Realan E-I5/E-I7 mini ITX case builds - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 202 Old 04-23-2012, 11:59 AM - Thread Starter
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A few weeks ago I ordered the E-I5 and E-I7 cases from Shenzhen Realan, the manufacturer that makes the Habey EMC-800/600 that I've seen a lot of folks use here for HTPC builds. One of the complaints about the EMC-800/600 is that they don't have enough ventilation and none on the top. The E-I5/E-I7 address this issue with more ventilation and a little bit different style, looking now a bit more like one of the Wesena ITX6 or 7 cases. The insides are basically the same and the Habey cases with the same HDD/ODD mounting plates and the same 12V 120W DC power board. The E-I5 also gets the same 60W AC adapter as the Habey cases but the E-I7 gets a 84W AC adapter.

Late last week I did my first build with the new E-I5 case again using my bedroom HTPC platform: ASUS P8H61-I, G620, 64GB SSD, 250GB 2.5" HDD and the Gelid Slim Silence i-Plus CPU cooler. First impressions of the E-I5 are that this is a really nice looking small case. It's nice brushed aluminum with a "diamond" edge that gives it a cool look. Building with the case is pretty easy. It starts with taking four screws off the top. To make things easier to get the motherboard in, I also took out the power board which was two screws for the board and a nut at the back of the case for the power jack. There are no sharp edges anywhere and fit is perfect. The front panel cables are long enough to reach anywhere on the motherboard and then there is plenty of room on the sides to tuck cables away. The HDD bay comes off with four screws and holds any combination of 2 x 2.5" SSD/HDD or 3.5" HDD. With a 28mm CPU cooler, the 3.5" HDD was tight against the cooler but possible if needed. The best fit was with 2 x 2.5" devices, in my case a SSD and 250GB HDD. Everything looks roomy and well ventilated.

I plan to do some thermal and power testing later. Meanwhile, here are some pictures of the build. Sorry they are a bit dark.











I also have the E-I7. It's similar in style but 15mm taller and has an ODD slot. When I get one of those built I'll post a mini-review here too.

Here are the links to the manufacturer's product pages:
http://www.minicase.net/product_E-I5.html
http://www.minicase.net/product_E-I7.html

 

 

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post #2 of 202 Old 04-26-2012, 07:16 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by dfr818 View Post

couldn't see the pictures you have shown, but i enter into the web page, they both look wonderful....

They look even better in person .

 

 

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post #3 of 202 Old 04-27-2012, 02:08 PM - Thread Starter
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For the E-I7 build I had to wait on some new parts including a new motherboard (ASRock H67M-ITX), new CPU (G530) and a slot-load DVD burner. I hijacked some RAM from my office PC just for testing and to see how regular profile RAM would fare in the E-I7. I had the Titan low-profile CPU cooler (30mm) from a previous build so I cleaned that up to see how this inexpensive cooler would fare in the E-I7.

My first impressions of the E-I7 are that it's a beautiful case. I love the brushed aluminum in either the silver or the black. I am usually not a fan of silver but it's sharp. Black though is my favorite. There is plenty of room inside to work with, spots for four 80mm fans and a low-profile expansion card. The slot cover is unfortunately the break-away kind but low-profile slot covers are easy to find and cheap if someone were to change their mind. There are vents everywhere to keep any mini build cool. The E-I7 comes with an interesting feature: an external SATA cable and molex power connector. I chose to remove these since I was not using this function.

Building with this case, like the E-I5, is very simple. The top comes off with four screws. The front panel wiring is all labeled. The only thing difficult here was that the ASRock H67M-ITX motherboard has the front panel headers at the back of the board so it was a bit of a stretch. Why front panel connectors on the back of the board? Beyond me. The position of the 24-pin ATX power connector was good. The USB and audio/microphone ports are on the side of the case which is nice because you still get front connection but with the minimalist/clean look on the front. Screw the motherboard in and hooking everything up takes less than five minutes. Mounting the slim ODD was easy -- just a matter of sliding it into the cradle and moving it forward enough that it lines up with the front. The E-I7 comes with the tiny screws needed to mount the ODD. I chose to mount the SSD vertically using a single screw even though there was room under the ODD tray for a 2.5" SSD/HDD. I just figured there'd be better airflow this way. A 2.5" HDD could go under the tray while the SSD is mounted vertically so with the ODD in place there is room for 2 x 2.5" HDD/SDD. Without the ODD in place, the cradle can be removed and it looks like (I did not try this) there'd be room for 2 x 3.5" HDDs with a lot of clearance above the cooler. A stock cooler might even fit in here. There really is a ton of room.

