A dilemma on buying a new case like Antec P180, the cost, and future upgrades...

Discussion in 'IBM' started by ANTant, Jun 20, 2006.

  1. ANTant

    ANTant Guest

    Since you are computer builder...

    I have a dilemma. I am planning to get an Antec P180 case or something similiar
    (high-end full-tower ATX case) to replace my generic ATX full-tower computer case
    (bought it in 1998) due to my heat problems. However, Antec is expensive. I know it
    has fancy setup to keep computer parts cool even in a hot environment (e.g., 90
    degrees(F) room that makes 160+F degrees Athlon64 3200[754 CPU] and 120+F degrees

    My problem is that do I want to invest a lot for this case ($125 without taxes and
    shipping fees) that might not last more than a couple years because Intel and/or AMD
    is going to push BTX architectures? I do major computer upgrades (motherboard, CPU,
    RAM, etc.) every 2-3 years for gaming. I don't know what I am getting for my next
    major computer upgrade (e.g., Intel or AMD, etc.) that will probably happen after
    September 2006 or next year (might just wait for Vista).

    I am a big PC gamer who likes to play the latest games. I am not planning to keep this
    case for older computers because lack of space (why I have a minitower for the Linux
    box with old computer parts).

    Thank you in advance. :)
    "You're kissing an ant hill." --Mike Nelson
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    ANTant, Jun 20, 2006
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  2. ANTant

    John McGaw Guest

    If the whole ATX now vs. BTX then (maybe) thing has you really really
    worried, you could always buy a case that swings both ways, as it were.
    There are certainly several out there but this one caught my eye:

    John McGaw, Jun 27, 2006
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  3. ANTant

    ANTant Guest

    How is it compared to Antec's cooling. That's the biggest concern: cooling especially when my
    room gets like 90F degrees. :)

    "It's like stepping on ants... I don't step on ants, Major." --Odo and Kira from Star Trek: Deep Space Nine
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    ANTant, Jun 27, 2006
  4. ANTant

    kony Guest

    I'm sure it cools great, after you cut out the front and
    rear fan grills that is (replacing with round grills if
    necessary, which would be a very good idea at least for the
    front mounted fan).

    Even better with the integral water cooled, though at $350
    it is more than a little beyond your target price.

    Let's go over the basics of how to assess a good case for
    your needs:

    Rear 120mm exhaust fan. No stamped-in-metal grill on it,
    only a minimal rounded wire grill if anything. A thicker
    fan (38mm for example) will do better than a 25mm thick, but
    seldom do cases come with 38mm thick. If you were to
    puchase one the 38mm thick is the better choice but it
    should still be acceptible with 25mm, particularly with good
    front intake area.

    Bottom front fan(s), also with minimal intake area
    restrictions (no stamped-in-metal grill, no filter panel, no
    perforated metal mesh). That is, you could have these
    impedances to flow but it will require more fans and/or
    higher RPM to move same air, and necessarily more noise per
    flow rate. If the environment were dusty and you didn't
    mind noise, the filter would be preferrible over the other
    options though for best result the filter area should be
    maximized, not just a panel that snaps onto the fan frame.

    By "fan(s)" above I mean that a single 80mm is likely not
    sufficient, perhaps if it were very high RPM but still it is
    the less optimal alternative. Multiple 80mm fans would
    work, possibly 1 92mm fan though again at your anticipated
    temps, it is borderline unless you accept high RPM (noise).
    As with the rear fan, a thicker fan will be better but many
    cases don't have enough clearance in front for much thicker
    than 25mm. The best configuration for cooling is at least 2
    x 92mm fans, because 92mm is narrow enough that the entire
    *exhaust* from the fans can be kept in the space of the
    drive rack, channeled by the rack so the entire airflow
    passes through it. 120mm would be the lower noise option
    but it is not reasonably possible (not with any stock cases
    at least) to adapt the 120mm width down to the width of the
    drive rack so all the flow goes through it.

    It isn't necessary to have ALL the flow through the drive
    rack, but it is optimal to get greatest benefit from any
    given amount of airflow. The system you build could still
    be relatively quite with forethought, even in ~90F ambient.

    After having the bottom front and mid-top rear chassis fans
    considered, you have to assess the adequacy of the heatsink
    you choose, for both CPU and video. Additional
    consideration of whether you would overclock and how much,
    would be made. If these 'sinks are not enough on their own
    you will need to add side fans or ducts in the side panel
    across from the hot part(s), just be sure that if you do,
    you have a reasonable front pusher fan to force enough air
    through the drive racks.

    Many cases come close enough to this already, but so long as
    you don't buy a cheap (flimsy, thin-walled) case, having the
    case ahead of time can allow modifying it as needed. Older
    large ATX cases are particularly good for this purpose as
    they may start out with horrible airflow but they have large
    solid paneling that is thicker than typical today. IOW, if
    you grabbed a random 1996 ATX case from Gateway, HP, etc,
    you may be able to fit a 120mm in the front and at least a
    92mm if not 2 x 92mm or 120mm in the rear. 120mm in the
    rear was more difficult with most due to the cases being
    slightly too narrow but I've done it to a few HP cases (I
    forget the model #s though).

    With several fans and/or the possibility of needing higher
    RPM, the thing to avoid most is thin walled aluminum cases.
    Aluminum is less rigid at same thickness as steel so you
    might find increased noise with 1.0mm thick aluminum or
    excessive noise with 0.8mm thick. Personally I completely
    avoid 0.8mm thick Al, unless it is a very small case as the
    smaller the panels are on it, the less they will vibrate
    with any given fan installed. Fan isolation grommets,
    plugs, mats, etc, can help but in some cases they also
    reduce flow rate some and may increase the turbulent noise
    if the fan isn't low-RPM.

