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  • Iketh - Monday, October 31, 2011 - link

    I too would love to see a case like this without an optical drive bay, or even a 3.5" cage. Look at all that unsused room behind the optical bay! At least one 3.5" drive could be screwed to the top of the case in that area. A 2.5" SSD can practically be placed ANYWHERE in a case, they're so small!

    Imagine the size of the case if the optical drive bay and the 3.5" cage is removed, and how much better airflow would be. One spot for a 2.5" and one for a 3.5", that's all I'd need in a case in this segment.

    Oh and if I gave you any ideas for your case design in this post, be sure to stamp a "by IkethTech (tm)" next to it in inside the case :)
    Reply
  • rbsc - Monday, October 31, 2011 - link

    Excellent Points.

    May I also suggest the following:

    *Mount the hard drives (2 max) to the doors.
    *Add 4x USB to the back.
    *Refine the handle to be removable. Grommets could be placed there if not needed.
    *Specify the TDP limits on both CPU and GPU.

    Also it is unclear if the tolerances for CPU cooler height were specified in the documentation, but that would've been useful when I was building my PC31. Luckily I took a guess and the cooler but barely fit the enclosure.
    Reply
  • n13L5 - Friday, September 07, 2012 - link

    on the TU200, you can't mount drives to the doors, cause the doors are just snap-on.. if you add any weight, they might just pop off during transport and dangle on the hard drive cable (shudder) Reply
  • nubie - Monday, October 31, 2011 - link

    Yep, I agree on most of these points.

    I wonder if you could take this case and disassemble it and trim it down to the size you would like?

    I don't know if I am a fan of full-size power supplies in an ITX case, but if you are using a dual-slot GPU anyway, why not.

    Perhaps flipping the case upside-down so the GPU gets a decent intake would be a good idea too. Of course then you may hear the fan if it is annoying.

    I just realized the problem with removing the front bays and the CD. The GPU is likely to be the deciding factor in the depth of the box anyway, although you will lose some height be getting rid of the 5.25 bay.

    As always, there is never a perfect pre-manufactured case for every person, this one gets mighty close though.
    Reply
  • gaiden2k7 - Monday, October 31, 2011 - link

    hey guys i just wanna post my old project w/ a Lian Li Q07 that was modded to be a homeserver, it needs to be updated b/c i recently remodded again but i was able to make some use of that optical drive bay and everything else.

    http://www.overclock.net/case-mod-work-logs/566798...

    with some research you can fit alot of components inside a case like this :)
    Reply
  • jebo - Monday, October 31, 2011 - link

    "Imagine the size of the case if the optical drive bay and the 3.5" cage is removed, and how much better airflow would be. One spot for a 2.5" and one for a 3.5", that's all I'd need in a case in this segment."

    *Exactly*. Somebody with a GTX580 probably doesn't want 5 hard drives in their system. You have two market segments for these cases. Small servers and LAN/gaming boxes. It seems trying to serve both with one case doesn't work.

    Remove the ODD, put space for one 3.5" drive and one 2.5" drive and we'll be set.
    Reply
  • Mr Perfect - Monday, October 31, 2011 - link

    Or just make it a slim line optical drive bay, like the Silverstone cases. Most people don't use the drive enough to need a full size monster, but it's still useful.

    On the drive bay side, just gimme two 2.5" mounts. One for a SSD, and one for a travel rated spinner. This case is clearly targeted at mobile lan systems, not file servers. Who would put four 3.5' drives in a road warrior?

    At any rate, glad to see performance mITX parts one way or the other.
    Reply
  • lapinou - Tuesday, November 01, 2011 - link

    Hi,

    If I may chime in.

    Did you see the SilverStone Sugo SG05? I'd say it's less voluminous.

    I got myself one of them with their 450W PSU (unfortunately you can't use a standard one, it's a way for them to make more money I guess) and their is room for a double slot 9.5'' graphic card. Instead of a - almost - useless 3.5'' ODD bay it has a slim drive bay.

    At the time I was considering a Lian Li Q07, like the one modded by gaiden2k7.
    But case's "weird" form factor detered me. Question of price I guess too... but at the end I cost me an arm cause I bought the Sugo SG05 with the regular 300W and was dumfound when I cound't plug the extra alim cable for the GTX 460 - ended up buying this 450W. I believe a year ago or so SIlverStone started shipping some SG05 with the 450W.
    So it could be a good bet.