Overall, I found this case very easy to work with. There isn't a lot to mini builds like these -- they go very fast. There's a ton of room, relatively speaking, in this case and lots of venting and places to mount drives and fans. The look is minimalist and sleek. The materials are very high quality. This is a great little HTPC or desktop case.

Here are the customary pictures of the build:










 

 

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post #4 of 202 Old 04-28-2012, 02:20 AM
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Hi, I am interested in the E-I7 case. I hope this isn't crass but how much did it cost you. also, did you purchase it directly from Realan. The fact that they only wanted payment through western union seem a little shady. Thanks in advance for your comments.

Garth
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post #5 of 202 Old 05-09-2012, 01:32 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by gakaudio View Post

Hi, I am interested in the E-I7 case. I hope this isn't crass but how much did it cost you. also, did you purchase it directly from Realan. The fact that they only wanted payment through western union seem a little shady. Thanks in advance for your comments.

Garth

PM sent. Sorry I didn't see this reply.

 

 

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post #6 of 202 Old 05-16-2012, 11:59 AM
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Nice cases.

With the E-I7 could you do a slim ODD, a 2.5 SSD and a 3.5 HDD with a 28mm low profile cooler? Or would that not work?
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post #7 of 202 Old 05-16-2012, 12:20 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by anleva View Post

Nice cases.

With the E-I7 could you do a slim ODD, a 2.5 SSD and a 3.5 HDD with a 28mm low profile cooler? Or would that not work?

With the ODD tray in place, there isn't room for a 3.5" HDD. There is room for 2 x 2.5" however, if using an SSD and HDD. You can mount the SSD vertically and the 2.5" HDD under the ODD tray. If you remove the ODD tray there is room for 2 x 3.5" HDD. This is all assuming no expansion card installed. With an expansion card installed you'd have to get more creative about where the SSD is installed.

 

 

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post #8 of 202 Old 05-16-2012, 12:37 PM
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Originally Posted by StardogChampion View Post

With the ODD tray in place, there isn't room for a 3.5" HDD. There is room for 2 x 2.5" however, if using an SSD and HDD. You can mount the SSD vertically and the 2.5" HDD under the ODD tray. If you remove the ODD tray there is room for 2 x 3.5" HDD. This is all assuming no expansion card installed. With an expansion card installed you'd have to get more creative about where the SSD is installed.

Thanks.

What mini ITX case would you currently recommend if I wanted to install an ODD, 2.5" SSD and a 3.5" HDD?
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post #9 of 202 Old 05-16-2012, 01:11 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by anleva View Post

Thanks.

What mini ITX case would you currently recommend if I wanted to install an ODD, 2.5" SSD and a 3.5" HDD?

For HTPC cases: Iwill HT100. I have a blog entry about it here: http://outsidethestb.blogspot.com/20...th-35-hdd.html. More here too: http://outsidethestb.blogspot.com/20...th-35-hdd.html

The Lian-Li PC-Q07/Q11 will also but those are tower-style mini-ITX cases. The PC-Q08 will take 6 x 3.5" + 1 x 2.5".

 

 

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post #10 of 202 Old 07-29-2012, 01:10 PM
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@StardogChampion,

I'd like to build a system very similar to your E-I7 build, but I'm planning to use it as a general purpose desktop. My tentative plan is:

MB: Intel DH77DF
CPU: i5-3570k (yes, I know the H77 won't over-clock this, I want the HD4000 graphics)
RAM: 2 x 4gb
HDD: 120gb SSD + 1tb 2.5in drive
OD: whatever slot load DVD burner will fit

Realan have an article discussing a similar build at http://www.minicase.net/article_179.html and recommend the 250w power supply. So that's my interest - E-I7 with the 250w supply. Feel free to talk me in from the ledge if you think I could get by with the more commonly available 120w supply.

