Help needed on new computer case purchase

Cooler Master Ammo 533 Mid-Tower ATX Case for $56 shipped after rebate

Could I get some opinions on this case? I’d like to have plenty of room, I’m tired of tight spaces. My current HP (micro ATX case) has taught me a lesson. Couldn’t even upgrade my PSU because of the case size.

I’m buying the hardware now to get ready to build my first computer and need some advice on what type of case and motherboard I should buy.

I’d like to get as much case as I can for my $.

29 reviews here for you to read!! pros and cons

If there is a fry’s near you I would sugest going to look at cases. I’m not saying that is the best place to buy but they have a pretty big selection so you can see how diffrent cases are built and kind of get a feel for what you like. there are probably several full tower cases that you would like (moving from a crapy oem microatx case that is). Personally I have been pretty happy with my antec cases. I got a 600 series when they were being discontinued for 25$ and a plusview for 50$ (70 - 20 rebate), both from compusa. They are both basically this case give or take a few minor changes (only the plusview has a window).

They are roomy and easy to work on, and are built like a tank which is pretty good for noise dampening. It sucks when you try to lift one though (fully loaded they are mega heavy).
Micro center also runs some pretty good case deals from time to time (might be good online, I’m not really sure). I would go to some stores and check some out though (not nesasarilly with the intention of buying from these stores, just to see some diffrent case designs). The one thing that I would stick with is a full tower case. They take up more room but the ease of working on them not to mention the ability to fit whatever you need with room to work makes a big diffrence.

Fyi the one you are looking at seems ok though maybe a little bit on the cheap side (construction wise based on the reviews on newegg). If you have the money, it might be worth spending a few more dollars, if not, I’m sure it will be beter than what you have now.

Good advice ripit…I was in a Fry’s on a business trip several years ago and I was like a kid in a toy store!! What a store!! I recently bought a large HDD and some software from them via internet. I’d love to have access to a store like theirs but no such luck. I live in the east and they’re confined pretty much to the west. There’s a very small computer store nearby that may keep some cases in stock so I’m going to go by there and talk to them and hopefully they’ll have something for me to look at. I’m like you, I want a case that gives me room to work in.

I would love to have the Antec Performance case at the link you provided. I hardly ever move my computer once it’s in place so the weight wouldn’t be a problem for me.

I appreciate all of the responses and look forward to “picking your brains” more and more as I get on with the purchases for my new build.

If you were building a “non-gamer” computer today, what processor and what mobo would you go after?

I’d just like to see how some people respond to this question. Keep in mind, I don’t want to spend $1000 on a computer so that will tell you about what price range the processor will be (the most expensive single item probably).

I want to try to buy hardware as it goes on sale or when it has good rebates. I do want to use the computer to capture, edit and burn video disks of my family vhs and 8mm tapes. So, I don’t need the best or the fastest but I do need something that will hold up under long video capturing sessions.

Buying when it goes on sale can save you a lot of money. It might be smart to gut whatever you can use out of your old computer and use it for now, and then upgrade piece by piece as you go along and good sales come along. In the long run it can save you quite a bit. As far as the case I got, keep one thing in mind when comparing the one I linked to that was similar. The full sugested retail on the plus view (the one with a window) that I got was 100$, and it was on sale for 70$ with 20$ rebate (not much more than the one you looked at but like it, mine didn’t come with power supply). The reason I linked to that one to show was it was the only one on newegg that was identical but it comes with a power supply that sells on newegg for 76$. Keep that in mind if you look at antec cases. They are one of the rare exceptions of cases that come with decent power supplies (if they do come with a power supply) so factor that into the cost. Most other cases don’t come with power supplies that are worth keeping. I’m not saying that mine is the best either. If you swap around hard drives a lot, a case with hard drives that slide out the side instead of a cage that slides out backwards can be beter (and antec makes cases like that). I mainly just wanted to point out you should take the value of the power supply in to acount with antec cases (if it is one that comes with a power supply).

Another case that seems to be popular are the cooler master stacker cases (though they are pretty expensive). I think that one of the big apeals of them here is that it can take quite a few optical drives though they have lots of other nice features like dual power supply mounting.