    The SG06 already existed but some reviews shown it was apparently not as good as the SG05.

    I was happy with the temperatures, air flow and - no - noise.
    I'm using a i5 760 with stock rad (but no OC).

    Hope that's bringing some interesting info to the lads looking to build an ITX gaming rig.

    The Sugo SG05 home: http://www.silverstonetek.com/product.php?pid=210

    PS: note sure you'll still easily find this model though cause it's quiet "old" according to the IT world.
    Reply
  • lapinou - Tuesday, November 01, 2011 - link

    *useless 3.5'' ODD*

    I meant 5.25''!!!
    Reply
  • lapinou - Tuesday, November 01, 2011 - link

    One review of the good old SG05 http://www.hardwaresecrets.com/article/758 Reply
  • apparition47 - Tuesday, November 01, 2011 - link

    I built a mini-ITX rig for the gf using this case about 1-2 months ago. It was my first non-ATX build, so it was an interesting project. I managed to wedge a GTX 560 Ti in there with a i5 2400. I'm still dumbfounded how you can get so much power into a case like that, having built all my gaming rigs on ATX up til now.

    Hopefully when it's time for my next PC, another mini-ITX case will be suitable.
    Reply
  • n13L5 - Friday, September 07, 2012 - link

    Check the PC-Q18 case. same size, no optical drive bay, no external bay at all, actually.

    I was looking at it, but I need a BD drive cause I do watch movies sometimes.
    Reply
  • ac2 - Monday, October 31, 2011 - link

    Dustin (and Jared), first just want to thank you for all the stuff you put out here. I really don't give a **** about all the smartphone/ tablet reviews so particularly look forward to your work on systems/ mobos/ cases/ PSU. If you could do a roundup of the most popular LCD monitor size that would be great.

    Re UEFI, there is a lot of discussion re the secure boot option being mandated by MS for Windows 8 and how this may be interpreted by OEMs to lock out other OSs from Win 8 pre-installs. This may be a storm in a teacup, but could you please keep a eye out for this on future mobo/ system/ laptop reviews, particularly calling out such systems that do not allow the user to install other OSs as a result of this.
    Reply
  • anikolayev - Monday, October 31, 2011 - link

    Seconding Iketh

    WHY, WHY do I need an optical drive on the road? WHY?

    When are these manufacturers going to figure it out that there's a market for mATX cases that have room ONLY for an SSD.

    Even on my main rackmount PC I tossed out the optical drives just last week.

    WHO NEEDS A DVD BURNER WHEN YOU CAN HAVE A SECOND OR FULL SIZE GPU? Seriously people, seriously.
    Reply
  • Dustin Sklavos - Monday, October 31, 2011 - link

    While digital distribution is more and more becoming a way to go, every so often there are still games that will need disc authentication to load. It's stupid and I have VERY few now, but nonetheless it's a consideration. Reply
  • 7Enigma - Monday, October 31, 2011 - link

    That's what a USB external optical drive is for. I personally only use mid-tower desktop systems but if I was more mobile-oriented I would love a smaller box similar to this.

    It is crazy that no one seems to understand what enthusiasts want in a particular case. We seriously need to start an Anandtech hardware company. "Hardware by enthusiasts for enthusiasts" or something like that.

    Ditch the drive cage, ditch the optical drive, increase the space behind the mobo by 1" to allow for the 2.5" SSD/HDD and cable routing. You'd have a clean wiring on the component side, and enough space on the backside for wiring and drives.

    This is so obvious I'm surprised Apple hasn't tried to patent it yet (yup I went there).

    Who's going to be the obvious genius to build this simple design?
    Reply
  • Taft12 - Monday, October 31, 2011 - link

    A consideration that should be met with external DVD drives only

    http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82...
    Reply
  • BansheeX - Monday, October 31, 2011 - link

    Why does these dinosaur drive sizes persist? Slimline and 2.5 need to become standard already, good god. Reply
  • Dustin Sklavos - Monday, October 31, 2011 - link

    5.25"...the slimline form factor makes it a bit harder to fit certain types of drives into, which drives up cost.

