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Smallest case fitting a full size ATX Motherboard and PSU ?

Posted: Sat May 06, 2006 3:13 pm
by Eddy
may be a few words as intro : while posting on this forum for the 1st time, got some past quiet PC building experience as my latest silent rig design period happened at the end of 2001 (the silent PC Yahoo Group being a great source of information exchange at that time). I am very impressed by the resources available today on the SPCR site, the "recommended" type of papers providing a quick update on the latest PC & silence technology improvements..

Anyhow, I am busy (again) designing new systems these days. Here one of my current issues :

I am looking for the smallest desktop (or eventually mini tower) case where i could fit :
1) A full size ATX board (A7V-333 with Xp-1900) with an Alpha 8045 HS & Papst 8412NGL fan
2) A standard sized ATX PSU (Enermax EG365AX-VE FMA with the original noisy globefan fans having being swapped)
3) one 40 GB Seagate HD (Barracuda IV)
4) one VGA card (Matrox G450) – that could of course probably end up on a riser
5) ideally, room for 80 mm extraction fan(s) as i got few 8412s PAPST left too..
6) and that’s it (no PCI cards / no optical drive)

Indeed, I am recycling my old “quietâ€

Posted: Sat May 06, 2006 3:22 pm
by NeilBlanchard

The Evercase 4252 is a fairly compact case that can fit what you need.
It has (up to) a 120mm exhaust, and an 80mm or 92mm intake (though a 120mm could be made to fit, I'm fairly sure). There is no extra space, and yet you can fit four 5.25" drives, two external 3.5", and with an optional HD cage (it goes on the bottom), you can fit up to four 3.5" HD's in there, too.

Posted: Sat May 06, 2006 3:40 pm
by Eddy
Hello Neil,
thanks for feedback.
I had a look indeed to this case, and it stands quite high on the list, if i don't find a better solution..
I know this is a very compact one (compared to the average ATX case), but i am really looking for something even more compact, ideally a desktop format, as big as an (old) VCR.
I don't intend to add any additional component to these PCs as they will be used "passively" (no mouse, no keyboard, just a remote) and connected to some LCDs, so the case just really need to be crowded as much as it can with only above hardware, ie 1 MB & HS, 1 HD and 1 VGA card, even in a non usual layout..


Posted: Sat May 06, 2006 3:57 pm
by mb2
there are some physical constraints that can't be overcome..

-it must be atleast 14cm wide to fit an ATX PSU (assuming its not sideways, which is very rare, and this would make it longer anyway..)

-it must be the length of an ATX motherboard + ATX PSU.. which is quite big.

u dont really need an ATX psu, as u can get fine with mATX really.
however, socket A and m-ATX is a bit of a crap situation. biostar's M7NCG-400 is about the only board on the planet that is good enough IMO (IIRC..)
and, i doubt u'll find a case that takes ATX motherboards with mATX psus.. so thats a bit rubbish unless u want to get a new mobo (and psu!), which i guess u dont.

i would say however, if u want it as thin as possible, don't get one with a 120mm fan at the back- it will mean its wider than the PSU/CD drives, whcih otherwise would be the largest things.. 92mm would be better, despite less cooling power..

Posted: Sat May 06, 2006 4:35 pm
by NeilBlanchard
Hi Eddy,

The only way to make the case shorter, would be to make it wider, to put the PS "above" the motherboard. As it is, the height is minimized down to the height of an ATX motherboard, and the height of the PS, plus about 1/2" or so.

Also, the air flow through the 4252 is excellent, with the air intake on the side and bottom of the bezel.

Posted: Sat May 06, 2006 5:25 pm
by josephclemente
One of the smallest ATX cases I know of is the old Lian Li PC30. Some reviews pop up for it with Google.

It has the PSU above the motherboard as NeilBlanchard mentions to make the case shorter.

I used to own one, I remember it being a well made case...

