Best Of The Best, Part 2: Who Makes The Most Elite PC Case?

Our search continues for the one performance-oriented case with the highest-quality fit, finish, features, and materials. A spate of recent arrivals extend our series out into three parts, so today we see if the second round can top the first.

If you missed part one of this three-part series, be sure to check out Best Of The Best, Part 1: Who Makes The Most Elite PC Case?

We began our search for the cream of the crop in ATX cases by first setting up some fairly stringent qualifying criteria. Any case over $180 could compete, but every case would be judged primarily on whether or not it was worth more than enclosures priced under that mark. After filtering out more ordinary offerings, we were to choose cases offering the highest construction and material quality. Then, after turning away even the most common high-end cases, we'd look at feature sets to help us determine a winner.

Because we're getting our hands on high-priced hardware, we'd need to briefly suspend our normal value-oriented analysis in favor of a more cost-based approach. But we still ended up receiving a few value-oriented parts. Stuck side panels and low-cost materials are no way to win in a round-up of premium kit.

In this part two of three, we compare a trio of cases that really are worth at least as much as our $180 entry point. They would have been a great way to wrap up our coverage. However, a handful of late entries give us enough hardware for a third feature; we'll all have to wait a little while longer to learn the ultimate winner of this face-off.

Dimensions
Height22.4" (w/o feet)22.3"23.0"
Width11.2"9.7"9.4"
Depth22.8" (w/o handle)22.3"23.8"
Space Above
Motherboard
4.4"3.2"2.7"
Card Length20.2"18.1"14.5"
Weight23.8 Pounds23.3 Pounds29.7 Pounds
Cooling
Front Fans
(alternatives)
None
(2x 120 mm)
2x 140 mm
(None)
2x 200 mm (2x
140, 3x 120 mm)
Rear Fans
(alternatives)
None
(1x 120 mm)
1x 140 mm
(1x 120 mm)
1x 140 mm
(1x 120 mm)
Top Fans
(alternatives)
None
(4x 120 mm)
None (3x
120, 2x 140 mm)
1x 200 mm (2x
140, 3x 120 mm)
Left Side
(alternatives)
NoneNone
(None)
1x 230 mm
(9x 120 mm)
Right Side
(alternatives)
NoneNone
(None)
None
(None)
Drive Bays
5.25" External11 (4x mounts)ThreeTwo
3.5" ExternalNoneNoneOne***
3.5" InternalTwoSixEight
2.5" InternalTwo4 + 6*Eight*
Card SlotsEightNineEight
Noise Dampening
SidesNoneNoneNone
TopNoneNoneNone
FrontNoneNoneNone
*Shared on 3.5" tray **w/o Center Cage ***By 5.25" Adapter Tray 
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42 comments
    Your comment
  • blackmagnum
    Answer (YMMV): Thermaltake Level 10 GT.
    -3
  • Crashman
    Anonymous said:
    Answer (YMMV): Thermaltake Level 10 GT.

    You know the original Level 10 was probably "more elite"

    http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/level-10-fortress-2,2594-5.html
    1
  • vertexx
    Hope the Phanteks Enthoo Primo is part of the final - will we have to wait another 2 months for that?
    3
  • ykki
    I wish that they would use the new powercolor devil 13 290x (their version of the 295X2) for their tests
    0
  • amk-aka-Phantom
    Who makes the most elite cases? Corsair and NZXT, no need for investigation :) Still, a nice roundup.
    1
  • Drejeck
    There are some cases CNC made, you should talk about this indipendent manufacturers. On SweClockers I saw the best mini ITX computer ever made, with 2 ssds, 2 fans, a picopsu and a discrete graphic card with riser card.
    0
  • Drejeck
    Anyway my guess was Lian-Li and Silverstone
    0
  • eklipz330
    isn't this a purely subjective article? how can this be quantified?
    3
  • Neve12ende12
    I don't know much about cases, but I have an Azza Hurrican 2000 and I think it is pretty badass
    0
  • firefoxx04
    Phanteks Primo plz
    0
  • firefoxx04
    ID like to see these cases fitted with large radiators.. that is what the case labs is geared for after all.
    2
  • xenol
    CaseLabs is just one of those companies I don't get. Sure they give you a ton of customization options but I don't know, for $300 on a case like that?

    At least the $210 I spent on a Silverstone FT02 was worth it.
    1
  • beoza
    For the price of that CaseLabs case I'd rather get the CM Cosmos II, and save about $60. Sure it's an older design but it just looks so much better to me. The only downside with the Cosmos II is it's big and bulky weighing at just over 47lbs empty.
    0
  • whiteodian
    Quote:
    There are some cases CNC made, you should talk about this indipendent manufacturers. On SweClockers I saw the best mini ITX computer ever made, with 2 ssds, 2 fans, a picopsu and a discrete graphic card with riser card.
    Links please : D

    Here is a link to something similar I won at a LAN party. Comes in a badass briefcase. http://nfc-systems.com/mini/
    0
  • Electromikey
    Without having used any of the other cases, I can say that I had the pleasure of building a system in the 760T recently (a friend had me build him a monster rig), and it was one of my favorite builds I've ever done. The case looks freakin' gorgeous under his desk, too.
    1
  • TheMentalist
    Every time i see articles like this one, it kinda bugs me that the Vengeance C70 is so underrated, damn love that case, even though it's old. Not saying that these cases aren't good.
    -1
  • redgarl
    Fractal Design R2 XL... best Full Tower case for 100$. Nothing came close.
    0
  • redgarl
    Phantek Enthoo Luxe, Pro and Primo should be part of your next article.
    0
  • Karsten75
    the TL;DR - we have an unrealistic benchmark, got some sub-par cases and non should be worthy of an award? Next time do't specify a price as cut-off.
    0
  • Phillip Wager
    out of these the thermaltake would take my money but i think phanteks has the best "elite" case on the market right now.
    0