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It's 2015 - Why so few decent mATX cases?

Discussion in 'Overclocking & Hardware' started by the3coopers, Feb 24, 2015.

  1. one80

    one80 Member

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    Really, what IS the point then??

    Are you actually looking to achieve and/or discuss anything, or as you say, list some things that bother some people (and naturally, not others as this thread shows...)?

    Is it just a case of misery loves company?
     
  2. Sebstar

    Sebstar Member

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    You bitch that cases look outdated but you still haven't provided me with a picture of a case that you think looks modern.
     
  3. OP
    OP
    the3coopers

    the3coopers Member

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    :)

    So, what do you guys feel could be improved on the cases that we've mentioned?

    Is there anything that, given the chance, you would change about the design or engineering of the mATX cases that you own?
     
  4. 5tumpy

    5tumpy Member

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    I own a Bitfenix Phenom M, Bitfenix Prodigy ITX and a TJ-08E case and they are all awesome... Have everything I need... Personally, I think you're just being pedantic, just like your rants about sleeved cabling...
     
  5. r3s

    r3s Member

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    I got 1 of these http://www.umart.com.au/umart1/pro/Products-details.phtml?id=10&id2=210&bid=3&sid=153156

    and i find it ticks all the boxes for me .

    minimalistic sleek front design, front mounted ports.

    plenty of room and good standard layout inside.

    Only thing that annoys me a bit is the clips that hold the top of the front panel in, they are weak and the front panel can fall off when your carrying the case around. ( i got the case second hand so hard to say if thats a design fault or a general wear issue )

    Doesn't effect you when the case just sits there.

    There would have to be a better way to secure it.
     
    Last edited: Feb 26, 2015
  6. sammy_b0i

    sammy_b0i Laugh it up, fuzzball!

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    This is the best rant thread ever :p

    I was in the same boat a few weeks ago and ended up liking the design for the Fractal Define Mini.

    [​IMG]

    Door, I/O on the top lip, not front or top directly, not hidden behind a door. Good quality, front intake filters, etc, etc.

    I ended up chasing down the case that I assume inspired Fractal to make the Define Mini, the Antec P180 Mini.

    [​IMG]

    Dust filters, sound deadening side panels, top 200mm exhaust with built in fan speed control, removable HDD cages, PSU is chambered down the bottom, etc. Coming up on ten years old though :thumbup:
     
  7. power

    power Member

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    Was justabout to recommend a Fractal - damn fine cases.
     
  8. TaroT

    TaroT Member

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    out of all the bubby cases I like the TJO8-E and have used a few of them and they work well...once you have passed your engineers degree to build the insane meccano set :) plus they are tough I could stand on it and not be scared.

    what I want is more nuc style cases for mini itx especially ones with dc input setup( I have seen a few floating around but nothing that really floats my boat.)
     
  9. r4n

    r4n Member

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    I run a Lian-Li PC-A04.

    My only massive annoyance with it is lack of cable management behind the motherboard tray. I know why they did it, they needed to make the chassis as thin as possible to "look" small.

    Aside from that I am a fan of the intake fan design. No cables or LED's attached to the alu front panel, just rip the bastard off and there are your dust filters with nice simple well designed clips.

    I do wish they found a nice spot for the USB on the front though, totally agree with you there, they just fill up with dust/crap and look terrible.
     
  10. power

    power Member

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    In all fairness mini itx is still pretty niche.
     
  11. OP
    OP
    the3coopers

    the3coopers Member

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    We aim to please! :lol:

    Personally I don't like the "HDD drawer" from those older Antecs, but otherwise it's a great product even today. Which highlights the exact reason for my rant - there is almost no innovation with most of the case designers, and especially not for mATX.

    So there you go choosing a used 10 year old case because there is no new case that offers you sufficiently better value or enough features to make it worthwhile.

    Innovation, evolution, or just re-rolling?
    - Antec P180 > Fractal Define Mini > Nanoxia Deep Silence 4
    - TJ08 > TJ08e / PS07

    These 2 kinds of compact cases are still deemed by many of us as "among the best", yet they are something like 10 year old concepts. Yet they certainly break no ground, especially in aesthetics. You'd think that the numerous cases that have been engineered since the mid 2000's could have improved on the genre, eh?

    A few modern cases get close. Corsair's stuff like the Air series might have a chance if they employed engineers who had previously assembled or owned a computer. The Fractal Node 804 started off fantastically well for the first 1/2 of the design process while they locked in the shape and exterior surfaces, but then they went skiing and left the work experience students (who found an old 1990's budget case to use as inspiration) to complete the detail design of the front panel.

