'm sure it was "good", but I'm amazed at the old Stacker 83[x] models, and that's like a 14-year-old case design.

the Stacker had a lot of 5.25" drive-bay opportunities, unless you were going to fit a 280mm radiator in the front. These days, for HDDs, I've been using 2.5" drives, and you can get an ICY-DOCK 5.25" bay device that has a slim laptop ODD slot and two 2.5" bays. I had one drive bay left to use, and I modded the screen cover for a bay to fit a 3.5" USB 3.0 2-port panel and a toggle switch for the lights. It doesn't miss having anything you'd want in a front panel.

Anyway, the pre-owned Stacker twin to the one I already had arrived yesterday, and I'm cutting open the carton this morning. I paid the same $150 that I spent for the first one, but compared to what I can get brand-new as we discussed, it's still a winning proposition.
 

_Rick_

Diamond Member
Apr 20, 2012
3,854
50
91
My Stacker STC-01 is steel, not aluminum - and the next thing I'm likely going to change is add in some hot swap cages, instead of the impossible-to-swap cages in there right now.
Without the mesh, it won't be as pretty - but I think the advantages outweigh the disadvantages, particularly once the SSD cage comes into play, which is a 12 in 3. And with the current low end SSDs dipping below 90 euros per TB, that does look like a very nice way, to add some TBs of very fast main storage, allowing me to use the HDDs as a true backup for the data there.

I'm not sure if I ever had a fan on the cooler for any system I built on the stacker - usually it was pretty low demand CPUs with huge tower coolers.
I've also got a spare set of wheels, just in case, because the thing is full with HDDs and weighs a a ton. With the wheels, I can move it around somewhat reasonably.
I'm aiming for 24 SATA devices in there, all off a micro-ATX board, which looks hilariously under-size in the huge case. As a home server case, it's absolutely awesome - just a well designed piece of engineering, no bells or whistles, easy to cool well, and can scale from 50 to 1500 Watts with ease.

I think the only way to get something similar these days is with Chenbro maybe? The Phobya WaCoolT UltraBig Aluminium Edition also looks like a related design - but without the open front.
 

CP5670

Diamond Member
Jun 24, 2004
4,710
164
106
I used to have a STC-T01 for 15 years on my main box and only switched it out last year. Most cases don't have that many drive bays anymore due to the move to M.2 drives. I also miss the wheels, which not many cases have anymore.
 

BonzaiDuck

Lifer
Jun 30, 2004
14,656
980
126
Absolutely, Positively. Rick forgot the "T". I had my eye on that one from the very start, but it was released while I was modding my Compaq ProLiant Server 1995 case on the 3.5" double caster wheels. The result of that project was actually better than the STC_T01, because I'd add a switch-lock/release pop-out PSU cage from a '90s IBM PC case. So I never bought one. Yet I can see how you wouldn't give them up after so many years. My mistake was giving my brother the ProLiant case, rather than following through with something like a chilled-water custom loop setup.

The Compaq case has latched slide-out SCSI drive trays, built for the drives that were maybe 1.5 times thicker than your 3.5" drive today. I modded them with dual "2-in-1" drive cage frames and took out the SCSI hotswap backplane. For the drive-activity lights, I used one clear-plastic prism from a single Compaq drive bay, and modded 4 red LED lights to a RAID-5-capable controller board. It would blink like it had LED piano-keys when the drive was working.

Why did I give that masterpiece to my estranged a**hole brother?! Why!? He's probably thrown it away by now . . . . no appreciation for things I do and did for him. . .

OK! HERE'S ONE FOR YOU, SO I DON'T HAVE TO ADD ANOTHER SEPARATE THREAD.

I Don't have pics because the other computer is down and I'm pressed for time today, but I have the lavender and white CM box in front of me-- brand new, stored in my parts locker for maybe 14 years. This was the STF-B01-E1-GP Cross Flow Fan, and I'm surprised I just found the archival product-item web-page at NewEgg, because you cannot find any trace of the fan at CoolerMaster's web-site. You cannot find it at Amazon. You cannot find it at Ebay, probably not at Performance-PCs or Cooler Guys or FrozenCPU. And darn! I lost the little bag of four sheet-metal screws that were bundled with the fan in the box!

