I'm getting ready for my fist new build since 2006 to replace my aging (but still cherished) AMD FX-62 box. I'm searching for a *new* case that is quiet, cool and plain looking.
• New, in the sense that it's a modern design with dedicated 2.5" bays, USB 3.0 support, etc.
• Plain looking in the sense that I like simple, featureless boxes we no side panel window.
• Cool AND quiet, however that may be achieved, including buying special aftermarket HSF or case fans.
While I'm not overly concerned about money, I wouldn't spend over $300. If Corsair's Obsidian 650D didn't have the side panel window, that is visually up my alley.
These cases are quiet with sound proofing but might not be the coolest. If you want better cooling performance, I suggest replacing the default fans with a few good case fans like the Corsair Air Series.
I like the fractal my self as it is quiet with the right hardware and has lots of space.
I also happen to own the Fortress (FT03)
It is not a bad MATX(4 slots only) case, but I personally find higher performance hard drives tend to run rather hot in this case. It is not as quiet as the fractal define cases, but is not too bad. I swapped the fans out for some more quiet ones and jury rigged my self some cooling behind the MB tray .
Positives for the FT03
+Full sized power supplies and heatsinks.
+I actually LIKE the top cable idea.
+Can fit even a large video card in the case
-Not the greatest cooling(I am sure the filters do not help).
-Hard drive's get no cooling and actually get heat from the motherboard side(when gaming the temps go up).
-1 SSD slot(it is easy to stack 2 or 3 SSDs in that slot and use a 3.5 -> 2.5 adapter for 2 more)
-Slimline optical drive(not a down side for me)
-Side panels do not screw in at all.
-Not as quiet as some other cases, but with NO noise dampening, i can see how it would be harder
-Hotswap bay drives get even hotter(I just removed that hotswap thing all together.)
-my USB3 just never worked quite right, I got 2 X 20 pin cables from silver stone and both did not work right(I just give up on it. I plug USB 3 devices right into the board). I am sticking with USB 2 for the time(God I hope this gets sorted in the future, google "usb 3 disconnect" and you will find tons of people with USB 3 related issues.). I think this may be my boards limitations as I have many boards and ALL have a different limit to USB cable distance(my X58A UD5 being the best of all I own. 12 feet of cable works just fine on it, while my H55N board drops to usb 2 speeds at 6 feet.).
I know it seems like a lot of negatives, but these are things i WANT you to know before owning this case.
If you want to see this case full of random hardware. here you go. For me, the space savings and decent noise levels made it idea for ME, but it is up to you if you want this kind if case. http://imageshack.us/a/img39/1358/dsc0458s.jpg