My question is, what's the best way to go about purchasing this case? I'm located in Canada and can see either ordering from China (if I can figure out how) or the US distributor. I see no sign of a Canadian distributor.

Thanks for your help.

Dave
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post #11 of 202 Old 08-27-2012, 09:15 AM
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Hi Stardog,

How would you rate the Realan PSU's vs. the leading brand? I have been looking for reviews but could not find one.

Cheers.

- Leo
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post #12 of 202 Old 08-27-2012, 01:56 PM - Thread Starter
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Hi Stardog,
How would you rate the Realan PSU's vs. the leading brand? I have been looking for reviews but could not find one.
Cheers.
- Leo

I found them to be very efficient and reliable. I am not sure if they manufacturer them themselves or rebrand them. In the US, they are rebranded as Habey. This is the powerboard that comes in the E-i5: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16816321020. BTW, the 1-star review instead of commenting on the powerboard complains that the adapter can't be found and that's why they are giving it 1-star. Any 12V 10A or less AC adapter with a 5.5mm/2.5mm plug would work.

 

 

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post #13 of 202 Old 10-19-2012, 07:45 AM
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Thanks for posting this, I just purchased the E-I7, silver, they are selling them on Ebay now. Fantastic looking case, I just hope a GPU fits. I have a compact case now and there is not enough room for my GPU's head sink, I'm hoping this does the trick.

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post #14 of 202 Old 10-23-2012, 07:10 PM
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received my case today, and being the impatience person that I am, I dropped my htpc guts in tonight, short of some serious cable management, it went in fine, had to fiddle with the drive/ODD apparatus, I first attached the drive to the bottom of the ODD thingy, and the stock Intel cooler was about 2MM's to high, so I removed the odd/hdd assembly, and reattached the drive minus the odd attachment, no problem. other than the CPU fan I'm not running any other fans, but that’s going to change have checked the temps but the case just feels warm, the Samuel 17 it roughly the same height as the Intel stock, 46MM vs. 46.5 for the stock Intel, but that's running the Samuel fanless, also nactua just announced today a new low profile cooler, http://www.noctua.at/main.php?show=productview&products_id=50&lng=en&set=2, so It might be worth waiting for more info on this guy. If going with the Samuel, your going to need some cross flow, my case is putting out some serious heat running just an I3-550 watching TV, Tuner is on the network, maybe one small 80MM just to pull some air through would be helpful, design is good, lots of screws holding this baby together, but we'll need to see how the PSU holds out, I'm not even install the GPU, but over all the case is a nice fit and the right size to fit in with my other gear.

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post #15 of 202 Old 10-23-2012, 09:39 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for posting! A couple of 80mmx15mm fans will help immensely. Also take a look at the Scythe Kozuti at 40mm tall or Silverstone NT07-1156 at 37mm tall.

I am working on a Sapphire HD6670 low profile, Gigabyte H61, i3-2120T, 128GB SSD, 1 x 80mm, Silverstone NT07-1156 build in the E-i7 to measure how well it'll do for a small gaming build.

I'd love to see any pictures of your build.

 

 

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post #16 of 202 Old 10-24-2012, 06:28 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by StardogChampion View Post


PM sent. Sorry I didn't see this reply.

Why PM, everyone wants to know this.
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post #17 of 202 Old 10-24-2012, 08:19 AM
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Originally Posted by StardogChampion View Post

Thanks for posting! A couple of 80mmx15mm fans will help immensely. Also take a look at the Scythe Kozuti at 40mm tall or Silverstone NT07-1156 at 37mm tall.
I am working on a Sapphire HD6670 low profile, Gigabyte H61, i3-2120T, 128GB SSD, 1 x 80mm, Silverstone NT07-1156 build in the E-i7 to measure how well it'll do for a small gaming build.
I'd love to see any pictures of your build.

