Favorite Pedestal/Tower Enclosures: What's yours and why?

Discussion in 'Chassis and Enclosures' started by chinesestunna, Mar 19, 2015.

  1. chinesestunna

    chinesestunna Active Member

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    Hi all,

    There's been a few threads surrounding the topic of enclosures and discussing specific ones. I've seen some really good insights to pros/cons of a particular solution and learned quite a bit from them. I think it would make sense to kick off a thread where we consolidate thoughts on the chassis so that others may gain knowledge/experience from our research.

    Make: Silverstone
    Model: Fortress FT02
    Style: ATX Full Tower

    [​IMG]

    Why You Like It
    The external design is very monolithic and minimalist, good proportions and well balanced with just enough round edges to smooth things out. Biggest draw for me is the rotated motherboard tray and 3x180mm intakes on the bottom. This is a key innovation which I assume Silverstone has patents on which is why rest of the industry has not adopted. This really allows heat to flow in its natural direction via convection with hot air rising and vented directly out the top of the case. The improved thermals especially for blower type GPU fans can't be overstated. Although other cases such as as the Raven from Silverstone also has this feature, I don't like the exterior design as much but that's a matter of personal taste. The 3 intake fans are quiet due to large diameter while moving considerable amount of air and are filtered to keep case clean with positive pressure.
    With that said, no case is perfect - I think the design for drive bays is the biggest drawback, 6x5.25" seems excessive in this day and age but Silverstone may have opted for this due to the flexibility it affords with adapters and mods. The mounting and orientation of the motherboard could cause space issues with longer optical drives and cabling could be an issue depending on where the SATA ports are on the board. 5x3.5" bays accessed via sleds are a bit clunky to use and again echoing my earlier point, I would like to see more 3.5" bays, let's say 2 stacks of the 5x3.5" section for 10 drives total and leaving 3x5.25".

    Pro Reviews:
    AnandTech | SilverStone Fortress FT02: True Classics Never Go Out of Style
    Silverstone Fortress FT02 Revisited | silentpcreview.com
    SilverStone FT02R-W Review | bit-tech.net
     
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  2. NeverDie

    NeverDie Active Member

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    Why did the Antec Twelve Hundred fall out of your favor? You said in another thread that you had one for four years, but apparently not any more. Today I finally received one, after a lengthy shipping delay because of a vendor snafu. If you think the Twelve Hundred has some fatal flaws, I'd like to zero in on them during the unboxing. i.e. if there's bad news, I'd rather learn of it early than discover it late.
     
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    Last edited: Mar 19, 2015
  3. chinesestunna

    chinesestunna Active Member

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    I wouldn't say it fell out of favor, I rather like it but wanted a change for lower noise. Ultimately design decisions are made for certain optimizations and you can't have everything. It was replaced with an Antec P280 which has more sound dampening materials and door, better cable management considerations as it's much newer (my 1200 was a v1) but less capable on the thermal front. I also like the more understated and minimalist look of the P280. The 1200 by itself is a very good and capable case for it's intended use/audience, gamers with flare to show off their builds (window). Only thing I didn't like is the drive cages, they only allow for mounting 3x3.5" for each 3x5.25" block. While it provides great ventilation for those 3 drives, I feel it's overkill and sacrifaces space efficiency, I would've preferred 4x3.5" at least or even 5x3.5" which would make it a killer storage box candidate to mount 15 3.5" drives stock.
    It's a bit ironic as I don't have measured scientific data if the P280 is quieter, as in theory with less optimal cooling fans would work harder to keep things in check and generate more noise. One thing I can say is that I miss the side fan of the 1200, P280 I got doesn't have it and I can see the GPU temps are higher. Perceived noise levels subjectively are lower so I'm happy with that and achieved my objective.
     
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  4. Spotswood

    Spotswood Active Member

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    The Silverstone patent is only good in Taiwan and China iirc. The whole "hot air rising" thing really doesn't come into play in a forced air cooled box. The real reason Silverstone's vertically-oriented cases perform so well is because there aren't any obstructions in front of the fans (their fans a pretty darn good too). Oh, not intending to derail this thread! hehe
     
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  5. T_Minus

    T_Minus Moderator

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    Right now I have a 550D. I like the build quality, in the past 6 years all I've used are various versions of the Antec P182 Full Tower which is nice too. All my antec PSU are still going strong too.

    In the future I'm looking at the SuperMicro 4U Tower/Workstation with hotswaps, or an Intel I have coming tomorrow but may need to heavily modify depending on what it's configured for :)

    I buy towers though for their purpose. One I'm building now is my media gathering system :) with 3 or more DVD/BR drives. For friends/family whatever is affordable and properly sized.

    I don't worry about heat much as long as some air is moving through the CPU cooler and low power of these newer CPUs don't require much at all. I had 0 fans on my Bit Fenix prodigy and never had problems.
     
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  6. Patrick

    Patrick Administrator
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    My SC732 is awesome. It is about the smallest case that fits EATX motherboards.
     
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  7. T_Minus

    T_Minus Moderator

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    Very good to know. I was looking at the larger units:
    CSE-743TQ-1200B-SQ & the 865B-SQ

    I don't see a need for 1200 watts - although if haswell certified/rated, it may be fun to have if I ever get in some dual or tripple video cards to play with.

    I'll have to compare this one to the model you have and see the differences.
     
