What is acceptable computer case quality, and steel thickness?

Discussion in 'Cases & Case Modding' started by Broccoli, Oct 31, 2018.

  1. Broccoli

    Broccoli n00bie

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    Hello, I bought a Corsair Carbide 330R Blackout case because it filled my requirements for a new build. I wanted a quiet, understated case with no window. Looked good, got good reviews.

    But, when I got it out of the box, I found it was very flimsy. The metal panels deform easily under light pressure. This case cost $100. And yet it just seems very cheap and poor quality. I measured the metal parts as 0.7 mm thick. And that thickness includes the paint.

    What do you think is an acceptable (steel) metal thickness for a mid-ATX computer case? One 10-year old case I have is 1.0 mm steel, which feels more solid. This 0.7mm steel just feels really cheap. I feel like $100 for the Corsair 330R is a rip off. What do you think?
     
    Last edited: Oct 31, 2018
  2. FortTaylor

    FortTaylor n00bie

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    I feel like it depends on several things. Is the PC going to be built then move once or twice in its life? Is it going to LAN parties every few weekends? Are you cutting and sawing on the metal? I have a 30-year-old IBM server that I've gutted and will be stuffing a few mini ITX boards in. The exterior is 1.5mm thick and the inner frame is at least 2.5 sometimes 3 in places. I like 1mm minimum because I can guarantee I'm going to drop it and some of the thinner cases I"ve had have torqued every single time.
     
  3. Broccoli

    Broccoli n00bie

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    Good point. I'm sure a 30 year old IBM server would be solid. I have no plans for Lan parties or frequent movements. No major modifications planned. But, it bothers me, a $100 case is so flimsy.

    Are all cases made this way today? None of the review web sites I read mention metal thickness or overall sturdiness. Has the PC case market just gone to the lowest possible quality? I was also looking at the Nanoxia Deep Silence 3. They do actually say on their web site it is made with 0.6mm steel.

    Maybe someone can clue me into the current state of the PC case market. Are they all made with 0.6 - 0.7mm steel? Should I return this case? Or, should I get on with life and finish my build with an overpriced, flimsy case?
     
  4. hititnquitit

    hititnquitit Limp Gawd

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    ive found that to be very true of manufacturers cheaping out on panel thickness for years. the last case i bought and was impressed with its build quality was the cm stacker stc-t01 i bought in 2007 or 8($175ish). that sob was and is still a tank. since then its been getting worse and worse. ive got a cm haf-x($175) which looks like a tank but wow. once i tore it down to make some changes. i was really disappointed in how flimsy it actually was. without the hdd bays holding it up its a hunk o junk. but then ive got a deepcool case that i paid next to nothing for that is solid as a rock, shrug. its pretty much a crap shoot as to which case will be structurally sound and which will fold up like a deck of cards. i think the best reviews to actually give us an idea as to how well built a case is are actual build logs. where average modders are tearing them apart. most people do a complete tear down when they make a build log, to paint it or make replacement panels/parts etc. other than that we have to go by word of mouth for the most part. then again we all know when we get the bug it doesnt matter, were buying what we like!
     
  5. pitingres

    pitingres n00bie

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    The question probably should be, does flimsy matter for your use case? Sure, it's not particularly desirable, but as long as the case isn't going to fold in on itself if you bump it, it may not matter if the computer is hardly ever moved. Structural strength isn't just a matter of metal thickness, it's also about material choice (aluminum vs various steel grades) and design (e.g. the HDD bays may have been meant to be part of the overall structure).

    FWIW, the Define R6 strikes me as a very sturdy case, although it's hardly sub-$100.
     
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  6. M76

    M76 [H]ardness Supreme

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    I think the thinner the better. I don't necessarily want a heavy case, it's much easier to move and work with a light case. As long as it doesn't break under it's own weight it's fine. The most important is layout and practicality.
     
  7. Tony Ou

    Tony Ou SilverStone Tech Representative

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    Computer case design and manufacturing techniques have improved quite a bit over the last two decades. So there are now ways to create folds and creases in design that help strengthen a thinner metal panel or part to be equally as rigid as a thicker counterpart with simpler bends. For an ATX tower case to feel sturdy, 0.8mm thick steel was the minimum. While 1.0mm steel feels even more so, it usually makes the case noticeably heavy. 0.6mm thick steel can be used for parts that are small or require more complex/radical folds, but these are generally now used in smaller cases or models that are designed to be lower cost (though the really bargain basement type cases could go as low as 0.5mm or 0.45mm thick). 0.7mm thick steel has been a new favorite thickness for many manufacturers now as it strikes a balance between sturdiness and cost. With it painted on both sides, it somewhat mimics 0.8mm steel in feel in a mid tower case if done right.
     