Yeah, I was looking at the Kozuti, but that tiny little fan concerns me, I like the New Nactua, the fan is a little larger, will wait to see what the reviews say, the Samuel 17 (fanless) is still option, install so the vents run right to left, and pull air across it with two low rpm 80MM fans on the right side of the case, I'm going to go up to frys this weekend to exchange a GPU and will pick up a couple of fans and see how that goes with the stock intel cooler. I'm thinking the issue is the lack of ventilation above the stock CPU fan, and the fan is just circulating the warm air off the board, could be all you need is one exhaust fan to pull some air through the case.

Have you checked the power draw on your rig? I'm right at 45-46 watts when viewing live TV running the clarkdale integrated graphics, 37-38 watts at idol, forgot to mention that I'm running a 2.5" drive. During bootup, I hit a max of 67 watts, I'll be installing a GT 430 GPU, IIRC the max TDP is around 29-30 watts, I'm hoping the PSU can handle it long term.

I was in a rush to get everything together, I'll get some pictures once I have everything installed and figure out where I'm going to route the cables, fan placement, etc, right now it's a bit of a mess.

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post #18 of 202 Old 10-24-2012, 05:40 PM
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Originally Posted by jeffkro View Post

Why PM, everyone wants to know this.
He sells them. Don't expect him to tell you his purchase price, that's just bad business. Honestly, for the look/quality of this case, ecosmartpc has a decent price compared to other mini-itx cases I've seen: http://www.ecosmartpc.com/ei7.html
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post #19 of 202 Old 10-24-2012, 06:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dbailey75 View Post

Yeah, I was looking at the Kozuti, but that tiny little fan concerns me, I like the New Nactua, the fan is a little larger, will wait to see what the reviews say, the Samuel 17 (fanless) is still option, install so the vents run right to left, and pull air across it with two low rpm 80MM fans on the right side of the case, I'm going to go up to frys this weekend to exchange a GPU and will pick up a couple of fans and see how that goes with the stock intel cooler. I'm thinking the issue is the lack of ventilation above the stock CPU fan, and the fan is just circulating the warm air off the board, could be all you need is one exhaust fan to pull some air through the case.
Have you checked the power draw on your rig? I'm right at 45-46 watts when viewing live TV running the clarkdale integrated graphics, 37-38 watts at idol, forgot to mention that I'm running a 2.5" drive. During bootup, I hit a max of 67 watts, I'll be installing a GT 430 GPU, IIRC the max TDP is around 29-30 watts, I'm hoping the PSU can handle it long term.
I was in a rush to get everything together, I'll get some pictures once I have everything installed and figure out where I'm going to route the cables, fan placement, etc, right now it's a bit of a mess.

Its not really the size of the fan its the rpm that makes the noise, should probably find out what rpm they run at.
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post #20 of 202 Old 10-24-2012, 06:04 PM
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Originally Posted by vladd View Post

He sells them. Don't expect him to tell you his purchase price, that's just bad business. Honestly, for the look/quality of this case, ecosmartpc has a decent price compared to other mini-itx cases I've seen: http://www.ecosmartpc.com/ei7.html

I'm really liking this style case, I wonder why they aren't going mainstream yet(read amazon).
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post #21 of 202 Old 10-24-2012, 07:03 PM
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I've wondered that myself. It's really the slickest mini-ITX case I've seen to date, especially for an HTPC. I just wish it had a built in IR window.
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post #22 of 202 Old 10-25-2012, 06:08 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by jeffkro View Post

I'm really liking this style case, I wonder why they aren't going mainstream yet(read amazon).

They will eventually I am sure of it and then that'll be the end of that product line for ecosmartpc.com frown.gif.
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I've wondered that myself. It's really the slickest mini-ITX case I've seen to date, especially for an HTPC. I just wish it had a built in IR window.

This is something I've been talking to the manufacturer about and I am looking at ways to do the mods myself. Believe it or not the hardest part to find is the little round piece of IR transparent plastic.

I am glad you guys like the cases. I've been in love with them since the moment I opened the first carton.

