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Case Recommendations for ATX Build?

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First post, by Slashzero

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Hello,

What is a good case for an older ATX build? I’m not looking to spend a lot of money, and also don’t mind if it’s a modern looking case.

My ATX build needs a new home. Now that I have it back up and running, I want to put it in a decent case. The current case doesn’t even have a cover any more (sadly it got thrown out). It also uses special 5.25 rails, which I no longer have, so my current CDRW and 5.25 inch floppy drives are not even screwed in.

Reply 1 of 28, by wiretap

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Need a little more information --
1) How much is "a lot of money" -- what is your budget? For some people, spending a lot on a case is $250+, for other people it is $35+.
2) What color case are you looking for? Black, silver, beige, other colors?
3) What type case material? Plastic/steel, aluminum, lexan/clear? Window needed?
4) How many external 5.25" and 3.5" bays do you need?
5) How many internal 3.5" bays do you need?
6) What kind of fan support do you need in the case for airflow?
7) What are the specs of the build going inside?

There's so many options, it would help to narrow down the search to get you the best options quicker.

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Reply 3 of 28, by SpectriaForce

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Maybe a new ATX enclosure with 5.25'' bay is an option? You can still find black IDE optical drives pretty easily.

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Reply 4 of 28, by Slashzero

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wiretap wrote on 2020-02-08, 10:51:
Need a little more information -- 1) How much is "a lot of money" -- what is your budget? For some people, spending a lot on a c […]
Show full quote

Need a little more information --
1) How much is "a lot of money" -- what is your budget? For some people, spending a lot on a case is $250+, for other people it is $35+.
2) What color case are you looking for? Black, silver, beige, other colors?
3) What type case material? Plastic/steel, aluminum, lexan/clear? Window needed?
4) How many external 5.25" and 3.5" bays do you need?
5) How many internal 3.5" bays do you need?
6) What kind of fan support do you need in the case for airflow?
7) What are the specs of the build going inside?

There's so many options, it would help to narrow down the search to get you the best options quicker.

LewisRaz wrote on 2020-02-08, 11:02:

Also what hardware is going in it. Because an overclocked cpu with SLI is going to need more airflow than a 286 😀

Thanks for your responses.

I was hoping not to spend more than $50, but the cheaper the better. I don’t want to put a lot of money in to this build, since it’s mostly hardware I had laying around.

I think I would prefer white for the case color. Don’t really care about material, but I think plastic is fine, to keep it lighter.

It will run W98SE, AGP video, and a slot 1 CPU on an ECS PCI/ISA motherboard. I need at least 2 5.25 inch bays, and 2 - 3 3.5 inch bays.

I won’t be overclocking this. My CPU and video card both don’t have active cooling, just heat sinks.

Hardware specifics:

  • ABit BE6 440BX
  • nVidia 4200Ti
  • PIII 733MHz slot 1
  • 300 Watt power supply
  • AWE 32 Gold (ISA)
  • Intel Pro 10/100 NIC (PCI)
  • Cisco Aironet 350 NIC (PCI)
  • 60GB 3.5 inch HD
  • 3.5 inch Floppy
  • 5.25 inch Floppy
  • CDRW Drive

I think that’s everything? I’d rather it be a smaller case to save space, but this is a full size board with 1xAGP, 5 PCI, and 2 ISA, I believe.

SpectriaForce wrote on 2020-02-08, 15:13:

Maybe a new ATX enclosure with 5.25'' bay is an option? You can still find black IDE optical drives pretty easily.

That’s a good point. I will likely end up with beige 5.25 inch CDRW and Floppy drives because I think I’m going to get this case at bestbuy (See below).

Update:: I checked bestbuy for giggles. They have a few ATX cases. A bit pricier than what I’m looking for, but I might just get one of them, like this one. Hopefully it’s not garbage.
https://www.bestbuy.com/site/nzxt-h510-compac … p?skuId=6364328

This case feels like overkill though.

Update: I just realized I have $100 of BestBuy rewards bucks, so I think I will just get this case, since it will basically be free.

Reply 5 of 28, by Brawndo

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I know it's a very niche market but I wish somebody would manufacture new PC cases in the classic beige case color and design for the retro builds. If you're looking for a good condition beige case you just have to get lucky at a thrift store or flea market or something, or break down and pay the asinine asking price people list them for on eBay.

That said, there are some modern cases which would work well for your retro build. If you want to show off the internals, you can get a clear (or mostly clear) case. Then the color of your drives wouldn't really matter.