    Today I thought of an analogy... of being in (stereotypical, a few years ago) Eastern Europe and shopping for a new car. A salesman is trying to sell me a brand new Lada or Trabbant or whatever, and I am telling him that it's not acceptable that the new model is no better than the one that I already have, and it doesn't even LOOK any different.

    Then I point out that the cars they claim are "new" are just cheap, dumbed-down clones of mediocre Western European cars that are even older, like a Fiat 147. There are tons of design faults, and overall it's just a POS car. So I am being sold a vehicle that looks like something sold elsewhere 20 years ago, but with worse quality and finish (they certainly haven't made them significantly better).

    When I voice my disapproval, a bunch of comrades jump out and drag me away. I'm instructed that I have absolutely no right to demand better, that I need to change my expectations to match the products being offered, that they are all ecstatically happy with their new Ladas so what's my problem, and that I should consider myself lucky to even be able to buy a car! :lol:
     
    Last edited: Feb 26, 2015
  12. sammy_b0i

    sammy_b0i Laugh it up, fuzzball!

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    Hmm, okay. So what exactly DO you want in a case? Like, how would you make the Antec different? Because the two "HDD Drawers" are removable, and like my build, I don't have them in there.

    I just snapped a pic with my side panel off, as you can see, no need for the HDD cages. I've got the SSD mounted in the mid plate, the bottom 2 x 5.25's have one fan controller in them and the other slot is empty, and the top 5.25 slot is empty also - but could house the DVD drive you so crave, even though no one uses them any more, yes, I read the thread and understand your needs, but seriously, I haven't used an optical disc in more than five years..

    Excuse the potato pic, bad lighting = enough grains to find on your supermarket shelf.

    [​IMG]

    So... I think that you aren't going to be able to find the case that ticks all of your boxes... barely any of us can. All you can do is find what is the closest, and then tweak it slightly to meet your requirements.

    Nice case but no filters? Get a Demci set.
    Nice case but no cable management? Get custom cables and do what you can.
    Nice case, but no 5.25" slots? Get an external USB DVD drive.
    Not enough hard drive cages? Go external.
    Too many hard drive slots? Remove the cage.

    Etc.

    Unfortunately, it's just how it works for the most part.
     
  13. Paulie_AU

    Paulie_AU Member

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    How many ways are there to skin a cat though? Fractal Mini has gone for hiding stuff behind a nice door. Personally I reckon it is a very nice simple design. I would get a Fractal R5 if it could support bigger radiators and let me have an optical drive.

    I also agree about a card reader. It shits me having to plug my camera into my PC with a cable. I tend to instead throw the SD card into my laptop and then transfer the pictures across the network.

    My rebirthed Lian Li beast will have a card reader and optical and fan controllers, lighting controller and whatever else I chuck in there.. :thumbup: Oh and it is reverse window which is great as my computer lives on my left, not right. If it was on the right it would need to be white and plain as possible to fit in with my house's minimalist style furnishing. It really couldn't be a space station looking type thing.
     
  14. OP
    OP
    the3coopers

    the3coopers Member

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    In this thread I am not trying to find a case.

    I'm trying to discuss how poor the design and especially the INNOVATION is with modern (current) mATX cases.

    Yeah, I know. And perhaps I've finally realised where at least some of the confusion in this thread is coming front.

    I need to admit something - I am a hard-core case modder through and through. I have been overclocking for almost 20 years and I don't think I have EVER had a stock-standard computer case in my life. I chop them, hack them, drill them and swap bits between them. I add vents and filters and fans - pretty much anything to improve their performance. I have a massive storage of spare parts like drive cages that I use to reconfigure my cases to suit what I want.

    Every single case I have owned has been significantly modified, and I have the workshop, tools, skills and experience to do almost any mod needed. Making almost ANY case "work for me" is not a problem in any way, shape or form. I take great pleasure in converting completely UNsuitable cases into gems, and right now I have 3 case modding projects on the go.

    Unfortunately some personal circumstances have changed during the past year, and I am now unable to devote much (if any) time to my mods. I've had to stop dead on my new main file server, the little server, and my new personal machine, and my son has been waiting over a year for me to assemble his new PC. :( it's heart breaking to see all the parts sitting there getting old, but at the moment I don't have free time to complete the cases to house them.

