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  • martyrant - Friday, November 23, 2012 - link

    I'm a pretty big fan of Fractal Design cases; this looked quite promising (especially by the specs on the first page) until I got to the point where I read Dustin having issues getting the 560 Ti inside.

    I have maybe--MAYBE--used my optical drive a handful of times in the past 5 years. And almost all of those times I could have gotten away with using an alternative method (bootable USB, backed up ISOs, etc.) and am glad to see it omitted completely. Even in large desktop cases I'm starting to wish they would get rid of 5.25" bays completely and just give me 10-12+ internal 3.5" drive bays for massive RAID/fileserver setups (I have had my eye on the Fractal Design XL for a while now). Only reason I see myself using a 5.25" bay is for a hot swappable drive bay...and I don't use those often since I have a NAS that supports that. But I am amassing lots of old 640GB (have 4) and 500GB (have 4) drives and I use 4x128GB samsung 830s in raid0 as my boot...would be nice to RAID 5 the 640's and the 500s in a case though and maybe kill my NAS since my computer is almost always on anyway.

    I do admit, optical drives in the work place have more of a use than at home for me.
    Reply
  • lmcd - Friday, November 23, 2012 - link

    I see potential with a single-slot 7750, personally, or a 160mm PSU that naturally doesn't have a lot of connectivity Reply
  • LadyKate - Sunday, November 25, 2012 - link

    Love my job, since I've been bringing in $5600… I sit at home, music playing while I work in front of my new iMac that I got now that I'm making it online(Click on menu Home)
    http://goo.gl/ZXnvc
    Reply
  • Grok42 - Friday, November 23, 2012 - link

    I had the same reaction. It sounded like my dream case until I got to the part about it not handling the 560 Ti. I have a New Egg wishlist just begging me to hit the buy button with a Lian-Li QB25 case. I just can't do it because I'm on the fence about the case. The specs I have call for a 660 Ti GPU and a SILVERSTONE ST45SF-G PSU. The PSU used for the review is 7" deep while the one I've picked is less than 4" but I still worry about how much clearance there will be for the modular connectors.

    I'm still really excited by this case but it also appears to be difficult to purchase right now. I only saw it available through a few sources for $120+
    Reply
  • londiste - Friday, November 23, 2012 - link

    and yet, neither of you noticed that he is using a psu that is beyond fractal's spec. with a shorter psu, you'll fit a hell of a graphics card in there just fine.

    i know that the hardware dustin uses is same for comparison purposes but think about realistic power usage - 750w psu for an itx box? :)
    Reply
  • Dustin Sklavos - Friday, November 23, 2012 - link

    londiste is completely correct.

    I use standard hardware, but you WILL be able to fit a GTX 560 Ti (albeit probably barely) or even a 680 in this case if you put a smaller PSU in.

    The problem then, though, is dealing with the cable spaghetti.
    Reply
  • MonkeyPaw - Friday, November 23, 2012 - link

    Seems like if more of these Mini-ITX cases start showing up and becoming standard, maybe manufacturers will start offering PSUs that work better. Smaller dimensions, shorter cables, etc. That, or these case makers need to start including a modest (realistic) PSU that works for the form factor. Personally, I don't think it needs more than ~400W, as running a space-heater GPU in such a cramped case is just asking for problems anyway. Reply
  • Guspaz - Friday, November 23, 2012 - link

    You really don't need a super power supply in these things. The GeForce 680 has a TDP of 195W, the i7-3770 has a TDP of 77W. Those are the two most power hungry components, and you're only at 272 watts. Shuttle ships their mini ITX cases with a 500W PSU and certifies both of these components (actually up to 95W on the CPU, but I don't think any go that high yet).

    A good quality single-rail 500W PSU is probably enough for almost any Intel consumer desktop unless they're getting crazy with multi-GPU or insane numbers of hard drives (like my fileserver which has 15 hotswap bays :P).

    Peoples' views of how big of a PSU they need has been skewed by the noname-brand garbage that floods the market. They buy an 600W PSU that fails if you push it beyond 300W and think they need an 800W PSU to replace it, when really they could have gone with a much lower wattage high quality PSU.
    Reply
  • yyrkoon - Tuesday, November 27, 2012 - link

    May as well call it 300W peak after adding a HDD, and optical drive. a Tad more with an SSD in addition.

