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 Post subject: Best of the Best Full-Tower Case?
PostPosted: Sun Jan 27, 2013 1:07 pm 
Klamath
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MaximumPC says the Cosmos II is the Best of the Best case. http://www.maximumpc.com/article/%5Bpri ... ase_review They've reviewed some others recently, but none have dislodged the Cosmos II from its place.

I want to make sure I'm getting the best case in existence, so I'd like to check other review sites to make sure. Other sites do not have the same kind of rolling KOTH Best of the Best or even a top 5 category like frostytech does, so I'm down to reading each review and weighing the features. I'm looking for a site that caters specifically to cases, or at least does as thorough a job of it as frostytech.

HardOCP has a category for cooling and cases (I don't care so much about anyone's reviews about cooling besides frostytech, since they are the closest to an empirical review group as exists). They have a gold editor's choice reward, but there's no head-to-head comparison between each rewarded case that decisively picks a winner. I guess the biggest winner would be whatever was the one rewarded the most recently, like the NZXT Phantom 820.

bit-tech reviews about one case a week, but has no BotB case, or any way of sorting reviews by case score.

Tom's Hardware doesn't review cases often enough to make them entirely credible, and hasn't reviewed full-tower cases in a long time.

I'm looking for the best case approved by multiple professional reviewers as the best current case. I go by the standards of reviewers, not necessarily what I need: no design flaws, the hugest case imaginable, no sharp parts, easy to move stuff around in, good I/O and motherboard connectors, room for air and liquid cooling and for oversized mobos, lightweight and easy to pick up, perfect airflow and as close to absolute zero in ambient temperature, room for expansion, well-designed part retention, and no extraneous bonus features like displays, PSUs, or fans that weigh down the case's top score.


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 Post subject: Re: Best of the Best Full-Tower Case?
PostPosted: Sun Jan 27, 2013 2:55 pm 
Smithfield
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Here's what you can do because I don't think anyone really wants to do the homework for you: Go on Newegg, TigerDirect, etc and shop around for cases. Find one that looks good to you. Then go on Google, type up that case's make and model with the word "review" on the end of it.

Tadah!


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 Post subject: Re: Best of the Best Full-Tower Case?
PostPosted: Sun Jan 27, 2013 3:39 pm 
Clawhammer
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^ Excelentes consejos!


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 Post subject: Re: Best of the Best Full-Tower Case?
PostPosted: Tue Jan 29, 2013 7:27 pm 
Klamath
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LatiosXT:
Quote:
Find one that looks good to you.
I don't think buying a case based on aesthetics is the best way to pick one out, as there are other considerations like weight, durability, ease of moving parts around, and space considerations.
Quote:
I don't think anyone really wants to do the homework for you
The professional writers of multiple websites based around parts reviewing would probably disagree with this argument. They do homework for others as a part-time or full-time job.
Quote:
Then go on Google, type up that case's make and model with the word "review" on the end of it.
The reverse-search technique does not leave room for KotH-type evaluations of deciding the best of an item. The better way to find the best product is to do what MaximumPC tries to do, and what others do in greater numbers with cases: they review as many of the latest offerings as possible, judging the products by their own set of standards and based on what enthusiasts need, and declare editors' choice cases or give high scores to the cases that best meet those standards. The reverse search method is equivalent to telling someone to get on eBay and find the best K6 CPU and then look up reviews to find the best model--it's leaving out innumerable superior products due to a myopic starting point. I might have to do what I've done with printers, mousing surfaces, and mobile broadband plans and put a few days into compiling my own comprehensive study with links to reviews and reflections on their evaluations, but I'd rather not ignore someone else's efforts at doing the same thing.

What I'm asking in this thread is if anyone on MaximumPC follows reviews on one or more sites on a regular basis that covers cases, and knows what that site's favorite case ever is.


