Question mATX

sammykhalifa

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Dec 26, 2014
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So it's finally time to do more serious shopping for PC parts--and looking at my Fractal Define r4 and how it's way larger than it needs to be for what I need to have in it these days--started me down the road of looking at some mATX cases. WIth optical drives (almost) extinct these days, and no spinning drives, no real multi gpu set ups theses days, it seems strange to me that the cases are still basically the same size. Just looking at rumors the last month or two, it looks like there might be some momentum for the format. But isn't that always the way, that something cool is just a month or two out? Sleek and black (a subtle RGB highlight would be interesting but not necessary).

The more I look the more I can't decide. At this point I think I'm looking at the i5 or i-7 alder lake, and a 240 or 280mm radiator because I've never used one before. The newbie in me wants to put that in the top, because for the life of me I can't figure out how putting it in the front intake or the bottom is a good idea.

I know nobody can tell me what I think would look cool, heh.
 

Tech Junky

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Jan 27, 2022
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Node 804 is a nice box to work in and if you do storage there's 8 slots for 3.5's and room for tons of fans front / back / top / bottom.


Running a 12700K in a Meshify 2 though because there's still pretty limited mATX options and the M2 case is nice for airflow and keeps the CPU at room temp using a $45 cooler w/ 2 x Arctic P12 PWM PST fans doing push/pull. I thought about the AIO with all the hype about temps being blistering but, it's just marketing.

https://pcpartpicker.com/b/kMq323 - no LC
 

aigomorla

Cases and Cooling Mod PC Gaming Mod Elite Member
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and a 240 or 280mm radiator because I've never used one before.
This is why there are very little cases which offer optical bays now.
Typically when you have a radiator mounted either ceiling or front, it always blocks the optical bay in case.

With the hype of AIO watercoolers, and the misconception that "YOU NEED TO WATERCOOL X PROCESSOR TO UNLOCK THE KRAKEN" hype, this is why most case makers opt to make the case more radiator friendly then optical friendly.

Also Opticals are mostly dead now. Only ones still in service are blue ray, which is dying itself, as streaming is taking over, and internet bandwidth now extends past 1gbe for residential.

Even Consoles are trying to get rid of optical, as they are a source of lost revenue when you can buy a second hand physical copy, vs having to purchase it though the digital library at full price, unless you run into sales.

As for what cool case?
I really want to build a PC with this case:

But the price on it is just too much for me to stomach, and i am usually a no budget type of person when building PC.

But again, i would never pay that much for a case unless it was a Windy, which itself is a treasure hunt case to find.
 
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Tech Junky

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@aigomorla That's basically just an open bench sort of "case" for mounting the parts to rather than inside.

There's tons of different options like that one for a lot cheaper.


It's all about how creative you can get with the foundation and build off that. ~$200 should get you started and then go from there with all of the ADHD parts you can think of adding to it.
 

aigomorla

Cases and Cooling Mod PC Gaming Mod Elite Member
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That's basically just an open bench sort of "case" for mounting the parts to rather than inside.
I want that anodized purple tho...
The coolermaster one looks decient, however i don't like that ramp.
 

Tech Junky

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You can always change the color ;) For your $500 case going with a cheaper one and then custom painting it and saving $200 makes more sense to me. I don't go to that extreme but, I do tweak OEM designs to my liking when it comes to the tech behind the scenes like a barebones laptop as the base and adding my own NVME / RAM / WIFI + upgrade the screen to 4K120 for less than half of what a complete package from an OEM would cost for similar specs. Or swapping my MMI n my car to an Android head unit that ties into the factory looms instead of odd things dangling off the AHU by using different FAKRA connectors inline connecting to the systems. I swapped the HDD in the MMI to an mSATA flash drive to make the base system snappier / extend the longevity, Also, tweaked some engine / ECU stuff to get another 150HP out of it for relatively cheap.
 

sammykhalifa

Member
Dec 26, 2014
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Node 804 is a nice box to work in and if you do storage there's 8 slots for 3.5's and room for tons of fans front / back / top / bottom.


Running a 12700K in a Meshify 2 though because there's still pretty limited mATX options and the M2 case is nice for airflow and keeps the CPU at room temp using a $45 cooler w/ 2 x Arctic P12 PWM PST fans doing push/pull. I thought about the AIO with all the hype about temps being blistering but, it's just marketing.

https://pcpartpicker.com/b/kMq323 - no LC
Aw man you're right. Browsing the sites the past few days I was hoping there's be a little mATX around .