    I looked at mATX cases over a year ago, and decided that there was nothing good enough so I would mod one (shortlisted the TJ-08e, PS07 and Nanoxia DS 4 Claw as a basis). But it never happened... over a year later there is still a 3570K sitting there unused, and my kid's games are lagging to hell on the E8400 + 4870 + Vista32.

    So what brought on my rave was when I went looking to try and find something that I could use WITHOUT MODDING. The best possible "dead stock standard off the shelf" mATX case that I could find. Buy that... spend a night or two chucking the (already sitting there) parts in = win!

    And I was exceptionally disappointed with what I found on the market today. NOTHING had changed in over a year. :upset:
     
    Last edited: Feb 26, 2015
  15. Paulie_AU

    Paulie_AU Member

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    You can sure type a shitload for someone with no time to throw a case together :Paranoid:

    My personal motivation is I just cannot be fucked after spending all day at work. Hence my 970 still not being under water despite being 3 months old and the block sitting in my draw. And a new EK full nickel block beside it. :wired:
     
  16. sammy_b0i

    sammy_b0i Laugh it up, fuzzball!

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    So again... what DO you want? Or what DO you think the ideal mATX case is? What kind of "improvements" on design should have happened, seeing as not a whole lot has changed in the PC hardware scene in ten years, aside from faster clock speeds and more/less heat. Same form factors, same fan sizes, etc.
     
  17. OP
    OP
    the3coopers

    the3coopers Member

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    Sorry for a ANOTHER HUGE POST, but that's the rule because some people think that "multiple posts" (even if about completely different subjects) are a reportable offence. So this is 4 posts in one, without a tl:dr; summary.

    I am posting from work, pretty much living there full time at the moment and literally never home. Due to other family commitments, I might get 1 spare hour per month and the last thing I want to do is to mod cases. There's no conspiracy, I'm just (home) time poor.

    So, I was looking for an easy way out. As I said, I wanted a case that I can just "throw together" without having to disassemble it to make modifications.

    So again.... It's not about what I want - IT IS ABOUT WHAT I . . .

    [​IMG]

    My ideal case depends on what the build needs to do and what it needs to accommodate. I cannot answer the question, because there is no answer to it.

    OK I'd like a Corsair Air that had dust filters, and some way to block off the mesh so that the case would have controlled airflow. Nah, I love the look but they are too fiddly and hard to clean, so they would continuously look shit in my house. I have a hard enough time keeping the TV ventilation slots clean.

    And I'd really like a Node 804, but without that outrageously poor front panel design. Oh, but I don't need it to be that big, since I only have one HDD not the EIGHT that they allowed for. Hell, who puts 8 fucking hard drives in a mATX case :rolleyes:

    I'd probably like a Corsair case that wasn't made of tinfoil, with sides panels that would close properly and not rattle if I fart. And fan controllers that don't burn out in a year, and HDD cages that fit properly. I am a bit fussy like that.

    But this thread is not about finding the "ideal case" - it's about THE DESIGN FAILS (as he types that for the umpteenth time).

    Well, I thought that I'd already said enough in the OP - and I've already mentioned absolutely HEAPS for examples. It's not hard to pick the shit out of every case, because they all fail so damn badly in the details.

    ------

    OK - I will explain a general example (not specific to mATX). I would have expected that after all the experience of building them, that case designers would have worked out that if you add a bottom mounted PSU filter, it's absolutely unacceptable to make that filter only be able to slide rearwards.

    Why? Say I have my server case (filled with 20 HDDs) on the floor under the desk. Why should I have to power down the machine, grab a torch, crawl on the floor, get under the desk, unplug all the cables, slide the whole machine out, then PULL THE FILTER BACK towards the wall?

    Then after cleaning it why should I have to go back under there and use my torch and a mirror on a stick to peek under the rear while I desperately try and get the FUCKING filter back into the pissy little plastic runner thingies that they inconveniently positioned about 30mm inwards from all sides so I cannot see them.

    Then push the case back again, plug all the cables back in, and crawl out again. Whilst bashing my head under the desk, I cursing the case designers with pox of the anus for being SO DAMN FUCKING STUPID.

