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Choose your Case Review

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December 18, 2011 2:38:10 AM

I'm taking suggestions for the theme of our next case review. We need to narrow the theme down to the point where less than a dozen products qualify.

You can use features, price, color, pretty much anything you want to narrow the field such as "Cases that support USB 3.0 and a two-fan radiator" as long as your criteria makes logical sense to the majority of readers and fits within a clean-looking title.

From this point I'm guessing I might get 10 or so different answers, but there won't be 10 or so different articles within the next month :p  So, I'm going to ask you guys to follow up on the previous responses whenever possible so that at least a few of us can agree on the topic.

Thanks!

More about : choose case review

December 18, 2011 3:06:48 AM

BEST GAMER CASE FOR THE MONEY.
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a c 715 ) Power supply
December 18, 2011 3:07:32 AM

We keep seeing reviews all over for what people call gaming cases in the $100+ and up bracket. I personally would like to see a review of $50 to $100 bracket. Knowing that the performance comes more from the parts that go in the case than the case itself!
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a b ) Power supply
December 18, 2011 3:24:52 AM

best silent cases. all i see now is cases with holes every where (two on top, two on the side, on the bottom, etc.,) that noise just flows from cases now. Use the same four 120mm fans in several cases and see which ones actually run silent (as several claim to) while still delivering solid cooling.

cases like the NZXT H2, antec p280, CM Silencio 550, etc.,
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a c 111 ) Power supply
December 18, 2011 3:29:52 AM

best cooling/value for the money!
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a c 126 ) Power supply
December 18, 2011 4:12:22 AM

I agree with dirtyferret. I don't think enough attention has been paid to silence. A single review would be limited to out-of-the-box performance, but I'd also like to see a few standardized steps taken (e.g. remount all fans on silicone "nails," install a readily-available noise-dampening layer, and replace the HSF with a 120mm tower) and do a noise/cooling analysis.
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a c 140 ) Power supply
December 18, 2011 4:27:07 AM

Not really interested in "for the money" reviews as no two people have the same criteria for that judgment......I'll decide whether it's worth the money, where you can help me is doing an exhaustive feature comparison.

Cover the features always not talked about....openings in MoBo tray have grommets ? how ez is it to change filters ? Is the front USB a thru the back and to an external port or MoBo connection ? Does it have hot swap HD / SSD cradles ? How about a SATA power backplane so I only have to run one connector to storage cage ? Does it have built in fan control ? What fans are installed, which are optional ? Howz the space on the back side of the MoBo tray ? Does the back of the tray include MoBo tie downs ? If it has fan LED's can they be turned off ? Are the fans 2 pin, 3 pin or Molex ?


Side panel attachment....hinged ? Case window fan connection ... do ya gotta unplug fan to remove ? Are all storage trays hot swap" ? What is clearance to side panel / fan for CPU cooler ? Case Locking feature ? Any "special" features like the doo-dads draw on the ole Lanboy cases or the headset holder on the Level 10 GT ? Water cooling ready (hose grommets, what size radiator etc.). How well does it allow for SLI / CF fans (back of HD cage , case door, etc) and how well do they line up with typical 2,3 and 4 slot boards ? What f any provisions for mounting 2.5: drives (SSD's and hybrids) ? Are the case front cable lengths long enough ? Does the POSU placement allow for cables to reach w/o extension cables ? Howz the area around the PSU air intake ....enough room allotted ? Bottom / top mounted ? Are 3.5" and 5.25 bays tool less ? Card retaining mechanisms tool less ? How easy or problematic are they ? (I have oft struggled w/ tool less features on HAF cases) What drives are lockable ? How are feet attached (Glue, screws) and what material ?

Lets not of course forget the numbers. Put in two GFX cards (OC'd to a relatively hi level), OC the CPU to 4.8, run OCCT for the 60 minute GPU and CPU tests and review or publish the graphs at end....nice if can be done w/ all fans on lowest than highest settings, of course record decibel level for both....if time allots, how does it change is optional fans added ? Do they provide cable tiedowns and convenient clips for cables ? Size of MoBo Tray opening (back of CPU) ?