    Problem is, any modern PSU to be the most efficient . It needs to be loaded at 50%. So we're again talking 600W for a PSU. If efficiency is not all that important, then you can futz around a bit but going under 500W will only be a problem with any power hungry GPU. e.g. the system stands a better chance of being less than rock solid stable. Now I can not speak for anyone else, but for me rock solid stability is a must in any build. However, i also would not require a beast of a graphics card either.

    Lastly, not all PSU;s are created equal. So you're not necessarily guaranteed even 50% of the power total provided on the 12v rail. Assuming a single rail PSU. Most that I would trust being made by seasonic, while being branded by different companies. Antec comes to mind ( earthwatts 500 ) I've owned one now for 4-5 years and am perfectly happy with it. Granted, as stated above, i do not require a massive GPU.. Mostly i opt for mid range.

    Now, if these case manufacturers would only isolate the PSU in a way where it draws in air from the outside while exhausting hot air out. Really a no-brainier, and as a hobbyist case moder it really isn't that hard But I digress. I suppose that would require more than 3 brain cells . . . Or really caring about what a system builder wants.
    Reply
  • Metaluna - Friday, November 23, 2012 - link

    Seems to me that what we need is for the industry to standardize on a set of connectors for modular PSUs. That would allow an aftermarket to develop for modular PSU cables of any length you need. Like in this case it looks like the main power connector only needs to be around 8" or so, if that. There are outfits that sell custom modular cables for select PSUs (e.g. Seasonic X-series) but they are ridiculously expensive.

    Oh, also regarding SFX supplies, I believe you can buy adapter plates that will allow them to mount on an ATX cutout, so that might help in this instance.
    Reply
  • Grok42 - Friday, November 23, 2012 - link

    I had the same thought about wishing the cable was shorter when looking at the main power connector all looped up in the screen shot. (I know you tried to make it clean Dustin!) I think you are on to something this wouldn't be a problem if they would standardize the modular connectors. Given that only a few manufactures sell different lengths it seems like something that everyone could agree on. Reply
  • yyrkoon - Tuesday, November 27, 2012 - link

    Or, you could learn to solder, cut wires to proper length, and disassemble / reassemble the connector ends yourself. This requires a bit of experience but is not very hard. You could possibly even profit from it by following through with your own aftermarket idea personally. However, I would not count on becoming rich as the enthusiast computer market really is not that large. Reply
  • Dandyman - Sunday, December 02, 2012 - link

    Found this rig on some Finish online store:

    http://www.verkkokauppa.com/fi/product/15996/dhqxv...

    Proof of concept :-)
    Reply
  • martyrant - Friday, November 23, 2012 - link

    I admit I wasn't paying attention to the size of the PSU he was using...lol, and yeah, even with a 670 or a 7950 a lower watt 500 psu would be fine for a build this size. So I guess I'll retract my complaint about the PSU... ;)

    Still glad to see that pesky 5.25" drive gone tho!
    Reply
  • Grok42 - Friday, November 23, 2012 - link

    I was paying attention but given how everything is orientated with the PSU positioned a bit toward the middle of the case to allow for the power lead to run to the back, I worry that even with the 4" PSU I plan on using instead of the 7" one reviewed, it will still be a very tight fit. It all depends on how the modular connectors protrude from the back of the PSU and what they hit.

    May the 5.25" bays never return!
    Reply
  • Guspaz - Monday, November 26, 2012 - link

    The absence of a 5.25" bay is kind of a critical flaw... If they had a slot for a slim drive that might be excusable, but as it stands the system has no way to play bluray films, or install software from CD/DVD.

    You can get away without an optical drive on a notebook, but not a desktop.
    Reply
  • yyrkoon - Tuesday, November 27, 2012 - link

    external . . .. Reply
  • krumme - Friday, November 23, 2012 - link

    Okey, so what 7950 card and ps do i use when using the usual intel plus sing ssd stuff? Reply
  • Koppit - Friday, November 23, 2012 - link

    I have one of these cases as my HTPC. Just wantetd to say I used a Corsair CX600W
    and with the help of some cableties I got room for my Sapphire 5870 vapor-x. So there is room for larger cards. I really like this case and would not have any problems recommending it, if you just get a small PSU with few cables.
    Reply
  • just4U - Friday, November 23, 2012 - link

    A way around the cable problems (imo) is use modular powers supplies that employ the ribboned cables. Their relatively easy to work with and tuck away. Reply
  • Tegeril - Saturday, November 24, 2012 - link

    I have this case, if you shop around for smaller PSUs (I have an FSP Aurum Gold 400W in mine) you can get larger GPUs in the case. Fractal Design even goes as far as to describe the exact measurements in mm to help you make that determination.

