Sometimes, overclocking is the key to getting budget hardware humming along at enthusiast-class performance levels. But getting there requires extra cooling. Today we're examining the performance of four low-cost gaming enclosures under $50 bucks.
Though low-cost cases are everywhere, a limited few are outfitted with the extra cooling capacity required by gamers boasting performance hardware. This is just as true for budget builders as it is for high-end systems, since the budget parts often are the ones that get overclocked to match the speed of pricier pieces. It came as no surprise, then, when only eight manufacturers responded to our broad search for the best-performing, low-cost cases. After all, this is a scary space to compete in if you're not proud of what you're selling.
We split this comparison into two parts, giving each model the added attention it deserves. Today, we look at the first four solutions.
While black paint is a good way to attract system builders with a penchant for gaming, each of today’s cases has more to offer in the areas of ventilation, ease-of-installation, and noise reduction. Here’s a few of the critical details:
|Weight||12.9 Pounds||15.4 Pounds||10.5 Pounds||12.0 Pounds|
|None (Up to 2 x 120 mm*)||None (2 x 120 mm)||1 x 120 mm (120, 140 mm)||1 x 120 mm (Stock Only)|
|1 x 120 mm, (92, 80 mm)||1 x 120 mm (Stock Only)||None (120, 92, 80 mm)||None (120, 92, 80 mm)|
|None (2 x 120/140 mm)||1 x 140 mm (Stock Only)||None (2 x 120 mm)||None (None)|
|None (2 x 120/140 mm)||None (1 x 120 mm)||None (1 x 120 mm)||2 x 120 mm (2 x 140 mm)|
|3.5" External||Up to 1*||None||Two||One|
|3.5" Internal||Up to Five*|
Two of today’s cases now cost more than the $50 limit, yet we’ve included them because they were submitted in good faith while priced below our cut-off-point. We could focus on whether the two more expensive models are worth the extra money, but we instead decided to examine the design merits of each case individually before testing its performance.
- When A $50 Chassis…Isn’t
- AeroCool VS-9
- Inside The VS-9
- Building With The VS-9
- Antec Three Hundred
- Inside The Three Hundred
- Building With The Three Hundred
- Cooler Master Elite 430
- Inside The Elite 430
- Building With The Elite 430
- Enermax Staray ECA3171 / ECA3170
- Inside The ECA3171-BR-AP
- Building With The ECA3171-BR-AP
- Test Settings
- Test Results
- Antec Wins?