Question Old School Gamer Style Case Recommendations

Spec_tech

Junior Member
Oct 25, 2023
4
0
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How's it going everybody. So, i'm old. The cases I like are more from late 2000's to 2015 (i think) era. I currently have an Antec 900 which I have a special bond with, but it has some issues that i need to figure out if it's worth fixing.

So, to start, the Big Boy 200mm fan on it started making a noise that was annoying the hell out of me and I unplugged it from the mobo. There were at least used and spare ones being sold online 3,4,5 years ago, but not anymore I found.
The two front 120mm (I think) fans are moving very slowly i noticed over time, so those need to be replaced. And i'm not sure how easy it will be to get very similar replacements with the same lighting and everything.
I've also had to tear out the front I/O panel due to either spilling liquid on it and having to clean it up or some loose button or component. I can't remember which. And it works fine for now, but i know it can't take much more messing with that panel if something happens to it again.
Last thing is that i'm concerned about the USB 3.0 ports on it, front and back. Because i'm seeing all the new style cases all use basically 3.2, and some do it via USB C which I don't use regularly.

For the decision of purchasing a similar case of the same style (thinking CM Storm Enforcer, CM MasterCase Pro 5, Thermaltake Element S, CM HAF's, Antec 1100, etc), none of them look like they're available for a decent price, if at all. I absolutely hate the new minimalist designs like the Fractal's and the pretty much all glass-paneled cases.

So ultimately, i'm torn between the decision of getting a different one in a hopefully better condition of a similar style or fix up my current one. What's everyone's opinion on this?
 
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CU

Platinum Member
Aug 14, 2000
2,409
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91
Not sure about the lighting, but you can still get 200mm fans. So, you could just replace all the fans if you wanted to. Although newer cases would give you some benefits like better wire management, maybe cooling, updated front ports.

However, I moded my Chieftec Dragon to have wire management, two front 140mm fans, one 120mm fan, and cpu/wire cutouts in the MB tray. Been thinking about upgrading the old USB ports also.

Just depends on how much time / work you want to put into the old case.
 

mikeymikec

Lifer
May 19, 2011
17,670
9,508
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There's a definition of "old school" when combined with the word "lighting" that makes me feel old. :)
 

Spec_tech

Junior Member
Oct 25, 2023
4
0
11
There's a definition of "old school" when combined with the word "lighting" that makes me feel old. :)
Oh i know. Not so much the lighting, but just the current RGB lighting junk trend versus the cooler looking red/blue lighting and more varied styles of older cases.
 

BoomerD

No Lifer
Feb 26, 2006
62,830
11,249
136
I still have one of these in the garage: (from a 2010 build)

1707856261026.pngO

I'd still be using it but it's not really built for today's AIO coolers I LIKE the low RPM 230mm fans...nice and quiet while still providing plenty of air flow.
 

Paperdoc

Platinum Member
Aug 17, 2006
2,297
273
126
Just a note about USB3 sockets etc. ALL of these now are labelled as USB 3.2 plus a Genn suffix. Gen1is the original that can move data at up to 5 Gb/s. Gen 2 is faster at up to 10 Gb/s. Gen2x2 can get to 20 Gb/s. NOTE that these are the max speeds of the communication subsystem in a device. The device itself actually determines the max data rate it can supply for communication with the outside. The comm subsystem is designed to exceed the capabilities of the device so it never limits the device.

The USB people make these recommendations for connector design. The Type A system for USB 3.2 looks VERY like the older one for USB2, but it has five extra contacts in it that you can see if you look closely. Recent connectors now use a BLUE plastic inert in the shell to support the contacts, whereas the USB2 ones still have BLACK plastic in them. Note that you CAN plug an older Type A USB2 plug into a USB 3.2 Type A socket and it will work just fine, but at the slower USB2 speed. Then there is the newer Type C smaller connector that is two-sided - you can plug them in either "up" or "down", there's no difference. Those are the only two types widely used for ALL USB 3 systems. Type A connectors are entirely suited to use for Gen1. They also CAN be used for Gen2 systems, but they MAY not give that higher speed, or maybe they will. To be sure, use Type C instead for Gen2. Type C is REQUIRED for Gen 2x2.

IF your mobo has a header for Gen2x2 it will look quite different. It is called Type E. To use that your case needs to have a different cable to go from there to a front socket, and that socket MUST be the smaller Type C.

Remember that the speed (Genn) you can achieve is determined mainly by the rating of the mobo HEADER and the chip that feeds that. But of course, the connectors and cable and the device also must be rated at the same level to achieve the rated speed. So, if your MOBO headers can deliver only Gen1 speeds, you do NOT need anything more than Gen1 Type A connectors. IF your mobo headers can do Gen2 then you should have Type C sockets for that. However, MANY case makers install both Type A and Type C sockets on the front panel just to make it easier for lots of people with many older USB2 or USB 3.2 Gen1 devices with Type A cables. Of course you could, if necessary, use small adapters to convert a USB 3.2 Type A socket to a Type C socket, or the other way around, if your sockets and plugs don't quite match. Also note that any mobo USB 3.2 Gen1 or Gen2 header actually contains TWO USB 3.2 ports of the same Gen, so ONE cable from that up to the front panel feeds TWO sockets. IF you have a Gen2x2 Type E header on the mobo, it has only one high-speed port, so it can feed only one front panel Type C socket.
 