As far as motherboard and cpu, If I were to buy today, I think I would go with an athlon 64 3500. I would seriously think about waiting till after july 24 though. The dual core athlons are suposed to drop in price substantially (as much as half price). If you can get a dual core athlon for 50$ more, I would think the power would be well worth the money. I’m not a serious gamer either, but I look at it this way. The more powerfull the processor, the longer it will be till you have to upgrade. I prefer to go with whatever processor provides the best bang for the buck (the most power for each dollar I spend), and I suspect after the july 24 price drops, the athlon 64 dual cores will be it.
As far as motherboards, I’m pretty preferential to abit motherboards. Unfortunatlly, I am not that farmiliar with socket am2 yet. so far as I know, the only main diffrence is that it uses ddr2 memory, though being the newer socket, it might have a longer life as far as upgradability. As far as socket 939 motherboards, I always liked the abit fatlity an8 (non sli version) but it seems to be discontinued. Personally, with the last board I got a little over a month ago, I cheaped out (found a deal), and got a abit ax8 (on clearance for 28$ from microcenter new, not open box), and it was selling for about 100$ on newegg at the time. My only complaint is only 2 pci slots, but it has 4 sata (dual raid), and 3 pata (6 drives) and I think that it supports pata raid too. Installation and setup was a breeze as I would expect from abit. It seems like abits latest socket 939 offerings are only sli or crossfire. They have more offered in socket am2 so it would seem that they are discontinuing (or recently already have discontinued) socket 939 motherboards. Unfortunatlly I havent really looked into socket am2 or motherboards yet (don’t feel like throwing away all my ram but I didn’t feel like throwing away my agp cards either but eventually had to upgrade to pci-16). If you don’t have valuable ram or an exsisting (valuable) agp card in your current system, its kind of looking (partially based on looking around right now), that socket am2 seems to be the way to go (processor recomendations still stand, athlon 64 3500 now or better, athlon 64 dual core if the prices do drop like they are suposed to on the 24th of july).

This is a better deal I think especially if you want room and a good air flow. 13 dollars more but look at the specs.

@ burnselk
Except for being ugly as f*ck it seems to be a decent case although I like the Centurion 5 case more… :slight_smile:

There’s a solid setup with good performance and easy on the wallet.

What you might want to do is to get a Seasonic S12 430W PSU (silent and more powerful). It’ll come in handy if you want to add a few more discs a powerful video card.

Add another 20$ to get a fast and silent 250Gb HDD.

Get 1Gb of RAM, it may sound much but it’s be well worth it.

As for CPU you’ll be fine with the current one, AMD will as ripit says lower prices although I highly doubt you’ll see a massive price drop.

The mainboard has integrated graphics which performance quite well, you can (of course) purchase a PCI Express Video Card later if you fell the that current doesnt satisfies your needs. If you want a full size mainboard I’d say Abit AT8 (not 32X) although its more expensive and requires a video card from the start.

There is suppose to be a massive price dropp in CPU’s after the 23 of July. I’ll locate the info.

Here’s the info Both Intel and AMD.

Here are two launch dates you might want to put on your calendar, July 23 and July 11. AMD will introduce its widely hyped LGA 1207-pin Socket on July 11, followed by Intel’s shipments of its widely hyped Core 2 Duo Conroe processor on July 23 – just in time for Kristopher’s twenty-third birthday.

Conroe, now officially known as Core 2 Duo for desktops, is officially scheduled to ship on July 23. Intel has already stated that the company plans for Conroe to account for 40% of its desktop sales by Q1’07 – a massive undertaking for a completely new architecture. The pricing for July 23 on Conroe is still exactly as we had published back in April. Intel allowed some benchmarks of Conroe earlier this year, with reasonably favorable results. Intel has also put out an advisory saying it will aggressively sell its 9xx and 8xx dual-core processors between June 4, 2006 and July 23, 2006 in order to dump inventory before the Conroe launch.

With the Opteron Revision F launch, we will see the new processor cores Santa Ana and Santa Rosa. Santa Ana is actually a dual-core AM2 component targeted specifically for workstations and 1U servers, while Santa Rosa is an LGA-1207 dual-core Socket F processor. There are no single-core Opteron Revision F processors. Quad-core Revision G Opterons (Deerhound) are not anticipated for at least another year.

AMD’s new 1207-pin socket, dubbed Socket F, has made a few appearances on DailyTech already. The socket will be AMD’s first land-grid-array (LGA) socket using the same method of contact pads for the processor found on Intel LGA-775 and LGA-771 processors. The retention clip is also a radical change for AMD.

The prices of the AMD’s will also drop quite a bit too.

This is an image on the prices to take effect on the release of the conroe duo 2.

AMD Plans Major CPU Price Drops Day After “Conroe”.

Memos from AMD insiders reveal big plans for July 24, 2006

According to memos recently obtained by DailyTech, AMD will drastically cut prices on its desktop processors after the July 23rd release of Intel’s Core 2 Duo Conroe processors. The memos that DailyTech has secured are between AMD and Japanese system manufacturers and indicate the following price cuts will become effective July 24th, 2006:

AMD Athlon 64 price cuts will receive price cut up to 30%
AMD Athlon 64 X2 will receive price cuts up to 50%
AMD Sempron processors will receive price cuts up to 15%
The memos only mention the AM2 processors; however the AM2 parts are now priced identically with Socket 939 components. AMD has previously indicated that the aim of the AM2 processors was to be price competitive with its legacy components. Several of the dual-core components do not show a price drop, but it’s possible AMD has just not announced the pricing on these processors yet. The Athlon 64 FX model line will not receive any price reduction.

