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The Final Five: Our Last Round Of Mainstream Gaming Cases

The Final Five: Our Last Round Of Mainstream Gaming Cases
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Antec Solo II

Antec surprised us by sending a member of its silence-oriented Sonata series as its second choice for our mainstream gaming chassis round-up. Can a design with solid front and side panels stand up to the ventilation standards set by the company's own Eleven Hundred?

Uncovered external drive bays differentiate the Solo II from Antec’s regular Sonatas, while low-sitting front panel connectors indicate that this particular model is designed to sit atop, rather than under, a desk.

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  • 0 Hide
    bit_user , August 17, 2012 4:49 AM
    I'm quite happy with my Lian Li PC-9F, thank you. It has good airflow, plenty of drive bays, good noise reduction, easily removable air filters on the intakes , and I'm a fan of its mature, understated looks. When you use a case like that, all the small touches really make you feel like you got your money's worth.
  • 6 Hide
    Crashman , August 17, 2012 5:28 AM
    bit_userI'm quite happy with my Lian Li PC-9F, thank you. It has good airflow, plenty of drive bays, good noise reduction, easily removable air filters on the intakes , and I'm a fan of its mature, understated looks. When you use a case like that, all the small touches really make you feel like you got your money's worth.
    Yes, I'm usually a fan of Lian-Li's designs. On the other hand, the Antec Solo II is quieter than most of the Lian-Li's I've tested, and more durable, so there are options within these three sets of five cases that will please a wide group of buyers.

    Actually, Lian-Li doesn't usually compete in price-based roundups. I think some of that is due to their use of materials that bolster performance but boost price by a larger amount than performance. Appearance doesn't show up in a performance value chart, but the price you pay for it does.
  • 2 Hide
    JOSHSKORN , August 17, 2012 5:44 AM
    Would love to see benchmarks on these (airflow/heat and noise consumption).
  • 8 Hide
    Crashman , August 17, 2012 6:05 AM
    JOSHSKORNWould love to see benchmarks on these (airflow/heat and noise consumption).
    Looks like the benchmarks are coming up a week from Tuesday. If you check every day until then, the increased traffic might give the the bosses justification to add another editor :) 
  • 4 Hide
    A Bad Day , August 17, 2012 6:12 AM
    I would love to see a case specifically designed for GPUs that vent their exhaust sideways instead of through the rear.
  • 1 Hide
    Crashman , August 17, 2012 6:40 AM
    A Bad DayI would love to see a case specifically designed for GPUs that vent their exhaust sideways instead of through the rear.
    One of the cases in THIS preview (Raidmax Seiran) has a side fan that can only be mounted as exhaust. But have you considered that a vented side panel that lets out twice the noise kind of defeats the purpose of a multi-fan GPU cooler that makes half the noise?
  • -2 Hide
    JOSHSKORN , August 17, 2012 10:08 AM
    CrashmanLooks like the benchmarks are coming up a week from Tuesday. If you check every day until then, the increased traffic might give the the bosses justification to add another editor

    Hopefully a competent editor...one that at least knows where the spell check button is. I'm not asking for too much, am I?

    Anyway, I'll be looking forward to this. I'm on the fence about getting a new rig, now. That Antec Solo II case looks good to me.
  • 0 Hide
    Onus , August 17, 2012 12:20 PM
    The Antec case I'm sure is high quality, but being limited to only three drives limits my enthusiasm for it. If I use a SSD boot drive and a RAID-1 for my data, I'm already out of drive bays. An adapter in a 5-1/4 slot isn't an option; it's only got two, one for an optical drive and one for just one of: a utility drawer (those are really useful), a memory-card reader, OR a fan controller.
    The InWin Buc was interesting; reminiscent of a 1950s locomotive. Some people will probably like that look and find it imminently suitable; although it isn't my personal style I can still appreciate it.
    MSI has created another child's toy, and Raidmax looks gimmicked out the kazoo with a lot of plastic parts that look about as sturdy as a sugar wafer.
  • 4 Hide
    cknobman , August 17, 2012 12:55 PM
    I really like the Antec and Corsair designs but some of the other vendors cases in this roundup are fugly as heck.