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 Post subject: Re: Best of the Best Full-Tower Case?
PostPosted: Tue Jan 29, 2013 7:39 pm 
Clawhammer
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Dude, your approach here is not productive. It feels like you are searching for the ingredients of pixie dust and a recipe for Leprechaun sperm. Take a deep breadth, because a case is so subjective. Don't let those review sites fool you! Sounds like it may too late.

Let's make this easy for everyone. I suspect you want a box for an ATX board, right? Okay, riddle us this...

1. What is your budget?
2. How many hdd's do you plan to stuff it with?
3. Are you the crazy lighted freakoid dragon scales Nazi type or classy, unassuming and subdued type?
4. Are you looking for a Mongoloid tower of hapless power or something svelte and with a minimal footprint?

Tell us what you're after and maybe we can recommend the best case for your money.


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 Post subject: Re: Best of the Best Full-Tower Case?
PostPosted: Wed Jan 30, 2013 7:38 pm 
Klamath
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Quote:
1. What is your budget?
Maximum budget. I'm looking for the best case, not the most affordable one, since I've already got a case that cost $60, and one that was a gift. The price isn't as important as the quality, and it must be justified as to why it's the superior case (for example, I'm sure that there are some chique boutique cases that have little going for them besides a modern art look and a high price tag).
Quote:
2. How many hdd's do you plan to stuff it with?

At least three. What case holds the record for largest number of hard drive slots?
Quote:
3. Are you the crazy lighted freakoid dragon scales Nazi type or classy, unassuming and subdued type?

Quote:
I don't think buying a case based on aesthetics is the best way to pick one out, as there are other considerations like weight, durability, ease of moving parts around, and space considerations.

Quote:
4. Are you looking for a Mongoloid tower of hapless power or something svelte and with a minimal footprint?

Quote:
the hugest case imaginable


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 Post subject: Re: Best of the Best Full-Tower Case?
PostPosted: Wed Jan 30, 2013 8:06 pm 
Clawhammer
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That was easy, your search ends at CaseLabs. Get your poor credit card ready because it sounds like you want a Magnum TX10D.

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 Post subject: Re: Best of the Best Full-Tower Case?
PostPosted: Fri Feb 01, 2013 7:43 pm 
Klamath
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kleinkinstein: Since a GTX 690 would run about $1000, $900 for a case doesn't seem like such a large amount. There's other components that I'd need to research if I were going to invest that much, like which is the best pump, reservoir, and contact plate for a cooling system, and which were the best fans. The reference to CaseLabs led me to overclock.net, which has a larger amount of users at the price-no-object case side of system building, who tend to research components and do whatever it takes to get interoperability.

I haven't seen anyone justify why the Magnum TX10D is better than the next smallest case. In its default configuration, it is bisected vertically, which I've read is for holding two motherboards. I can't imagine why you'd need two motherboards--maybe if you are like me and ideally would need two video card types (one for gaming, one for 3D media creation). If it can be removed, there are plenty of uses for the extra space. Keep in mind that building a single rig for 3D media creation is pointless, since the fastest renderers are made of hundreds of CPUs in a farm. If someone figures out how to do the same thing for games, lanwars are going to get a lot more crowded...

If I were to build a system from scratch from the inside-out, I'd start with the motherboard type needed. It's been a long time since I've seen a dual-Xeon rig, and I'm left wondering if it could still outperform a single i7-3960X. I'd also need to find out which is the best dual-CPU motherboard, and if the motherboard would have enough feature supports to exceed the number of PCI-e bi-directional lanes and the number of cards supported by single-CPU boards.


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 Post subject: Re: Best of the Best Full-Tower Case?
PostPosted: Fri Feb 01, 2013 8:08 pm 
Smithfield
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joel96 wrote:
There's other components that I'd need to research if I were going to invest that much, like which is the best pump, reservoir, and contact plate for a cooling system, and which were the best fans.

The problem here is that you need to define what you want. The best pump or fan to some may be the one with the highest CFM. To others, it may be the one with the highest CFM but below a certain sound threshold. Contact plates are a little easier to figure out which one is the best, however.

Quote:
If someone figures out how to do the same thing for games, lanwars are going to get a lot more crowded...