No need for a narrative for most of these ..... just a checklist....sorta like the details tab on newegg
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December 18, 2011 4:38:42 AM

JackNaylorPE said:
Not really interested in "for the money" reviews as no two people have the same criteria for that judgment......I'll decide whether it's worth the money, where you can help me is doing an exhaustive feature comparison.
Most of the stuff you mentioned it loosely covered in the picture story that goes with the review, but it could be "tightened up", thanks.

I'd pick you for "Best Answer" except that I'm still looking for a few people to agree on the theme for the next one.

Oh, and for those suggesting the NZXT H2, it's been reviewed, it's...not that good in material quality, cooling, noise or any combination of those things. Even though it's relatively inexpensive, it still costs twice that of similar-quality cases. Since it's already been reviewed, it won't be reviewed again.
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a b ) Power supply
December 18, 2011 7:51:28 PM

Cases that support interior radiators, about time Toms tackled a real loop.

Cleanest Build Cases - featuring ease of installation, wire management, tool-less installation, HSF/CPU backplate openings - sidebar sleeving and sound dampening foam

Best CFM/Cooling cases from CPU and GPU perspective.

As a side note, it'd also be nice to see an article that covers case accessories like fan controllers, CCFL/LED lighting, Window installation, Decals/Wraps, powder coating ect.
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December 18, 2011 8:43:09 PM

Ill put one in for the silent case roundup

Supermicro SC732 with 865W power supply rated at 21 dB



http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

No one ever looks at supermicro cases, but I have one and they are solidly built. Bad thing is you can't buy it without a PS, but the 865 ps runs $160, so your getting the case for ~$50
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Best solution

a b ) Power supply
December 18, 2011 10:08:07 PM

I would like to see the best air cooled cases from ~100$ to ~150$. this seems to be the average price spent on solid cases. It is also very difficult to tell cooling performance based on the number of fans a case has and cooling performance seems to be overlooked these days.
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December 19, 2011 2:11:25 AM

Best cooling Full ATX for Multi-GPU setups.... Stuff like CM Storm Trooper/HAF X, and the corsair, thermaltake and silverstone etc equivalents.
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December 19, 2011 5:27:12 AM

a4mula said:
Cases that support interior radiators, about time Toms tackled a real loop.
You mean we're like, 2-4 years beyond the proper time? Because 2, 3 and 4 years ago Tom's Hardware was using "real loops" in lots of stuff including several of the early System Builder Marathons (back when the budget was around $4k).
a4mula said:
Cleanest Build Cases - featuring ease of installation, wire management, tool-less installation, HSF/CPU backplate openings - sidebar sleeving and sound dampening foam
Thanks for seconding the vote to expand coverage on wire management, which was only dealt with lightly in the case picture stories.
a4mula said:
Best CFM/Cooling cases from CPU and GPU perspective.
Add noise and you're asking for the same coverage Tom's Hardware already publishes. Have you read any lately?
a4mula said:
As a side note, it'd also be nice to see an article that covers case accessories like fan controllers, CCFL/LED lighting, Window installation, Decals/Wraps, powder coating ect.
Noted. So we'll add a little more to the case description and see if anyone wants to do case mod article. Thanks!
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December 19, 2011 5:34:47 AM

FtsArTek said:
Best cooling Full ATX for Multi-GPU setups.... Stuff like CM Storm Trooper/HAF X, and the corsair, thermaltake and silverstone etc equivalents.
What will you do when the ancient/cheap Antec Three Hundred wins? Really, we just did a multi-GPU case performance comparison, but thanks to your suggestion we'll probably repeat the test (using different case models) on the next one!

OK guys! So we have suggestions that we add detail to the case descriptions and continue using multi-GPU's. That still leaves us with hundreds of options.

Another suggestion was for cases that hold radiators. I'll assume we can do either 2-fan or 3-fan radiators. Of course, liquid cooled graphics cards would eliminate our ability to check the case's effectiveness with air-cooled cards, so...

How about LC on the CPU and air cooled graphics? Or any other suggestions? A 3-fan-radiator case comparison would probably be small enough to finish in a timely manner...or...any more suggestions?




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December 19, 2011 7:29:24 AM

mjmjpfaff said:
I would like to see the best air cooled cases from ~100$ to ~150$. this seems to be the average price spent on solid cases. It is also very difficult to tell cooling performance based on the number of fans a case has and cooling performance seems to be overlooked these days.
$100-150, does anyone want to second that?

