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Frankenmac 2017: Transplanted

After hitting a roadblock with the graphics card connector in Frankenmac’s many-years-old case, yesterday I picked up a new case and power supply, and set out to transfer the machine to its new home.

The power supply

First, the boring stuff: The power supply I chose is a Thermaltake Toughpower 750W 80 Plus Gold. It works well, and (other than the CPU and motherboard power cables) is modular, so you only add the cables you need.

Very strangely (to me, anyway) is that Thermaltake packages its power cables in a nylon bag, as shown in the image at right. I’m not sure why—do people wander around with PC power supply cables often enough to require a sturdy carrying case? Very odd. Anyway, the power supply is nice and quiet, installed easily, and seems to do its job. But power supplies are boring…

The case

My old case was an Antec Sonata III 500, and I found it to be relatively easy to work in and quiet. So I chose to stick with Antec for the new case, and went with the P100 (Antec product page | Amazon).

This new case is somewhat larger than the old—2.3 inches taller, 2.4 inches deeper, and .6 inches wider. I mostly care about the width, as it needs to fit in a space under my desk (it will). As seen at right, the case is visibly larger than the old one, but it’s still not a full tower case (which would be another two to three inches larger in all dimensions).

This case was relatively inexpensive ($75), but for that price, I’m impressed with both the build quality and the features, which include noise-blocking foam on the steel panels, two removable air filters for the front fan and power supply, behind-the-motherboard cable routing, and well-labeled front motherboard connectors.

The main benefit of the larger case is that there’s a lot more room to work inside. In my old case, for instance, the front left corner of the motherboard—where all those annoying front panel connectors plug in—was right up against the case, making it tricky to work in that area. In the new case, though…

…there’s a ton of room there—much more than just what’s due to the two inches of added height. Also visible in that picture is something else I love about this case: the built-in cable management. Run the cables out and in through the grommeted holes, and you can effectively hide a lot of the cabling. (Both sides of the case come off, so you can get to the back side to access the hidden cables.) The end result is a much neater interior:

There are other nice touches: The seven internal bays have grommets to silence 3.5″ mechanical drives, and can handle 2.5″ or 3.5″ drives. The corners of the case are rounded, so you won’t lose skin due to an accidental scrape. The sides come off and on very easily. The case didn’t come with a printed manual, but there is one available online. And I needed it, just to understand some of the cable routing options and fan connections.

It took me a while to get everything set up, but once it was all plugged in, Frankenmac booted on the first try—and my GTX 1080 card works! Tomorrow, back to the story of getting from the BIOS screen to full Frankenmac status.

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