I can no longer find this fan anywhere! Nowhere to be found! Luckily, I had bought two back in the day when I first bought the Stacker 83[x] SE. The Stacker guide/instructions showed two different ways to deploy this fan: one with intake from the right side panel blowing air across the long edge of an ATX motherboard; the other attached to the plastic fan-frame or left side-panel frame of the case. I swapped the fan around so that it acts as an exhaust-to-right-side-panel fan. Don't know if anyone ever thought to use it that way.

But a Stacker without a barrel fan -- either the STC-T01 or the stacker aluminum mid-tower -- is a Stacker with a significant loss of possibilities in my opinion. Maybe because my exhaust-fan experiment worked like a charm before.

ALSO -- ONE MORE NOTE. The pre-owned Stacker which arrived last weekend was missing one of the two aluminum drive cages for the lower front-panel. One, which arrived with the case, had three pieces with blue-rubber isolators. The other one looked like this Lian-Li model without the black front-panel extension. A dead ringer, or so it seems. But the Lian-Li is nowhere available. I'm still waiting for the Ebay seller to get back to me in case he's found it laying around somewhere in his junk pile. I've found other options, like this ICY-DOCK unit -- which also comes in bare aluminum - - (again -- maybe somewhere . . . ) Of course, that minor detail hardly matters. The cage allows for a decent inventory of HDDs and SDDs, but especially serves as a fan mount for either 120mm fans or 140mm "round" fans with 120mm mounting holes. Without a radiator, that's what I want and that's what I need. Probably a better option for me -- less elaborate than the ICY-DOCK -- is this Lian Li product.

I'm still waiting to get my retail 7700K returned from Silicon Lottery -- it's probably somewhere in New Mexico or Arizona at this moment. But I'm already stockpiling parts for the computer I was going to build "later this year". Might as well slap it together to test the electronics, then finish up the tedium with foam-board, fan-orders and Lexan later.
 
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CP5670

Diamond Member
Jun 24, 2004
4,710
164
106
I thought about getting that crossflow fan at one point but reviews said it was noisy and didn't have much impact on temperatures. Cool idea though. I had the black/blue version of the case and got the side window panel for it.
 

BonzaiDuck

Lifer
Jun 30, 2004
14,656
980
126
I thought about getting that crossflow fan at one point but reviews said it was noisy and didn't have much impact on temperatures. Cool idea though. I had the black/blue version of the case and got the side window panel for it.
The reason it was "noisy" derives from its metal-to-metal mounting strategy with sheet-metal screws. And it wouldn't have that much impact on temperatures if it's just blowing air across the motherboard, or even sucking out case internal air. It's spec'd at 1.3 cubic meters/min = ~46 CFM -- an airflow for any fan of 120mm or larger which I would consider limp.

But imagine that you have a duct-plate covering the motherboard with slots allowing air to flow past your RAM modules, and accommodation to the PCIE slots, and this plate has perpendicular borders at each 9" end of the ATX motherboard which mate with the motherboard pan. Then, the cross flow fan can draw air out the exposed forward side of the panel and motherboard, as well as from beneath the board.

I do all sorts of things to isolate fan-to-case-metal contact. With the cross flow, one simply glues strips of automotive rubber hose bandage to the two fan surfaces that mate with the case. That leaves the screws, which can be shock-absorbed with those little rubber donuts you can buy at an electronics store for wiring through sheet-metal holes, held in place with a small metal washer at the heads of the screws.

Noise?! We don' have no stinkeen noise! Whadda we need stinkeen noise for?!
 

Stuka87

Diamond Member
Dec 10, 2010
5,322
1,091
136
I must be missing something. What is it about the CM Stacker 83[x] that makes it obsolete, aesthetically unpleasing, or whatever? And why wouldn't CM continue producing it? Is it the fan-frame door? Too much ventilation? Top-side PSU instead of case-bottom, like the HAF design? Why doesn't Coolermaster offer something "new" but equivalent to the Stacker 83[x]? Or DO THEY? Somebody must know . . .
Aesthetically, it looks very early 2000's with all the plastic cladding. Which may be appealing to some people, but not the majority of people. The drive bays are an absolute waste of space these days as nobody is putting NINE 3.5" HDDs into a desktop computer. For the external size of the case, the internal space is rather limited. And I would be willing to bet the cooling it offers is subpar to more modern cases as there is no way to get cross flow air circulation going through the case. Yes it has four fans blowing down on the motherboard, but that air is then stalling out. And it looks like you would be required to use a vertical air cooler as a tower cooler is going to be unhappy with that air flow.