Except the problem with video games is that render farms don't have something called a real-time requirement. Video games do. I want frames per second, not frames per hour.

Quote:
If I were to build a system from scratch from the inside-out, I'd start with the motherboard type needed. It's been a long time since I've seen a dual-Xeon rig, and I'm left wondering if it could still outperform a single i7-3960X. I'd also need to find out which is the best dual-CPU motherboard, and if the motherboard would have enough feature supports to exceed the number of PCI-e bi-directional lanes and the number of cards supported by single-CPU boards.

There's an 8-core Xeon that is basically the Core i7-3960X in its fullest.

Also graphics cards don't saturate PCI-Express 3.0 x16 yet. In fact, they can still run plenty well at x4. At the bare minimum, 16 lanes across four graphics cards is okay. 32 lanes is the cutoff. 64 lanes is unnecessary (but then again... that's not really a word I'm seeing here)


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 Post subject: Re: Best of the Best Full-Tower Case?
PostPosted: Sun Feb 03, 2013 12:07 am 
Klamath
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Quote:
There's an 8-core Xeon that is basically the Core i7-3960X in its fullest.

The 4650 exceeds the 3960's and 3970's test scores without overclocking. http://www.cpubenchmark.net/high_end_cpus.html
The 2690 scores just barely better than the 4650, and is about half the price. The 4650's L3 cache is 5MB larger than the 3960's. This article puts the inferior 3930 against the 2690: http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/33197 ... 2690-3930k. The latency and rock-paper-scissors scoring in different areas between CPU types and between motherboards in their own category is one that will have to be resolved somehow (suggestions are welcome). I favor a mathematical way of determining it (giving a weight to each category, and developing an accurate overall score for some kind of 1:1 comparison).

This page compares two Gigabyte dual-CPU motherboards, but fails to compare it to any other board in benchmarks: http://www.ocaholic.ch/xoops/html/modul ... 39&page=14 It appeals to me because it has room for 512GB of RAM, which is the most I've seen on any board, workstation or otherwise. If I were to go with eight of the 64GB Corsair Dominator Platinum memory kits to populate all of the slots, the RAM alone would cost about (at retail prices) $8800. The board has only two x16 PCIe 3.0 slots, but as LatiosXT mentioned, cards are not affected by motherboard support of more than 64 lanes (citation wanted), but does include more x8 PCIe 3.0 slots. I'm having trouble finding recent review sites for dual-CPU motherboards that use the top Xeon CPUs. Like the above link, they tend to give scores on an inconsistent test bed without direct comparison between boards or CPUs. Case in point: http://hwbot.org/. The highest scores are gotten by users that do not document their test beds on the score page, or are using hardware that is one or two generations old.

The 3970 is better than the 3960 at everything anyway, if a buyer is to go with an i7 over a Xeon (3970's are going for upwards of $500 on eBay, E5-2690's are going for upwards of $900). This chart is the only one I've seen to benchmark several single-CPU x79 boards against each other: http://www.ocaholic.ch/xoops/html/modul ... itemid=622

This article is relevant, as it gives baseline scores for RAM overclocking as it stood in early 2012. If I were to build a rig with less expensive components, it may serve as a useful target.

Keep in mind all of this component talk is directly related to cases, since it will affect the size of the case due to the motherboard size and the cooling requirements of potentially multiple CPUs, GPUs, and an unknown quantity of RAM.


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 Post subject: Re: Best of the Best Full-Tower Case?
PostPosted: Mon Feb 04, 2013 6:30 am 
Clawhammer
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What exactly are you after with this schizophrenic banter? Do you have a valid use case and a real need here? If not, just stick with your PS2.


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 Post subject: Re: Best of the Best Full-Tower Case?
PostPosted: Mon Feb 04, 2013 8:05 am 
Smithfield
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Ivy Bridge PCI-Express Scaling with HD 7970 and GTX 680 Moral of that story: You can run modern GPUs, even so-called PCI-Express 3.0 cards, down to PCI-Express 2.0 x4 before taking a performance hit, even at 2560x1600.