As for cooling performance....say what? When's the last time you read a Tom's Hardware case roundup????
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a b ) Power supply
December 19, 2011 9:42:00 AM

100-150 excludes quite a few cases that I'd consider mainstream like the 690II Advanced and Lancool K62. Sub $200 might be a more flexible in that you can include the sub-100 entries while still being able to include some of the less expensive offerings from Silverstone and Corsair that still breach the 150 mark.

As far as cooling performance. The only thing I'd like to see would be a comparison to not only the cases currently being reviewed, but also how these cases fared against previously tested cases. This isn't a shot at Toms as I spend more time here than anywhere else by far, but for case reviews I always check bittech just for the ability to compare a cases performance across a wider spectrum.
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a b ) Power supply
December 19, 2011 11:36:12 AM

Crashman said:
$100-150, does anyone want to second that?

As for cooling performance....say what? When's the last time you read a Tom's Hardware case roundup????


those cases are all reviewed on other sites within a week of launch. I find cooling performance reviews silly since most of us have spare 120mm fans. While a case with one fan may not cool as well as a case with three, once I install two spare fans things start to focus more on wire management, expandability, filters, and noise for me.

For example I just got a corsair 400R with three fans but found all three too noisy and replaced all the fans with five new ones. I then installed noise blocking foam and fan filters for dust control. Any cooling performance test would have been pointless for me since I knew I would be installing at least 1-2 more fans in the case.
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a b ) Power supply
December 19, 2011 2:03:49 PM

Crashman said:
$100-150, does anyone want to second that?

As for cooling performance....say what? When's the last time you read a Tom's Hardware case roundup????

I never said tomshardware overlooked it.
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December 19, 2011 3:12:39 PM

mjmjpfaff said:
I never said tomshardware overlooked it.
Well, we're getting requests for an expanded budget but at 2 days per case we're going to need to keep it small. Manufacturers are hammering us with requests all over the market, and I'm not finding much agreement on what the focus should include.

So I've got to keep the discussion going!
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a c 274 ) Power supply
December 19, 2011 4:28:13 PM

Crashman said:
Well, we're getting requests for an expanded budget but at 2 days per case we're going to need to keep it small. Manufacturers are hammering us with requests all over the market, and I'm not finding much agreement on what the focus should include.

So I've got to keep the discussion going!

I agree with the $100-150 price range.
Important aspects like what size radiator,air-cooler,and gpu will fit should be included.
Probably the most requested info asked in the forums.
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December 19, 2011 5:09:40 PM

I say go with the 3-fan radiator mountable cases or 2x dual fans (preferably internally) , but most of those are near $200, so might need to up the budget a little bit, less than 200 should work. should be able to accomodate 3-way xfire/sli minimum with the radiators in place.

Antec's Lanboy Air looks like a candidate to use for that one, not sure Id want the pastic, could be interesting to review.
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December 19, 2011 7:49:31 PM

i was thinking what jacknay posted. i think it would be really interesting to see an in depth comparison of these two cases. it looks pretty obvious that nzxt was trying to offer a cheap version of the 600t. after an in depth look would the nzxt case be revealed as a cheap gimmick case? or would it maintain some quality, and be a cheap alternative at forty bucks?


http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...


http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...


wonder if it's any coincidence that the 600t price just dropped about 25%

they also offer an "elite" version. no idea what's up with that, reading it now.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
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December 20, 2011 12:57:03 AM

Frizzo said:
i was thinking what jacknay posted. i think it would be really interesting to see an in depth comparison of these two cases. it looks pretty obvious that nzxt was trying to offer a cheap version of the 600t. after an in depth look would the nzxt case be revealed as a cheap gimmick case? or would it maintain some quality, and be a cheap alternative at forty bucks?


http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...


http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...


wonder if it's any coincidence that the 600t price just dropped about 25%

they also offer an "elite" version. no idea what's up with that, reading it now.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...


