Five More Mainstream Gaming Cases, Rounded-Up

Temperature, Noise, And Acoustic Efficiency

Antec’s Eleven Hundred, the only case to arrive without any intake fans, amazingly matches SilverStone’s KL04 in average temperatures. And it wasn’t even the CPU that received the most benefits from its design, as low GPU temperatures put it in the top position. That is to say, we can’t even credit its 200 mm top fan directly…or can we?

Perhaps Antec’s 200 mm fan worked a little too well. After all, pulling hot air up from the graphics card would certainly make the CPU warmer, and the Eleven Hundred has the second-highest CPU temperature. Still, we believe that the position of its side-panel vents—which were right below the graphics cooler—played a larger role in its lower graphics temperature. Further analysis might even show the 200 mm fan pulling cool air in from those side panel vents, reducing ambient temperature surrounding the card.

SilverStone’s results are easier to figure out, with an intake fan that sits mostly below the graphics card and a case design that allows that fan to push air to nearly every component.

Fractal Design's submission had the lowest CPU and highest GPU temperatures, and a look back at the build hints to how that happened. The Arc Midi’s included intake fan sits above the level of our graphics card, feeding the CPU cooler air, while leaving the GPU to fend for itself. This might be addressed by moving the fan, though it'd take a while to figure out if dual intake fans, single intake fans in two locations, or extra top fans would yield the best results. The broad number of configuration options forces us to rely on case manufacturers to optimize component placement, as they have the best reason to do so.

Cooler Master’s Storm Enforcer had the highest average temperature, but it makes up for that by doing the best job of containing the noise from our graphics card's fan running at 100% duty cycle. It’s unvented side panel appears to be the reason for this performance mix.

Runner-up in the noise stats, SilverStone’s KL04 is the only other case with a solid side panel. Yet, the company had a second trick up its sleeve. Knowing that most folks concerned about noise measure acoustics either from the front or left sides, it put the case’s intake fan on the right side. Seeking the most realistic worst-case scenario, our noise readings are normally taken at 45° from the left front edge.

Indeed, the KL04’s noise measurements were one to two decibels lower than the charted values when we tested it from the same 45°-left angle as the other cases. Because the KL04’s intake fan is actually on the right side of the case, we retested it from 45° to the right, and used the higher noise numbers. SilverStone could have won, but testing it only from the left would have been unfair to its front-fan competitors since we can’t assume everyone is using a PC on their right side.

Even when we use a less favorable angle for testing, SilverStone’s KL04 tops our Acoustic Efficiency chart. Antec and Cooler Master aren’t far behind, though.

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43 comments
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  • samorf
    That's a great looking case. I know value isn't a huge point for the CM Cosmos 2 but I would love to see your benchmarks on it.
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  • mjmjpfaff
    I really thought that the Antec Eleven Hundred would get this site's nod, especially with its build quality and its plethora of features to help with cable management, as well as all of its removable dust filters which many cases at the 100$ mark lack as well as some cases well over 100$.
    5
  • jimmysmitty
    mjmjpfaffI really thought that the Antec Eleven Hundred would get this site's nod, especially with its build quality and its plethora of features to help with cable management, as well as all of its removable dust filters which many cases at the 100$ mark lack as well as some cases well over 100$.


    Antec, I think, has fallen behind in case design as of late. While the Eleven Hundred is much better than the aging 900/300 design, it still has some small points of meh such as only one 2.5" drive bay when there are other cases close to the price (not current price but original price) trat support 2.5" in every drive bay.

    Also the design is a bit meh. Though I have fallen in love with the Corsair 500R so its a bit hard to make me think of another case. And the CM Storm Enforcer is ok. Had one in the shop the other day. Nothing amazing honestly but its not overly bad.
    1
  • Crashman
    jimmysmittyAntec, I think, has fallen behind in case design as of late. While the Eleven Hundred is much better than the aging 900/300 design, it still has some small points of meh such as only one 2.5" drive bay when there are other cases close to the price (not current price but original price) trat support 2.5" in every drive bay.Also the design is a bit meh. Though I have fallen in love with the Corsair 500R so its a bit hard to make me think of another case. And the CM Storm Enforcer is ok. Had one in the shop the other day. Nothing amazing honestly but its not overly bad.
    I really liked the Eleven Hundred, it's just that the Enforcer's super-low price makes it a better value for the majority of builds.
    3
  • damric
    I really felt like I was reading a commercial. Was this review cut and paste from the marketing documents provided?
    -7
  • randomkid
    Nice article. I feel glad about my choice of the CM Storm Enforcer... :)
    2
  • Crashman
    damricI really felt like I was reading a commercial. Was this review cut and paste from the marketing documents provided?
    I'll have what you're having! Then I can look past all the careful observations, performance data and criticisms and see a world made of cotton candy!