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mindless1

Diamond Member
Aug 11, 2001
8,052
1,442
126
I'd fix it up.

Heh, right now I'm in the middle of converting a '99 Gateway2000 minitower. I decided that since I don't put floppies or optical drives in systems any longer, that it would be a good candidate to reuse after I:

1) Removed the floppy/optical bay from the frame (just riveted on). It'll just have 1 or 2 SSDs, then network storage so no HDD mounts needed.

2) Cut out the rear I/O (to use a modern I/O panel) where Gateway had just stamped the ports into the rear case wall specific to the port arrangement for the mobo it originally shipped with, which did happen to match a lot of mATX mobos I/O port arrangement back until about a dozen years ago.

3) Having removed the floppy/optical bay, there is now room for a full sized ATX PSU. Currently mulling over options to mount it since the rear of the case is not flat in that area, has two different planes. I'm thinking of making an adapter plate out of sheet aluminum for that.

It already has the standoffs for a full width mATX mobo, and no extra standoffs where they don't belong (good because those it has, are press fitted into the mobo tray, not screwed in, so no hacks needed to make that work, just need to cut out a front fan mount and slap a filter panel in front of it... already have all supplies needed.

Case already had a front USB port-on-dongle I'd added about a dozen+ years ago, will be trivial to replace with a USB3.x dongle and just use a hub for more ports from the rear I/O USB.

Do I need another ~120mm fan on the top half of the bezel where the external drive bays were? Not really, but I could... I could also just leave the bezel off, since nothing is sticking out past it with the floppy and optical drives not present any longer, then just replace the little plunger style on/off and reset switches with something panel mount and larger. It's going under a desk where nobody will ever see it again till it's dragged out for the next upgrade years from now, or to clean dust out of the filter panels, whichever comes first.

I just can't bring myself to buy yet another case because I have so many of them, but this one happens to be the smallest minitower that I can manage to shoehorn a full sized ATX PSU into yet also has a full width motherboard tray, full height card slot brackets, so can also fit a modest height (vertical) heatpipe CPU 'sink in it.
 
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Paperdoc

Platinum Member
Aug 17, 2006
2,297
273
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Two thoughts for you, miondless1.

1. Updating to USB 3.2 Genn ports should take into consideration what mobo headers you have, and what their Gen ratings are. Be aware also that the cable for Gen1 or Gen2 front panel ports and the connectors on the ends are NOT the same as you had for USB2 front port sockets. So in buying parts, look for some combo unit that is a new cable with a USB 3.2 mobo header connector on one end, and TWO front panel sockets on the other that you can re-mount in the panel. IF the mobo headers are only Gen1, then Type A USB 3.2 sockets are fully sufficient. IF it is Gen2, then you can decide which front sockets you need, depending on whether your devices are Gen1 or Gen2. For a Gen2 header, you might consider making both front sockets Type C for future uses, then getting a port adapter plug to convert one or both of those to Type A sockets for use with any current older devices.

2. Your mod at top front would leave a big hole where the old devices had been mounted. Best to close that up with a metal plate to keep dust out and control air flow.
 

mindless1

Diamond Member
Aug 11, 2001
8,052
1,442
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^ If I don't put an intake fan +filter panel on the top, I'll just rummage through my box of case bay faceplates and find something. Since the case will be positively pressurized from the (filtered) bottom intake fan, won't have to worry about dust getting in at the top.

I may go ahead and put a fan up top anyway, just to have it ready in case I ever wanted to toss a high(er) power video card in it. I have plenty of spare fans.

I'm not too bothered about the front bezel USB port, since it will be under a desk where access is unreasonable, rather a USB hub will be on the desk.
 

mindless1

Diamond Member
Aug 11, 2001
8,052
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It's taking more work than I imagined it would to get the PSU mount right. Think I'll just do that quick and dirty, not care how pretty the back is. Heh, I also don't have the parts for it yet, have just been doing mock-ups with old parts... which is probably better anyway with metal shavings flying around. I'll hopefully get it to the point of being able to take a pic or two soon.
 

mindless1

Diamond Member
Aug 11, 2001
8,052
1,442
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I would like to see it when your done.
It's now about as done as it's going to get, until I get a chance to get some new parts in it and test/deploy that.

Here's what it'll look like if I use the front bezel... except it's not screwed on so there's a gap that wouldn't be there.
1.jpg


Here's with the bezel and filter panel off. Could just put the filter panel back on w/o the bezel and put the USB port on the metal wall. The bay blocking plate is a piece of plastic diffuser sheeting from a TV. The fan hole didn't cut as cleanly as I would have liked. I was too lazy to get out a finer toothed jig saw blade, so it was pulling the metal back and forth.

2.jpg

PSU Mounting Plate to provide a flat PSU mounting surface. The case wall that was there, was split like you see under the plate, all the way to the top, and original PSU was a tiny thing mounted where the patched cutout on the right is. I should have used thicker aluminum. It flexes slightly from the weight of the PSU so I put an interior brace tab under the PSU. The gap under it is sealed with aluminun duct tape.
3.jpg


Access to the right edge of the board is cramped due to the fan, but if a particular mobo or full length video card needs it, fan could be mounted on the outside wall of the case or 50/50 on a bracket, would still fit under the bezel if that's used.
4.jpg

Better idea of width to height ratio without the bezel on.
5.jpg
 
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