Posted: Sat May 06, 2006 6:24 pm
by Elixer
There's the small antec cases which are pretty nice as well:

Antec Solution SLK1650B Black Computer Case: ... 6811129150

Antec NSK 4400 Black/Silver Computer Case ... 6811129012

Antec Solution SLK2650-BQE Black Computer Case: ... 6811129148

Posted: Sat May 06, 2006 7:07 pm
by NeilBlanchard

I dunno about putting the 1650 and the 2650 in quite the same class as the others?

The Lian Li PC30 is 210x455x357mm

The Evercase 4252 is 192 mm(W) x 490 mm(D) x 426 mm(H) it is 69mm shorter, or ~2 3/4" shorter. It is also not quite as deep -- 35mm less, or ~1 3/8" less -- which means it might have troubles with longer 5.25" drives? The Evercase is not as wide: 18mm less, or ~11/16" narrower.

Posted: Sat May 06, 2006 9:00 pm
by Trunks
NeilBlanchard wrote:Hi Eddy,

The only way to make the case shorter, would be to make it wider, to put the PS "above" the motherboard. ..
Not necessarily, remember

A while ago the Coolive got attention here for being small and different, and having a huge fan. ... icleID=289

160 485 355 W D H , 27.54800 liters

Lian Li PC30 is , 34.11135 liters

The Evercase 4252 is 40.07808 liters

For comparison with micro ATX cases…
Minuet 300 13.3907221 liters
Aria 18.1137362 liters

Posted: Sun May 07, 2006 1:35 am
by nick705
Eddy wrote: i am really looking for something even more compact, ideally a desktop format, as big as an (old) VCR.
You might have checked it out already, but the Antec Overture accommodates full size ATX mobos, it's a desktop format and it's small(ish) - 432x490x133, which makes it about 28 litres according to my reckoning.

From what I've read about it, cooling isn't its strongest point, but there's a version II now which looks like it may be better...

/edit: I've just noticed it uses a "customised" version of the SmartPower PSU, which may be a showstopper for you... :cry:

Posted: Sun May 07, 2006 6:08 am
by Eddy
Thanks for all the inputs. Let’s make a quick summary here :
First, my main concern is really to “recycleâ€

Posted: Sun May 07, 2006 9:35 am
by datapappan
For a really small case, this could be it:
Aspire X-Qpack

, but it would require some serious modding, and maybe it's too glary to begin with. I think it has a proprietary PSU as well, bad for you. You would have to turn the motherboard tray to make the ATX MB fit... Anyways, at 23 liters it's the smallest one yet.

/ datapappan

Posted: Sun May 07, 2006 2:46 pm
by Eddy
datapappan wrote: but it would require some serious modding,
Serious modding indeed as you would need to rotate the ATX board by 90°, but at the cost of serious work/ mess with the side panel...
I wonder if anyone ever fitted a full size ATX board this way in such SFF case ?


Posted: Mon May 08, 2006 4:54 am
by floffe
What about the Silverstone LC04 (silverstone's site seems to be down, so linking to the spcr review). It doesn't take full-size PSU's, but 240W should be enough for that system, and the included PSU was quiet enough for the reviewer at least. It might be a bit more expensive ($150) than the other cases you looked at though. Sizewise, I think it's the smallest one so far: 15 litres.

Oh, and it has an 80mm fan intake on the side as well ;)

Posted: Mon May 08, 2006 10:53 am
by Eddy
i have looked to all existing Silverstone cases and the LC-04 could be an option indeed. However, like you wrote, i can't reuse my own quiet PSU and I end up spending 3 x 160 euros..
Obviously, a case with the same layout, but which would be just a be wider in order to accept a standard ATX PSU would be the perfect match...


Posted: Thu Apr 12, 2007 8:41 pm
by minibeardeath
has quite a few HTPC cases (over 20) and nost of them fit full ATX. Also, most of the later cases can fit the full ATX PSUs and they now usually come w/ the PSU as an option or not at all.