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  8. Algrim

    Algrim [H]ard|Gawd

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    My wife bought a RV03 via Amazon and had to return it for being flimsy (defined as window panels not lining up and noticeably warped). The replacement was just as flimsy so she ended up getting a Zalman case that, despite being mostly plastic, was more sturdy than the RV03. It's possible that the two cases she received were defective returns (we all know Amazon has no qualms selling returned products) but her experience with the RV03 led me to my current case (in sig) instead of the RV05 I was considering.

    Cases that we buy should be sturdy enough that the pieces line up when closing them. Weight is not an issue; we have rolling desks for a reason.
     
  9. Tony Ou

    Tony Ou SilverStone Tech Representative

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    Algrim, sorry to hear about your experience. The window panel on the RV03 was acrylic while the rest of the steel chassis was 0.8mm thick, it's possible either or both wrapped a little while in transit or even off the assembly line without getting caught.
     
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  10. Chas

    Chas [H]ardness Supreme

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    If it can't stop armor-piercing .50 cal rifle rounds, it's not worth my time.

    Lift it? Why would I lift it? I PAY people to blow their balls into their socks for shit like that!
     
  11. Tony Ou

    Tony Ou SilverStone Tech Representative

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    I don't think your Core X9 case can stop a rifle round either. Maybe you should take a look at some of our rack-mountable cases such as RM400 or RM420. They use 1.2mm thick steel panels. :)
     
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  12. viivo

    viivo Gawd

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    The few Fractal cases I've had were quite sturdy for their relatively low prices. The Fractal Define S I'm using now has some very heavy and heavy duty side panels - I'm not exaggerating when I say the two panels on this mid-tower alone weigh more than the Rosewill full tower I was using previously.
     
  13. Broccoli

    Broccoli n00bie

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    Thanks for the input.
    I decided to look at this again. What is the cost that goes into a case? Materials and labor cost I can look up.

    I found cold rolled steel prices are high, about $850/ton. If a case starts out as 20 kg (a guess) of sheet metal (before cutting and stamping), then that is about $17 worth of metal.
    Going from 0.8mm to 0.6mm allows them to save about 25% or $4.25
    https://agmetalminer.com/2017/03/22...its-a-5-year-high-will-they-continue-to-rise/
    https://www.indexmundi.com/commodities/?commodity=cold-rolled-steel&months=360

    Labor cost for Chinese labor has really increased. From about $3450 USD in 2008 to $9200 USD in 2017.
    https://tradingeconomics.com/china/wages-in-manufacturing

    I remember in the 2009-10 time frame, after the big recession started, many goods were sold with less contents in the same package. For example, a box of food would have less contents in the same package. Manufacturers were selling less product while keeping the price the same. Sneaky.

    I am concluding that the case manufacturers are just cheaping out in the face of rising costs, similar to the food manufacturers. How low can they go with this? We let them get away with it. Nobody has paid attention and everyone just keeps buying what the manufacturers put out.

    I regret that the review web sites don't measure material thickness and quality. I am still of the opinion that the Corsair 330R is a rip off.
     
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  14. jrweis

    jrweis Limp Gawd

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    Much more money, but any of the Corsair Obsidian line cases are tanks. Have built at least a half dozen workstations in the Corsair 600Q also!
    Corsair 650D was my favorite case of all time, but sadly its no longer being made.
     
  15. Brian_B

    Brian_B [H]ard|Gawd

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    I don’t know how many mm is enough but I certainly know when a case isn’t enough.
     
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  16. pitingres

    pitingres n00bie

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    And when is that, pray tell? For me it would be when it collapses or folds when bumped. Anything beyond that is aesthetics, not function, IMO. Of course if you want to pay for 15kg of immovable steel, that's up to you, but it's no more functional than LED's in the fans.
     
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  17. Brian_B

    Brian_B [H]ard|Gawd

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    I don’t disagree. I am a big Lian Li fan myself. I won’t lie, I’ve done a few builds out of the cardboard box the motherboard came in.
     
  18. pitingres

    pitingres n00bie

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    I don't mean to imply that flimsy cases are desirable, or that there's never a need for a sturdy case, just that it's not an a priori requirement. My rig is sitting in a protected corner where the dog can't get at it and nothing is ever placed on top. It will probably get moved a half-dozen times over the next 8 years, if that often. It happens to be a fairly strong and heavy case but I bought it for silence, not weight or strength. For me, the ideal case would be reasonably firm, no noticeable flex under modest prodding, hold all the parts in place properly, and weigh about an ounce.
     
  19. Danny Dawg

    Danny Dawg [H]ard|Gawd

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    Firm cases with heavy steel that I have owned: Antec 300/302, Coolermaster HAF912, Fractal ArcMidi.
    The Corsair 500R was pretty good also. I think it is made from the 300R frame and shares some parts.

    Seems like the older stuff is where the heft is sort of speak. I also need 5.25 bays and those are disappearing as well likely for cost savings reasons.
     
    Last edited: Nov 22, 2018