    3.5"...we may be up to 1TB in 2.5" mechanical hard drives right now, but we're up to 4TB in 3.5" mechanical hard drives, so that pretty much speaks for itself.
    Reply
  • saurey - Monday, October 31, 2011 - link

    I'd remove the cage altogether, then get a 1x5.25 to 4x2.5" drive bay - only takes 1 power connector to run 4 drives and have that be my storage solution.

    I'd also put some rubber feet stick ons underneath the existing case feet to raise it a about a cm higher for better intake for GPU.

    Also would play with the idea of mounting the PSU upside down to help pull air out of the case.

    I wonder how high the maximum cooler on the CPU is? I really like the corsair hydro coolers but there doesn't seem to be a way to fit that... Maybe where that dumb drive bay is?

    Agreed no need for 3.5" drives, especially in this case and 5.25 bay is just a bonus so I can use my 4x2.5" rack in it.
    Reply
  • Dustin Sklavos - Monday, October 31, 2011 - link

    I actually tried to mount the PSU upside down; the problems there are two fold.

    First, you run the risk of reducing air pressure around the CPU (the CPU's cooler is typically going to be an intake, especially since you can't install a tower cooler in this case.)

    Second, the cabling on my power supplies actually PREVENTED them from being installed upside down because the connectors themselves would jam up against the drive cage.

    Seriously, that drive cage is a major issue.
    Reply
  • londiste - Monday, October 31, 2011 - link

    by the way, they have already done the exact same case layout in a simpler and in my opinion better in couple of ways - venting holes for psu on the side panel and simpler drive bay (or, two of them - fitting 4+2 drives if you don't use a graphics card)

    the same case i brought up in the last lian li case review comments pc-q08. :)
    Reply
  • Soulkeeper - Monday, October 31, 2011 - link

    I almost got this for my llano build
    Ended up going with the PC-Q11B because it was smaller and didn't have an annoying top fan
    and it was half the price ...
    No point in putting a full-sized vid card in a mini-itx setup for me
    I also looked at the PC-Q07, but it lacked hd space and front panel 3.0 usb headers (it would have been an inch or so smaller on height and depth I believe), plus No fans at all.
    Reply
  • Robert Kooijman - Monday, October 31, 2011 - link

    Interesting case!

    If underclocked a bit, the front fan could be replaced by a speaker. Add some dampening material, and you've got a nice portable HTPC/radio.
    Reply
  • cjs150 - Monday, October 31, 2011 - link

    There was me thinking the case bore a remarkable likeness to a high end metal camera case - but yes it could be a speaker.

    It is a great concept but flawed execution.

    1. Unlike some I like having an optical drive but slimline is fine
    2. Unless using the case for file server there is no need for storage to be more than an SSD + HD
    3. Cable routing needs more thought, short cables are needed and maybe some for of build in power distribution (just an idea)
    4. Take all the crap out between fan and M/b and let the air flow
    Reply
  • AnnihilatorX - Monday, October 31, 2011 - link

    I think the case looks like a guitar amp really Reply
  • Locut0s - Monday, October 31, 2011 - link

    I noticed you have mentioned a few times now about LP4/Molex connectors on fans. I couldn't agree more, however perhaps the blame should be shifted more directly onto the fan manufacturers. Now, granted a lot if not most of the time they are the same company as the case manufacturers. Coolermaster, Zalman, Antec all make both cases AND fans. Still fans as a standalone accessory represent a large enough market that I DO think the blame should be placed more directly here and there are lots of smaller bit players in the market that only sell fans. I don't know of a single company that sells a fan currently with a sata power connector on it, though it would not surprise me if such a beast existed. Also fans are not the only accessory still using molex as a standard. A heck of a lot of accessories and the modding market still is. Fans, fan controllers, cold cathode tubes, LED case lighting, water pumps, all still use molex routinely. You still see it on high end motherboards as a way of delivering extra power above and beyond specs for stability and overclocking. All of this is indeed annoying, Especially in an era of modular power supplies being so common. What's the point of a modular power supply when I can't chose NOT to plug in the molex cables. Still I think the blame should still be focused more squarely on the accessories and fan markets specifically. Reply
  • 7Enigma - Monday, October 31, 2011 - link

    I'll keep the Molex/IDE setup. If I could eliminate SATA power and data cables from my system I would be a happy person. The SATA design is probably the worst connector I've ever seen due to fragility. You connect a Molex and you can literally hit it with a hammer and it won't quit. You accidentally bend the SATA cable a bit during installation and you break off the connector and have a real mess on your hands.