 

 

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post #23 of 202 Old 10-25-2012, 11:21 AM
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This is something I've been talking to the manufacturer about and I am looking at ways to do the mods myself. Believe it or not the hardest part to find is the little round piece of IR transparent plastic.
No, I would believe it. I've been trying to source it for years.
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Originally Posted by StardogChampion View Post

I am glad you guys like the cases. I've been in love with them since the moment I opened the first carton.
Quick question... is the case as sturdily built as it looks in the pics? (It will be a while before I can justify the purchase of one.)
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post #24 of 202 Old 10-25-2012, 12:13 PM - Thread Starter
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IMHO, it's Lian-Li quality -- all 3mm aluminum with a brushed finish. The power supplies have been rock solid too.

 

 

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post #25 of 202 Old 10-26-2012, 06:35 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jeffkro View Post

Its not really the size of the fan its the rpm that makes the noise, should probably find out what rpm they run at.

These are the parts that I purchased to complete the build, took me a while to decided, lots of options, I'm becoming a big fan (pun intended) of Noctua, I went with the Xigmtech Cooler because its almost a standard size heatsink, and I can reuse it on other builds with a regular size fan, I hope to get a lot of usage out of it, and I'm going to mount the 92mm Noctau fan on it, for a total height of 44mm's, 2.5MMs shorter than the stock intel. I just ordered the parts, so I should have them hopefully by the end of next week.

Noctua NF-R8 80mm Fan x 2
Xigmatek Praeton LD964 Low Profile CPU Cooler
Noctua NF-A9x14 PWM 92mm Case Fan


I'll also install my GPU, PNY GT 430

other Low Profile CPU Options.

Thermaltake Slim X3 36MM High with 80X15 Fan $22 ( I've been using this one on an older dual core HTPC with out issue)
Scythe Kozuti 40 MM high with 80X10 fan $35
Logisys Deepcool IC211 Low Profile Intel CPU Cooler 37.5MM high with 80 X 15 Fan $12
SILVERSTONE NT07-1156 37 MM High with 90mm X 16MM Fan $32
Nactua Noctua's NH-L9i 37 MM High with with a 92X14 MM Fan $???

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post #26 of 202 Old 10-26-2012, 07:59 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dbailey75 View Post

These are the parts that I purchased to complete the build, took me a while to decided, lots of options, I'm becoming a big fan (pun intended) of Noctua, I went with the Xigmtech Cooler because its almost a standard size heatsink, and I can reuse it on other builds with a regular size fan, I hope to get a lot of usage out of it, and I'm going to mount the 92mm Noctau fan on it, for a total height of 44mm's, 2.5MMs shorter than the stock intel. I just ordered the parts, so I should have them hopefully by the end of next week.
Noctua NF-R8 80mm Fan x 2
Xigmatek Praeton LD964 Low Profile CPU Cooler
Noctua NF-A9x14 PWM 92mm Case Fan

I'll also install my GPU, PNY GT 430
other Low Profile CPU Options.
Thermaltake Slim X3 36MM High with 80X15 Fan $22 ( I've been using this one on an older dual core HTPC with out issue)
Scythe Kozuti 40 MM high with 80X10 fan $35
Logisys Deepcool IC211 Low Profile Intel CPU Cooler 37.5MM high with 80 X 15 Fan $12
SILVERSTONE NT07-1156 37 MM High with 90mm X 16MM Fan $32
Nactua Noctua's NH-L9i 37 MM High with with a 92X14 MM Fan $???

It's nice to see what's going into this system. Thank for the post. Also, thank for the other low-profile options. I am always looking for more.

About the Logisys: I bought one of those to try and it comes with a very noisy, high RPM, non-PWM 3-pin fan. If you're willing to replace the fan then it'll probably be ok but it was quite the disappointment.

For the barebones systems I use either the Silverstone NT07-1156 or the Titan DC-155A915Z/RPW. I've also had good luck with the Gelid Slim Silence i-Plus which is only 28mm high.

 

 

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post #27 of 202 Old 11-04-2012, 05:24 AM
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Hello All,

I have been a avid reader of this forum for quite some time, and I also would like to build my own small htpc.

This case looks really nice and I plan to use the mini-itx gigabyte motherboard (GA-H77N-WIFI) probably with an ivy-bridge i3 (HD4000).