Reply 6 of 28, by Slashzero

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Brawndo wrote on 2020-02-08, 19:49:

I know it's a very niche market but I wish somebody would manufacture new PC cases in the classic beige case color and design for the retro builds. If you're looking for a good condition beige case you just have to get lucky at a thrift store or flea market or something, or break down and pay the asinine asking price people list them for on eBay.

That said, there are some modern cases which would work well for your retro build. If you want to show off the internals, you can get a clear (or mostly clear) case. Then the color of your drives wouldn't really matter.

Yes! I would totally love to have a modern case like the one I ended up buying today, but in beige.

I ended up getting this case:
https://www.bestbuy.com/site/nzxt-h510-compac … p?skuId=6364328

It’s matte black, and has a glass panel on the side. It’s nothing like what I had envisioned, but it was available for pick up today at BestBuy and I had a whole bunch of rewards bucks so I didn’t have to pay for it.

It was available in white too, which I would have preferred, but not for pickup today (would have to be shipped,) and I want to swap out the hardware and store my old case today.

Man I’m looking at pictures of the case again, and wondering if I will be able to even mount this old motherboard in there? And no, that case doesn’t come with a water cooling system. 😂

Reply 7 of 28, by Brawndo

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If you really want a white case, I like this one from Thermaltake:

Thermaltake LEVEL 10 GTS Snow Edition White ATX Mid Tower Gaming Computer Case https://www.amazon.com/dp/B007LB07HM/ref=cm_s … i_EqZpEbPWJ9BP2

It can be had from Newegg also for less than $60 shipped. For a retro build I think it would work well.

Reply 8 of 28, by SpectriaForce

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Slashzero wrote on 2020-02-08, 21:04:

Man I’m looking at pictures of the case again, and wondering if I will be able to even mount this old motherboard in there? And no, that case doesn’t come with a water cooling system. 😂

It doesn't have external 5.25'' bays, let alone 3.5'' (case manufacturers are phasing out such features). You might be able to install Windows 98 from an USB stick or CF card (you can get CF card reader in slot bracket), but I'm not familiar with that. The motherboard will fit, because it's regular ATX (dimensions haven't changed since the 1990's).

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Reply 9 of 28, by Slashzero

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SpectriaForce wrote on 2020-02-08, 23:44:
Slashzero wrote on 2020-02-08, 21:04:

Man I’m looking at pictures of the case again, and wondering if I will be able to even mount this old motherboard in there? And no, that case doesn’t come with a water cooling system. 😂

It doesn't have external 5.25'' bays, let alone 3.5'' (case manufacturers are phasing out such features). You might be able to install Windows 98 from an USB stick or CF card (you can get CF card reader in slot bracket), but I'm not familiar with that. The motherboard will fit, because it's regular ATX (dimensions haven't changed since the 1990's).

Crap... you are right. I read the description as having 3 x 5.25 inch bays. Nooooooo!

Guess I’m returning this on my way home. 🙁

Man that blows...

Reply 10 of 28, by Slashzero

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Brawndo wrote on 2020-02-08, 22:21:

If you really want a white case, I like this one from Thermaltake:

Thermaltake LEVEL 10 GTS Snow Edition White ATX Mid Tower Gaming Computer Case https://www.amazon.com/dp/B007LB07HM/ref=cm_s … i_EqZpEbPWJ9BP2

It can be had from Newegg also for less than $60 shipped. For a retro build I think it would work well.

That’s not a bad looking case, but, I’m not sure I like the design of the front bezel. What’s up with the 1, 2, 3, and 4 “button” things? There’s just a fan behind those. 😜

I will keep this on the list of possibilities. The NewEgg price is definitely in the right range.

I really wish I still had the cover and drive rails for the case I have now. I can’t remember the name but it was pretty fancy back in the day. InWin maybe? It had the rails you would screw into the drives and they would just slide in and out with clips. The motherboard is mounted on a separate panel/plate that swings out from the right side for easy access. It’s just all metal and super heavy though, and I don’t have the outside cover, which was one piece of beige metal that wrapped around the top and sides, or the drive rails, anymore.

@brawndo it looks like your suggestion might be my only option since I need 5.25 and 3.5 inch bays.

Wait... it only has one 3.5 inch internal bay. I need at least 2. One for the HD, and another for a 3.5 inch floppy drive.

Last edited by Slashzero on 2020-02-09, 00:51. Edited 2 times in total.