    About the only cable worse is USB because they STILL haven't figured out a way to make it obvious which side is which and due to bad luck I have about an 80% chance of having it the wrong direction. But at least that connection is more secure than the L-shaped piece of junk that is SATA.
    Reply
  • Taft12 - Monday, October 31, 2011 - link

    Hallelujah! Next time add HDMI to your poor connector design rant, too.

    I've got an early-gen WD Raptor (non-veloci-) and it had BOTH molex and SATA connectors so you could go either/or. I wish they had kept that trend going....
    Reply
  • Mr Perfect - Monday, October 31, 2011 - link

    I hear you on the USB-in-backwards issue. I would have that problem all the time until reading a USB spec article. Any USB cable that is made to spec should have a USB icon on one side of the plug, the side with the icon goes up! Of course some cables aren't market with the icon, and sometimes the ports are twisted around a bit, but it gives you a chance better then 50/50. Reply
  • lorribot - Monday, October 31, 2011 - link

    The USB logo goes up on every USB socket except Dell Optiplex front connectors which for some reason have always been upside down.

    No one at Dell has ever been able to tell me why.
    Reply
  • 7Enigma - Tuesday, November 01, 2011 - link

    Hmm, so since 90% of USB cables I seem to use are vertical rather than horizontal, is that to the left or the right? :) Reply
  • Golgatha - Monday, October 31, 2011 - link

    Remove the drive cage entirely, put in a 4x2.5in to 5.25in adapter at the top of the tower, and make sure the main system fan is blowing over it. 7200rpm mechanical 2.5in HDDs are plenty fast for this type of application (especially if you put 2 in RAID0 or RAID1) and a bay for a SSD would be welcome. Optical drives are rarely needed anymore and you can bring an external USB optical drive with you if you end up needing one anyway.

    These major changes would allow for a full sized PSU and a high end graphics card, and you wouldn't have the heat issues to deal with due to more room for airflow. A 2x120mm fan configuration in the front and single 120mm fan in the back (the second 120mm fan in the back would be in the PSU) would be cool, quiet, and effective for any system you could dream up. I 2nd the idea of creating an Anandtech "by the enthusiast for the enthusiast" company. Let's do it and make millions.
    Reply
  • superccs - Monday, October 31, 2011 - link

    So what are the obvious things you do in the case of an ultra portable laptop?

    1 small HDD.... check.
    no optical drive.... check.

    Since this is not a laptop 2 HDDs sounds good (2.5 SSD + 2-3TB drive). A standard ATX PSU makes total sense since they are infinitely available and their added size is worth the stable and reliable power they provide.

    Optical drive really? If you are trying to make a compact as possible box, make a half height 5.25 drive bay, or can the whole bay and let them plug in a USB drive if they need to.

    Anyone want to go in to the case making business? I think that there are some definite opportunities. Lian Li keep trying.
    Reply
  • Death666Angel - Monday, October 31, 2011 - link

    I like the drive cage with the back plane, that's a nice touch. But I do ask myself, who here would use 4 3.5" drives in such an enclosure. If it were me, I'd pop the drive cage out and use it for something else. Best usage would be to install a radiator with the 140mm fan. Unfortunately, there is no AIO water cooling solution with 140mm radiators (as far as I know).

    Still, I always appreciate a small case. But I'd always go mATX in this day an age. Maybe when we hit 10nm CPU/GPU and a system uses 100W tops I can go with something this small. Until then I'll need the extra space for some quieter cooling. And I like to keep my options open of using an Intel PCIe NIC, sound card etc. Just 'cause.
    Reply
  • miteethor - Monday, October 31, 2011 - link

    I have two Lian-Li cases and they are hands down the best I've ever owned. I just feel bad that the first to Lian-Li's reviewed by this site are super-compact and apparently cumbersome and poor performing, because working in the larger chassis is pure pleasure. Maybe you should get one of the larger models to compare because it would be a shame for the last 2 reviews to be representative of this company. Reply
  • Dustin Sklavos - Monday, October 31, 2011 - link

    I actually have two bigger Lian Li cases in house waiting to be reviewed, so things should pick up there. Reply
  • Knifeshade - Monday, October 31, 2011 - link

    Any more smaller cases after those? I'm personally wondering what you think of the V354. Reply
  • martmann - Wednesday, November 02, 2011 - link

    Good review, in general, but seeing as your review motherboard did not have a 20 pin USB 3 header for the front ports (just like most current mini-ITX boards), you would think it would be worth mentioning that there is no way to use the front USB 3 ports (except as USB 2 ports).

