Upgrade PS or get new case?

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A computer I'm upgrading has an inexpensive Enlight case with a 250w
supply, so I've got to at least upgrade the PS.  It's a
mid-tower case, but I
have no idea if it would accommodate a newer
PS, as it's not as deep and wide as
my own Antec Sonata case.  Should
I look for a new ATX case with a decent PS or
just put a new PS in the
Enlight case?

I figure a newer case would be better
for airflow and front USB ports
at the very least.

The PC is going to be
running a P4 3.0c 800fsb Northwood on an Abit
IS7-E motherboard.  I'll use its
onboard audio for now since we're
starting out with those little Dell speakers
that attach to the
bottom of their LCD monitors, but I may put the SB Live! to
if/when we upgrade to a powered 2.1 or more setup.  At first only one
drive will be put in but I'd anticipate up to 3 HDs in the
future.  It'll also
have at least a DVD-ROM and DVD-RW drive, a
Radeon 9800Pro and a wireless NIC.
How many watts do I need to power
that configuration?

I love the Antec Sonata
(380W of quality power) I have for my
computer, so I'm quite an Antec fan and
I'm wondering if I should
just get another one or if the new 450W Sonata II
would be better?
The other two I'm thinking of are the 400W Antec
Solution SLK3800B
(says it's a
rackmount case (?)) - and the 400W Antec Performance
[url]http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16811129157 [/url].
preferences among these cases?  Anything I should be looking out


Re: Upgrade PS or get new case?

On Fri, 28 Oct 2005 19:30:33 GMT, no@spam.invalid (tluxon)

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Depends a lot on which Enlight case it is.  Yes you need a
larger PSU for a modern "typical" system, and if it's medium
performance P4 / Celeron based, or higher-end Athlon 64,
with gaming type of video card, the Enlight case may have
cooling limitations too.  Some older Enlights have an 80mm
rear fan hole (might be stamped-in-metal, needing cut out
for better ventilation), and other even older cases lack
this rear fan mount and (IIRC) had a different ledge-spacing
above the rear IO panel such that it might not even be
easily possible to fit an 80mm fan in that location.  Fans
smaller than 80mm have a limited benefit.

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Yes, "often"... still depends on the specific newer case of
course, some newer cases still have marginal airflow, at
least require some cutting or other modifications for best

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At least 350W with a high 12V amperage rating or 16A or more
in a very good PSU, 18A or more in a typical name-brand.
Easier to just overspec a little if there's any question
about the true capacity of the PSU, go for 420W name-brand.
That's not meant to be an actual calculation of what the
parts will consume, as I'm unsure about the Radeon 9800's
draw per rail and the HDDs can be an amp or two either way,
but rather an average amperage at which several of the
typical name-brands go from a low-end case-bundled PSU to a
better model.   I would not use an Antec SL350, for example,
but a Truepower 380 would probably suffice, a Truepower 480
even better but probably a little more than you need.

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120mm rear fan is nice, but I"m not a big fan of the
Sonata's sideways drive rack as it does reduce the HDD
cooling some.  May not be a problem though with only 3
drives, leaving an empty bay between each... or can it only
accomodate two with a space inbetween?  

Either has a little too much restriction on the front bezel
for optimal results, but relatively it's still fairly good,
most cases aren't any better.

Re: Upgrade PS or get new case?

On Fri, 28 Oct 2005 19:30:33 GMT, no@spam.invalid (tluxon) wrote:

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Personally, theres a large subjective element in there. When you buy a
new case its the most visible component to a PC so it really feels
like you bought a NEW PC . So theres that emotional aspect to it.

Frankly I love buying new cases but Ive only bought one when theres a
big sale usually compusa. They were clearing out a lot of things
recently like Antec cases.

The factors here  are - how bad is your Enlight case? Thats the big
one. If its really old and cramped etc then Id upgrade. But
surprisingly many of the old ones can be larger except in depth. Like
I mentioned I think most of the new ones are deeper to accomodate the
long 6800 and maybe 7800 cards. In my Antec they bump into my 3.5
drive cage and you have to really squish them in . I mean really
squish them in possibly resulting in damage. So when I had my 6800 I
took my 3.5 inch out and havent used a floppy drive since then even
though I went to 800XL ati card which is much smaller.

The other factor is how cheap is the new case? If you can get a new
nice looking one close the price of just the PS then its a nobrainer.
A lof the new sales on Antecs maybe cause they are clearing out the
old Antecs with older PSes and cases that arent as deep as the new
ones -- you know blowing old inventory. They had a few sales recently
at compusa the last few months on mid Antecs around 39-49 I think WITH
PS but they tended to be 350 watts or so but then its an ANTEC so the
PS is better quality than many PSes out there rated higher.