Reply 11 of 28, by SpectriaForce

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Sharkoon, Thermaltake, Phanteks, Fractal Design, be quiet!, Corsair and Chieftec still have a couple enclosures in their assortment with external 5.25'' bays. Most of them are in the €50-120 price range. You can even get some with a (glass) window.

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Reply 12 of 28, by Slashzero

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SpectriaForce wrote on 2020-02-09, 00:39:

Sharkoon, Thermaltake, Phanteks, Fractal Design, be quiet!, Corsair and Chieftec still have a couple enclosures in their assortment with external 5.25'' bays. Most of them are in the €50-120 price range. You can even get some with a (glass) window.

I will look through Corsair and Chieftec’s current catalogs, unless you have a specific model in mind?

In the mean time, I’m stuck with my old case.

Reply 13 of 28, by Slashzero

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Darn... I thought I found a cheap solution:

$39.99 shipped, but looking at the photos it only has two 5.25 bays on the front panel, no 3.5 inch.

I think I might have to try hitting some thrift stores, or, I will just let this desktop live with no cover, in its current “case.” I really wish the cover hadn’t been thrown out, and I still had the rails for the bays.

Last edited by Stiletto on 2020-03-02, 06:05. Edited 1 time in total.

Reply 14 of 28, by SpectriaForce

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Slashzero wrote on 2020-02-10, 19:27:

Darn... I thought I found a cheap solution:
$39.99 shipped, but looking at the photos it only has two 5.25 bays on the front panel, no 3.5 inch.

I think I might have to try hitting some thrift stores, or, I will just let this desktop live with no cover, in its current “case.” I really wish the cover hadn’t been thrown out, and I still had the rails for the bays.

You can buy 5.25'' to 3.5'' bay modules. 2x 5.25'' is all that you're ever going to need, unless you also want a 5.25'' floppy drive in your pc.

Last edited by Stiletto on 2020-03-02, 06:05. Edited 1 time in total.

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Reply 15 of 28, by ODwilly

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There is an "Apex Vortex 3620" on Newegg for $44 with 3 5.25 inch bays and 2 external 3.5 inch bays.

Main pc: Asus ROG laptop. I7-6700HQ, GTX 960M 4gb, 16gb DDR4.
Retro PC: Soyo P4S Dragon, 3gb ddr 266, 120gb Maxtor, Geforce Fx 5950 Ultra, SB Live! 5.1

Reply 16 of 28, by Slashzero

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SpectriaForce wrote on 2020-02-10, 22:22:

You can buy 5.25'' to 3.5'' bay modules. 2x 5.25'' is all that you're ever going to need, unless you also want a 5.25'' floppy drive in your pc.

Unfortunately, I do have a 5.25 floppy drive, as well as CDRW, and 3.5 inch floppy drives.

ODwilly wrote on 2020-02-11, 00:47:

There is an "Apex Vortex 3620" on Newegg for $44 with 3 5.25 inch bays and 2 external 3.5 inch bays.

Aha! That sure is one ugly case, but beggars can’t be choosers... and $44 is close to what I wanted to spend (the less the better). $5.99 for shipping. I bet I could find something if I went to a thrift store, but there aren’t any near where I live, and I would probably spend enough on gas driving to the closest thrift shop, to justify just spending $50 on this Apex case from Newegg. Thanks for the link!

Reply 17 of 28, by imi

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why not look out for a used case instead of spending that much on a probably very cheaply built new case?

heck, for that much you can probably get one with spare hardware in it.

Reply 18 of 28, by Horun

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For new cases I like the Corsair Carbide 200R Series, 3 - 5.25" external bays, built quite well. Imi has a great idea ! Look thru ebay, craigslist, local thrift stores and find a good older case.

Hate posting a reply and then have to edit it because it made no sense 😁 First computer was an IBM 3270 workstation with CGA monitor.

Reply 19 of 28, by gex85

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Have you checked the Chieftec Bravo/UNI series? Seems they recently discontinued them (replaced by the CLASSIC line), but should still be available. They made them from ca. 2005 onward.
BG-02 for example, pictures below. If I wanted to buy a "new retro" case, these would be the ones I would look for because I like the unobtrusive look.
Their successor, the BM-25B-OP, doesn't look too bad either.
Some of the UNI series models (like the BG-02) were also available in white/beige, which would - in my opinion - be an even better fit for a retro machine, but they seem far less common and hard to source.

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