    You did point out enough faults to keep most from buying this case, but you missed that pretty big one. I bought a replacement front port cable that had 2 Male type A USB 3 connectors (to run to the back panel ports of my motherboard) to correct this, but it cost around $30 (shipped) LL P/N: PW-IE5H550.
    Reply
  • TheGoodGeek - Thursday, November 03, 2011 - link

    ...Newegg didn't even have pics on the product page yet. I completely agree that this was the hardest (and most expensive) case I've ever used in a build. On the plus side, my spouse decided to put the quality to the test, and ran into the USB extension cord for the keyboard when I was testing the hookup to the big TV - a 3 foot drop onto concrete floors, and the only damage was to one of the side panel clips. No dents, no part failures. THAT's true durability, just what you need for travel. (And yes, I've now got a bluetooth keyboard!)

    I did, however, have to go back to the drawing board when my temps were simply unacceptable with the initial build. I switched to a modular Silverstone power supply with shorter cables, and swapped out the CPU cooler, and now it's fine.

    I've been on about an hour and a half, and currently the system as at:
    Chassis Fan 976 rpm
    CPU fan 1687 rpm
    Motherboard 31C
    CPU 28C

    I took a lot of pics during the build and re-build, but have been too lazy to post them in the forum. I'll get to work.
    Reply
  • TheGoodGeek - Friday, November 04, 2011 - link

    For reference, the clearances in this case are:

    VGA Card length: 300mm
    PSU length: 140mm
    CPU cooler height: 80mm
    Reply
  • TheGoodGeek - Friday, November 04, 2011 - link

    I've posted complete details of my build in this case along with photos and hardware choices (both wrong and right), on my blog (TheGoodGeek dot Net). A bit too long to post here, but the highlights are: don't go with a stock ATX PSU, get one of the shorter SFF ATX PSUs, and don't throw more wattage at it than you really need. 850W is overkill and will add to heat issues. Definitely find a better quality low profile CPU cooler, not the Intel stock cooler. I prefer the Asus P8H67-I to the Zotac Z68. Maybe Anand has had better luck with their Zotacs than the rest of us, but I just wouldn't trust it. Be willing to adjust your initial build until you get the cooling performance you need. Since my post ~5.5 hours ago, temps have only risen to: 30C CPU, 32C motherboard. Reply
  • JonnyDough - Sunday, November 06, 2011 - link

    I'd like to see a slim laptop drive bay instead of a 5.25". No cover is necessary, as that just ads weight and extra wear on my drive gears.

    I'd also like to see an included or available SOLID 375-550w standard PICO or ATX PSUs with SHORT wiring. Cohort with a brand name we recognize (some companies, ie Silverstone manufacture both cases and PSUs that are of quality, so pay attention if you do).

    Another note goes to durability. The black looks nice, but the painted corners will likely soon show wear as the paint comes off. If you use paint, make sure its very durable powder coating. Non-gloss (flat) is just fine. Plain stainless steel edges would do well also. The use of a heavy and thick (so you can barely see through) stainless steel mesh for air intakes or the case sides altogether (like the kind used for customized grills on automobiles) would be superb. I think you could slap together a pretty mean case. I would be willing to fork over more money for something that I know will last me 10 years and a hundred(s) of LAN parties.

    Wiring is a big pain when it comes to small cases. as well as getting access to components like hard drives, disc drives, ram, CPU heatsinks. Make it so the PSU and drive bay swings out of the way if you can so that the motherboard is openly accessed. I want everything to fold out on a swivel somehow so I can reach in and replace the motherboard easily.
    Reply
  • getback2us - Friday, November 11, 2011 - link

    I like the Chenbro ES34069 specs the most.
    For the given size and 4 x 3.5 slots with a slot for DVD player sounds perfect to me.
    A 5.25 bay is essential in many cases when you are trying to dump contents from DVD to NAS. Doing it USB 3 or gigabit port might be another option, but what couldn't be more efficient than a local DVD drive.