    Corsair DOH: http://media.bestofmicro.com/F/R/360855/original/corsair-550d-filter.jpg
    Fractal DOH: http://www.ocinside.de/assets/case/fractal_design_arc_midi_r2_11.jpg
    Nanoxia DOH: http://fudzilla.com/images/stories/Reviews/ComputerCases/Nanoxia/DS1/ds-bottom-2.jpg
    NZXT DOH: http://blog.spiralofhope.com/wp-content/uploads/NZHT.-103-h2-case-white-rear-bottom-filter.jpg
    NZXT SUPER DOH: http://archive.benchmarkreviews.com...EXS-001BK/nzxt_lexa_s_power_supply_intake.jpg
    Raidmax DOH: http://www.technogog.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/10/raptor24.jpg
    Thermaltake DOH: http://www.anyware.com.au/Marketing...300A6W2N/CASE_VP300A6W2N06131157652017_O_.jpg
    CoolerMaster DOH: http://picx.xfastest.com/XF/CASE/CM/COSMOS_S/cosmos-s-27.jpg
    BitFenix DOH: http://www.techreaction.net/wp-content/uploads/2010/09/MG_107011.jpg

    And a thousand more.
    And it's not a random accident. You can clearly see from my linked pictures that these idiots specifically designed them that way. So, that makes it even worse, don't you reckon?

    SO TELL ME GUYS... what possible excuse is there for ANY case manufacturer to make such a dumb arse design mistake? Not once, not twice, not even 10 times - they pretty much ALL do it that way!

    Yet nobody calls them up on it, nobody says a word. The sheep-like consumers just accept it, saying "yeah that's OK - I don't mind, because I still get the pleasure of the circular jerking on the forums while I show off in my sig that I put down $250 to own that POS case".

    -----

    EDIT TO ADD - THE FOLLOWING RANT CONTAINS AN ERROR, AS I WAS ORIGINALLY THINKING OF THE PRODIGY (miniITX) YET REFERRED TO THE PRODIGY-M (mATX). ALSO, IN BOTH MODELS THE SIDE PANEL CAN BE SWAPPED, AND IT'S MORE FEASIBLE IN THE mATX MODEL. Thanks to 5tumpy for pointing out my error further down the thread.

    Another example - I love the look of the Prodigy-M, but as a show pony case they didn't bother with any fancy stuff like dust filtering. Oh, but they deliberately put the I/O on the right side - and in MY HOUSE that means I cannot access those ports to plug in a USB stick unless I drag the case out from the wall about 150mm. However that is highly inconvenient because there are 2 x 24" monitors on a dual stand that are in the way, and my keyboard in front of them and there is a set of speakers too.

    So Bitfenix, do you suggest that I buy a new house so that your poxy little case case will fit?
    Did you make it so we could change the I/O to the left side? NOPE.
    Did you make it so we could swap the otherwise identical side panels? NOPE.
    Why didn't you put the I/O down the bottom, under the front lip?
    Why should I (and 50% of other potential buyers) have to mod the case to eliminate that design fail?

    This thread is not about me being a case designer. It's about us, as consumers, expecting something better than the absolute shit that most suppliers foist on us.

    Is it unreasonable to expect some functionality and practicality?
     
    Last edited: Feb 27, 2015
  18. VirtualNinja

    VirtualNinja Member

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    I can give a very quick answer on the bottom power supply filter. Case feet, they certainly prevent removal sideways considering the fan placement on regular power supplies.

    So the options available to the manufacturers are a short filter with removal to the rear, or a full length filter that can be removed from the front. 10/10 times they are going to pick the short filter due to lower cost. Unless your talking about a premium case, where the long filter solution should be mandatory.

    edit:

    I think your not taking into account that these are mass manufacturing cases. Anything to reduce costs, some examples;

    - recycling chassis part for a newer model, saves on tooling
    - Thinner metal
    - The Corsair Obsidian 750D it's a $200 case, and they used pressed metal standoffs rather than fitting the bill for 9 brass standoffs...seriously wtf.

    The average Joes out there don't give a crap about features or dust filtering, positive v negative air pressure, etc. They just want cheap as possible, which is why those god awful cheap gaming cases still exist. Same can be said for crappy PSU's, they still sell. I've hand many people ask me what I recommend for a system and when they see 400-500 just in the case and PSU they question it and fair enough they don't have an interest in building a PC, they just want something that works which is when i point them to Dell and wash my hands of it :p.
     
    Last edited: Feb 27, 2015
  19. Brick

    Brick Member

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    Not to mention that the longer the filter design the more flimsy by design it's going to be and the more difficult it will be to put back in (unless there's a huge number of supports running along the length of the case). All that put together, people will break them more often and then you'll rant about that instead.

    This thread has been hilarious for the sole purpose of having the majority of "poor designs" being nothing more than a matter of personal opinion.
     
  20. VirtualNinja

    VirtualNinja Member

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    Great point about the filter.

    You cannot buy a suit off the rack and expect it to fit like a tailored suit.
     

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