    BTW, you should at least read the ENTIRE conclusion before calling an article a fluff piece. Thanks!
    5
  • randomkid
    ^No editing feature while in the Article comment mode. But I found out that once in the forum, it can be edited or deleted just like any post.
    1
  • jaquith
    I tend NOT to recommend cases to folks (personal preference) - it's like saying your Girlfriend is ugly or has a flaw.

    Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

    As long as the case functions and has what you need -- it's all what YOU like and flips that switch.
    2
  • eddieroolz
    I'm not a fan of obviously gamer looking cases, but the Antec 1100, by virtue of being so similar to my P280, gets my vote.
    2
  • DirectXtreme
    The Antec, the Fractal Design, and the Silverstone look good. The other two just look way to... colorful. I'm all for a simple yet elegant design.
    3
  • SR-71 Blackbird
    I used this case in my most recent build,and it is a wonderful case to work with.
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  • skaz
    Corsair 550d is also a baller choice too. Not sure what makes a case "gaming" grade. I'm not a big fan of unnecessary plastic pieces. The main things I look for are good airflow options, solid material, cable management, overall build quality. Less to me is better. But I understand how this is all personal preference. I guess I'm just tired of the "gaming" label being marketed to death when in most cases it doesn't mean anything. No pun intended.
    1
  • g-unit1111
    That Raidmax case looks like it's going to transform into something. :lol:
    2
  • Crashman
    JaquithI tend NOT to recommend cases to folks (personal preference) - it's like saying your Girlfriend is ugly or has a flaw. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. As long as the case functions and has what you need -- it's all what YOU like and flips that switch.
    One more reader who can skip right to the conclusion Really, there's details in there about quality. It's not like these are all built identically.
    1
  • g-unit1111
    JaquithI tend NOT to recommend cases to folks (personal preference) - it's like saying your Girlfriend is ugly or has a flaw. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. As long as the case functions and has what you need -- it's all what YOU like and flips that switch.


    Yeah but that's when people choose crap or junk brands like Raidmax, Xion, Ultra and Apevia - those have serious flaws and horrible build quality, I really try to persuade people not to buy those under any circumstances. The computers I work with on a daily basis all use these cases and they suck - I moved a computer built around an Apevia case from one desk to another and the door fell off in the process! There's a lot of crap brands out there and that's why sites like this exist - to help people sort the good hardware from the junk. You don't want to get a case that's poorly made for your new quality components.

    The things I never recommend on builds are monitor, keyboard and mouse - I don't like spending hundreds on these things and I don't cut corners to get say a $140 keyboard, that's not what I want people to concentrate on their builds.
    2
  • gm0n3y
    Useful article. I personally wouldn't have recommended any of the cases simply because recommending one means that its better than the others and I think that the Coolermaster, Silverstone, and Antec we all about equal. The Silverstone and Antec were better but the Coolermaster was cheaper.

    Of course, like everyone else, I think my case (Antec P280) is the best and should be the recommended buy. It is $30 more than the Eleven Hundred, but only $10 more than the Raidmax.
    1
  • Yuka
    Thanks for the advice. I've never recommended a CM PSU, since they all tend to fail early. Their caess though...

    I used the CM Storm Enforcer for a friends build and it's quite a good case, thanks to it's price in a 99%, lol.

    It's not bad looking and very quiet. Fit's the 7970 perfectly and it's build quality is quite good.

    Cheers!
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  • mjmjpfaff
    51742 said:
    Useful article. I personally wouldn't have recommended any of the cases simply because recommending one means that its better than the others and I think that the Coolermaster, Silverstone, and Antec we all about equal. The Silverstone and Antec were better but the Coolermaster was cheaper. Of course, like everyone else, I think my case (Antec P280) is the best and should be the recommended buy. It is $30 more than the Eleven Hundred, but only $10 more than the Raidmax.

    The Antec Eleven Hundred and the Antec P280 are both the same price (100$) at Amazon.com.
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  • jaquith
    g-unit1111Yeah but that's when people choose crap or junk brands like Raidmax, Xion, Ultra and Apevia - those have serious flaws and horrible build quality...

    There's times when I see 'crap' and try to persuade folks to different brands & models, but for the most part folks get offended so I keep my opinion to myself.
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