    The Lien Li PC-Q08 and PC-TU200 are 2 best NAS cases I found next to Chenbro ES34069.

    There is 2 another good ones. One by Fractal design and Silverstone SST-TJ08 are 2 close matches for LOTSs 3.5 and at least one 5.25 drives while still being Mini-Itx and compact.

    I am always on lookout for compact BIIGG capacity cases.

    if anyone knows more, please let me know
    Reply
  • cyberkost - Saturday, November 19, 2011 - link

    Pros:
    space for 4 3.5" HDD -- I grew to like RAID10 with 4 HDD
    5.25" bay -- full spectrum of ODDs can be used + a host of other 5.25" devices
    ATX PSU -- again, easy to find / less expensive parts
    Screw-less side panels -- open the case up easily for airflow or temporary hook-ups
    Mobo tray -- mobo is NOT on a side panel!!
    Compact size / mobility

    Cons:
    Aluminum feet -- going to scratch / mark the surface the case is standing on
    Price -- a bit too high (should be same / similar to PC-Q08 ~ USD120-130)
    Silver front fan bracket in a black case -- visible through, not very aesthetic (can be painted, but I'd much prefer anodized from the factory)
    Placement / orientation of front panel buttons / connectors -- I think Lian Li should have arranged them in a vertical cluster like on PC-Q08 .. or at least have USB3.0 and eSATA ports oriented horizontally

    Neutrals:
    Handle .. but it kinda goes with that "luggage" corner design
    Reply
  • cyberkost - Monday, December 26, 2011 - link

    More of a question: did anyone try to put another intake fan on the bottom using rubber screws? I think it might work / be helpful in the no GPU scenario ... Reply
  • TheGoodGeek - Monday, December 26, 2011 - link

    No. There's not enough room with a GPU installed, and I think there are better SFF choices if you're going the no GPU route. Reply
  • n13L5 - Sunday, August 26, 2012 - link

    The TU200 case reviewed here is a 25.3 liter case, with:

    300mm graphics card clearance, which is good, but only 140mm PSU clearance and a pretty poor 80mm CPU cooler clearance.

    .
    The smaller PC-Q08 at only 21.3 liters does better:

    300mm graphics card clearance, 160mm PSU clearance, and a not perfect, but much better 110mm CPU cooler clearance.

    .
    What this means is, that you'll be hard pressed to install anything better than Scythe's Big Shuriken cooler in the TU200.

    The PC-Q08 can hold a far better Noctua NH-L12 (with 2x 120mm NF-P12 fans) or even a Noctua NH-C14 cooler (with 1x 140mm NF-P14 fan).

    Looking at some comparison tests made a strong point for using the NH-C14 cooler: With 2 fans installed, it beats a lot of massive top-end tower coolers and with only 1 fan installed, its still beats some, and it certainly beats anything that fits into small cases.

    The Big Shuriken is great for its size at only 58mm high, but it lacks fin surface area to compete when you have 110mm to play with. Result, you get much better cooling in the PC-Q08 than in the TU200. I could not find anything better than the Big Shuriken that still stayed under 80mm height. (if you know something, I'm interested, please let me know)

    Economically, the Noctua NH-C14 cooler is also interesting, even though its not cheap: the second fan it comes with won't fit on the cooler in this case, but it can be used as a case fan in the PC-Q08 in two places, and its an expensive, very high quality, silent fan.

    The cooler costs 65 Euro with those 2 fans, which separately cost 21 Euro each. So, with the extra, I have to buy just one more 140mm fan to complete the cooling, setting me back 86 Euro total.

    If I buy the Big Shuriken instead, it costs me only 42 Euro with its one slimline fan, but I still have to buy 2 140mm case fans, so I would end up with an almost identical 84 Euro total.

    Granted, if you don't mind buying cheaper/lower quality fans, this calculation falls apart :)

    .
    .
    Note: the PC-Q08 spec lists one 140mm fan and one 120mm fan, but like many other 140mm fans, Noctua's 140mm fans have 120mm mounting holes and there's enough room around the 120mm cutout in the case to mount them in both locations. Actually, the 140mm cutout in the case could hold a 180mm fan, if you can find a good one, which I found surprisingly difficult...
    Reply
  • n13L5 - Friday, September 07, 2012 - link

    I largely agree with the reviewer's criticisms but not with some of the proposed solutions.

