Computer Cases

LunarMist

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A few years ago I was rather disgusted that most of the cases had glass side panels, preventing use of fans on the side.
Now I'm seeing that it's more grim now. Most cases either have no front panel (glass) or just mesh and no place to put 3.5" drive bays or optoicale drives.
What can I still buy in the way of a smallish ATX mid-tower case that will accept two 3.5" drive bays? I don't care about 3.5' internal drives, but I need to be able to use the Nocturnal D15 heatsink in there along with the drive bays. Thanks.
 

Handruin

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Would the Fractal Design North case work for your needs? It has two 3.5" internal bays and it does have a mesh side panel but there is a cage that mounts behind it to accept fans or a radiator.
 

sedrosken

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I've actually been stockpiling older cases when I come across them in good shape. I too find the current situation rather disgusting.

Handy, Lunar was asking about two external 3.5" bays I think. Now that is a rare bird indeed, but if you're okay with using 5.25" to 3.5" bay adapters the case I'm using, the Phanteks Enthoo Pro (first version) is still available as NOS I believe. That's a lot more than just a smallish mid-tower, though I can confirm it'll mount an NH-D15 just fine, as that's what I used back when I ran a 3700X. These days, I'm being a little less ostentatious, using a bequiet! Pure Rock Slim, but that's because the system's TDP permits that and I sent the D15 I was using to my friend along with the 3700X. Mine was the solid side-panel variant, but the more common one has a case window.

The CoolerMaster N400 also accepts some external drives, and fits the bill of a small mid-tower, but I don't believe that will mount the NH-D15.

Fractal still makes some really good stuff, particularly before I got the Phanteks case I was looking at a Define R5. Given the R6 is out now, I think they're winding down sales of the R5, but it still mentions it on their website. The R6 drops a front-accessible drive bay. I really like the Define line aesthetically, they're very understated but well-built, the Fractal Core 1100 I used for my XP build shows that even their budget cases are made well. The pricing just wasn't near what I wanted to pay for it at the time. I don't have one to test mount for sure, but the specs for the R5 say that it'll fit a D15, given it's got 180mm of clearance to the cooler's 165mm height.
 

LunarMist

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OOps. :eek: I mean two 5.25" drives. I will use them for swappable 3.5 and 2.5' drives.
 

sedrosken

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Well, all of the options there have 5.25" bays to start with, since finding anything these days with even one external 3.5" bay is a chore at best.
 

ddrueding

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I recently built a budget rig using the Corsair Carbide 100R. For a cheap case it is well laid out and has the features you want. It does have a window, but it is plastic instead of glass so way lighter and less fragile.
 

LunarMist

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I actually had the older version 100R with metal panel. It was dirty and somewhat bent out of shape so I threw it out in 2021 when disposing of a lot of old stuff. :( It is long discontinued for the US.

That N400 looks OK, but why doesn't it work with the D15? Is something blocking it?
I did a build in the N200, which is a smaller version for mATX. I don't recall that the CPU had a heatsink fan and there was no GPU, so space was not an issue.
 

sedrosken

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The N400 specifically won't mount your D15 and still have the side panel close. I tried that and it's the reason why I moved to the Phanteks case in the first place.
 

LunarMist

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Thanks. I didn't get the point that you had test fitted it.
 

Mercutio

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I don't think Cooler Master cases are appropriate for people who like mechanical disk drives. Most of those N400/N600 chassis will only have two or four places they can mount a 3.5" drive, plus 2 - 3 places to hang a 2.5" drive on the back side of the case. They're fantastic as general purpose desktop cases though.
 

sedrosken

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Literally, they could probably sell it as a SOHO server chassis if they just put a couple more 3.5" internal bays in it! I don't feel like I'm asking for that much. Alas.
 

LunarMist

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I think it best to just give up at this point and trash the original system. I might swap motherboards, but it would be easier to put the 5950x on the cheaper motherboard that has the 3950x than switch them. They are both x570 anyway and the fancier stuff is not needed.

Ironically my only good case left is an older Colermaster that fits a bunch of internal 3.5' drives and 3 external 5.25' bays. It has a huge, but quiet fan on the left side. Unfortunately it has no USB after 3.0.
 
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