Looking for decent case for M-ITX build

Enclosures and acoustic damping to help quiet them.

Moderators: NeilBlanchard, Ralf Hutter, sthayashi, Devonavar

Post Reply
doveman
Posts: 866
Joined: Mon Jan 29, 2007 10:30 am
Location: London

Looking for decent case for M-ITX build

Post by doveman » Sun May 03, 2020 5:21 am

I'm using a Fractal Design R5 case for my main/gaming PC and I'm very happy with how quiet that is. With my EVGA 750W G2 in fanless mode the system was pretty much silent, even with several HDDs but that PSU developed a fault so I'm using an EVGA 750W G+ at the moment and that's definitely audible.

Now I want to build a PC for music production, so I will only need a cheap, basic GPU (I'm going for a Ryzen 3600 or 3700 build, so no IGP unfortunately). I can't see any need to add any other PCI-E cards, as the audio interface will be external USB and I won't need to use an NVME SSD, so I won't need a card for that, even if the motherboard doesn't have a slot for it, so I'm thinking of using an M-ITX board. I'll need to ask around, including on music productions forums, for advice re. motherboards but something like the MSI B450I GAMING PLUS AC will probably do.

I'll probably have one SSD for the OS and software, another SSD for samples and current projects I'm working on and then a HDD for storage of projects. I could even use an external portable HDD instead of an internal one for the storage if I had to.

So I don't really want to get a big heavy full tower case for his as it's unnecessary and it's just easier to find somewhere to put a smaller case. For example a full tower on the desk might block the speaker but a shorter case won't and will also weigh less and with a smaller case on the floor I could put stuff on top of it, whereas with a full tower there might not be enough room between the case and the underside of the desk.

My Define R5 is 232 x 462 x 531 mm (WxHxD) with feet/screws/protrusions. Ideally I'd like to use something under 300mm high and 300mm deep, which should be possible in theory as an M-ITX board is only 170mm high and an ATX PSU is only 86mm high, for a total of 256mm and allowing 212mm depth for the PSU should allow enough space for the SSDs/HDD in front of it, or they could go above it in front of the motherboard. I haven't managed to find anything that size though. I've seen the cube cases like the Coolermaster Elite 110 but they're too small and orient the motherboard so that the CPU cooler is pointing up at the PSU, limiting the available space to 70-80mm.

The Fractal Design Define Nano S ITX is 203 x 344 x 412 mm (WxHxD) with feet/screws/protrusions but the CPU cooler max height is only 162mm vs the R5's 180mm and the PSU max length is 160 mm vs the R5's 190/170 mm with a bottom fan installed (which I'm not using) or 300 mm without, so that would be a problem as the EVGA 750W G2 length is 180mm and I don't know if that allows for the space needed for the cables or is just the length of the actual PSU.
https://www.fractal-design.com/products ... o-s/black/
https://www.evga.com/Products/Specs/PSU ... 6D7480DCB7

The Phanteks Evolv ITX is 230 x 375 x 395 mm (WxHxD). It actually has more CPU cooler space than my R5 (200mm vs 180mm) which maybe suggests it doesn't have much cable management space behind the motherboard and it accommodates a full-size 212mm PSU but the tempered glass panel is probably not suitable for a quiet build http://www.phanteks.com/Enthoo-Evolv-ITX.html

The NZXT H210i is 210 x 349 x 372 mm (WxHxD) (with feet) and the max PSU length is 311mm but the CPU cooler max height is only 165mm and it has a tempered glass panel. https://www.nzxt.com/products/h210i-matte-white

Can anyone suggest any other, more suitable options for a compact, quiet, well-cooled build?
Main: Asus Z97-A, i5-4670k@4.4Ghz, Scythe Kotetsu HSF, Corsair Vengeance LP DDR3 4x4GB, eVGA SuperNova G2 750W, Powercolor 6950 2GB GPU, Samsung 840 Evo 256GB SSD, Samsung 2TB and WD 2TB HDDs, Coolermaster HAF XB case

2nd PC: MSI 990FXA-GD80, Phenom II X4 955@3.5Ghz, TRUE Rev. C/Nexus, HD6850 1GB, Yate Loon 140mm intake, Nexus 120mm exhaust, HD103UJ, WD6400AAKS, Nexus Value 430W, Bach VX case

CA_Steve
Moderator
Posts: 7451
Joined: Thu Oct 06, 2005 4:36 am
Location: St. Louis, MO

Re: Looking for decent case for M-ITX build

Post by CA_Steve » Sun May 03, 2020 6:55 am

Heya.

Does the Ryzen 5 3400G have enough CPU horsepower for your needs? If so, then no need for a discrete gfx card.

