Small Case Build (2020)

Chewy509

Wotty wot wot.
Joined
Nov 8, 2006
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3,157
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Gold Coast Hinterland, Australia
Hi Guys,

Just want to double check I haven't missed any small mATX cases, with my kids new builds. They are both getting entry level gaming systems, and need to find a small case to fit in their desks. The cavity itself is 280mm wide x 420mm deep x 500mm high. (11" x 16.5" x 19.5").

Basic requirements are to fit in the cavity (no more than 405mm / 15.8" deep being the main one), support an 5.25" optical drive, and have front panel usb ports (as opposed to top or side port which would be blocked).

If the Silverstone TJ-08E was still available, that's what I would get (and not bother posting), but alas is no longer available.

The top contenders are (in order):
  1. Silverstone PS16B Precision (AU$57)
  2. Antec VSK3000E (AU$49)
  3. Silverstone PS08 (AU$52)
I've ruled out a lot of cases (eg the Cougar M110-W), as they either can't fit a 5.25" optical with a full size mATX board (B550 based board) or the case is so short, the gap between the PSU and optical drive is less than 3m (1") (eg Aerocool QS-180). (LG 5.25" optical is 165mm deep, Corsair CX550M PSU is 140mm deep).

Aerocool has a few, (eg CS-103) but that brand can be difficult to get here (rely on grey market importers, or most shops only carry a very limited range).

So is there anything else to look at or other recommendations? (max price AU$100).

PS. If it wasn't for the 5.25" drive, there are heaps of choices, but the drive requirement has become the sticky point. (If it was up to me, I would ditch the optical and get them something like the InWin 301).
 

Chewy509

Wotty wot wot.
Joined
Nov 8, 2006
Messages
3,157
Location
Gold Coast Hinterland, Australia
Hi,

Just a quick reply, if anyone has done any research into this, thank you. However I've gone through all the games that would need the optical drive and none work on Windows 10. ;( (Most are EA titles like Sims 2, Spore, etc). This negates the need for the optical drive.

The games in question have received minor patches to work on Win10, however the patches have only been made available via the Steam / Origin versions, and there are no patches for the CD versions of the games. (One of the main reasons for the non-compatibility was EA use of DRM systems like SecuROM).

Again thanks. but removing the optical has opened up a lot of options.
 

Newtun

Storage is nice
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Nov 21, 2002
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408
Location
Virginia
I was going to ask if an external optical drive would work, if no one else "chimed in".
 

Chewy509

Wotty wot wot.
Joined
Nov 8, 2006
Messages
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Gold Coast Hinterland, Australia
I thought that as well, but some USB drives don't play well with some DRM systems, as they (the DRM system) expects to be able to talk directly to the drive (via ATA commands), which may or may not work depending on the USB bridge being used.

Funny enough the Silverstone PS16B is still the leading contender for a cheap case due to the case having a dust filter on the front intake fans. None of the other cheap cases have included dust filters.

The only other option is the InWin 301, but requires specific fan setup to draw air from the bottom of the case (only the bottom intakes have a filter), which may not be good thermally as a GPU may hinder air flow in the case. In contrast the PS16B is a front intake, rear outlet design.

Decisions, decisions...
 

time

Storage? I am Storage!
Joined
Jan 18, 2002
Messages
4,908
Location
Brisbane, Oz
Sorry I'm late to this. :(

The InWin 301C is great, highly recommend it due to
a) quality
b) appearance
c) USB C port

I used it with an MSI Mortar board (also includes RGB) to get the USB C front panel support. With AMD, you need the B550 chipset for this. I included an external DVD drive.

I think I elected to use just one cooling fan at the back of the case and rely on air being drawn in through the base. If you have a GPU near the bottom, I guarantee that air will rise. ;)

Looks like Umart discontinued the C variant, but other stores still have it, as well as in white if you want a different look.

And I just noticed your AU$100 limit, so nevermind ...

The Silverstone PS (Precision) are pretty cheap (thin etc), but that may well be exactly what you are looking for. The PS15 has an RGB variant (thinking of your target market), but has the front ports at the top on a bevel - which may make them inaccessible in some situations.
 

Chewy509

Wotty wot wot.
Joined
Nov 8, 2006
Messages
3,157
Location
Gold Coast Hinterland, Australia
@time, thanks for the information.

The InWin 301C was my preferred case (at the start), however when trying to limit the entire PC build to AU$1000 and wanting discrete GPU and decent power supply, you need to make sacrifices in some areas, and in this case it's the case... (no pun intended)
Current expected configuration (won't be buying for 3-4 weeks as too busy with work projects).
  • Ryzen 3 3300X ($229)
  • 16GB (2x8G) Kingston HyperX DDR4-3200 CL16 ($99)
  • Asus A520M TUF Gaming Plus or Asrock B550M Pro4 (pending price/availability) ~($129)
  • Kingston 512GB A2000 NVMe ($92)
  • Asus RX580 8GB GPU ($255)
  • Gigabyte WBAX200 WiFi 6 PCIe adapter ($69)
  • Silverstone PS16B ($57)
  • Silverstone ET550-G or Corsair CX550M PSU (pending price/availability) ($99)
That's just over AU$1000. (and still need to get monitor/keyboard/mouse/win10/webcam license on top)

** On the WiFi adapter, most PCIe cards have the antennae directly attached to the card, however to get optimal performance you need to separate the antenna from the PC, which is what most WiFi6 cards do.

Note: Total budget is $1500 ea, and will be getting 3x of these; 1 for each kid, and 1 for the wife. (so adding $10-20 here or there, makes it 3x times the add).
 
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