5 Ideas to Improve and Bring New Life into Your Old PC Case

VitalyT

Posts: 5,829   +5,876
I don't think any of these are a good-value advise. He's one from my personal experience...

The best way that I ever revived an old PC was to get an updated SSD for it, with a fresh OS. My PC was constantly out of space on the system drive, with an old Samsung 256GB SSD, and Windows accumulated too much garbage over time that was almost impossible to root out. Investing $90 into a 1TB Samsung 870 QVO, and getting fresh Windows 10 made all the difference in the world. I only wish I did it earlier.

And I got Windows 10 Pro license for $20 here - https://www.cdkeysales.com/microsoft-windows-10-pro-oem-cd-key-global.html
 
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QuantumPhysics

Posts: 5,214   +5,910
I haven't seen any new PC cases I am excited about.

My Alienware Area 51 Tetrahedron TRIAD is the last PC case I was ever attracted to.

The next computer I build will probably be Jonsbo TR03but I will wait a few years till we have DDR5, 10TB SSD, and possibly the 4000 series RTX cards - of which I'll get the most powerful version possible top replace my 3090 FTW3.

As for the temperature LCD dials and all the gimmicky stuff: I would rather simply focus on functionality instead of aesthetics.

Because I play flight simulators a lot, I need a lot of USB 3.0 ports in the back of the computer. 10 is a good number.
 

psycros

Posts: 3,557   +4,334
I don't think any of these are a good-value advise. He's one from my personal experience...

The best way that I ever revived an old PC was to get an updated SSD for it, with a fresh OS. My PC was constantly out of space on the system drive, with an old Samsung 256GB SSD, and Windows accumulated too much garbage over time that was almost impossible to root out. Investing $90 into a 1TB Samsung 870 QVO, and getting fresh Windows 10 made all the difference in the world. I only wish I did it earlier.

And I got Windows 10 Pro license for $20 here - https://www.cdkeysales.com/microsoft-windows-10-pro-oem-cd-key-global.html

The article is about reviving the *case*, not the whole PC.
 

Shadowboxer

Posts: 1,717   +1,322
I put a fan controller on my front panel and then 2 months later I removed it as the motherboard can controller was far better. A complete waste of money and time. The best thing to do with an old case is use it for some kind of art project or something. I actually have a friend of mine a side panel of an old case to use in his terrarium.
 

Neatfeatguy

Posts: 433   +695
So what this article is saying, 5.25" bays are so in this month. Yes! I'm relevant!

I've never had a case that didn't have a 5.25" bay or multiples. They absolutely come in handy if you get the right products to make use of them if you're not installing any kind of CD/DVD/BR ROM in them.

Since I've always had a DVD burner that I make use of, not just for burning things to DVD, but also to play physical copies of games I have and like to install from time to time, I've always needed a case with at least 1 - 5.25" bay.

My Cooler Master Cosmos 1000 case, I had utilized a NZXT fan controller (was a LED touch screen model) that worked well, but after about a year the screen failed. The case itself was pretty poor for air flow with a limited number of fan mounting locations, so I moved to a new full tower.

I went to a Fractal Design Arc XL that has 4 - 5.25" bays. I had 2 burners at the time - I had some older CDs that were in pretty bad condition so I'd go about copying the CD to a new disc. That left me with 2 - 5.25" bays unused. So, I ended up ordering some HDD brackets designed to mount in 5.25" bays. I mounted my two HDDs inside the 5.25" bays, pulled out the unused HDD cages and that opened up the space inside the case to help improve air flow from the front intake fans. I used this case for about 4 years, but needed to change cases due to some bad GPU sag that was on the verge of breaking the PCIE lane.

My current case - Cooler Master HAF XB Evo - has 2 bays, but only one is occupied with my Blu-Ray ROM for ripping DVD/BR discs to my plex server. I'd say that the move to this case was awesome. The MB mounts parallel to the ground, instead of perpendicular in a standard case. This means hot air from the GPU isn't floating up to the CPU, all hot air simply escapes out the top via a 200mm fan or rear exhaust 140mm fan. No intake fans are necessary due to ample side vents allowing outside air to flow in/out. Also, no GPU sag or no need for a supporting bracket for a large GPU.

Anyway, I always have a use for a 5.25" bay and they are nice to have for added things you might not immediately think about. At least that's how I see them.
 

mountains

Posts: 36   +54
I have been frustrated with the move away from 5.25" drive bays. I have a Fractal Design Define R5 with two 5.25" bays. One drive has a DVD/CD burner and the other has a hot-swap-able SATA HDD drive slot. They get used. The HDD slot is great for doing backups or diagnosing other drive problems.

When looking for new cases one of the first things I look for is the 5.25" option.

There is a trend to larger water coolers, and they need a place to live, especially if you want the cooler to be higher than the CPU. I don't like having the cooler blowing out the top. Some people put that big cooler in the front, taking up the space where the 5.25" bays were. My system has a 140mm single fan water cooler blowing out the top back. That has been a fantastic compromise. The thermals have been great. Of course, I have several slow 140mm fans everywhere as silence/cooling was my focus.

Unfortunately, 140mm single fan water coolers are really hard to find now. Does anyone have a source on one? That system is 6 years old, and I will need to replace the cooler eventually.

Great idea for an article, BTW!
 

Adhmuz

Posts: 2,187   +1,004
Unfortunately, 140mm single fan water coolers are really hard to find now. Does anyone have a source on one? That system is 6 years old, and I will need to replace the cooler eventually.
Sadly it looks like all the 140mm singles I thought about are discontinued, the NZXT Kraken X42 was probably the last one until it was canned. Corsair had the H90, Cooler Master had the Nepton 140XL, both of these are long gone. Unless space is a limitation I'd say a good air heat sink would be better performing at this point in time, otherwise you'll need to look into custom loops or buying a new AIO and swapping the pump/block onto your existing 140mm rad.
 

Aus spot

Posts: 113   +98
Investing $90 into a 1TB Samsung 870 QVO, and getting fresh Windows 10 made all the difference in the world.

Please dont come back and complain your boot drive got smaller and smaller over the years with the qvo. They don't have durability over the other types. But if you are replacing regularly should be fine.
 

AIC1Drew

Posts: 41   +23
Sweet, that ICY DOCK MB322SP-B for hot swapping 2.5" drives that need repair/cloning should be a nice edition to my aged Thermaltake VA8000BWS full tower case from '05. Only complaint is I wish the 3.5" drive bay was hot swappable as well.....then again, who still puts an OS on a 3.5" these days.
 
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DLBU1

Posts: 21   +9
If its old its old , of course you can renew smtn but it wil not work for long or so good, so better to save money and buy better PC
 

terzaerian

Posts: 969   +1,416
Glad to see I'm not alone in my chagrin for the industry trying to deprecate the 5.25 bay. It's not just for optical drives and gives cases a greater degree of utility and customizability. I would offer every RGB enthusiast as a burnt sacrifice to the old gods before I would give up the 5.25.
 

Tantor

Posts: 188   +331
Another excellent Techspot article. Frankly, I avoid cases without a 5 1/4" bay. I like the ability to upgrade your entire USB IO. When they come out with USB 4, I would hope they make a bay adapter with it.