    I guess I am more of a less outspoken person these days vs my younger days when I built PC with flame throwing skulls illuminated by blue and red leds all over the side panels.

    FTR I absolutely love my Antec P280!!!!
  • 0 Hide
    A Bad Day , August 17, 2012 1:06 PM
    CrashmanOne of the cases in THIS preview (Raidmax Seiran) has a side fan that can only be mounted as exhaust. But have you considered that a vented side panel that lets out twice the noise kind of defeats the purpose of a multi-fan GPU cooler that makes half the noise?


    Maybe a box could be placed over the side exhaust with only one opening, to the rear. Not as efficient cooling, but it should muffle more of the noise.

    The only issue I can think of is that it may look unsightly.
  • 0 Hide
    sjc1017 , August 17, 2012 1:51 PM
    I am not a PC builder or anything and I don't come across much technology so I read this site to make informed choices. In my new build I will be buying either a gtx670 or a 7970 (probably the latter) with two dvd drives, a xonar d2x and a tv card, and I want a quiet case. I won't ever be going for dual gpu configurations nor overclocking. So, can someone please tell me what would be the quietest case I could get? I have been looking at the Obsidian 550d but if anyone has any experience of a suitable case I'd appreciate opinions.
  • 0 Hide
    sherlockwing , August 17, 2012 2:25 PM
    Finally the 400R joins the party, I am glad I finally will have hard data to compare the 400R against Phantom 410 with.
  • 0 Hide
    JamesSneed , August 17, 2012 4:11 PM
    Quote:
    Yes, I'm usually a fan of Lian-Li's designs. On the other hand, the Antec Solo II is quieter than most of the Lian-Li's I've tested, and more durable, so there are options within these three sets of five cases that will please a wide group of buyers.

    Actually, Lian-Li doesn't usually compete in price-based roundups. I think some of that is due to their use of materials that bolster performance but boost price by a larger amount than performance. Appearance doesn't show up in a performance value chart, but the price you pay for it does.



    I hear you but im with bit_user. Cases are funny things because you can't easily quantify via testing good looks, quality, easy to work in, etc that Lian-LI cases typically have. The PC-9F was selling on newegg $99-$120 over the past year and IMHO was one of the best all around cases last year.

  • 0 Hide
    g-unit1111 , August 17, 2012 4:45 PM
    Man there are some fugly looking cases - especially the In Win and Raidmax cases - I don't get what In Win was thinking on that design.
  • 0 Hide
    internetlad , August 17, 2012 5:56 PM
    The BUC looks BUC-Ugly lol.

    Totally happy with my Fractal Designs R3. Thinking of upgrading the front ports to USB3 (It's standard now but when I bought, it was an option.)
  • 0 Hide
    gm0n3y , August 17, 2012 6:15 PM
    The Solo II looks like a good improvement on the latest Sonata (III?) case. I like that you don't have to open the door to get at the 5.25" bays and that the door gives access to the filters. Cleaning the filter on my Sonata I is pretty annoying. Of course I'd still take my Antec P183 over the Solo II, but it is much larger and likely more expensive.

    IMO, the rest of the cases are ugly, but I prefer the clean looks of Antec and Lian-Li's cases.
  • -2 Hide
    freggo , August 17, 2012 7:00 PM
    41 page clicks to see the article... I don't think so.

  • -2 Hide
    nebun , August 17, 2012 7:40 PM
    those are some ugly cases
  • 0 Hide
    chulex67 , August 17, 2012 7:54 PM
    meh, i like moar my In Win dragon rider Case with his bright blue logo
  • 2 Hide
    Crashman , August 17, 2012 8:54 PM
    freggo41 page clicks to see the article... I don't think so.
    You can just skip the pretty pictures then, and see the performance comparison a week from Tuesday. Really, the picture story is just a way to break up a comparison that took ten workdays to complete into two weekly articles. Without it, time constraint would prevent the editor from showing you as many features.
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