Case- looking for quiet/small/stylish

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by KenE, Jan 22, 2003.

  1. KenE

    KenE Extra

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    I've been experimenting with building quiet/silent PCs lately. My gaming machine is an o/c'd Athlon XP 1900+, however with Athlons you really need to be careful with cooling etc, which *can* mean noise from the high-RPM fan. I solved this with a Thermalright AX-7 and pot-adjustable fan (enermax). All this sits in a cheapo aluminum chieftec case- bright yellow and largeish.

    The next project is to try something very small to be a media center for the living room and ht/music equipment. I've been looking, drooling rather, at the Shuttle machines and was curious if anyone here uses them? I'm also looking at microATX boards and cases like this.

    Has anyone gone this route? It'd have to be Intel for the lighter cooling requirements (i'm not about to go liquid cooling for this), and I'd like a small footprint as well as something pleasing to look at.

    I'd *really* like the NForce2 board, like the ASUS A7N8X, but it would be back to the Athlon issues again for all that memory, built-in, bus speed coolness that NForce2-ST brings to the table.

    Just looking for ideas at this point. Are there Intel chipsets that can stuff so many features into a board? Anything in the MicroATX form factor? If not, any really small *and* stylish (aluminum preferred, black aluminum would be great!) ATX form factor cases people have come across?

    Thanks!

    Ken
     
  2. Brian Ruth

    Brian Ruth Supporting Actor

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    Ken:

    I saw some new Alienware Navigators that seem to be pretty small (8x8x11). Don't know if/where you can get the case itself, though. Worth a look. [​IMG]
     
  3. John*Jones

    John*Jones Stunt Coordinator

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    Ken,

    While I can't speak from personal experience, I've read a number of positive reviews on some of the newer Shuttle barebones systems. Many of the reviews focused primarily on using the Shuttle for a HTPC setup. The only complaint I came across was the fact that current models have the SPDIF-out in the front and the SPDIF-in in the back...kinda counter-intuitive (I've read that this will most likely be corrected with future models).

    I myself will be receiving one in the mail this Friday actually. The user reviews at newegg.com, where I purchased it from, were all very positive and described the different configurations used. Many have used the ATI 9700 successfully and stably. Also many people have reported on the units being quiet as well. I personally will be using the Shuttle as my server (I took advantage of the rebate deal and grabbed up the last special edition 200GB WD HDD at my local compusa), but I had considered it for a HTPC setup.

    Anyway, I may repeating information you already know...if so, just ignore this post. I just thought I'd give my own two cents. With the growing popularity of HTPCs I'm sure there are a lot other options out there as well...I was surprised to see compusa selling an HTPC case the other day...kinda cheesy-looking though.

    Good luck,

    John
     
  4. Camp

    Camp Cinematographer

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    How about a Shuttle barebones system with a microATX nForce2 mobo?

     
  5. Tekara

    Tekara Supporting Actor

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    first off that shuttle comp is great next up it's not a micro ATX board. it's what's called an XPC it's a case and mobo combo that's really small. you won't get enything smaller than it and surprisingly it sitll has an AGP slot and a PCI slot for extras like say. . . a sweet ATI 9700AIW.

    if you want a small PC that is definatly the way to go.
     
  6. Camp

    Camp Cinematographer

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    Ooops! You're right...typed ATX instead of XPC. :b

    Thanks.
     
  7. Joe Hsu

    Joe Hsu Supporting Actor

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    I was gonna say the Shuttle cases as well, totally awesome...a bit pricey, but small and gorgeous. Get one of those, which are very quiet, with their heat-pipe cooling system on the CPU...and if you're going all out, like 9700 and Audigy 2/m-audio, you can get aftermarket heatsink cooling solutions, assuming there's space.

    That's my dream system right now...small, and kicks ass...but it'd cost a grand easily, and I can't afford that, so I live vicariously through others.

    If you have any questions or want to see what others do, I suggest checking out the forums at sudhian.com
     
  8. Francois Caron

    Francois Caron Cinematographer

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    Francois Caron
    I have the Shuttle SS51G myself (2.4G P4, 512 MB memory, 80 GB HD, DVD-ROM/CD-RW combo, ATI 9000 Pro, Hauppauge WinTV GO FM). Out of the box it wasn't the quetest machine out there, so I replaced every fan with quieter models (main, graphics card, power supply) and made sure the hard drive I purchased was equipped with fluid bearings. Now it's so quiet that I can leave it on during the night and its current noise level will not keep me awake.

    What keeps amazing me is how reasonably easy it is to work in that tiny box. You don't have to hurt yourself lifting a huge tower, you don't have to reach over to change a part, you don't have to fight with unusual attachments or brackets... Granted some jobs will require you to remove the drive bay from the XPC (changing processor or memory), but that's about as complicated as it gets.

    BTW, there are smaller boxes out there, but you start encountering serious problems when you want to upgrade a component.
     
  9. KenE

    KenE Extra

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    Thanks for all the great responses!

    Francois, the SS51G is exactly the model I was eyeing.

    Brian, thanks for pointing out the Alienware boxes. They look to be built Shuttle boxes, with sexy painting. If it comes to that, maybe I'll get a quart of black Hammerite from Home Depot and put my compressor to some winter use.

    At any rate, the feedback you guys have given me makes me think I'm on the right track! Maybe by the time tax returns come, Dell will have another $450 deal on 18" lcds, WD will have another huge hard drive rebate (i wish there were more options for 5400 rpm drives!), ATI AllInWonder cards will be on sale again at Frys, someone will have a $40 deal on Turtle Beach cards, and everyone will have it all in stock. [​IMG]

    Ken
     

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