Recommend me a mid-sized Case/PSU combo

Yeah I believe this is my first “Recommend Me A” thread.

Looking for recommendations on a mid-size tower case, preferably in a combo with a PSU as those seem to be cheaper deals. I may have to buy them separately though. Newegg has a couple but they don’t seem very good.

Number of 5.25" bay expansion slots isn’t a priority at all. I run one DVD-RW drive and that’s it. Front side USB and headphone ports are pretty much a requirement though, although most PCs seem to do this now.

Anything available in black that someone has had a good experience with, particularly as it relates to noise levels. I use Speedfan to control fan speeds but some cases are just made like crap and tend to vibrate or give off a lot of sound. 500W minimum should do alright.

I look forward to seeing suggestions and then promptly buying something that somebody told me not to buy.

I’m fond of the Antec Sonata series: 500W PSU, 4 HDD bays, comes with one 120mm variable-speed fan with room for one more. Only real complaint is the second fan goes in the middle of the case behind the HDDs which blocks large video cards. Still, if your needs are modest, this is a nice simple case, IMHO. Should’ve asked a couple of weeks ago, though: Newegg had it one sale for $83, IIRC.

Looking at their current deals, you could get a NZXT Alpha and Rosewill 630W PSU for $90 after rebate.

That Sonata looks like a nice case, actually. The PCI-E card I have is two slots wide so it sounds like a second case fan will be blocked, but it’s also two-slots wide precisely because it has a beastly fan on it.

I dunno I’ve got a Sonata III and my 8800GTX fits in there just fine. Have cards really gotten bigger because that thing is just huge.

In order for a GTX to fit in a Sonata III, you have to remove the front intake case fan behind the drive mounts.

If anyone’s curious, a GTX 260 also fits in the Silverstone cube SG02B-F:

I’ve had a Sonata III previously and it fit a 8800GTX which was then replaced with an HD4870.

Another vote for the Sonata III. Mine didn’t come with a front fan (just the rear 120 mm as shown hear

I’ve had both a GTX 260 and a 4870 in the case at one time or another, with no problems. The 500 Earthwatts that came with the case worked fine with both of these cards (in single mode).

Just ordered and received the Sonata III for an i5 build. It’s a nice case. Smells like spray paint. I did my usual reviews hounding and found the PSU is pretty decent.

These two statements are kind of at odds. You fit the HD4870 into with or without the fan? The HD4870 is also double width.

Ahh ok. So your cards didn’t overheat without the front case fan?

Yeah they look to be about the same size. Did you have a second fan as well?

No heat issues.

Unless you’re overclocking most, modern systems don’t require the crazy venting that most X-TREME cases would make you believe. Remember that even with 1 case fan, a system will have 4 total fans moving air (case, PS, CPU, and videocard).

I currently have the 4870 in the case. It idles at around 55C in Windows (with the card fan normally in an auto off or 5% speed setting). During hardcore 3D gaming, it’ll hike up to 70-75. These numbers are normal/low for the crazy 4870.

Yes, please answer. The 5850 is the same size as the 4870 apparently.

That’s pretty hot, because if the ambient temperature goes up to 78 then your in-case temperature will go way up too. I wonder if I could manage to cram the 5850 into my Super Lanboy.

Well, either way the fans should all be settable using the Speedfan program. In the summer or on hot days I just crank up the speed.

While the VC will obviously affect the in-case temperature, the temperature on the surface of the GPU is obviously not the air temp in the case. Saying that it in-case temperature will “go way up” isn’t a certain thing given the fact that the gpu surface area isn’t all that big. For example, I noticed no difference for my CPU temperature between using the 4870 and the GTX260, dispite the dramatically different (IIRC) operating temperatures. Also, open up the case doesn’t drop that 4870 temperature by much, another indication that case temp isn’t being hugely affected.

The 4870 is operates at a very high temp compared to most other VCs, by design. It’s kind of freaky to see (and is mentioned in all the reviews) but it seems to do fine.

There’s definitely no room for an extra 120mm fan left with the 4870 in place for the Sonata III. The two power connectors extend legthwise from the 4870 (as compared to pluggin in from the top of the card for the GTX260). My two PCI-e power connectors are butt up against the harddrive enclosure.

If the 5850 had power coming in at the top, there might be space.

Alright so the front case fan is somewhat irrelevant then. I actually like that it has an air filter, seems like a great idea. Some reviews seem to mention that larger cards won’t fit. The 9800GTX is 10.5", I gotta check up on that. Otherwise it looks like the Sonata will fit my desk and black hardware setup perfectly.

Then again, the HD bays could just be cut up a bit with a dremel. I’ll never use more than two hard drives.

The 8800GTX is a longer card than the HD 4870, but the 8800GTX has its power connectors mounted on the top edge of the card (which I wish was the standard), while the HD4870’s are mounted on the back. So while technically there’s just enough room to squeeze the HD4870 into the Sonata with a front case fan installed, there’s isn’t enough room to then hook up the power connectors (d’oh!). Either card will fit in a Sonata if you don’t install a front case fan.

The Sonata’s rear case fan - plus the PSU, CPU, and GPU fans - are sufficient for most circumstances; it’s only if you’re a crazy overclocker, fill every HDD bay, and/or want to run your fans at the lowest possible speed that the second fan in front is necessary, IMHO.

some video card lengths I looked into when I was researching video cards:

4870 9.5"
gtx 275 10.5"
gtx 260 core 216 10.5"
8800gt 9"
4890 9.5"
9800gt 9"
hd 5850 9.5"
hd 5870 10.5"

The 5870 is actually about 10.65 inches, due to the (useless and cosmetic) vent protrusions out the rear of the card. That makes it just a little bit too long for cases in which the GTX 260/275/285 fit.

OTOH, the 5850 is faster, and shorter, than any of the GTX 260/275/285.

The 9800 GTX is 10.5", longer than the GT (and at the same time getting about 10-15 more FPS in games than the GT).

It’s no biggie though. I’ll cut through metal if I have to.

Decided to go ahead and throw in a 640GB hard drive (the 2nd highest rated drive on Newegg). Not the cheapest per gig, but price/gig is a terrible metric for buying a hard drive.