Now if you like the case, awesome. Go with it and post up your build, would be neat to see a modern build in such an old case design.

But I highly doubt we will ever see cases like this again for sale.
 

BonzaiDuck

Lifer
Jun 30, 2004
14,656
980
126
Aesthetically, it looks very early 2000's with all the plastic cladding. Which may be appealing to some people, but not the majority of people. The drive bays are an absolute waste of space these days as nobody is putting NINE 3.5" HDDs into a desktop computer. For the external size of the case, the internal space is rather limited. And I would be willing to bet the cooling it offers is subpar to more modern cases as there is no way to get cross flow air circulation going through the case. Yes it has four fans blowing down on the motherboard, but that air is then stalling out. And it looks like you would be required to use a vertical air cooler as a tower cooler is going to be unhappy with that air flow.

Now if you like the case, awesome. Go with it and post up your build, would be neat to see a modern build in such an old case design.

But I highly doubt we will ever see cases like this again for sale.
Plastic . . . "cladding"? That entire case is all aluminum, but for the nose at the upper top containing LEDs, PWR and Reset switches, the only plastic is the side-panel fan frame -- which can simply be unhinged and removed. I knew one guy who put four 120 or 140mm fans in it, but filling it up with fans is totally unnecessary. It give you the option for one, two or three fans if you don't use all four fan-positions. I put two in the bottom of the frame and block off the upper two positions with 140mm squares of Lexan. And in fact, with a large heatpipe cooler, you cannot use the fan-location at the upper left quadrant of the frame. I block that off with Lexan plate.

Originally, I thought the design of the Stacker 83[x] offered too much ventilation. But it's easy to control that: you can block off vents with foam-board or Lexan. You can put a 240mm or even a 280mm radiator in the front, and I think you can add a 240mm radiator at the bottom -- or just add two more fans in the bottom panel.

As you noted, 3.5" spinners are now the last choice -- not entirely obsolete -- for storage, and today's NVMe drives can hold 2TB. I have a mix: 2 NVMe drives in PCIE slots, maybe a 2TB SATA SSD, and two 2.5" HDDs. If you want a 280mm front-panel radiator with 140mm fans, you are left with two upper 5.25" bays.

So I use these ICY-DOCK devices: ICY-DOCK 2x-2.5"-plus-[slim/laptop ODD]

That leaves one other 5.25 bay, so the case comes with vented-screen front-panel bracket-covers, one of which has a 3.5" pop-out. So I stick a USB 3 2-port device in that, and a little Dremel work allowed me to install a little red toggle switch to the right or left of the USB ports for cold-cathode lights. There's of course all sorts of places to put 2.5" SSDs as opposed to the drive cage. You can stick them on the outer sides of the cage which is otherwise dead space.

The only real difference I see is the PSU location -- which is old-school and at top rear. For "cross-flow" air, my motherboard is ducted and air flows over it through a narrower aperture and then out the right side-panel. All other interior case air can only go through the PSU or the CPU cooler fins and out the rear exhaust-fan.
 

Stuka87

Diamond Member
Dec 10, 2010
5,322
1,091
136
Plastic . . . "cladding"? That entire case is all aluminum, but for the nose at the upper top containing LEDs, PWR and Reset switches, the only plastic is the side-panel fan frame -- which can simply be unhinged and removed.
Ahh, my mistake. I never owned one of these back in the day. So I went to google images, did a quick search, and the first one I came across "looked" plastic. So I assumed it was plastic, my mistake,
 

BonzaiDuck

Lifer
Jun 30, 2004
14,656
980
126
Ahh, my mistake. I never owned one of these back in the day. So I went to google images, did a quick search, and the first one I came across "looked" plastic. So I assumed it was plastic, my mistake,
The T01 Stackers mentioned by our colleagues above were "Y-uuuuge" and made of (what I think is called) SECC sheet steel. Your cheaper cases, like my HAF-922s, are all sheet steel, and every case I've ever extensively modded -- cutting new fan holes, changing out a PSU cage for one from a different PC, adding a Lexan side-window, building a bottom dual-fan cage for a radiator -- were sheet steel. You go through a lot (a LOT!) of Dremel cut-off blades! The neighbors complain about the noise until you finish the project!