    My build has a 7750 in it right now.
    Reply
  • lexluthermiester - Sunday, November 25, 2012 - link

    Could disagree with you more on the optical drive point, Perhaps YOU can do without, but the vast majority of the rest of us still use ODD[Bluray, DVD] for various, very useful purposes. The lack of ODD bay[even for a notebook sata drive] is a deal breaker with most folks. USB aside, how would you suppose to install windows? Most people have yet to learn of the wonders of a USB drive for such, and most of those who do[myself included] would still prefer to use an ODD, even if it is slower.

    ODD's in the work place? Not. More network admin's use network installs than ODD's. No, it's just not on. Your idea's may work for you, but most people still use and like optical discs. And for that rather big group, it's a deal breaker.
    Reply
  • lexluthermiester - Sunday, November 25, 2012 - link

    Couldn't* disagree...

    Note to Anand group; A bloody edit function would not go amiss....
    Reply
  • PsychoPif - Monday, November 26, 2012 - link

    I use a USB DVD burner on my PC and I was able to install Windows 8 without a hitch.

    Off course some still need a drive bay, but I think Dustin is right when he says that we slowly but surely move away from it.
    Reply
  • yyrkoon - Tuesday, November 27, 2012 - link

    I'd have to agree with lexluthermiester. Leaving optical media in the dust is not an option. However, it is a problem that is solvable. e.g. external, networked, or out of the case install. Reply
  • yyrkoon - Tuesday, November 27, 2012 - link

    USB, Firewire, Network install, or you could do the install out of the case. Afterwards putting everything inside.

    For everything else, you could use either an external drive, network shared drive, etc. I do realize this is less than ideal, however having a laptop with two HDDs in it ( optical drive bay caddy in my own case ) you have to learn to workaround, or live without. One thing worth mentioning. Most mobile optical drives are garbage, so external is usually a better option anyhow.

    Anyhow, external 5.25" drive cases do not cost all that much so cost is not a big deal. The only potential issue is how well the BIOS on your given motherboard handles boot from USB, Now days, I would think this to be a non issue.
    Reply
  • JoanSpark - Sunday, December 02, 2012 - link

    that is the 2nd mITX without a 5.25 I know of.. go get you one of the plenty other crippled ones that still have them if you can't move with times.. Reply
  • lmcd - Friday, November 23, 2012 - link

    The testing page needs a slight update; this isn't an A30 and in no way can fit a MicroATX board.

    Great review! Contender for my next build since I rely on internal storage and the cloud so much anyway, and with USB 3 and Steam, physical media is pretty unnecessary.
    Reply
  • Dustin Sklavos - Friday, November 23, 2012 - link

    Fixed! I has the dumb. Reply
  • Minion4Hire - Friday, November 23, 2012 - link

    I agree that an ATX PSU in a mini-ITX chassis is a bit overkill, but you're not going to put a high-wattage, high-performance power supply in a mini-ITX anything. This case feels more like a 500W Silverstone Strider Plus candidate than any kilowatt e-peen unit.

    But am I the only one that doesn't care about a compact SOHO chassis? It's admirable that they've managed to fit so many drives into such a small case (and I really do like the design) but I could care less about smaller chassis where any kind of home server is concerned. You can shove such a chassis anywhere you can feed power and ethernet to. Under a staircase, buried in a closet... you can find plenty of locations that would be otherwise undesirable for all sorts of other hardware, so lack-of-space doesn't seem like a big concern. I'm not going to make my HTPC serve double-duty as my file server. A RAID 5 in my living room is not going to make for a truly silent HTPC. Meanwhile, I DO want my HTPC to have an optical drive, if only for convenience.

    Just seems like a niche product. Maybe I'm wrong.
    Reply
  • Grok42 - Friday, November 23, 2012 - link

    You can never be too thin right? While I get your point, especially for a server, it's also hard to see how you would ever regret going with the smaller case assuming it met your requirements at build time. I can certainly see how it's possible that you might wish a larger server didn't take up so much space later on.