I've got bad news: Tom's Hardware has used a version of the Corsair case and it's a little flimsy for the price. The side panel has a rolled edge, which costs more to produce and basically turns what might have been a $50 case into an $80 case (under the added features). Beyond that, I don't think the added features are worth doubling the price, so it sets a poor baseline for the comparison.
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December 20, 2011 2:29:00 AM

How do you guys feel about a case comparison with a triple-fan radiator installed? We've gotten one reader request and two manufacturer requests to compare these.

I was thinking about just doing the CPU on the big cooler, so that I can check the airflow at the graphics cards using traditional GPU coolers. SLI of course, since GTX 580 is extra hot, and maybe I can try for 5 GHz at some unreasonable voltage level on the CPU.
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a b ) Power supply
December 20, 2011 2:37:53 AM

The problem is that most of the mainstream angles have been tackled already. Gaming Cases, Budget Cases, Best All-Around cases. The latest article had to take on 10 slot cases just to find something new to talk about.

Maybe it's time to just do a round-up review that reiterates things that have been said previously but just brought together in a single source. Take the 15-20 most popular cases and give each a scoring system based on thermal, sound dampening, quality, price, ease of build and see which one comes out on top.

With this approach you don't necessarily have to go back over each and every case, those reviews have been done. Just bring it all together to create the definitive 2012 case bible.

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a b ) Power supply
December 20, 2011 2:52:15 AM

Crashman said:
How do you guys feel about a case comparison with a triple-fan radiator installed? We've gotten one reader request and two manufacturer requests to compare these.

I was thinking about just doing the CPU on the big cooler, so that I can check the airflow at the graphics cards using traditional GPU coolers. SLI of course, since GTX 580 is extra hot, and maybe I can try for 5 GHz at some unreasonable voltage level on the CPU.


If it's a custom loop then I think there will be interest in it for no other reason than the lack of coverage for water cooling parts (radiators, pumps, blocks). It'd also be nice to see how well big air (which gets plenty of coverage and benchmarks galore) fares today against a real loop.

With LGA2011 cpus not shipping with a HSF and Intel nudging people towards liquid based solutions it does open up an entirely new user base that could be liquid cooling their cpu while air cooling their gpu. Sounds like an angle to me.
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December 20, 2011 4:07:55 AM

a4mula said:
If it's a custom loop then I think there will be interest in it for no other reason than the lack of coverage for water cooling parts (radiators, pumps, blocks). It'd also be nice to see how well big air (which gets plenty of coverage and benchmarks galore) fares today against a real loop.

With LGA2011 cpus not shipping with a HSF and Intel nudging people towards liquid based solutions it does open up an entirely new user base that could be liquid cooling their cpu while air cooling their gpu. Sounds like an angle to me.


Great! Maybe after that, spend a few months doing a "bible" of $80-120 cases? They seem to be most popular among enthusiasts, we could do 5 or 6 per article.
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a b ) Power supply
December 20, 2011 4:47:12 AM

how about the best of the under $50 cases for us poor boys LOL
stuff like the Nzxt Gamma and Rosewill challenger (that will probably win LOL)

there are hundred of reviews for high end components because they are exciting

but how about the cheap stuff

can never find reviews on really budget stuff

with the economy the way it is

it would be nice to see a review on "el cheapo" cases

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December 20, 2011 5:11:38 AM

king smp said:
how about the best of the under $50 cases for us poor boys LOL
stuff like the Nzxt Gamma and Rosewill challenger (that will probably win LOL)

there are hundred of reviews for high end components because they are exciting

but how about the cheap stuff

can never find reviews on really budget stuff

with the economy the way it is

it would be nice to see a review on "el cheapo" cases
I will just jump to the conclusion: Buy the Antec Three Hundred Illusion and if you can't afford it, buy the Three Hundred and add your own fans.
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a b ) Power supply
December 20, 2011 5:17:29 AM

LOL
I think the CHallenger could give the three hundred a race for its money

how abou this one I just bought
http://www.compusa.com/applications/SearchTools/item-de...

the worlds cheapest case at $15 w/ free ship

doing a new build and money is super tight

later I will go for a Challenger (like when that case self implodes from air pressure LOL)
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December 20, 2011 6:31:34 AM

king smp said:
LOL
I think the CHallenger could give the three hundred a race for its money

how abou this one I just bought
http://www.compusa.com/applications/SearchTools/item-de...