So yeah, why are you really here and what do you want to do with this computer. If you want to waste money to buy a $5000 machine so you can play games, okay, we'll gladly go on Newegg and pick the most expensive parts for you.


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 Post subject: Re: Best of the Best Full-Tower Case?
PostPosted: Mon Feb 04, 2013 2:30 pm 
Million Club - 2 Plus
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Just get this: CM Storm Trooper.

Almost any full tower will fit your needs.


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 Post subject: Re: Best of the Best Full-Tower Case?
PostPosted: Mon Feb 04, 2013 8:34 pm 
Klamath
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tl;dr: PCIe 3.0 boards are faster and cooler than PCIe 2.0-only boards. 3.0 boards need EATX cases, 2.0 ones don't necessarily.
tl;dr: PS2 emulation is something I want to be able to do (due to scalability in resolution and other visual effects), but from what I understand, it requires a heavy-duty system, which is what I'm after.
tl;dr: Why the Storm Trooper?

@LatiosXT:
callsignvega tested a four-GPU rig on the Asus Rampage IV Extreme, and found a 50-frame difference between PCIe 2.0 and 3.0.
http://www.evga.com/forums/tm.aspx?m=15 ... print=true
jihadjoe had similar results, albeit ones with a smaller margin of about 10 frames.
http://www.techpowerup.com/forums/showt ... 077&page=3
It appears that the difference is more significant with multi-gpu rigs at high resolutions, and less so with single gpus that don't require moving data generated by more cards across the bus.

The only quad x16 board:
http://www.anandtech.com/show/6228/asro ... -sassata/9
This article tells me that it might be the dual PLX PCIe 3.0 setup that causes the lower speeds (compared to the other 2.0 and x8 boards) in the one quad x16 3.0 board on the market (as opposed to quad x16 3.0 support on a single chip. It also shows that speeds in 3.0 boards vary from model to model, and might not be completely influenced by 3.0 support.

This thread talks more about vega's conclusions, and comparisons between the plx and nf200 PCIe controllers:
http://www.xtremesystems.org/forums/sho ... OUR-SLOTS!!
Based on the responses, I want to try to stay away from the nf200 chip and go with a board that has a PLX chip, even if I'm not going with a multi-gpu rig. It sounds like the nf200 is hotter and has fewer lanes.

Quote:
we'll gladly go on Newegg and pick the most expensive parts for you.

If you're not familiar with the high-end market parts, you could advise me with components from previous-gen hardware as a fall-back option. From there I can pick out a case that will match those parts. Expensive does not always equal performance; I'm ignoring price for now in favor of figuring out what the baseline for performance is. I can always work backwards from performance, but I can't do the same thing with money due to diminishing returns. There are nine computers in the house right now, most of which I'm trying to get rid of for less than a hundred dollars since they are outdated by about a decade. So far, the best components I've seen aren't the most expensive (eBay sold listings at lowest price + shipping):
Rampage IV Extreme: $300
3970x: $515
Corsair Dominator Platinum 16GB cl10 2666: $484 (Apacer's 78.AAGDW.9KD0C 2GB sticks are faster at stock, but I haven't seen any manufacturer retailers that list prices for the modules, or anyone who has tried to overclock them, so that's a bit of an unknown) (multipled by up to 2, since the Rampage IV Extreme only has eight slots)
Seasonic X-1250: $217.39
Magnum TX10-D: $923.08 (includes shipping)
GTX 680: $700 (multiplied by up to 4)
Phase change cooler: est. $950
Parts for phase change cooler for GPUs: $200
That comes out to $6873.47 at most, assuming I just shifted over my disk drives and didn't buy an SSD. I have about $300 worth of computer components right now, and the only reason I'm upgrading now instead of when the GTX 790 and Socket H3 releases is because my MSI P45 Platinum is apparently causing random reboots, and because no one will tell me what the best 775 board ever made was (which I think was the P45, but apparently its durability was not as good as other boards, if it is the cause of the BSODs and POST fails). I'm guessing that most 1366, 1156, 1155, and 2011 boards would be better than the 775 I have right now, and the older it gets, the cheaper it is to find the best components of their generation.