I guess my main point of that meandering thread was that I don't really get why mATX (and therefore smaller cases) isn't the defacto standard for people looking for a mainstream machine these days. My R4 literally has an old spinny hard drive just sitting in there not connected to anything because I haven't bothered to take them out. Most of the things you needed in there "back in the day" don't need to be any more--even most SSDs are just mounted to the MB eliminating the need to mounting and cabling elsewhere. I'm not sure how many people use that many slots either. Why not pare back the size a bit? I don't get it.

I do like the Node804, I've checked it out a few times in the past.

This is why there are very little cases which offer optical bays now.
Typically when you have a radiator mounted either ceiling or front, it always blocks the optical bay in case.

With the hype of AIO watercoolers, and the misconception that "YOU NEED TO WATERCOOL X PROCESSOR TO UNLOCK THE KRAKEN" hype, this is why most case makers opt to make the case more radiator friendly then optical friendly.

Also Opticals are mostly dead now. Only ones still in service are blue ray, which is dying itself, as streaming is taking over, and internet bandwidth now extends past 1gbe for residential.

Even Consoles are trying to get rid of optical, as they are a source of lost revenue when you can buy a second hand physical copy, vs having to purchase it though the digital library at full price, unless you run into sales.

As for what cool case?
I really want to build a PC with this case:

But the price on it is just too much for me to stomach, and i am usually a no budget type of person when building PC.

But again, i would never pay that much for a case unless it was a Windy, which itself is a treasure hunt case to find.
Oh I agree. The only reason I'm even semi considering an aio is because I've never had one before and I thought it might be fun to try. I have no illusion that it's "needed" (at least by me). Heck my current PC has a 4790k (supposedly one of the hottest running processors) working in a Define case (the "silence" makes it supposedly one of the hottest running cases) and it's been working just fine on an okay xigmatek heatsink just fine for eight years. I just make myself crazy making decisions like this. If I'm going to be staring at this box next to me for a while I want it to be the perfect one, which of course there isnt.

But that Fractal Pop miniair looks promising to me. Yeah, another boring plain black rectangle. Not that I use it much any more like you said . . . but hey, there's even a spot on the bottom for a BD player so dinosaurs like me can keep it around for a little longer ;D
 

dmoney1980

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Jan 17, 2008
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Asus Prime AP201 just released and is one of the more compelling mATX cases in my opinion. Simple and streamlined looks, support for full sized hardware, room for a tall air cooler, all while supporting a 360! AIO up top.
 

BonzaiDuck

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Jun 30, 2004
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Asus Prime AP201 just released and is one of the more compelling mATX cases in my opinion. Simple and streamlined looks, support for full sized hardware, room for a tall air cooler, all while supporting a 360! AIO up top.
I just gave the AP201 a look-see. I've settled into a rut of sticking with two CM Stacker 832's that I make minor mods to whenever I re-use them for new hardware.

Does the AP201 have at least the capability to use a single 5.25" bay device? ICYDOCK makes a single 5.25" bay that holds 4x 2.5" spinners, probably also a unit that holds six of them. I can see dropping the habit of deploying an ODD, but there are plenty of reasons to continue using hot-swap spinners even if you could install a dozen NVME sticks on the motherboard and PCIE slots . . .

Or . . . am I wrong about that?
 

Charlie98

Diamond Member
Nov 6, 2011
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working in a Define case
Actually, I was wondering the same thing. I had to build a new PC for a friend of mine... an mATX board with an M2 SSD... and that's it. I wound up with a traditional mATX gamer case mostly because of cost. It looks stupid... all that empty space in there... but it was a budget build. Part of the reason PC cases are so big is because of the layout of the mobo... the potential for a big GPU sticking out requires room, and I think the case builders are scared to size a PC case and not include room for HDD's and a GPU.

Best case I've found was the Define Mini... I have 2... but they are still 'big' cases as far as that goes. I needed an optical drive, too... at least at the time I built it. My next build will be ITX, damn the cost.
 
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dmoney1980

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Jan 17, 2008
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I just gave the AP201 a look-see. I've settled into a rut of sticking with two CM Stacker 832's that I make minor mods to whenever I re-use them for new hardware.

Does the AP201 have at least the capability to use a single 5.25" bay device? ICYDOCK makes a single 5.25" bay that holds 4x 2.5" spinners, probably also a unit that holds six of them. I can see dropping the habit of deploying an ODD, but there are plenty of reasons to continue using hot-swap spinners even if you could install a dozen NVME sticks on the motherboard and PCIE slots . . .

Or . . . am I wrong about that?
I don’t believe it has housing for 5.25 in device unfortunately
 

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