Best Of The Best, Part 1: Who Makes The Most Elite PC Case?

How We Test Our Four Elite Cases

Test System Configuration
CPUIntel Core i7-3960X (Sandy Bridge-E): 3.30 GHz, Six Cores
O/C to 4.25 GHz (34 x 125 MHz) at 1.35 V Core
CPU CoolerCoolink Corator DS 120 mm Tower
MotherboardAsus P9X79 Pro: LGA 2011, Intel X79 Express, Firmware 3501 (03/14/2013)
O/C at 125 MHz BCLK
RAMG.Skill F3-17600CL9Q-16GBXLD 16 GB (4 x 4 GB) DDR3-2200
Benchmarked at DDR3-1666 CAS 9 defaults
GraphicsNvidia GeForce GTX 580: 772 MHz GPU, GDDR5-4008
Maximum Fan for Thermal Tests, SLI
Hard DrivesSamsung 840 Series MZ-7PD256, 256 GB SSD 
SoundIntegrated HD Audio
NetworkIntegrated Gigabit Networking
PowerSeasonic X760 SS-760KM
ATX12V v2.3, EPS12V, 80 PLUS Gold
Software
OSMicrosoft Windows 8 Pro x64
GraphicsNvidia GeForce 314.22
ChipsetIntel INF 9.2.3.1020

We’ve retained the same hardware through several generations of case testing, allowing you to compare the thermal results from several round-ups. Case technology doesn’t change much, and neither does the heating capabilities of an overclocked Sandy Bridge-E processor.

We’re counting on that overclocked hexa-core CPU to flood each case with heat, and Coolink’s Corator DS is being used to similarly saturate the enclosures with noise as it transfers thermal energy away from the processor.

Nvidia’s GeForce GTX 580 is a great noise maker in its own right, its blower-style cooler spinning at a few thousand RPM at full speed. This reference card idles down to 40%, and we use full and idle speed settings for our load and idle tests.

Benchmark Configuration
Prime95 v25.864-bit executable, Small FFTs, 11 threads
3DMark 11Version: 1.0.3.0, Extreme Preset: Graphics Test 1, Looped
Real Temp 3.40Average of maximum core readings at full CPU load
Galaxy CM-140 SPL MeterTested at 1/2 m, corrected to 1 m (-6 dB), dB(A) weighting
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117 comments
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  • blackmagnum
    Does elite mean most unattainable purchase prices?
    4
  • Crashman
    Anonymous said:
    Does elite mean most unattainable purchase prices?
    We would have been happy if In Win could deliver that case for under $300. Unfortunately, I think the company budgets $300 of its $800 MSRP just for replacement glass and glass shipping.
    3
  • AndrewJacksonZA
    Oh please! What rubbish is this?!?! One can't abuse the word "elite" when talking about a case! It depends on the individual and each individual's needs and, perhaps most importantly, aesthetic taste!

    **go to heat and noise page and then the last page from the first page**
    I really don't have the inclination to read each - and - every - page in this article based on a piece of rubbish idea. Really Tom's, what on earth possessed you to do thi...**sees the picture of the In Win Tou**

    Hmmm...

    **reads to the In Win Tou pages**

    Wow. Ok, that case is quite the looker. Gee, that construction kinda justifies the stratospheric pricing. What a beautiful case! With some nice watercooling this case will be quiet AND cool AND cool-looking! I agree with you that this is the most elite, erm, showboat-iest case of these four!

    Thanks for making your readers aware of products that they would've otherwise missed Tom's! :-)
    -2
  • samesdf
    Did Rosewill copy from CM 690 II Advance or the other way around?
    0
  • Shunrei
    Will wait for something from NZXT might miss something..
    0
  • Crashman
    Anonymous said:
    Oh please! What rubbish is this?!?! One can't abuse the word "elite" when talking about a case! It depends on the individual and each individual's needs and, perhaps most importantly, aesthetic taste!

    **go to heat and noise page and then the last page from the first page**
    I really don't have the inclination to read each - and - every - page in this article based on a piece of rubbish idea. Really Tom's, what on earth possessed you to do thi...**sees the picture of the In Win Tou**

    Hmmm...