Why not go with an HDPlex case? Small footprint, passive design.
1080p Gaming build: i5-4670K, Mugen 4, Asrock Z97 Anniversary, MSI GTX 1660 Gaming X, 8GB 1866 RAM, Samsung 860 Evo 500GB, Crucial MX100 256GB, WD Red 2TB, Samsung DVD burner, Fractal Define R4, Antec True Quiet 140 (2 front + rear) case fans, Seasonic SSR-550FX. 35W idle, 45-55W video streaming, 170-200W WoW, 318W stress test (Prime95 + Furmark)

doveman
Posts: 866
Joined: Mon Jan 29, 2007 10:30 am
Location: London

Re: Looking for decent case for M-ITX build

Post by doveman » Sun May 03, 2020 11:01 am

CA_Steve wrote:
Sun May 03, 2020 6:55 am
Heya.

Does the Ryzen 5 3400G have enough CPU horsepower for your needs? If so, then no need for a discrete gfx card.

Why not go with an HDPlex case? Small footprint, passive design.
Hi CA_Steve

I really want to get as many cores as possible, as you can never really have too much CPU horsepower with software instruments and effects these days, so it's either going to be the 3600x or the 3700x, depending on the prices when I'm buying. It doesn't really matter, as even a M-ITX board has a GPU slot that I can use.

The HDPlex case is certainly interesting but rather too pricey at £268 for the H1 v3 with the 200W AC-DC + 200W DC-ATX NanoATX Combo PSU.

The footprint isn't really ideal for me either, as it's wider than a tower case which may make it hard to find somewhere to put it on the desk that doesn't take up too much space, or on the floor where it won't get trodden on!

I did have an idea of getting a rack cabinet and putting both PC's in rack cases to get them off the floor but unfortunately all the rack cases (except maybe one expensive one) only have space for 80mm fans on the back panel and/or at the front or internally. It seems a shame that no-one makes a rack case with a hole for a 120mm exhaust fan on the top panel directly above the CPU, as that would work as long as I left a space or two between units. Another idea was to just get a rack cabinet with sliding shelves and put my R5 on it's side on the shelf and secure it to the shelf somehow but I think that laid on its side it would be too wide to fit, even with the feet removed. It might be an option if I had a smaller case though.
Main: Asus Z97-A, i5-4670k@4.4Ghz, Scythe Kotetsu HSF, Corsair Vengeance LP DDR3 4x4GB, eVGA SuperNova G2 750W, Powercolor 6950 2GB GPU, Samsung 840 Evo 256GB SSD, Samsung 2TB and WD 2TB HDDs, Coolermaster HAF XB case

2nd PC: MSI 990FXA-GD80, Phenom II X4 955@3.5Ghz, TRUE Rev. C/Nexus, HD6850 1GB, Yate Loon 140mm intake, Nexus 120mm exhaust, HD103UJ, WD6400AAKS, Nexus Value 430W, Bach VX case

Abula
Posts: 3613
Joined: Tue Nov 02, 2004 12:22 pm
Location: Guatemala

Re: Looking for decent case for M-ITX build

Post by Abula » Mon May 04, 2020 7:54 am

Some recommendations,

Try to avoid Mini ITX factor if you want a quiet setup, unless you are building on HDPlex/Steacom passive cases. In my experience, most of my builds on ITX are much nosier, given that cant fit big coolers or have so much cramped up that airflow is not ideal, etc.

Since you have no special need for a dedicated GPU, i would recommend to consider intel, specially since you want to 6/8 cores, its very likely that intels z490/comet lake will have a iGPU, even if AMD CPU is cheaper you still have to value adding a card like GT1030 ($85). This could even help you stay with a smaller mini itx case, something like HDPLEX H1 V3 could work out fine. Also since intel dont benefit as much on memory speed, usually 2666 memory is cheaper and will operate at 1.2V which will be ideal on a passive case.
GameMi - Intel i9 9900K + Gigabyte Z390 AM + Asus RTX2080Ti Strix | MiniMi - Intel i7 8700K + ASRock Z370ITX + MSI RTX2080Ti
StreaMi - Intel i9 7940X + AsRock X299 Taichi + Asus GTX1080Ti Strix | WorkMi - AMD 1950X + AsRock X399 Taichi + MSI GTX1080
ServeMi - Intel Xeon E3-1230 + Supermicro X9SCM-F + 144TB | StoreMi - Intel Xeon E3 1240v5 + Supermicro X11SSM-F + 42TB | CamMi - Intel i7 4770K + MSI H81i + Blue Iris

Post Reply