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  • Dadofamunky - Monday, September 24, 2012 - link

    I tried a couple of microATX build with cases to match and finally gave up. It's always been too complicated and too high-maintenance for long-term use. In my experience with SFF (which ended some three years ago) the motherboards also tend to require too many compromises, including indifferently updated BIOSes, limited overclocking options compared to normal ATX boards and fewer SATA and USB ports. For me, though, the biggest headache always proved to be working with the cases and the hardware. Reply
  • Icehawk - Monday, September 24, 2012 - link

    Maybe a few years ago? I built a mATX machine for the first time last month with an i7 and GTX670 using the (much larger but clearly MUCH nicer) Fractal Design Mini Define and while the mobo doesn't have a ton of options as you said, it has enough to run a simple O/C and XMP which is all I need. Reply
  • Zap - Monday, September 24, 2012 - link

    You're doing it wrong. :P Well, it is easier these days too.

    First thing is to choose the right motherboard. They are available, and have as many SATA/USB ports as full ATX boards and can overclock as well as an ATX board of similar price point.

    Second thing is to use a micro ATX mini tower, and NOT a "cube" style case. The computer still ends up a lot smaller than an ATX tower, and are just as easy to build.
    Reply
  • Fuzz1111 - Monday, September 24, 2012 - link

    While I'm interested cases of this style, I can't say I would recommend the sff cases that require the use of half-height cards, or any that don't allow alternative power supplies.

    Until recently my media centre was a build that used an Antec Minuet 350, an intel E2200 and cheap gigabyte board (had an intel chipset though). The board and cpu were fine, and with a zalman 8700 I even got a decent overclock. Unfortunately half-height turned out to be more limiting than I'd have thought - vidcard choices were rubbish (still aren't great), and I had to make my own half-height bracket for my TV tuner.

    The worst problem by far was the power supply - it was a complete piece of crap and it got worse over time (in the end I was running without tuner card, and with DVD drive disconnected).
    Reply
  • Death666Angel - Monday, September 24, 2012 - link

    Can't say that I agree. Unless one specifically needs more than 2 GPUs, mATX is plenty enough. I've had my Gigabyte mATX P55 mainboard with an overclocked i7 860 since a month after the i7 came about (roughly). At first I had it in a cube case from Lian Li (V351B) with an HD5770. I had an optical drive, a 3.5" drive and a 2.5" SSD for my system in there. Had I wanted, I could have fitted more drives, the mainboard certainly provided all I needed. While it was a bit hard to assemble and maintain, it was pretty small, light, powerful and quiet. It also did not cost any more than a regular ATX with similar quality components. Last Christmas I decided to get the Silverstone TJ08-E because I wanted to get water cooling. That is also a mATX enclosure, much smaller than most ATX ones of that performance. The CPU now runs at 3.8GHz (up from 3.3 in the cube), my mainboard is still fully functional and has all the connections and abilities one can expect from a ~130€ board of the time.
    Unless you are doing LN2 OC'ing, it is stimply not true that ATX offers greater performance than mATX. Most often, they don't even offer more ports or better quality.
    Reply
  • just4U - Monday, September 24, 2012 - link

    I have to agree with other's on this.. Nothing wrong with Matx setups.. and you don't have real compromises with the MB either. Look at Asus's Gene line, Or Gigabytes M3. Reply
  • NA1NSXR - Friday, September 28, 2012 - link

    My X58M was offered new BIOSes periodically to support the entire lifespan of 1366. It was also capable of overclocking as well as any full ATX board in its price range, well encompassing any OC on air cooling anyone would be doing. Fewer SATA ports are moot, as my mobo had way more ports than pretty much any matx enclosure could support anyway, and I had 8 USB ports. So I don't know what you are talking about. It sounds like you just did not do the planning, which is the funnest part anyway. There is no reason to use full atx on air cooled, single GPU computers anymore, unless the extra PCIe slots are absolutely needed.

    Quite frankly when I see a massive "gamer tower" these days I just roll my eyes.
    Reply
  • Operandi - Monday, September 24, 2012 - link

    Looks like a fairly decent case aside from the 60mm fans but holy crap does it eve stop with the taken to “11” overly designed boxes that constantly try to convey the image of just about anything but a PC case?

    That and the price is a joke when I can get a Lian LI PC-Q08B for the same price.
    Reply
  • Lucian2244 - Monday, September 24, 2012 - link

    I second that, it looks like a travel bag !
    And if it was hard for you to assemble it, i can't imagine how it would be for me as I only assembled ATX cases so far.
    Reply
  • Mr Perfect - Monday, September 24, 2012 - link

    Yeah, that's way to busy for a SFF case. Angles here, windows there, extra vents, raised lines, additional bevels and a pop-up roof. To be fair, it looks like they took a full ATX design(that probably looked fine) and scaled it down until everything got jammed together. Reply
  • Ryomitomo - Monday, September 24, 2012 - link

    I have recently built an i7-3770K + GTX680 system with the A30 case for my brother-in-law. The case is not easy to build with. Tidying the wires is very hard. The top fan is placed in a weird location, the PSU blocks over half of the fan. The GTX680 power plug jabs against the metal casing for the 5.25" bays, I had to bend the power wires 90 degrees at the plug to fit them under the metal casing.