Quote:
The problem here is that you need to define what you want.

I only have one game that will not play at all without better components, S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Shadow of Chernobyl with the 2012 mod. It gets fps dives and lag spikes even at the lowest settings. It was made in 2007. According to this article, it looks like it is graphics-intensive, and a GTX 680 can't keep up with an lcd-standard 60fps on highest settings, even when overclocked. A 690 can meet the 60fps minimum, but if I were to get a 120Hz monitor, it still would lag.

I want to be able to simultaneously run Elder Scrolls IV with whatever the latest HD texture pack and render mods are, screen-record at 60fps with FRAPS, audio-record with Audacity, and stream in 1920x1080 at 60fps with OBS (haven't figured out how to get it working yet, partly due to weak system specs and bad internet; VLC or any other implementation of ffmpeg might be a better choice to merge the screen capture and streaming). I then want to be able to transcode the FRAPs codec to a lossless 48-bit color, i.e. YUV 4:4:4 so that it can be edited and merged with the audio in Premiere 5.5, then output to mpeg4 for YouTube use. So I've got three programs running at once, all highly CPU, RAM, and GPU intensive. It's going to take a lot of power and a lot of cooling to make it happen. If I can get that with a 1366 board with an i3, 4GB of DDR2, and a GTX 260, great. I'd prefer cheaper over expensive if it will do the things I need it to do.

@kleinkinstein:
Quote:
stick with your PS2
Since I don't own any consoles aside from an N64 and a Gamecube (not counting the Wii in the house), I assume you are referring to my Compaq 269513-006 PS/2 keyboard, which I use in place of my Saitek Eclipse since the desk I'm using isn't big enough for two full-sized gaming keyboards, and can only accommodate the Razer Black Widow and the standard-sized Compaq. I can assure you I will stick with the Compaq for now, or at least until we get a bigger desk. If I get the Magnum TX10D, I suppose I could turn it on its side and use it as the desk, or take out one of the pedestals, climb on top of the 6' case, and use that as the desk.

@Airheadq: Is there a reason why you prefer the CM Storm Trooper over the other cases? Is there some advantage in terms of cooling, adaptability, weight, or features that makes it better than the Cosmos II, or anything from CaseLabs? If you've done comparison research that led you to that conclusion, I'll read it like I did with the others'.


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 Post subject: Re: Best of the Best Full-Tower Case?
PostPosted: Tue Feb 05, 2013 7:11 am 
8086
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joel96 wrote:
I want to be able to simultaneously run Elder Scrolls IV with whatever the latest HD texture pack and render mods are, screen-record at 60fps with FRAPS, audio-record with Audacity, and stream in 1920x1080 at 60fps with OBS (haven't figured out how to get it working yet, partly due to weak system specs and bad internet; VLC or any other implementation of ffmpeg might be a better choice to merge the screen capture and streaming). I then want to be able to transcode the FRAPs codec to a lossless 48-bit color, i.e. YUV 4:4:4 so that it can be edited and merged with the audio in Premiere 5.5, then output to mpeg4 for YouTube use. So I've got three programs running at once, all highly CPU, RAM, and GPU intensive. It's going to take a lot of power and a lot of cooling to make it happen. If I can get that with a 1366 board with an i3, 4GB of DDR2, and a GTX 260, great. I'd prefer cheaper over expensive if it will do the things I need it to do.


I'm sorry, you're willing to spend any amount of money in order to generate videos of you playing video games to post on YouTube? I don't mean to sound harsh, but step back and think about that. We all sometimes get clouded minds when we're trying to perfect or research something ad nauseum. At the end of the day, it's, of course, your money...


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 Post subject: Re: Best of the Best Full-Tower Case?
PostPosted: Tue Feb 05, 2013 8:22 am 
Smithfield
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Upload them on YouTube you say.