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  8. chinesestunna

    chinesestunna Active Member

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    That's good to know, ultimately that's my point about case design seemingly stagnant in many brands just cranking out same box internal wise with different combo of bays/drives etc. Silverstone/Fractal and a select few are actually rethinking how the layout/thermals could be improved. Say what you will about Intel's ill-fated BTX form factor but it challenged the norm and that's the only way we'll see improvements
     
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  9. Patrick

    Patrick Administrator
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    I have that giant GPU workstation chassis (SC747). Dwarfs the SC732 by a wide margin but is really nice. And the option to flip it into a 4U just adding rails is cool.
     
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  10. T_Minus

    T_Minus Moderator

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  11. britinpdx

    britinpdx Active Member

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    +1

    I've had a bunch of different 1U/2U/3U/4U SM Rack Chassis and only recently picked up a few SM Towers.

    The SC732 that I'm using is currently configured in a Haswell 1150 configuration, (X10SLL-F motherboard and i3-4350 CPU). Near silent and at idle sips power. I think this is going to be my next FreeNAS or Xpenology Chassis for AV/Plex duties. Two thumbs up.

    I also picked up an older scratch and dent SC745 (without PSU) on eBay at a very reasonable price. This is pretty much workstation targeted (the power distribution board packed 4x 6pin GPU cables) and is another great example of thoughtful SM modular design (built like a tank) with removable mid plane fan assys, modular power supplies ( I already had several SM PSU's available), rack mountable (drive bays can rotate 90 degrees). The mid plane can tilt in situ to provide better access to the TQ backplane (once you remove the appropriate screws), and even the largest SM motherboard fits with room to spare. A micro ATX motherboard in this case looks positively diminutive !!

    I'm thinking that the SC745 will move into the role of #1 workstation pretty soon. Looking like an X9SRL / E5-1600v2 / SNK-P0050AP4 foundation with a PWS-920P-SQ power supply ... should be quiet and efficient.
     
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  12. chinesestunna

    chinesestunna Active Member

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    Sweet looking case and very functional! SM cases are very well thought out IMO esp. paired with their mobo where fan controls are tightly coupled thermals are great!
    I do love SM's definition of "SuperQuiet" though:
    . SuperQuiet 38dB system at normal operation for office environment
    38dB ... IMO not something I would call quiet
     
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  13. TuxDude

    TuxDude Well-Known Member

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    Not quite sure it fits the definition of a tower enclosure - but my current desktop at home is built inside a BitFenix Prodigy and I love that case. It is a Mini-ITX enclosure that is all about compromise - it can do anything just not all at the same time. Want to stick 5x 3.5", 4x 2.5", and a 5.25" drive all in at the same time, no problem. Want to run a double-wide, full-length video-card - just pull the 3x3.5" bay and it will fit, still with lots of drives for most desktops. Like big air coolers - I've got a Hyper 212 evo in mine (along with a double-wide vid card). Prefer water-cooling - drop the 5.25" bay and there's room inside the chassis for a 2x120mm sized radiator with 4 fans on it doing push/pull. It's not the easiest thing to work in - it is only mini-itx sized after all, but I'm old enough now that I don't tinker with my desktop that much anymore and usually want it to just work.
     
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  14. NeverDie

    NeverDie Active Member

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    That's what I thought too, and for that reason I had just assumed that all SuperMicro chassis were noisy. However, now I see that they do have "Whisper-Quiet", which they define to be 21Db. I do wonder, though, how it is that they are measuring that? e.g. Are they measuring it while empty or fully loaded, but with all passively cooled components other than their own fans? And is it with their fans at high RPM or low RPM? Is it a single point measurement, or the maximum of all the point measurements taken from all around it at a distance of 1m?
     
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    Last edited: Mar 20, 2015
  15. Entz

    Entz Active Member

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    Yeah the prodigy is a fantastic little case. You can do a thick radiator in the top as well + a large 200mm fan in the front. If you can live with mITX it is one of the better ones.

    [​IMG]

    edit: smaller image ;)
     
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  16. Entz

    Entz Active Member

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    Current favorite is the Caselabs Mercury S5. Compact Cube case with a horizontal motherboard layout, lots of room for a 360mm radiator in top, lots of spots for drives, FTB cooling and you can add a pedestal if you really want even more radiator space.

    Good video overview is here:
    Have pictures as well ;)
     
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  17. TuxDude

    TuxDude Well-Known Member

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    Is that yours Entz? Assuming so, any reason you have the SSD loose in the PSU area, while all 4 of the proper 2.5" drive mounts are still usable in that picture? (Edit, you made a second post while I was writing - I was referring to the Prodigy above)

    Some slight re-arranging of the pump location and removal of that 200mm fan would also let you get the 2x3.5" bays back into the bottom in front of the PSU, if you wanted some bulk storage in addition to the SSD, and still keep all the water-cooling up top.
     
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  18. NeverDie

    NeverDie Active Member

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    Are there any tower cases that are totally sealed up for the purpose of further noise reduction but with perhaps a lot of fins or something to radiate heat using heat pipes or other means? I did see one small HTPC case that was rigged that way, but it wasn't a tower case.
     
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  19. Entz

    Entz Active Member

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    Yes thats mine :D ( or was, hated ITX after a bit lol). There just wasn't enough room to put the D5/Res with the drive cage still installed and a thick rad but with a smaller pump/res it would be fine. So the alternative was to put the SSD's in the PSU area (nice thing about not having moving parts :p )

    You can also squeeze a fan controller in the front of the rad. Was seriously impressed that case.
     
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  20. TuxDude

    TuxDude Well-Known Member

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    Even with the pump where it is in that photo you still aren't blocking the 2.5" drive mounts. There's mounts for 2 of them on the back-side panel (can see them empty behind the pump in that picture), and mounts for 2 more between the PSU and the pump.
     
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