The ironic thing here is that many of the new mid Antecs are small. So
it could be more cramped and hot inside than some older cases. Thats
what happened to me. I went from a large mid tower Enlight and another
make which I forget the name at the moment ---- to an Antec 1600 as I
mentioned when compusa had one of their first sales over a year ago on
an ANTEC case which came with a 300 watt PS and it was SMALLER than
the avg mid , kind of  mini-mid tower as several years ago people
started wanting smaller cases. I complained about it here and
elsewhere ---- that the metal was very thin compared to the old style
cases easy to dent and it was really cramped inside for people with
lots of drives etc I had 4 HDs at the time and two burners etc. The
IDE cables created such a mess in there it was similar to a pic one
guy posted in here where it looked like a snakes nest .  I left the
side cover off all the time. I quickly went from that to a full Antec
tower when they that on sale. Thats what Im using now and I bought
another full tower Antec when they had a clearance $29 or so without
PS at compusa the last few months.

If the case looks OK not filthy and worn out , broken parts etc and
its a decent size then Id just go for the this. Jump on this deal .
Its only good for this week COMPUSA antec 430 watt 2.0 PS for
$39 after rebate.


The only caveat being Antec for me has been among the slowest rebate
payers ever. I have one right now processing for the case I bought.
And in the past I had to wait a long time for the cases and PS
rebates. You get them but they can be slow.

The main thing is is the functional aspects and looks worth another
$50 to you? Im actually using one Enlight for the 1.6 gig Athlon still
which works fine and must be over 4 years old. Another one I used for
two neighbors -- they got the case free from someone they knew to
reduce costs etc and they work fine.

I only buy cases when the old one is really outdated really bad looks
and function wise and I can get a new CHEAP.

Re: Upgrade PS or get new case?

On Fri, 28 Oct 2005 10:03:45 -1000, "John@Smith.com"

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The Enlights are like that too.  I've had 3 versions of the
same Enlight mid-tower ATX.  First had the all-in-one
U-shaped outer skin, not separate side panels.  PITA to open
up, but sturdy enough to stand on.

2nd has the individual side panels, looks like the pic of
the 3rd but no front USB and 1.0mm metal like the 1st.

3rd adds USB, but metal is now only 0.8mm thick.
Front intake not sufficient for much, I ended up filling the
top 4 bays with hard drives, putting a pleated filter in
front of them and using it as a fileserver.  It's a fairly
deep case for it's height, and rarer to have 4 x 5 1/4
external bays for it's height too, but lack of front intake
makes it more suited for P3 era cooling needs than a modern
set of gear.  I thought about cutting out a big hole in the
bottom of the bezel and putting in a mesh filter plate but I
have no shortage of spare cases, no need to do it.

Re: Upgrade PS or get new case?

This Enlight case was purchased in 1999 and has an Enlight 250W PS in
it.  I
can't find the model number on my receipts or anywhere on the
case, but since I
bought two of them in the same time frame the
number 7237 rings a bell.  It
doesn't have the USB ports on front but
does have the 80mm fan opening with the
mounting holes on the back.  I
haven't added any case fans so it only has the
standard one in the
lower front panel.  I would definitely need to add another
fan if
sticking with this case.

I'm inclined to go for the 450W Antec Sonata II
(http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16811129155 ),
but if I don't
really need the full 450W I would consider a couple of
their 400W cases.  What
do you guys think?



Re: Upgrade PS or get new case?

On Sat, 29 Oct 2005 03:30:04 GMT, no@spam.invalid (tluxon) wrote:

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I have a similar case like that Im using for my 3rd system. Its OK but
it is old. Its usable but kind of old, cheap looking.   The things
that really bug me are when things bump into one another besides the
6800 long cards. I hate it when the 5.25 inch drives  virtually bump
into the PS or the PS is hung so low it crowds the CPU heatsink -
stuff like that. That happens more on mini ATX systems though. I had
one case where the PS hung over the CPU and heatsink. Horrible design.

Theres a power calculator online. They might not have your CPU but
choose the closest thing to it.  


I was running my system with 4 HDs and two burners on an antec
400watt. I switched to a 500 watt though cause there so many sales the
last 6 months on PSes.

Re: Upgrade PS or get new case?

I just learned that the TruePower PS in the Sonata has a tighter
tolerance on
its power then the SmartPower PS in the Sonata II.  So
what is better - a 380W
TruePower or a 450W SmartPower?  I'm now
leaning toward the Sonata with the 380W

Re: Upgrade PS or get new case?

On Sat, 29 Oct 2005 08:29:28 GMT, no@spam.invalid (tluxon) wrote:

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I have no idea.  There arent a lot of detailed in depth PS reviews.

About the only thing you can go by is the buzz from consumers and a
general consensus that certain brands are OK and others arent.

Directron a vendor had this claim of weight and quality as a general
really rough guide. Youll see these 400 watt PSes for $8 and other
400watt PSes for 40-80 bucks. The cheapos unless theres a huge sale or
if its a real bargain tend to feel real light. Some of the real
cheapos dont have fans or have cheap fans in them. Of course theres
the quiet PSes that dont have fans but are decent quality and cost a
lot like some Antecs.

But the PS calculations in general seem to be below the rating of 380
so it should work.

The calc on my system is close to or over 400 depending on the HDs etc
I use so Im glad I went to 500. They started selling 550 and 600
watters on sale after a string of sales on 500watters so its really
getting up there.

Re: Upgrade PS or get new case?

On Sat, 29 Oct 2005 08:29:28 GMT, no@spam.invalid (tluxon)

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Either should work, the 450W is more margin/better but I
wouldn't pick based only on which PSU it had.

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