This is an observation, a review and a massive rant about how dreadful the designs of computer cases, and particularly mATX cases are. I'd love to hear other people's opinions. So, what is it with small cases and their useless designs? We are now well into 2015 but we're getting nowhere on this. Why are there so few good new case designs, and why are the few new "half decent" cases getting larger, not smaller? Just over the past week I must have spent 20 or 30 hours trawling the net trying to find a nice mATX case for my kid's new PC build. It's not the first time I have wasted so long... I've had all the other components for almost a year, but I cannot find a case. Have looked for tens of hours, searched Google, read reviews, trawled OCAU reviews AND For Sale but I just cannot find anything decent. My kid just turned 11 - and the build is pretty typical of what we would all normally use for a cheapish mid-range gamer box... 3570k, CM 212EVO, Asus Z77 mATX board, 2x4GB of RAM, 1xHD7950, 1x256GB SSD, 1x3.5" 7200rpm storage HDD and Modular PSU. That's all, nothing exciting. Whilst I could chuck those bits into pretty much anything, I really wanted something a bit special for my kid. And it needs to be practical (used for homework too), with USB access, ability to read DVDs, etc. And it must be quick and easy for me to service and maintain. But I STILL haven't bought a case because I cannot find one that fits our needs. I have bought plenty with intention to mod them, but time is not available and there are a ton of other projects anyway. I don't really care how much it costs, but of course I don't want to waste money either. Ok, ranting starts here... Decent airflow for a normal, real-world build - No, Bitfenix Prodigy... I want flow, not frigging mesh everywhere. - No, Corsair Air... I do NOT want air going into my case without being filtered, and I don't want heaps of fiddly mesh shapes that are impossible to clean. - No, I don't want OR need 37 different fan locations. - No, I don't want my side panels punched with honeycomb mesh and 37 different optional fan screw positions so it looks like my case has the pox. - Just 1 or 2 fans intake, and option for 1 fan exhaust. It just needs the air to flow through, not make a cyclonic wind tunnel. - NO, I don't want FRIGGING MESH IN THE TOP. No, that just make it hard to clean, and wrecks the flow of air front-to-rear. Easy to clean intake filters. - Not sure WHY in 2015 this is such a problem to find? - No Fractal Node, I DO NOT want to unclip the whole front (with I/O ports and SSDs mounted behind) just to vacuum the filters! - And no Fractal Arc and Corsair and Tt, I don't want the filter fabric sandwiched between a plastic frame and metal mesh with tabs that break off after being bent a few time to gain access. - Why do case manufactures put good filters underneath cases where there are no fans, yet have useless ones on the front where the intake fans are? - And why do bottom filters only slide to the REAR of the case? Ummm, HELLO Compact - FFS no, Corsair... "mATX" does not mean a full tower that only has 4 x PCI slots. Jesus wept. - And no Lian Li... I do NOT want my compact case to be about 650mm deep. - And no, we don't want the case so skinny that there is no room for cable management. I choose mATX form factor to get a small, neat, compact case. A cube would be nice, but only if it works better than a rectangle. Sensible and practical internal layout It's a mATX case for a home computer, not a damn file server! - No Fractal, I DO NOT need cages for 15 x HDDs inside my mATX Case... - Hint: we normal humans install ONE HDD and ONE SSD, that's all. - oh, and let's have a fan or some airflow for the HDD. You guys can make the case really compact if we don't go ape shit here. Front mount USB Ports - How do you plug external things in, if the external USB ports are inaccessible? - No, Nanoxia - I DO NOT want to leave the frigging door open to plug in a USB stick. Front mount AUDIO - Like WHAT THE??? Don't case designers use headsets? - Sockets on the front guys, that's the side that faces towards the user!! But wait, there's more.... And how about... Don't have I/O on the top of the case - Top I/O makes an abortion of the cables underneath - Top I/O is inconvenient if case is on table or on floor. Everywhere, actually. - Top I/O ports fill with dust and crap. Or they have a flap which is annoying and breaks. Total case engineering fail. WTF are they thinking? Don't have I/O in the side of the case - What IDIOT decides that putting I/O on the side is a good idea? - You realise that's an instant fail at least 50% the time? - And things sticking out get bumped and they break. Let's make the ergonomics for the humans who use the device, huh? Accessible place for a card reader - You know, those memory things that are used for storage in tablets, phones and cameras? - No, I don't want to have to plug a card reader into the stupidly inaccessible USB port in the top or the side of the case. It's annoying to store, for one thing, plus they get broken. - Here's an idea - spend like $5 and build one into the case and charge us $15 extra for it, so we don't have to buy some $25 Ebay shit from China then find the unicorn-rare case that still has a 3.5" bay to install it in. A DVD Slot - Yes, people DO still use these... especially non-steam gamers. KIDS especially need DVD drives. - And people who watch DVDs. And people who rip DVDs. And people who install software. - And NO, I don't want to plug in a portable one into your inaccessible USB slots! The frigging Card Reader is already shoved in there anyway, and your slots don't allow a second device to be plugged in at the same time. Easy to open for service - No, Lian Li - I don't want to remove 18 x 3mm countersunk screws to open the side of the case. - You know what? I want a DOOR on the case. They did this in the 1990's and early 2000's, and now we are back to the old "sliding panels with multiple slot latches" again. - And Corsair, I want my side panels to fit flush without warping and rattling. Because the way that you make them is just crap. Attractive enough for a modern home - Could we have something either elegant and refined (classy) like Lian Li - OR make it edgy and cool looking to an 11 year old. I realise this is very subjective, but hell some cases are ugly! That elusive feeling of quality - I like nice things. I don't want thin, cheap, nasty stuff with ugly finishes. - No Corsair, "quality" does NOT mean using 0.3mm steel rather than the 0.2mm foil that you originally intended to try and get away with. I don't mind paying a bit... so let's make it feel nice, rather than something that Shaw would make. Note that I only "name names" as examples, and those mentioned are in no way exclusive in making the errors. Sadly, because case designers are such sheep they tend to copy BAD designs just because... well, because the opposition... well, because they do. The best I can come up with, after literally a year of searching is the Silverstone PS07 (an updated version of TJ08 a revamped and cheaper version of the TJ08-e) or the TJ08-e itself. LOOK > http://www.silverstonetek.com/product.php?pid=314 The PS07 totally fails on the Attractiveness and general Quality, and the HDD cage is shithouse like the TJ08-e. But it ticks all the other boxes. And it's a budget case that sells for $72 retail. Why can't I find anything better quality than that? EDIT - LET'S MAKE SOMETHING 100% CLEAR: This is NOT a thread about finding me a case. The above are not my "list of requirements", they are just a random list of whinges. Please don't try to use the OP as a design brief. Let's keep on topic and talk about design and engineering fails, please!