    So in short, pick a case with the largest fans you can in
    the bottom front and mid-top rear and make sure those have
    unobstructed grills. Add fans to side panels if the
    measured component temps are too high.
    kony, Jun 27, 2006
  5. ANTant

    ANTant Guest

    There is no way I am going overboard with water cooling since it is messy and requires
    a lot of maintenance. It doesn't help that I am disabled (e.g., can't even move,
    open/close case [even slide covers], remove cards, etc.). :(

    Thanks for the tips. So far, I think I am getting an used Antec P180 with four 120mm
    fans for cheaper price (beats paying for a new one). I hope this case makes a big
    difference compared to my current 1998 ATX case.
    "It's like stepping on ants... I don't step on ants, Major." --Odo and Kira from Star Trek: Deep Space Nine
    / /\ /\ \ Phillip (Ant) @ http://antfarm.ma.cx (Personal Web Site)
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    ANTant, Jun 27, 2006
  6. ANTant

    kony Guest

    Well if you "need" or want a new case that's fine but I've
    modded tons of '98 and older cases to the point where they'd
    have enough airflow for modern parts at ~ 90F. When all
    else fails, just about any case can have a 120mm fan put
    into the side panel. If you can't get the hole cut for it,
    you might have a neighbor who can. Various case-mod vendors
    sell edging for fan holes but you can also use door edge
    guard available from auto parts stores, if the channel is
    narrow enough, but if it has the hot melt glue in the
    channel then it may work fine either way providing you get
    that glue hot enough to make it stick good.
    kony, Jun 28, 2006
  7. ANTant

    ANTant Guest

    Thanks for the tips. So far, I think I am getting an used Antec P180 with four 120mm
    Well, my hardware friend said the inside setup of this 1998 full tower ATX case was designed
    for P2 and ATX v1.0. So, we would still be limited in the case.
    "It's like stepping on ants... I don't step on ants, Major." --Odo and Kira from Star Trek: Deep Space Nine
    / /\ /\ \ Phillip (Ant) @ http://antfarm.ma.cx (Personal Web Site)
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    ANTant, Jun 28, 2006
  8. ANTant

    kony Guest

    Of course it was, as would any '98 case be... Doesn't
    necessarily matter, the same applies.

    What you give up with an old OEM case-

    - Flashy colors and possibly a window

    - Possibly front USB or audio (some OEM had them by '98 and
    others didn't). It'd be USB1 though, officially, so if it
    has a ribbon cable connector it isn't 'supposed' to be used
    with USB2 though might work. If a rounded shielded cable
    instead of a ribbon, it'd probably be fine.

    - Lower ventilation, but this was what I'd addressed
    previously, the need to cut a large fan hole.

    - "Some" OEM cases had the rear motherboard I/O port holes
    stamped into the rear wall of the case instead of being in a
    removable rectangular I/O plate. That is obvious enough by
    looking at the rear. If the plate pops out, you merely need
    any standard retail board that includes the new matching
    plate... though some of the really cheap low-end boards that
    used the old standard ATX backplate might not ship with the
    replacement plate, but these boards are fewer and fewer
    every year and today are such low-end junk that they're best
    avoided altogether no matter what case you use.

    - "Some" OEM cases didn't have enough of a PSU cutout in
    the rear to accomodate a PSU with a power switch on it. It
    can be an issue if you already have an intention to use a
    PSU you already had which has that switch, but there are
    still PSU available w/o the switch.

    - "Some" cases didn't provide very good airflow routing
    through the HDD bay, though it was most often the 3rd party
    clone cases that had this fault, the OEM cases tended to
    have a fair # of holes in the front, BUT possibly not much
    intake area on the front (plastic) bezel. These issues
    would have to be addressed on a case-by-case basis (pun
    intended), though if the side panel fan can be installed low
    near the drive rack it may be sufficient to cool the drive
    bay too.

    IOW, where there is a will there is a way to make just about
    any case work. I've even taken PVC pipe end caps, drilled
    holes in their ends and used them as elevated feet to get a
    system off the ground an extra 1.5" so a fan hole and fan
    could be placed on the bottom side of the case. I don't
    generally recommend it but it was an interesting experiment
    and worked ok, but this particular case had 1.2mm thick
    steel with multiple wider folds on each side (where the
    side-panels slid on) resulting in it retaining enough
    rigidity after the large fan hole was cut out. I suppose I
    could've used a metal framed fan to regain some strength if
    it had been necessary but I had a case of plastic framed
    fans so the goal was to use them instead of paying premium
    for a single metal framed fan.
    kony, Jun 28, 2006
  9. ANTant

    Martha Adams Guest


    This is an interesting and useful discussion but seems to me, it misses
    a central point. Whatever is this user doing, working or gaming in a 90
    F environment? Maybe the need here is not a better cooled box but a
    better cooled place for the box and user. Wall off somehow a small
    space in a larger room, and cool that?

    Titeotwawki -- Martha Adams [2011 Aug 09]
    Martha Adams, Aug 10, 2011
  10. ANTant

    SteveH Guest

    But you've answered a post from 5 years ago.
    SteveH, Aug 10, 2011
  11. ANTant

    Ant Guest

    Very nice to see people following to my very old newsgroup thread.
    [grin] I am still using Antec P108 case with Intel quad core systems.
    And yes, my room is warm/almost hot even right now (almost 85F degrees).
    I don't play computer games these days though. :)
    "It's kind of an insane case ... 6,000 ants dressed up as rice and
    robbed a Chinese restaurant." --Steven Wright
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    Ant is currently not listening to any songs on this computer.
    Ant, Aug 13, 2011
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