    I've had many full ATX and mid-tower ATX cases over the years and with the exception of my current mid-tower ATX, I've never come close to filling them. While my current server system wouldn't fit into this case, if I were building it again today I'd use and SSD for the system drive as well as bigger HDs and it would easily fit with no problem.

    I couldn't agree more with you on not putting all this stuff in an HTPC. I'm even more extreme and don't want anything even remotely like a computer in my living room. I use a tiny WD-Live to stream all the content from the sever in the closet upstairs.
    Reply
  • londiste - Friday, November 23, 2012 - link

    itx by its definition is still niche.

    whether you like it or not, good flex/matx psu-s are bloody expensive and there aren't that many of those. especially if we are talking about anything that might want to be an htpc - i.e. quiet. picopsu in the lower end and atx psus on the other end are a lot better and less expensive options.

    i for one do not have a staircase nor a closet that would be sufficiently closed (to muffle the noise) and sufficiently open (for fresh air) at the same time.
    Reply
  • yyrkoon - Tuesday, November 27, 2012 - link

    Kind of sad is it not ?

    I've had this nagging feeling for the last couple of years. That in order to get what *I* want, in a mini-ITX system; I would have to either build my own case from scratch. Or mod an existing case. Perhaps, then i could make a little money providing the same to others ( where the case manufactures failed ). But as you said, the market is not really all that large. So yeah. . .

    Next, if "we" could only convince the OEM's that quality power supplies do not *need* to be in the 600W to 1KW range . . . I think we would be golden. I certainly could use a good 80 Plus certified 200W ATX power supply myself. Perhaps even less wattage.
    .
    Reply
  • yyrkoon - Tuesday, November 27, 2012 - link

    I agree with you, while at the same time disagree.

    Mini-ITX has its good points. Power usage by comparison can be a lot lower since many mini-ITX boards do not have a ton of bells and whistles most people do not need on them. For me, we're 100% off-grid ( solar / wind power with a battery bank for power storage). Currently, I use a laptop, but would like to make the move to something more flexible, and better performance potential. Without using a whole lot more power.

    As for using an actual mini-ITX case. I could go either way. I have a decent Lian-Li reverse ATX case that I like a lot so I would possibly opt for that. Its standard width at only 15.5" tall. with lots of room for mods or storage with bay converters. However with our power concerns as mentioned above, I could see going with a smaller attractive case. Since less room taken up by the system would be a good thing. While having tons of HDDs internal, up and running whenever the system is -> not a good idea. I'd rather use external drives, saving power by turning them off when not needed.

    With all that said. Micro ATX boards can be had with limited peripherals as well. However, it is always nice to have more options. Especially if some or perhaps most of those options better suite your own needs.
    Reply
  • Kepe - Friday, November 23, 2012 - link

    Hi and thanks for the review, Dustin!
    I stumbled upon this case a week or two ago while looking for an HTPC case with sufficient expandability storage-wise, and was left wondering what it could be used for.
    Isn't the 750W, 180mm PSU a bit overkill for an ITX build, though? I know you try to use the same components for every case review, but wouldn't it have been better to use a smaller PSU and then be able to test with the GTX 560Ti, instead of the measly GTS 450 Eco??
    Reply
  • Grok42 - Friday, November 23, 2012 - link

    I agree it seems this would have been the better trade off if given that something had to give and you couldn't keep the exact same components your used for other reviews.

    I'm not sure when Dustin resets his testing components, but perhaps he should consider a smaller lower watt PSU for 2013. I used a PSU calculator and couldn't get it to recommend more than 420 watts without going with multiple video cards. Since the testing doesn't use multiple video cards and SLI setups represent a very small segment and testing smaller cases is happening more maybe it's time for a change. The specs I used to get the 420w recommendation were:

    Intel i7 3770k
    16GB RAM
    6x 5400 RPM HDs
    1x SSD
    1x CD/DVD RW
    2x 140mm Fans

    I'd say this is a pretty loaded system by most accounts.
    Reply
  • martyrant - Friday, November 23, 2012 - link

    Drop the optical for 2 to 4 ssds...raiding an ssd is very common for builds, especially if you are throwing in a 3770k cpu.

