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One Value-Oriented Chassis Satisfies Most Buyers

Five More Mainstream Gaming Cases, Rounded-Up
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Limiting our value analysis to the five cases present, we have already seen that one of these is less expensive than the rest. Fortunately for its manufacturer, that same enclosure also finishes in the middle of the pack with regard to overall performance.

Cooler Master’s Storm Enforcer appears to be the best value in a simple comparison of performance to price, yet a comparison that simple leaves out things like added features. And the one case that cost 50% more than the Storm Enforcer, the Raidmax Agusta is packed with features.

Or are they gimmicks? The biggest case in today’s comparison was also the lightest, and that lightness doesn't come from the use of exotic material like carbon fiber or even aluminum. Instead, Raidmax manages to make a bigger/lighter case in the most frugal way possible, by removing much of its structure. It goes head-to-head with In Win’s recently-reviewed Mana 136 in a flimsiness competition, and comes out only slightly better.

Other things that didn’t help make the case for an Agusta win were that it has only a quarter-inch of space behind most of its motherboard tray for cable management, that the access hole for ATX12V leads is blocked by any motherboard, that it requires motherboard removal to service its fans, that its grommets fall out whenever they're touched, that its card holder screws are blocked by the edge of the chassis, that a bridge of metal between the top slot and I/O panel partly blocked our DVI cable, and that we somehow managed to push its power button out of its mount when attempting to turn on the finished build. It still has the longest features list of any mainstream-priced case we’ve ever tested, and thus might be recommended to new system builders who would like to attend the PC builder’s school of hard knocks.

Our final analysis ends with Antec’s Eleven Hundred getting a recommendation for its support of oversized motherboards, SilverStone’s KL04B (the B is for black, remember?) getting a recommendation for its slight edge in overall performance, dual-fan radiator support, and enhanced drive capacity, and Cooler Master’s Storm Enforcer getting a recommendation based on its mid-pack performance, quad USB ports, and low price. All three of these medium-duty cases are sturdy enough for most users, yet the Storm Enforcer’s ultra-low price and lack of obvious flaws (apart from the missing radiator mounting space) makes it the most attractive option for a majority of mid-budget builders.

We know that a recommendation appropriate for most folks doesn't fit every need. One of our readers complained that our most recent System Builder Marathon included mostly un-awarded parts. In the example of this review, we would happily pick the Eleven Hundred to fit larger hardware or the KL04B for low-cost radiator support, even though neither of these could match the overall value that today’s award winner offers to a majority of buyers.

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  • 0 Hide
    samorf , June 25, 2012 4:27 AM
    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.
  • 5 Hide
    mjmjpfaff , June 25, 2012 5:41 AM
    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$.
  • 1 Hide
    jimmysmitty , June 25, 2012 6:58 AM
    mjmjpfaffI really thought that the Antec Eleven Hundred would get this site's nod, especially with its build quality and its plethora of features to help with cable management, as well as all of its removable dust filters which many cases at the 100$ 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.
  • 3 Hide
    Crashman , June 25, 2012 7:34 AM
    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.
  • -7 Hide
    damric , June 25, 2012 8:39 AM
    I really felt like I was reading a commercial. Was this review cut and paste from the marketing documents provided?
  • 2 Hide
    randomkid , June 25, 2012 9:40 AM
    Nice article. I feel glad about my choice of the CM Storm Enforcer... :) 
  • 5 Hide
    Crashman , June 25, 2012 9:41 AM
    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!
  • 0 Hide
    ct1615 , June 25, 2012 11:11 AM
    i've played around with the enforcer many times. i don't card for the swing door. feels like cheap plastic that can break if any amount of pressure is placed on it. the case itself is fine and frankly most modern cases now all look alike to me. tons of mounts for fans in the front, top, side, and bottom to help motivate buyers to purchase after market fans from the same brands that sell cases. I thought PC hardware is getting more efficient? I personally prefer a sturdy case with solid side panels.
  • 0 Hide
    ct1615 , June 25, 2012 11:12 AM
    *care not card, no editing features
  • 1 Hide
    randomkid , June 25, 2012 11:18 AM
    ^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.
  • 2 Hide
    jaquith , June 25, 2012 11:50 AM
    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 Hide
    eddieroolz , June 25, 2012 1:18 PM
    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 Hide
    DirectXtreme , June 25, 2012 1:50 PM
    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.
  • 0 Hide
    SR-71 Blackbird , June 25, 2012 2:55 PM
    I used this case in my most recent build,and it is a wonderful case to work with.
  • 1 Hide
    skaz , June 25, 2012 3:42 PM
    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.
  • 2 Hide
    g-unit1111 , June 25, 2012 4:12 PM
    That Raidmax case looks like it's going to transform into something. :lol: 
  • 1 Hide
    Crashman , June 25, 2012 5:06 PM
    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.
  • 2 Hide
    g-unit1111 , June 25, 2012 5:38 PM
    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.
  • 1 Hide
    gm0n3y , June 25, 2012 7:10 PM
    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.
  • 0 Hide
    Yuka , June 25, 2012 8:38 PM
    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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