I have questions on the slot :
- Is there a risk to scratch a disk when inserting it ?
- Is there a protection in the case slot somehow ? (hard to see on the pics).
- Due to the bezel of the drive, is there some space between the drive and the case ?
- What about the drive button to eject the disk ?

I also need to find a reseller of this case in Europe.

Thanks and regards
Lankou
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post #28 of 202 Old 11-07-2012, 11:35 AM
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I've been a little busy, and haven't had time to get my pictures loaded, Will get to them in the next few days, comments on the case, its a nice design, and good quality, It was super tricky getting the GPU installed, hard to explain, but there's a slight lip on the top of the case, and you can't just drop the card in, but end result, its do able.

I posted earlier the fans that I installed, for now, i'm just using the fan that came with the Xigmatek Praeton LD964 Low Profile CPU Cooler, and it's actually not to bad, I purchase a Noctua, but I underestimated the 1MM difference, it fits a little loose on the heatsink, figure it would vibrate, and decided to work out a solution later, for the two 80MM fans, I'm using the ultra low noise adapters, reason why I went with Noctua, which work out great, and I got the fan for $12 each, no way would I have spent $20 which is the going rate, http://www.xoxide.com/noctua-nf-r8-fan.html, purchased all the items in my build from here, first time and would recommend, shipping wasn't free, but it was very reasonable, anyway, so far, the unit is quite, but if I where to start from scratch on a new build, I would recommend one of the low TDP CPUs, 35wats. Reason, the case gets warm, around 100F using my IR thermometer. 70F room temperature.

Edit, reversed the fans to exhaust the case, temps, are lower on the case, readings are now just above room temperture.

My i3-550 is putting off a lot of heat, I'm also trying to run the PC in an enclosed entertainment center with doors, but for now, I have to keep the doors open, cpu is running low to mid 50's C and the GPU is running around 60C . I do plan to in stall an exhaust fan in the cabinet, I had purchased a 120mm USB fan a year ago, that' I've yet to install, but since the fan would run 24X7, I'm going to purchase another fan and power it via the rear molex connector on the case, PC is on fan is on, pc is asleep, fan is off, plus one for the rear molex connector.

I had an issue originally when installing the parts last weekend, turns out the GPU that I had decided to keep because I was to lazy to go back to Frys and return, was DOA, got the replacement card, and it all works.

With the GPU, I'm pulling around 50-56 watts of power watching HD TV via my network turner, and the max draw was right at 75watts during boot up.

PSN: CAPTDANMAN
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post #29 of 202 Old 11-07-2012, 12:25 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lankou View Post

Hello All,
I have been a avid reader of this forum for quite some time, and I also would like to build my own small htpc.
This case looks really nice and I plan to use the mini-itx gigabyte motherboard (GA-H77N-WIFI) probably with an ivy-bridge i3 (HD4000).
I have questions on the slot :
- Is there a risk to scratch a disk when inserting it ?
- Is there a protection in the case slot somehow ? (hard to see on the pics).
- Due to the bezel of the drive, is there some space between the drive and the case ?
- What about the drive button to eject the disk ?
I also need to find a reseller of this case in Europe.
Thanks and regards
Lankou

I've built two E-i7s with the GA-H77N-WIFI and they turned out really nice. I have an E-i7 for my office PC and I haven't had any issues with scratches. The slot has a beveled edge and the bezel on the optical drive protects it. The optical drive tray slides back and forth so it's easy to adjust the optical drive to where you want once you screw it into the tray. There is no button on the outside of the case so you'd have to drill a small emergency eject hole yourself to access the manual eject button on your optical drive. I haven't done that but I've been told it's pretty easy by those who have. A small titanium drill bit will do it.

[Edit]Reseller in Germany: http://www.mini-case.com/

They can also be exported from the USA no problem.

 

 

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post #30 of 202 Old 11-07-2012, 12:27 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dbailey75 View Post

It was super tricky getting the GPU installed, hard to explain, but there's a slight lip on the top of the case, and you can just drop the card in, but end result, its do able.

I had the same experience installing a Sapphire LP 6670. It does go in, despite looking like it won't smile.gif.

I am looking forward to the rest of your writeup. Way to make use of the external molex connector smile.gif.

 

 

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