    However, after the system was put together carefully, I have to say it is rather quiet unit and the temperature of the CPU and GTX680 is only a few degrees higher than my Thermaltake Armor Revo case build with same CPU and GTX680.
    Reply
  • piroroadkill - Monday, September 24, 2012 - link

    I think there's a reason why the Prodigy has become popular - it looks good as well as being a mini-ITX case you could actually use for a high end machine. Reply
  • Meaker10 - Monday, September 24, 2012 - link

    All those thumb screws, the drive cage and removable tray are based on the lanparty lite series they did. This is the same but with more fans which is why the basic design feels dated. You get used to it though and you can take it apart fairly quickly. Reply
  • BuffaloChuck - Monday, September 24, 2012 - link

    Cube cases still are doing this upside down. They need to put the motherboard on top, and power-supply/other drives on the bottom. The MB has 95% of all connections, requirement finger-tip time, and hosts most of the changes. And, if they'd put the HDDs in a two-stack nose-to-nose config under the MB tray, sticking the connections to the outside, they'd have plenty of room for airflow between drives AND space to add more. Cubes always do this design upside down. Reply
  • BuffaloChuck - Monday, September 24, 2012 - link

    And why can't the reviewers utilitize the space offered? Instead of proving MiniATX boards fit in MicroATX cases, why not fill 'em up and THEN do the tests? The case engineers, after all, put those drive-cages in there for a reason. USE 'EM and do REAL reviews. Reply
  • cjb110 - Monday, September 24, 2012 - link

    Because then the stats of the 3 bay case wouldn't be comparable with the 2 bay case.

    I think AnandTech does a good job of mentioning if they feel utilizing the extra features would be significant positive/negative.

    From this review its fairly obvious it would cope with the bay's being filled in terms of performance, but it would make the already difficult install even harder.
    Reply
  • 7amood - Monday, September 24, 2012 - link

    review http://www.silverstonetek.com/product.php?pid=317 pleeeeeeeeeease. Reply
  • Grok42 - Tuesday, September 25, 2012 - link

    I 2nd the motion. Also, the LIAN LI PC-Q25 and PC-Q16. Reply
  • xcomvic - Monday, September 24, 2012 - link

    Is that most don't have a handle on the top of it to easily lug it around...It wouldn't have taken an engineer to figure out how to attach one easily to the top of the thing...or the side..or back....wherever. I know there's been some good cases out there WITH handles, those are real LAN cases. Reply
  • Orvtrebor - Monday, September 24, 2012 - link

    They should have added a handle again like from their earlier cube designs.

    Without it whats the point of doing this case? A Silverstone TJ08-E or PS07 will better serve a microatx build, and if your going to run itx there is a wide range of superior/smaller cases.
    Reply
  • mattgmann - Monday, September 24, 2012 - link

    Sorry, but this case looks like it was pieced together from scraps of b-movie props and legos Reply
  • Performance Fanboi - Monday, September 24, 2012 - link

    Fugly as hell, and don't call it a LAN case if you don't put a handle on it. Reply
  • espaghetti - Tuesday, September 25, 2012 - link

    Exactly what I was thinking!
    I'm sitting next to my 900 wondering why they chopped it in half and reversed the window and fan intake on the side panel.
    Reply
  • Grok42 - Tuesday, September 25, 2012 - link

    I really appreciate any and all reviews of SFF cases. Even when they don't turn out to be the perfect case like the A30, it really helps those looking for SFF cases. Reviewing them gets more people thinking about building a SFF system and drives adoption forward. We have plenty of top notch mid-ATX cases, we need better mATX and mITX cases.

    Also, as someone who works for an electronics manufacture myself, I can tell you that reviews like these are read and can seriously change the course of future products. I know I read every review, user review and forum post on the product we make and I'm sure cases manufactures do the same.
    Reply
  • Geekgurl82 - Tuesday, September 25, 2012 - link

    I won a Thermaltake Armor A30 a couple years ago from a PDXLAN, I already had a ATX box so I was pretty excited for my new case. It was NOT easy to deal with however it is still running and going strong. It is now technically modded and pretty awesome if I do say so myself!

    Core I7 990x
    Thermaltake water 2.0
    MSI X58M mATX
    6gb DDR3 1600
    1.5 TB Standard HDD's
    Radian 6970 Crossfire
    Reply
  • infoilrator - Wednesday, September 26, 2012 - link

    The A30 does show "could be better" aspects. You always come to "the cooling works, and it fits a decent mATX rig.
    Sometimes it is "not how well it works" but that "it works at all.
    Several newer cases do not cool near as well.
    Bought one used from a reviewer, I like it.
    True, I've rebuilt industrial machinery in my day, lol.
    Reply

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