Five More Mainstream Gaming Cases, Rounded-Up

We've already given you a pictorial walk-through of cases six through 10 of our 15-chassis round-up. Today, we build PCs inside of them, evaluate their value, and pick one as the most likely to satisfy your needs (though several excel in other ways).

A few small requirements narrowed a field of over fifty mainstream cases to just fifteen, but even an in-depth look at that subset would have taken us a full month to complete. Rather than tackling a 15-case round-up, we broke the samples into three groups of five.

But that presented a new conundrum: in what order should we present the contenders? The easiest solution was to create groups of five enclosures based on when each brand delivered its first sample. Second samples will show up in the third round-up.

Now, you'd think that our almost completely random selection would result in an equally random set of features in each five-way comparison. So far, though, each story has only seen one stand-out design. We already saw these features individually, and here’s how they compare:

  Antec
Eleven Hundred
Cooler Master
Storm Enforcer
Fractal Design
Arc Midi
Raidmax
Agusta
SilverStone
Kublai KL04
Dimensions
Height20.7"19.0"18.7"23.8"19.3"
Width9.3"9.0"9.3"9.3"8.4"
Depth21.7"20.8"21.6"21.7"19.8"
Space Above
Motherboard
1.2" to 2.2"****1.6"0.6" to 1.6"****0.2" to 0.8"****1.6" to 2.6"****
Card Length13.8"11.1" to 16.6"^^11.7" to 17.8"**16.9"17.3"^^^ to 18.1"^^
Weight20.0 Pounds19.0 Pounds23.1 Pounds17.7 Pounds18.5 Pounds
Cooling
Front Fans
(alternatives)
None
(2 x 120 mm)
1 x 200 mm
(2 x 120 mm)
1 x 140 mm
(2 x 140 mm)
1 x 120 mm, 1 x 80 mm
(None)
None
(None)
Rear Fans
(alternatives)
1 x 120 mm
(None)
1 x 120 mm
(None)
1 x 140 mm
(1 x 120 mm)
1 x 120 mm, 2 x 80 mm
(3 x 80 mm)
1 x 120 mm
(2 x 120 mm)
Top Fans
(alternatives)
1 x 200 mm
(None)
None
(200 mm, 2 x 120 mm)
1 x 140 mm (1 x 180 mm,
3 x 140/120 mm)
2 x 120 mm
(None)
1 x 120 mm (2 x 120 mm, 1 x 140 mm)
Left Side
(alternatives)
None
(2 x 120 mm)
None
(None)
None
(2 x 180/140 mm)
None
(1 x 180/120 mm)
None
(None)
Right Side
(alternatives)
None
(1 x 120 mm)
None
(None)
None
(None)
None
(None)
1 x 120 mm
(2 x 120 mm)
Drive Bays
5.25" ExternalThreeFourTwoFiveFour
3.5" ExternalNone1 x Adapter1 x AdapterNone1 x Adapter
3.5" InternalSixSixEightSixNine
2.5" InternalTwoTwo + 1 x AdapterEight*Six*Six
Card SlotsNineSeven +1Seven +1SevenEight
Price$100 $80 $100 $120 $95
*Shared on 3.5" tray **Slots 1-3 ***Slots 2-4 ****w/o Top Fan ^w/o fan bracket ^^w/o Center Cage ^^^12.5" w/HDD installed


Carnival geeks are a good reminder that standing out isn't always a good thing. Yet, the computer geek in all of us hopes that the most elaborate of these designs can stand up to the performance and quality of its less-flashy rivals. We built a system into each of these cases to find out.

If you missed the first part of this series, or our recent picture-based tour of the five enclosures being evaluated today, then check out the links below:

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43 comments
    Your comment
  • 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.
    0
  • 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.
    0
  • 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!
    0
  • 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.
    0
  • 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.
    0