Perhaps the most interesting price reductions are on the Athlon 64 X2 dual core line. The memo claims the Athlon 64 X2 3800+ will fall from a processor-in-box (PIB) of $303 to $169. Single core Athlon 64 3800+ processors will fall from $290 all the way to $139 through special promotions. The AMD Athlon and Sempron Energy Efficient models do not show any price reduction.

Intel already announced that it will also cut prices of its Pentium D and Pentium 4 processors between now and the general availability of Conroe. Conroe benchmarks have recently surfaced with significant performance advantages over Athlon 64, but the largest advantage of the processor until now has been the price advantage. With AMD and Intel in a price war over next generation processors, ultimately consumers will benefit the most.

65nm SOI AMD Athlon 64 Revision G processors are expected to ship this December. The memo also stated that AMD will not publicly announce the price cuts on its processor line until after the Conroe launch to avoid cannibalizing its current sales of AM2 CPUs.

AMD Athlon 64 Dual-Core Processor Pricing after 7/24

Processor --------------------PIB Price ----7/24 Price------Promotional Price

Athlon 64 X2 5000+ (socket AM2 only) $696 $403
Athlon 64 X2 4600+ (socket AM2 and 939) $558 $301
Athlon 64 X2 4200+ (socket AM2 and 939) $365 $240
Athlon 64 X2 3800+ (socket AM2 and 939) $303 $169

AMD Athlon 64 Single-Core Processor Pricing

Athlon 64 3800+ (socket AM2 and 939) $290 $142 $139
Athlon 64 3500+ (socket AM2 and 939) $189 $112 $109
Athlon 64 3200+ (socket AM2 and 939)) $138 $112 $99
Athlon 64 3000+ (socket AM2 and 939) $108 $112 $89

AMD Sempron Processor Pricing

Sempron 3400+ (socket AM2 and 754) $97 $87
Sempron 3200+ (socket AM2 only) $87 $77
Sempron 3000+ (socket AM2 and 754) $77 $67
Sempron 2800+ (socket 754 only) $67 $53

The single core athlon 64’s are already selling for around what amd said they would be reduced to (the lower models anyway). I’m really wanting to see what that athlon 64 x2 3800+ is going to drop to though (they are still about 300$ now). If 169$ is going to be full sugested retail, I wonder what they will actually sell for on newegg.
I would look through some of DiiZzY’s links as he has some good recomendations for a budget system. I of course have some of my own prefrences.

I would defanatlly go with the 1 gig of corsiar that he recomended over the 512 of kingston. While 512 is adaquate, it is quite possible with winxp to run low on memory with that much. 1 gig is more than enough for most average users though. further, the corsiar has better timings than the kingston, and getting a dual channel kit right off the bat guarentees that you can run dual channel with 1t timing which will give you about a 10-15 percent performance increase over running single channel 2t timings (which you might have to do if you get the kingston and later add another 512MB module to get 1 gig).

I have a slightly older pata version of that 160gig hitachi drive (x2) and they perform great (speed is very good raided). Further, they are well rated in storage reviews reliability survey. another 90 gig for 20$ sounds even beter.

The athlon 64 3500 is only 10$ more too if you are going to buy now (rather than wiat a little to see how much prices drop).

One very important thing to remember with motherboards is that there is no one best board. While I personally would not want to run a board that has onboard video (to big of a performance hit), remember that a decent video card will easilly cost you 100$ or more (possibly a lot more), so there is a good reason to go with onboard video for some users (though I hate that most boards with onboard video are microatx so you loose pci slots). Also look at sli and ati crossfire. If you think either might be of interest to you, fine, if not, again you are loosing your pci slots to it. Carfully look at the features list of various boards and decide what features you would like. Often having the right features can easilly help you narrow down the selection of motherboards, and carfully going through the features of various boards to get one that has the features that you want (or suspect you might want to use in the future) will most liklly make you much happier with you purchase long term.

Here a nice case that’s pretty easy on the wallet Cooler Master Centurion Blue. $60 with tax + free shipping, just ordered it for the system I plan to build within the next couple of months. $10 MIR, not sure how reliable the egg is with rebates as I am still waiting on the one I sent in a few months ago ( shows Aug 24 as expected delivery date).

That looks like a pretty nice case for the money. User reviews on newegg look pretty good for a case that cheap too.

@ ripit
Actually the performance hit is very small, and non existent if you go for a “external” video card alter on. He’ll never use Crossfire/SLI since he’s not a “extremely l33t hardc0re gamer”.

@ Dr. Who
Retailers wont drop prices like a rock just because AMD does it, there’s been quite a few times now when hardware is supposed to drop but only been reduced 10-20 bucks or even less than that.