    Did you omit the gfx used? 'Cause I would peg that as a 7970 or a GTX 680 for power requirements
    Reply
  • Grok42 - Friday, November 23, 2012 - link

    Your are correct, I did omit the GPU in the list when I typed it up but I did include it in the calculator that recommended 420W PSU. I added more equipment and topped out at less than 460w with the following equipment:

    Intel i7 3770k
    Nvidia 660 Ti
    32GB RAM
    6x 5400 RPM HDs
    4x SSD
    1x CD/DVD RW
    4x 140mm Fans
    1x Fan Controler
    Reply
  • frabber - Friday, November 23, 2012 - link

    Me myself have a i7 2600 running inside a m350 box (Scythe Kozuti cooling). To my knowledge that is the smallest mITX case around.

    The problem I have with the bigger mITX cases is that they take up desk space and you cannot place them on the ground either. So I would end up using some sort of furniture to place them on, which kind of defeat the space saving factor.

    So I for one would love to see some desktop saving design mITX cases, or other solutions. mITX case stands, racks?
    Reply
  • dingetje - Friday, November 23, 2012 - link

    too bad it's only available in black Reply
  • londiste - Friday, November 23, 2012 - link

    Any customer can have a car painted any colour that he wants so long as it is black.
    - Henry Ford

    :)
    Reply
  • silveralien81 - Friday, November 23, 2012 - link

    Don't care much for the case but the Heinlein reference was great. Reply
  • versesuvius - Friday, November 23, 2012 - link

    The problem with computer systems has always been and is, the wires that come out of the them, resulting in the ugliest part of the room. As for the space a case occupies, as long as the case has the same footprint, the height is not a problem with ordinary cases as long as they do not move into full, ultra towers. It is simply foolish to limit the potential of a computer system by restricting the space inside the box that is going to take the same real state on the desktop or under it anyway. Just go with a decently normal case. At least it will cover some of the ugly wires and cables sticking out of the case. Reply
  • bobbozzo - Thursday, November 29, 2012 - link

    This is designed to be a server; it might go on a shelf with limited vertical space. Reply
  • dealcorn - Friday, November 23, 2012 - link

    The diversity of use cases makes it hard to please readers with a case like this. When the Xeon Atom S12XX motherboards are released a case like this could make an attractive headless server. With 5 WD Reds, a 65 watt power adapter is the correct power supply. What are you supposed to do with the big empty hole where the ATX power supply ain't? Reply
  • Mumrik - Friday, November 23, 2012 - link

    Since it clearly is made to be able to serve as a file server or HTPC/media vault, I'd really have liked to see it tested with six 3½" drives, or five and a 2½" SSD.

    If I wasn't going to take advantage of the storage options, I'd probably be looking at other cases, and it would be very nice to see if it actually was able to do what it seems to indicate it can - run safely while stacked with storage.
    Reply
  • heraldo25 - Friday, November 23, 2012 - link

    Strange that card-readers are not standard on *any decent* case nowadays, all laptops have them, why not all desktops? Particularly now that it is getting more popular to drop the 3.5" external bay which before could be used to insert a card-reader. Also, notebook-size dvd-drives do not take up much space, should be a slot for that IMO. Reply
  • Metaluna - Friday, November 23, 2012 - link

    My guess is there isn't much market for them. Photo and audio file transfers seem to be moving in the direction of cloud-syncing rather than transferring from physical media (it would be interesting to know what percentage of photos just go direct to Facebook without ever touching a hard drive, for example. I bet it's pretty significant). And in a pinch you can just use your phone/camera/whatever as a reader anyway, which, though usually slow, is probably good enough for most people.

    Slim ODDs are kind of a mixed bag, IMHO, and not really worth the effort on a desktop machine. Not a lot of choices for Blu-ray, for example, and drive speed is usually lower than a full-sized drive. Plus the little mini connector is goofy and almost always requires adapters with ugly Molex connectors and so forth.
    Reply
  • Grok42 - Friday, November 23, 2012 - link

    The only think I've ever seen anyone use a card reader for is for a camera. Most people use their phone to take pictures and in case you haven't noticed, SD slots pretty much don't exist on modern phones. What else uses SD cards? Guess I've been a tech junkie for 20 years and never had the need to use an SD card other in my parents camera. They found it easier to transfer via USB rather than fiddle with using the SD card reader in their laptop. That said, I do find it odd that given how cheap they are that some case hasn't thrown in a built-in one, especially on the more expensive cases. Unlike 3.5" and 5.25" external bays which are deal breakers for me, I wouldn't have any problem buying a case with a card reader built-in even though I would never use it.

