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The few times I've encountered server gear, the build quality simply amazes me. It's just remarkably well-built, with incredibly solid metal construction throughout. The quality of the front of the chassis and branding, in particular, lend a sense of gravitas I simply don't get from any consumer desktop chassis I've seen. High-end workstations from major PC vendors are often built to a similar level of quality as well.

I realize that with the profit margins typical of high-end IT equipment, vendors can afford to spare no expense on the physical construction of their products, and that it's hard to achieve the same in the price-sensitive consumer market. Nonetheless, are there any modern (not discontinued) consumer- or gamer-oriented desktop chassis built to "big iron" server standards?

I'm looking for high-quality, rigid metal construction in all key areas, with judicious use of plastics only where it does not significantly reduce build quality. There should not be thin, low-quality material that is easily bent, dented, or otherwise damaged. This extends to key interior parts of the case, such as the drive cages. A high level of durability is also expected of any supplied accessories such as pre-installed fans. Branding and design motifs should be physically substantial, extending beyond mere printing on the chassis.

Ideally, the case should be large enough to accomodate an EATX motherboard. In any case, however, it must be able to accept a standard ATX board. It should also be a traditional PC tower—I'm looking for "big iron" build quality, but not the rackmount form factor.

Budget is unlimited, but the solution should be a commercially-available product, not a custom, one-off design. Size and weight are also of no concern, as long as it isn't so large or heavy that it can't be moved into most homes.

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I personally use the Thermaltake WP200. That is, the W200 core chassis atop the P200 extension chassis.

It follows the "if it's interior, it's metal" approach, right down to the removable motherboard tray on one side. It currently houses TWO computers and came with power and USB headers for both; my i7 2600k on one side and my i7 8700k on the other, both overclocked and both with the massive Noctua D15-class heat sink and fans mounted on them without affecting case clearance. Both use an EATX motherboard. The case comes with no fans (nor should you typically trust a fan that comes with a case), but instead has mounting racks for multiple configurations. Right now, the whole machine is air-cooled. I have about 30 case fans running either in the case mounted modules, face panel, or on the actual heat sinks.

The P200 section serves mostly as where I manage my power connections and cables, as it contains induction fans and two 800w power supplies to supplement the 1200w one in the W200 area (and if I didn't use the EATX on the side with the removable mobo tray, I could have fit another 1200W there as well).

The drive racks are plastic, but it's a durable plastic, and they're made of plastic to keep them light. This is because they can mount more than one way. While the racks can fit in metal modules for the face of the machine, I reserved that for optical drives, a hot-swap bay, and headers. Instead, I use the plastic racks to "hang" the drives into clip-lock bays that are on one side of the metal divider on the inside of the case, which makes swapping them easy if I want. They use plastic locks instead of screws to hold the drives, which makes for quieter HDDs and easier replacement.

Obviously, it comes with modular connections that assist with cable management, and can fit multiple radiators for elite watercoolers. The case can accept 120mm and 140mm fans in the same fan bays and racks. The racks for the fans or radiators all hold with steel thumb screws so they are steady and I don't have to just depend on the optional plastic locks that can hold them into place (this case allows you to be lazy, I guess, but you don't have to be).

Fan induction points can be covered with a magnetically-fixed metal screen that comes with the unit (one for each potential point). This keeps dust out and extends fan life, and makes cleaning your fan filters as simple as just a quick wipe over the trash can.

You can use rubber feet, but this thing is HEAVY when it's fully assembled and loaded with tech. We're talking 85-125 lbs depending on what you put in it. This upgrades your computer to furniture. I highly recommend using the castors it comes with instead of the feet, so you can just roll it around to move it. Otherwise, get a dolly with some straps.

The only complaints I have are its loaded weight and the way the external panels fit. They connect via plastic knobs (thick and durable) that are grabbed by plastic tension brackets in the external panel (replaceable but sort of flimsy). The panels never fall off, but the top lid is currently missing one of its tension brackets, which makes correctly aligning the top and locking it in place a little annoying.

Edit: Also, the panels can be detached for painting so you can safely customize yourself if you want without harming the tech. The Thermaltake "TT" logo is on the face panels, but is otherwise kept minimal.

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  • Took a quick look at the reviews - this looks very impressive to me. There are a few flaws noted in reviews by Amazon customers, but this is very close to the caliber of hardware I'm expecting. Absent another answer with a better product, I'm likely to give you the check. – bwDraco Apr 16 '18 at 17:41
  • Just don't make the mistake I did; I bought about $300 worth of multicolor fading LED silent fans only to discover that they had a unique tiny fan controller that can only take three fans at a time. It was like reaching into a spider's nest until I got enough zip ties... – CDove Apr 16 '18 at 18:01

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