You do realize that YouTube re-transcodes all uploads to okay quality for bandwidth reasons. So enjoy putting all that power for naught.


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 Post subject: Re: Best of the Best Full-Tower Case?
PostPosted: Tue Feb 05, 2013 3:06 pm 
Clawhammer
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I smelled this was going here waaay back. :roll:

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Move along everyone, we have only a guy here in need of sanity recalibration.


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 Post subject: Re: Best of the Best Full-Tower Case?
PostPosted: Tue Feb 05, 2013 8:47 pm 
Million Club - 2 Plus
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joel96 wrote:
@Airheadq: Is there a reason why you prefer the CM Storm Trooper over the other cases? Is there some advantage in terms of cooling, adaptability, weight, or features that makes it better than the Cosmos II, or anything from CaseLabs? If you've done comparison research that led you to that conclusion, I'll read it like I did with the others'.


You seem to already have your answer. I can only say that the Cosmos is a large and heavy case when fully loaded.


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 Post subject: Re: Best of the Best Full-Tower Case?
PostPosted: Sun Feb 10, 2013 10:31 pm 
Klamath
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The point is that I'm looking for a rig that can do it all without the wall of unexpected slowdowns that plague just about every program that I run: FRAPs (can't run it in high resolution at high fps), Maya (slow renders--kind of comes with the territory), Photoshop (slow raster drawing), STALKER lags and frame dives, Dark Forces emulation lags with audio at 48k, slow bootups, slow program switching and general multi-tasking, lag with lots of objects in Supreme Commander 2, slow loads for Unreal 3, lag spikes in TF2, long loads in flight sims like X3--Albion Prelude, about 20fps on lower settings for Dirt 3, and low fps overall for most games. If I can get the level of quality I'm looking for out of a 1155 system, or one that is three generations old, great. What I'm trying to get from MaximumPC members is a benchmark for top performance. It is "MaximumPC;" while what is maximum depends on the needs of the user, the goal of the magazine has generally been to find the top performers in any category. It might be better if I expand the sample size of opinions on the subject so that I can contribute a bit more to the discussion than my own usage needs.

YouTube is one site of many for uploading videos. TASVideos has a guide on how to minimize transcoding lossiness by controlling the transcode by doing it yourself prior to upload. I mention ultra-high modern game recording and streaming in HD 1080 since it is the harshest real-world test of realtime computer performance I can think of, surpassed only by QSXGA in stereoscope. Right now the method of recording and streaming the most basic of games absolutely stinks, and there aren't many things I can do that would be much worse than it. Feast your eyes on the ultra lo-fi horror if you deem it relevant. A longer-term goal I have is to start making machinima out of the games, but I'm not going do that until I have a system that can output a higher-quality image for recording.

@Airheadq: thanks for the warning on the Cosmos II, heaviness is something that I want to avoid if I can get something lighter that is just as durable.

The most money I could spend if I went out right now is about $3500. I could get the remaining $3300 for the parts listed above in about six months. Or I could build one of these for about $1500 and forswear everything but MS-DOS and Win9x games: http://vogons.zetafleet.com/viewtopic.php?t=27845 Still leaves the case as an unknown.


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 Post subject: Re: Best of the Best Full-Tower Case?
PostPosted: Sun Feb 10, 2013 10:42 pm 
Smithfield
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Which we're going to come again in full circle. All of the other hardware you'd want to make the "bestest system ever" is quantifiable. Best CPU? Probably that Xeon 8-core. Best GPU? GTX 690. Best RAM? Whatever's the fastest you can get for the Xeon. Best motherboard? Probably whatever costs the most.

Best case? It depends on what you want. You already put out a limitation there: you don't want it to be heavy but you want it to be durable. A lot of people wouldn't take that into consideration when claiming a case is the best case. I think the SilverStone FT02 is one of the best Mid-ATX cases there is... but I'm sure plenty of people would disagree with me on that. Let's save time by not throwing darts blindfolded at a dart board while drunk here.


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