    Optical is dead as 8-track tapes. Should be easy to Velcro an external slim drive to the top of the case if you really want one always with the computer.
    Reply
  • danjw - Friday, November 23, 2012 - link

    2x 92mm and 1x 120mm, they call that ventilation? Just not going to do it will a modern graphics card, especially a dual GPU one. Reply
  • Mumrik - Friday, November 23, 2012 - link

    You have pretty high expectations for a case the size of two shoe boxes. Reply
  • Grok42 - Friday, November 23, 2012 - link

    Since every nicer case and MB support it, I would LOVE to know what actual percentage of hand built gaming rigs have dual graphics. I really have no idea but it has to be very small. It really only makes sense when you want more horsepower than best in class single cards can give you. This means that a dual setup is going to be $600+ in just video cards. I guess it would be different if reasonable priced monitors weren't stuck at 1080p. To justify a dual setup you would need two 2560x1440 monitors which are $700+ each. Not saying this wouldn't be a great setup, just that there can't be that many of them. Reply
  • Death666Angel - Saturday, November 24, 2012 - link

    3 x 1080/1200 is also on the verge of being unplayable at max settings for a single GPU card. Multi GPU use should be in the single digits percentage wise. Reply
  • infoilrator - Friday, November 23, 2012 - link

    Good review:
    Typical comments in the "it is what I want/ no it is not" catagory

    Question is do you excuse small cases for origami like configurations to become smaller?
    What criteria are absolute, which not?

    Personally, after larger cases, except some low budget one, have acquired cable management,
    I do not see the need to squeeze so tight.

    A half inch wider and an inch deeper would appeal a lot more to me.

    I like USB/Audio plugs top front or top front side. I use these things. Neither thumb drives or USB cables seem to be 90 degree connectors,

    Card readers are cheap enough to be there but it looks like USB external is the future (where is that..?)
    Pretty much the same external DVD, oh well.

    Power Supplies are more problemic.
    SFF is possible

    The Seasonic 360G is 140mm, could not find size listings for 450/550/650 G Series.
    Rosewill Capstone is my wish list "go to" power supply
    450 is 163 mm and the modular 450M is 170 mm, no so good

    My budget "go to" is the Corsair CX430 AT 140 mm Deep, though you can argue this is not a budget case.

    Which makes it function vs elegant, and no answer correct.
    Elegant outside, less so inside. Functional inside vs functional outside so so.

    They are going to sell a lot of these.
    Reply
  • lwatcdr - Friday, November 23, 2012 - link

    Blu-Ray drive or an LCD display. If you are going to use this for a home media center I can see some uses.
    Since this is a home server maybe you should have used 3 or more hdds and skipped the SSDs for some testing.
    Reply
  • just4U - Friday, November 23, 2012 - link

    I shudder every time I see Dustin's cabling handywork in assembling these testbeds.. (chuckle) Keep up the case reviews though, love them! Reply
  • Dustin Sklavos - Saturday, November 24, 2012 - link

    Assemble and then tear down three to four cases a month (on top of your other work) and see how much you still care about tidy cabling. ;) Reply
  • Grok42 - Friday, November 23, 2012 - link

    Seems like everyone thinks this case is ideal for a NAS server or HTPC. I get the server angle given that it has pretty good capacity for 3.5 and 2.5 because of the awesome decision to not include external bays. What I am surprised is that I get the idea no one would consider this for a workstation. What does everyone feel knocks it out of consideration? I'm seriously considering this over my current pick of a Lian-Li QB25. Reply
  • Dustin Sklavos - Saturday, November 24, 2012 - link

    I've actually been mulling over exactly that. The only thing that really keeps me from doing it is that there are no Z77 mITX boards with FireWire. Reply
  • Metaluna - Monday, November 26, 2012 - link

    I guess it depends on what your definition of a workstation is, and whether it includes gaming. I have never needed a gaming-level GPU in any work I've done in my professional life, for example, but I occasionally do need lots of memory and CPU power, plus ECC is always nice to have. In other words, I'd be looking for something that could fit a Xeon-class motherboard, but is small enough to tuck away somewhere on my desk (maybe behind the monitor) and still be fairly quiet under load. These large mITX shoebox cases have an awkward form-factor for the desktop, and if you're going to put it on the floor anyway, you probably won't save much space over a micro ATX or even full ATX mini-tower.