    **reads to the In Win Tou pages**

    Wow. Ok, that case is quite the looker. Gee, that construction kinda justifies the stratospheric pricing. What a beautiful case! With some nice watercooling this case will be quiet AND cool AND cool-looking! I agree with you that this is the most elite, erm, showboat-iest case of these four!

    Thanks for making your readers aware of products that they would've otherwise missed Tom's! :-)
    The article was actually conceived as a showcase for two different cases, one of which didn't show up and the other arrived late enough to be reserved for Part 2 of this 2-part series :)
    Anonymous said:
    Did Rosewill copy from CM 690 II Advance or the other way around?
    Rosewill buys its cases...I'm not even certain it has a mechanical designer. Most other case brands design a case based on an existing case, so there's always the possibility of two different products coming from the same supplier and sharing some stampings.
    5
  • Mac266
    Sees cases. (Yeah, not to bad) Sees pricing. Sees Win Tou pricing. Picks jaw up off ground.
    3
  • weavermsi
    Dear lord that In Win thing is an abominable turd. The only case here with any pedigree is the Silverstone, and that's easily the ugliest object they've produced. Please, NZXT and Corsair, put us out of our misery.
    1
  • Memnarchon
    Since we are talking for the best of the best,... Where is the Silverstone's TJ11?
    0
  • Crashman
    Anonymous said:
    Since we are talking for the best of the best,... Where is the Silverstone's TJ11?
    Great question, since they sent a cheaper model! It was probably neglected due to age.
    1
  • mamasan2000
    The most elite is one which you cant find commercially available.

    http://www.forbes.com/pictures/fkim45flf/1-dark-blade-2/

    20 of the most elite
    0
  • 4Ryan6
    Since many are going to water cooling that needs to be addressed in the build possibilities of these cases and not just the CLC capabilities they all can handle, but complete kits of today as well.

    What size radiators can be fit into these cases?

    With all due respect, there's a whole lot more regarding a case review, than has been covered.
    -1
  • Redspeed93
    I would argue the Phanteks Enthoo Primo needs a top spot. Darn good case!
    3
  • AndrewJacksonZA
    While we're throwing out suggestions, I vote for the Nanoxia Deep Silence 1 and Deep Silence 6 cases: Understated elegance with cool and very quiet performance.

    However, they have almost zero bling, so I guess they might not fit this series. For me though, they're the cases I want to own right now. I don't do much showing off of my computers.
    2
  • ubercake
    I like how the In Win case looks, but I could never forgive myself for spending that much money on a case. Now a couple of video cards?... Heck yeah! But a case? No.

    The NZXT Phantom 630 (aside from some of the angles), in my opinion, is the most practical case I've had the pleasure of working with to this point. The innards and internal case design just make sense.

    'Elite' definitely doesn't mean practical.
    1
  • velocityg4
    It seems to me all these case have an inefficient design for airflow. They need to be designed with open air flow from the front to the back. So that you get a solid wall of air moving across. Which is why I modded a PowerMac G5 case for ATX components.
    0
  • Reynod
    crash nice work mate ... as always.

    A bit of advice ... don't feed the trolls !!

    Don't bother responding to the idiots with the stupid questions, and if they follow up with more tripe then let the mods clean up for you.

    You will get all worked up and then we have to come around with a bottle of Jacks and sedate you ...

    :)
    0
  • Crashman
    Anonymous said:
    crash nice work mate ... as always.

    A bit of advice ... don't feed the trolls !!

    Don't bother responding to the idiots with the stupid questions, and if they follow up with more tripe then let the mods clean up for you.

    You will get all worked up and then we have to come around with a bottle of Jacks and sedate you ...


    :)
    So it's a go then? :p

    I used to mine in the Elitist Jerks pool, until I figured out that I was too good for them...
    0
  • Reynod
    :)

    I was scratching my head over what to call the front fan on the Win case as well ... almost like it was an afterthought.

    Can't wait to see part II.

    Back in the day the V1000 ... V6000 Thermaltake cases were pretty good ... huge great honking things. The 1000's were steel ... mine could have taken a 7.62 round and kept going. Reminded me of my Combi Van ... had fans everywhere. Heavy. I took to it with a bosche nibbler and improved it no end in terms of airflow.
    0
  • 4Ryan6
    Crashman, Did you send any invitations to CaseLabs or Mountain Mods as these are the Best of the Best cases money can buy?

    I was wondering if they refused to participate?
    9