But the Stacker 83[x] variants don't require any extensive "new stuff". When I first saw one, I was put off by the plastic side-panel fan "door". I thought my friend who owned it with the four fans in the door was a bit . . . nutty . . . a "fan-boy". His office-room sounded like an un-air-conditioned department store's fan department. It was "too well ventilated" -- so I thought. But with a $5 18"x36" panel of black foam-core/foam-art-board and $20 of 1/8"-thick Lexan plate, you can pick and choose your opportunities.

The front hinged door has four magnets, and I broke the hinge-pins a few years back. (You know -- you leave the door open and one day you carelessly run into it with your leg.) Turns out that the door will simply secure itself to the front of the chassis with only the magnets. I could repair the broken hinge-pins, but I don't see much reason for doing it.

Anyway --- I ordered a "pre-owned" twin from Ebay, and when it arrived, one of the aluminum drive cages was missing. Turns out that Lian Li makes aluminum drive cages for which the essential component seems identical to the CoolerMaster part. I'd left the Performance-PCs item-description page on my web-browser for the last week, trying to decide whether it was "the right one". I can see that I only need to drill out some pop-rivets and use some pieces of aluminum "angle-iron" that I bought at the local metals store 10 years ago. It's an easy way to mount the 140mm fans for the front-panel behind the hinged magnetic door, in a situation where no 280mm radiator is part of the plan. So this second unit, for a system that won't be done for another several months, should be even better than the first.

Once I have my new processor and mobo installed in my original Stacker, I'll post some pics. There should be plenty of them on the machine that's "down for repair".
 

aigomorla

Cases and Cooling Mod PC Gaming Mod Elite Member
Super Moderator
Sep 28, 2005
18,514
1,148
126
i would just load up hot swap bays in my stackers after i retired them out of water cooling duty when i got a Mountain Mods.
But they were not quiet cases by any margin.
It was just a EATX case which had a large mount of 5 1/4 bays with nothing else.
Oh it was alu too, so made putting on magnetic filters a PITFA.
 

BonzaiDuck

Lifer
Jun 30, 2004
14,656
980
126
i would just load up hot swap bays in my stackers after i retired them out of water cooling duty when i got a Mountain Mods.
But they were not quiet cases by any margin.
It was just a EATX case which had a large mount of 5 1/4 bays with nothing else.
Oh it was alu too, so made putting on magnetic filters a PITFA.
I never had a problem with real noise in any of my cases. You remember the GT AP-30? Yeah -- that sucker would rev up to 4,000 RPM to some deafening decibels. But I had it set to ramp up to about 3,200 when the CPU temperature was going beyond 65C. Most of the time, it was quiet.

All my fans are quiet because I isolate them with rubber from case-metal. So I can't understand what you mean by the Stacker being "noisy". It would be noisy, perhaps, putting four fans in that plastic door with no rubber isolators -- that's for sure.

Like I said about filters -- magnetic tape, with extra attention to the adhesive.

The Skylake box (which should be put back together today or tomorrow thanks to the US Mail) -- had been running four years. Four years in the Stacker 832. I took two or three months before ordering the motherboard and components to prepare it. I was so satisfied with it, I'm going to use the same model of case to replicate the original. If I eventually move up to a gen-10 processor and motherboard, I think I'll follow the same plan.

For this "pre-owned" Stacker that arrived last week, the replacement drive cage should be on its way from Performance PCs. That leaves a set of 16 8-36 pan-head phillips machine screws for the dual casters I had to buy for total $8. that SHOULD be the right thread count. It was just over ten bucks for a set of 25. I just hope the proper screws were 8-36 and not 8-40. Hard enough to find the former.
 

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