    I'm really not a fan of this style of case, and by that I mean the "huge shoebox" style, not the lack of ODD bays, which is a very worthy tradeoff. But if you need anything larger than a single-slot video card, they're pretty much the only option these days with a few exceptions.

    Reply
  • yyrkoon - Tuesday, November 27, 2012 - link

    Personally, Id like to see something standard ATX width ( doubled ) and at around this height. Or maybe a little taller. Dedicate the second side to nothing but disk storage. Perhaps partitioned, and well ventilated.

    This would probably start to encroach on rackmount territory though. Without the rack.
    Reply
  • JekyllHyde5 - Saturday, November 24, 2012 - link

    I read on the specifications of this PSU @Silverstone's website that the dimensions are "150 mm (W) x 86 mm (H) x 160 mm (D)". So the length is 160mm, and the F-D's specifications of the Node says it allows PSUs until 160mm. What the hell did I not get ? Why did Anantech had difficulties setting up the GTX 560Ti if the length was alright ? Reply
  • Death666Angel - Saturday, November 24, 2012 - link

    But in the text he specifically says it is 180mm. Weird. Reply
  • JohnMD1022 - Saturday, November 24, 2012 - link

    First time I've seen it used in at least 30 years. Reply
  • Th3rdparty - Saturday, November 24, 2012 - link

    I have been building a NAS media server over the last several months and this was the last purchase I needed to complete the build. So far it has been running 24/7 for the last 2 weeks without the slightest hiccup. My build consists of

    Node 304
    Jetway NF9E-Q77 (6 Sata, USB 3.0, dual Intel NIC, Sandy Bridge)
    Core i7 3770t (45w TDP)
    16GB Corsair Value Ram
    5 2TB Seagate 5900RPM HDD (Raid 5)
    90GB Corsair SSD (boot drive, VM and Cache for media before it lands on the raid
    Seasonic X460 Fanless PS (modular)
    Antec Kuhler 620 liquid cooler (replaced the 140mm exhaust fan w/ 120mm Noctua NF-P12)
    Ubuntu Server w/ XFCE (I'm still a linux noob and need a GUI every once in a while)

    The only thing I really wish I changed was put it the WD 3 TB Red NAS drives and the new Platinum version of the Seasonic PS but they were not available when I made those purchases

    I also have to run the fan controller on high because the Antec Kuhler doesn't seem to get enough voltage to run at low speeds. Even so it is not audible unless there is dead silence in the room

    I can tell you that this was the most fun build I have ever done. I haven't completely finished the software side yet (still need to setup SSH, VNC, Timemachine, and secure it better) but this thing is a beast and handles anything I throw at it media wise. If I ever get around to taking some temperature readings and total power draw I will update but my initial experience is that it is very efficient and doesn't run even slightly warm. The cabling was not to bad but there is definitely an art to putting this case together so you don't get spaghetti and it keeps the air moving.
    Reply
  • Calista - Saturday, November 24, 2012 - link

    An SSD is more or less only being sold in 2.5" and smaller formats (forget about PCI-E for a moment), a 1 TB 2.5" HDD is roughly a hundred dollar. More and more (music, movies, games?) are migrating to the cloud. Maybe it's time to ditch the 3.5" format as well? Reply
  • Grok42 - Saturday, November 24, 2012 - link

    Interesting thought. It would certainly make case design better given that it is apparently impossible for them to figure out a modular mounting system. The main drawback if doing this would be for those wanting bulk storage. It would take 3 drives, 3 cables, 3 SATA ports and 2x the money to replace a single 3tb drive. So it would take a LOT of drives to build some rigs. Maybe if they started building double height versions that were 2-3TB. I still like the idea of standardizing on the 2.5 size. Reply
  • Calista - Saturday, November 24, 2012 - link

    Seriously? I can't find a single valid reason why the connectors should be located on the side as compared to the front. Besides aesthetics. The way my desk is arranged I wouldn't even be able to use the connectors on a case like this without moving it 5 inches from the wall. Giving me a wonderful kindergarten - for dust mites. Reply
  • sna2 - Saturday, November 24, 2012 - link

    hi,

    Can you please test this guy with some max component?

