6
votes

I am going to be building a computer for a college student. He is going into general engineering while he figures out exactly what he wants to do. The budget for this computer is about $1500 USD (just for the tower). This computer will be running Windows 10. He will be using this computer for school work and for gaming. All the components that I(read: we) have picked out for this computer need a place that they can call home.

I am looking for a computer case that fits the requirments:

  • no smaller than an ATX-Mid case
  • can support all picked out parts (listed and linked below)
  • easy to work with, meaning no strange support bars, opens up fairly well, and drive bays are organized.
  • have adequate air cooling capabilities for gaming and rendering
  • at least 2 front USB ports

Optional:

  • at least one 5.25 drive bay in case he wants a CD drive.
  • easy to move. Anything like handles that help move a tower around.
  • bottom mounted PSU that allows the fan to be facing downward
  • at least one of those USB ports being USB 3.0

The parts I have picked out are: ASRock Fatal1ty X99M Killer motherboard, Cooler Master Hyper 12 EVO heatsink, EVGA GTX 980 graphics card, and the Corsair AX760 power supply. I will also be getting two 3.5" HDDs and one 2.5" SSD.

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8
votes

I have to recommend my favorite: the Fractal Design Define R5 (~$110 USD). This case is beyond excellent for everything you'd ever want. It's also one of the highest-rated cases for noise reduction (meaning it's very quiet). The specs:

  • ATX mid
  • Quick-release side panel for easy access
  • Removable ODD and HDD cages, removable fan slot covers, removable optical drive bay covers
  • 8 HDD bays (can fit 2.5" SSDs as well), 2 SSD bays
  • 6+ fan positions and 3+ radiator positions
  • Interior is partly covered in noise-reducing foam
  • Rubber feet to greatly reduce surface vibration
  • Easily removable and cleanable dust filters on the bottom and front
  • Front door hides front dust filter, front fans, and fan voltage switches (the clean, minimal style is amazing)
  • Motherboard mount area provides extra SSD mounts
  • 7 PCI expansion slots
  • Front interface: 2x USB 3.0, 2x USB 2.0, audio jacks
  • 22.69 pounds – with a full computer, the weight is still easy to carry around
  • 3 color options and an optional side window can add $10 to the cost
  • Bottom-mounted PSU that allows the fan to be mounted facing down

And one of the best things about this case: the included Fractal Design Dynamic GP14 140mm fans. These things are extremely quiet and can be sped up/slowed down via the switch behind the front door. Overall, this case is simply one of the best.

Fractal Design Define R5 w/ Window

  • The only downside of this case, IMO, is that the door blocks airflow. This isn't a big deal for most setups, but if the machine will be used heavily for gaming, kept in a relatively closed environment (ie with already limited airflow) or overclocked heavily, it may be worth considering the largely similarbut open-fronted Fractal Arc Midi r2. You sacrifice a little of the quietness, but that's about the only tradeoff – Jon Story Oct 7 '15 at 11:24
4
votes

I recommend a Phanteks "Enthoo Pro Series" full ATX case, which is $100 on Newegg.

Phantek - Enthoo Pro Series

My main machine rests in this case. It sits behind my desk and the fans are very quiet. As an added benefit, I know it fits the parts I've recommended in the other answers I've provided, plus a full sized video card, optical drive and multiple HDDs and SSDs. It also has:

  • 3 External 5.25" bays
  • 6 Internal bays for HDDs
  • 7 Internal bays for SSDs
  • Front USB 2.0 and 3.0 ports, Mic and Headphone
  • A power button on the top of the machine (instead of on the front, which is nice for it's placement in my office)
  • Dust filters over the fans (yay!) and they are easily removable
  • Has air vents on the bottom for the fan of the PSU

It supports water cooling if you ever wish to go that route. I have not had any issues with heat in this and I only use air cooling.

Wiring, with this case, is one of the easier cases I've dealt with. Both side panels remove and there is a small gap on the "back" (which is 'under' the motherboard, if you lay it on the side) for you to run cables. These cables can be brought back to the front through rubber points along the outside of the motherboard (once mounted to the case). This feature keeps the number of cables that block air flow to a minimum.

Case Interior

Everything in this case is opened with either a standard screw driver, thumbscrews or, in the case of the internal drive bays, a simple latch that locks the bay into place.

The case is a bit heavy - 26 pounds, empty - but I move my computers so rarely that it doesn't bother me.

3
votes

I'd suggest my other dream case - the HAF XB

enter image description here

While it looks like a mini ITX case, its really a full ATX case designed to double as a workbench. Lets see

  • no smaller than an ATX-Mid case. its arranged a bit oddly but I'll take a full ATX board.

  • can support all picked out parts (listed and linked below)

I believe so

  1. ASRock Fatal1ty X99M Killer motherboard: Will take a full ATX motherboard so.. yeah, we have room to spare
  2. Cooler Master Hyper 12 EVO heatsink: from the specs
    CPU cooler height: 180mm/7.1inch Evo's 159 mm
  3. EVGA GTX 980 graphics card: People have done this. Maximum card length is 334mm
  4. the Corsair AX760 power supply: it'll take a standard PSU

    • easy to work with, meaning no strange support bars, opens up fairly well, and drive bays are organized: Its two levels and pretty open
    • have adequate air cooling capabilities for gaming and rendering The HAF stands for High Air Flow.

    • at least 2 front USB ports: 3.0

    • Handles: Right there.

The optical drive slot is about the only place where this falls short.

3
votes

My dream case, and I actually own this one. You did say minimum size right? Its a mid tower, but just barely.

enter image description here

The cosair 600T. Used by Jeff Atwood and used by the folks who develop stackexchange least of all me. This is the case for the discerning computer builder who can't be bothered with trivialities like a lack of space and wants to manage cables like a boss.

You're not going to have an easy time moving this behemoth (though i did bring mine on a public bus).

The core requirements? Met, or exceeded. I have a full ATX board, 2 hdds, an SSD, a full sized 980TI. I could probably fit a small village of smurfs or a small poodle. in this case. All your parts will fit with room to grow. It has nearly tool less drive caddies bays (6x 2.5/3.5 inch convertables - 2.5 inch drives need little screws), half of which you can move in case you need to park a dual processor video card of excessive length. Other than those caddies, its minimal tools, and I routinely just pop the sides to do maintainance, with everything accessible.

There's plenty of space to tuck cables behind the motherboard tray. Stock config is 2x 200mm fans (big led lit brutes) and 1 120mm fan (I swapped mine for a noctua 120mm). With the mesh sided model you can park FOUR more 120mm fans on the side. I haven't needed to with my rig.

it has 4 front USB ports, and a single USB 3.0 (which I'll come to in the issues)

Issues? The single USB 3.0 port's connected via a regular USB 3.0 plug - You'll need to patch it into the rear or buy a connector that breaks out the header into a USB 3.0 female pair - I bought something like this and hooked the USB 3.0 hub in my monitor to the second one, snaking it through a water cooling port.

Fan controller for 4 fans exists - you can hook it up to your PSU, hook up your fans and control fan speeds with the dial. I found it wasn't too useful and control my 3 fans via the motherboard.

Its a pain to move. the latches double as handles, but its so heavy.

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