This will happen mainly because of th conroe duo 2 CPU’s. I can post more links if needed to prove this theory.

Link #1 This is over the AMD’s price droppes.

Link #2 Intel Conroe will be released on 23rd July 2006, there also will be a price cut of some Intel prosessors from that date, the following list are the prices of the Intel range of Processors:

CPU Price
Intel Core 2 Extreme X6800 (2.93GHz/4M) $999
Intel Pentium Extreme Edition 965 (3.73GHz/2Mx2) $999
Intel Core 2 Duo E6700 (2.67GHz/4M) $530
Intel Core 2 Duo E6600 (2.40GHz/4M) $316
Intel Pentium D 960 (3.60GHz/2Mx2) $316
Intel Core 2 Duo E6400 (2.13GHz/2M) $224
Intel Pentium D 950 (3.40GHz/2Mx2) $224
Intel Core 2 Duo E6300 (1.86GHz/2M) $183
Intel Pentium D 940 (3.20GHz/2Mx2) $183
Intel Pentium D 930 (3.00GHz/2Mx2) $178
Intel Pentium D 920 (2.80GHz/2Mx2) $178
Intel Pentium D 820 (2.80GHz/1Mx2) $133
Intel Pentium D 805 (2.66GHz/1Mx2) $93

Have a look Here and Here

If you are in the market for a new Processor/computer, hold off and don’t buy until then, as the Intel Conroe is certainly worth waiting for. :slight_smile:

It’s now showing $44.99 after rebate with free shipping. :wink:

Dr.Who, I think in the first few days/weeks after July 23 we will see massive orders thus the price will not go down soon, or maybe no stock for us if we’re late. Supply/demand theory I guess. :flower:

It’s hard to say there will be price cuts on the older ones but I just review what I find on the net since the duo 2’s are not out yet. Supply and demand that’s right I already have my money for the conroe duo 2 that I want.

I’m not really interested in crossfire or sli either (I think that is more for hard core gamers like you said), though I have noticed a pretty big performance diffrence going from onboard to a card, or even from a lower card to a higher card, but that has just been my experience. I don’t do a lot of gaming but do some video and image work.

@ ripit
Can’t really agree that affects much in non 3D/OpelGL applications (memory bandwidth doesnt seem to matter at all anyways)

$54.99 + 9.25% TN state sales tax (Newegg has a warehouse in TN, therefore they charge sales tax), - $10 MIR. No PSU, but still a great case for the money.

I was kind of suprized to see that video made as much diffrence as it did with some of those benchmarks (mainly ones that directlly test cpu function or memory function). I would agree that the graphics only have a small impact on the cpu power and memory power. If you are doing something that is cpu or memory intensive or both, I can see where there is not a large loss of power from onboard graphics. Perhaps I should clarify where I have seen a diffrence. I generally have a few programs running and often multitask. I may jump from web brosing to doing something in photoshop to burning a dvd to starting some music etc., just lots of general stuff. I have noticed that when changing from program to program and window to window, opening or closing programs and or opening or closing things within the program, the response time is beter with beter graphics (not that you need anything really high end though). Even jumping from one broser window to another can be effected. Just general use of the computer (at least what is general use for me). Is not a massive diffrence but it is defanatlly noticable. even with little cpu usage going on it can be noticable (at least on my systems, maybe there is something else I am missing). If you were to say transcode a video file or something else that just uses cpu amd memory, which can be very dependant on the power of your computer, I can see where onboard video wouldn’t have a severe impact, but with what would at least seem to me, general computer use (a little of everything). I’m not sure if this makes a diffrence but for me, this would often be when there is not a high load on the cpu and memory (I have ran 2-3 computers on a kvm switch for quite a while and if I have something that requires a lot of system power, I usally do it on one computer and do other stuff on another).

It really depends on what you are doing and how you use your computer though. Obviously some things are not that effected.


External 5.25" Drive Bays, 5
External 3.5" Drive Bays1
Internal 3.5" Drive Bays4
Expansion Slots7

Since this is a mid-tower ATX case, do you think all of these drive bays will make it a bit tight after the PSU, HDD’s, mobo, and video and graphics cards are installed?

Wouldn’t a full ATX case be better? Mine doesn’t have to fit inside of a computer desk so it doesn’t matter that it’s larger. But, don’t get me wrong, I like the looks of the case and it appears to have what I want…except maybe space that is…and maybe I’m wrong about that.

Are my two (2) “Kingston ValueRAM 512MB DDR 400 PC3200 CL3 184 Pin DIMM Memory upgrade modules” that I just purchased worth keeping to use in my new build? I bought them at Circuit City (1G of RAM for about $70 total). I could take them back since I haven’t opened them and I haven’t had them that long.

The reason I ask, some people are saying go for a DDR2 mobo…I’m assuming what I have (DDR memory) won’t work in a DDR2 board.