    Z77 itx Mother board

    i7 3770k

    nvidia GTX 680

    and a fast SSD. and 16G Ram

    this case is designed for top end machine in a small case.

    seriously Anad , ...

    you are testing this case the wrong way it is NOT MEANT to be an HTPC

    this is a LAN PARTY GAMING BOX !
    Reply
  • sna2 - Saturday, November 24, 2012 - link

    hey Anand , there is allways SFX powersupply over there with an Adapter .. so the standard PS2 power is FINE. they DONT NEED to Change into SFX. they HAVE SFX

    here is an 450 watt SFX with Adapter for PS2 from silver stine , and IT HAS SHORT CABLES and modular and GOLD as well

    this one

    http://www.silverstonetek.com/product.php?pid=342&...

    please test this with MAX system

    i7 3770k , 680 nvidia GPU !!!
    Reply
  • cyberguyz - Monday, November 26, 2012 - link

    ... is a SATA backplane and drive trays.

    To be a real NAS box, these are a must so you can hot-replace drives in a raid 5-6 array.

    If you don't have front-accessible drives for hot swap you need to power the system down, crack into it, swap drives (with a screwdriver, power up and rebuild the array. A real NAS can change a dead drive without even powering down, much less opening the chassis.

    Nice case for an HTPC, but for a NAS it is lacking. I'll keep looking.
    Reply
  • sna2 - Monday, November 26, 2012 - link

    NAS cases are everywhere .

    what are you looking for exactly?
    Reply
  • Randum - Monday, November 26, 2012 - link

    I just purchased a Fractal case this year and was pleasantly surprised by the build quality and options for additional cooling/etc. I will not hesitate to buy their brand again - nice to see this compact design! Reply
  • Mithan - Sunday, December 02, 2012 - link

    This is exactly what I was looking for:

    Small mITX case that would fit a bunch of 3.5" hard drives that I could Raid5 as a home file server.

    Sold.
    Reply
  • batguiide - Sunday, December 09, 2012 - link

    Share
    a website with you ,
    ( socanpower. ca )
    Believe you will love it.
    laptop battery,CPU fan,AC power adapters.DC power adapters and laptop keyboard.
    I bought two. Cheap, good quality, you can
    go and ship with there.
    Reply
  • corax - Wednesday, March 27, 2013 - link

    I purchased this case 5 months ago and I am still very happy with it.
    it runs cool and quiet even after i overclocked the cpu. i would recommend it to anyone looking for a dicrete powerhouse pc that can be hooked onto the tv or simply at your desk .

    I was able to fit in my choice of hardware without problems although assembling the pc was more of a challenge than my previous builds because of the used hardware and the limited space at hand.
    i have a scythe yasya cooling the cpu , this beast of a tower cooler is 160mm high and fits inside with just 5mm to spare., enabling the overclock potential of my ivy bridge i5.
    the motherboard is the asus p8z77-i deluxe. this board has the cpu socket placed more centered enabling a wide range of tower coolers and as a bonus my old cooler could be recycled, saving me some cash to double the ram to 16gb.
    a 160mm modular PSU from seasonic is powering the rig. no problems here and this psu does not hinder a full size gtx660.
    i used 2 of the 3 drive bay brackets to house an ssd and 2 3.5" hdd's. i left the middle one out for a better airflow and bent the bracket that would normally hinder the graphics card just a llitle bit outwards.(just a few mm so there is no tension on the gpu in the slot).
    the biggest challenge was fitting in the cables. a handfull of zipties do miracles and I was able to use the space around the psu and gpu to bundle the cables and prevent them from blocking the airflow.

    the result is a whisperquiet shoebox sized gaming rig without having to compromise on anything.
    the grate next to the gpu sucks in fresh air and my gpu never ever exceeds 60 degees celcius under load preventing the fans from producing a lot of noise
    Reply
  • Hrel - Tuesday, October 08, 2013 - link

    You should stop saying they should switch to an SFX power supply. Every SFX power supply I've seen comes with a bracket to adapt it to the ATX standard. It's always better to have choices, the way it is now I can choose between ATX and SFX PSU's. If they designed the case to only support SFX then I wouldn't be able to buy the case at all; since I don't want to use that type of PSU.

    If YOU want to use a SFX PSU you can in this case; you just chose not to despite your constant complaining about it.
    Reply
  • bobbozzo - Saturday, October 26, 2013 - link

    Hi, I just got one of these; all the air intakes have filters, but they are not very accessible; the one on the front fans requires opening the case and then popping off the entire front panel.

    Otherwise, it seems pretty well made. I haven't put a computer in it yet though.
    Reply

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