the worlds cheapest case at $15 w/ free ship

doing a new build and money is super tight

later I will go for a Challenger (like when that case self implodes from air pressure LOL)
It's been a while since I've seen a sub-$100 case that used metal as thick as the Three Hundred. And I've had a few Rosewill cases, they don't.
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a b ) Power supply
December 20, 2011 9:23:06 AM

Im on for the best case for Rads option - Im taking the leap into the world of Watercooling next year when the 7950/70 is released and I want to do it properly, and with a case that can handle an 'Over-Time' Watercooling project (240 rad for CPU first, then when I have more money a 360 Rad for GPU + North + Southbridge, then more etc. etc. etc)
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a b ) Power supply
December 20, 2011 10:53:46 AM

Crashman said:
It's been a while since I've seen a sub-$100 case that used metal as thick as the Three Hundred. And I've had a few Rosewill cases, they don't.



I will bow to the master on this one
I dont have any experience with the three hundred
so I'm sure you are right

but the Rosewill challenger did get Toms Hardwares 2010 recommended buy award
that is the main reason I am seriously considering that case is because of the THG recommendation
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December 20, 2011 12:40:42 PM

king smp said:
I will bow to the master on this one
I dont have any experience with the three hundred
so I'm sure you are right

but the Rosewill challenger did get Toms Hardwares 2010 recommended buy award
that is the main reason I am seriously considering that case is because of the THG recommendation
Yeh yeh it's a nice case for the money. I just wish companies would build them solid, like they once did at this price, of which the Three Hundred is one of the few remaining examples.
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a b ) Power supply
December 20, 2011 12:56:07 PM

I will have to check into the three hundred with such a resounding endorsement

I have to keep the case budget under $50 so i am open to suggestions from those like yourself who are wiser in the ways of the Force

I will go research the three hundred now

I just am dreading the nightmare I will probably have with the $15 case I linked LOL

I have my dremel and diagonal cutters handy for that one

but for $15 unless it falls to pieces in my hands (possibility) I wont complain


the watercooling case article would be very interesting

I was looking at the NZXT Gamma just because for $40 it is one of the few offering water mounting in that price range

I think that watercooling is getting to the point that soon you will see more mainstream users doing it unlike before where it was the territory of extremists

Mainly because of the silence factor especially with big powerful GPUs becoming more prevalent
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a b ) Power supply
December 20, 2011 1:38:56 PM

Crashman said:
Great! Maybe after that, spend a few months doing a "bible" of $80-120 cases? They seem to be most popular among enthusiasts, we could do 5 or 6 per article.

i like the sound of that :D 
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December 20, 2011 3:08:23 PM

A few a my friends been reading thread and we all say, we buy our cases on looks alone as a case is very personal thing.
How about just picking a few of the nicest looking cases by the tom's hardware staff.
I bought my corsair 600t se in white based on the fact i walked into shop and said i want that one please, as i fell in love there and then. :) 
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a b ) Power supply
December 21, 2011 1:45:14 PM

have you made a decision Crashman?
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a b ) Power supply
December 21, 2011 1:57:23 PM

Crashman said:
Yeh yeh it's a nice case for the money. I just wish companies would build them solid, like they once did at this price, of which the Three Hundred is one of the few remaining examples.



the three hundred is a great case
but I decided on the HAF 912

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

fits my $50 budget

and after so many OEM cases
I like the fact that it looks like the Terminator gave birth to it LOL
(plus alot of nice features of course)

like another poster said
picking a case is a personal thing
it is not only the features but the look of it too
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December 21, 2011 10:27:28 PM

mjmjpfaff said:
have you made a decision Crashman?
Yes. We're going with the big radiator cases first, then a series of $80-120 roundups to catch the "market sweet spot".

We could change the pricing a little.

Reducing the selection to include only cases with dual USB 3.0 ports on an internal connector, which was first launched by ASRock because of me. I didn't design it, but I can still take blame if you think it was a rushed design :)  I was pushing pretty hard to get something released.


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a b ) Power supply
December 22, 2011 1:26:03 AM

sounds good!
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December 24, 2011 11:31:56 PM

Best answer selected by Crashman.
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!