    Right up front: the much cheaper (and same size) PC-Q08 is much better thermally, due to a smaller simple drive cage with more perforations, and an additional 120mm exhaust fan at the top, and the greater clearance for CPU coolers of 110mm instead of 80mm on the PC-TU200.

    The TU200 drive cage is a major selling point for me, cause once the case is built (only thing that really annoyed me is cable management) drives slide in and out, and they do hot swap.

    I've built this with 2012 components: Asus P8Z77-i Deluxe, Intel I7-3770K, Gigabyte GTX 670 OC Windforce, one SSD and one HDD and CL8 Crucial RAM.

    Issues:

    1) Drive cage should be much more perforated and moved 1/2 inch toward the front fan.

    2) Annoying that modular 160mm deep PSUs are unsuitable for this case and 140mm PSUs are generally not available with modular wiring. Antec does make a great 140mm deep PSU series for this case though, the EarthWatt Platinum 450/550/650 Watt at 93% efficiency.

    3) Using the Asus mainboard with its vertical power management daughter board makes it impossible to fit a Scythe Big Shuriken, which would otherwise be a good fit for this case. I'm using the awful Intel stock cooler till I find something with a 120mm fan that fits.

    4) Related to this, due to no 120mm exaust fan anywhere, a little liquid cooler with radiator is out of the question for CPU cooling too.

    5) While the entire floor of the PC-Q08 is perforated for GPU air intake, only the rear section of the TU200 is perforated. If you have a reference board cooler design, your GPU's fan is going to sit 1" from solid metal, cutting its efficiency.

    6) Making the case slightly longer, like Dustin recommended may also give enough room for a 120mm exhaust fan behind the handle, so yeah... also, the case wastes some space in height, so the increase in length could be accompanied by a decrease in height. Though I do like that the current form factor makes it look like a guitar amp.

    7) Due to the thermal limitations, my setup is much louder in this case than in the PC-Q08. During a stresstest (running Furmark simultaneously with Cinebench R11.5) pushing GPU and CPU to full load, Intel's retarded CPU cooler was howling, followed by a BOD after about 15 minutes. This was no problem in the PC-Q08, it didn't even get noisy.

    Lest you think I'm trying really hard to sell you on the PC-Q08, that also has some annoyances: The sides only come off by unscrewing 16(!) screws total, and there is no mainboard tray, the mainboard standoffs are on the right side outer panel. Given how wide that case is, I guess it was about cost cutting, seeing how this case is about half the price of the TU200. But given the TU200's issues, it does make the PC-Q08 look good, even though its drive case is nothing special.

    I missed bidding in time on an SG08 on ebay, so I have to wait for another one before I can test that, cause I'm not paying Silverstone 200 Euros for their steel case with a non modular bronze PSU.
    Reply
  • n13L5 - Friday, September 07, 2012 - link

    Forgot to mention the 2.5" drive issue:

    With all the little custom parts Lian Li made for the TU200, they could have easily provided a mounting bracket for 2.5" drives that would let them slide & plug right into the backplane.

    As it is, you have to mount rubber grommets to the bottom instead of the sides, and then try to fish SATA power connectors through the small openings in the backplane, for which I popped off a cover from the connector to get it through, and after installation, your wires are stressed over sharp edges.

    Overall, I'd call the TU200 the case of stressed wires...
    Reply
  • ronmccord - Sunday, February 02, 2014 - link

    What a shame this review. Anyone serious about this case will do research first. "I'll admit I don't think our testbed represents a particularly good combination of components for a unique specimen like the TU200, " No one will try and run this case in the style of the author. If you read new egg reviews no one uses the drive cage and will find the right power supply and combinations of components. This review is certainly good info of what not to do. I am confident with the right power supply, drive cage removed and modern gpu installed this case will perform as well in general as other itx machines out there with a unique look and quality unmatched. This is one of the few cases you could have at home and then bring to work easily. Ditch the dvd drive and add a fan controller for example from Lian Li, they have one with one fan control know and adds a 2.5 cage! In aluminum or black color. Or an aluminum ventilation screen and other options. Get longer case feet, a sff modular power supply. In other words do everything right instead of wrong like in this review and you could have one special case! Reply

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