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Test Setup And Conclusion

Five Gaming Enclosures, Rounded Up
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In order to test each case, we built the exact same PC within each one. The specifications are as follows:

Test Hardware
Motherboard
Gigabyte EX58-UD3R
CPU
Intel Core i7-920
CPU Cooling Fan
Scythe Katana 3
Memory
6GB OCZ PC3 12800
Graphics Card
Asus Radeon HD 4870 X2
Sound Card
Creative Labs SoundBlaster Titanium
Hard Drive
Western Digital Caviar Black 1TB SATA 3Gb/s
Optical Drive
Lite-On 22X DVD+/-RW SATA


We hooked up a monitor, mouse, and keyboard, and powered the system up, and then used CPUID Hardware Monitor to nab temperatures of the four CPU cores (we took an average of the four readings to report below), the GPU core temperature, and the ambient system temperature.

We used the default, built-in sensors on the Gigabyte EX58-UD3R and the Asus Radeon HD 4870 X2 equipment. Thus, we measured the ambient, CPU, and GPU temperatures with the probes already provided on the parts listed above, taking readings with CPUID's Hardware Monitor.

Because CPUID's Hardware Monitor measures four CPU core temperatures, we averaged them for our results.

For the record, the ambient temperature in the room in which we tested was 23.9 degrees Celsius.

The best-performing case, both under load and idle, was the NZXT Panzerbox. The taller, more elegant cases, the ABS Canyon 595 and the Lian Li PC-X1000, were warmer throughout the tests. The Panzerbox, however, was also among the louder cases (measured through observation), and the loudest was the Thermaltake Element G. The Antec P193, even with its huge side fan, was the quietest.

The ABS Canyon 595, at $400, is hard to swallow; the smaller and cheaper two cases were also the loudest. If we were to recommend a case based on thermal and audio observations, we'd go with the Antec P193.

However, going with ease of build, we really liked the monolithic Lian Li PC-X1000. Furthermore, we loved the big, black wall of sheer computing power it imparts. Sitting on a desk, it truly does resemble the monolith from the film 2001, and we're just as excited simply to touch it as the missing-link monkey men were in that movie.

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Top Comments
  • 10 Hide
    Pailin , October 9, 2009 10:15 AM
    "The best-performing case, both under load and idle, was the NZXT Panzerbox."

    err... not according to your own graphs its not.

    The P193 beats the Panzerbox at everything on idle! and the Panzer only beat the P193 on CPU temp by 1 deg.

    The 5870 "might" push me from my P182 to a P193 due to the extra length and me not wanting to loose HDD slots - but will prob just get a 5 and a qtr bay converter and hopefully only have to move one drive.
Other Comments
  • 0 Hide
    doomtomb , October 9, 2009 6:18 AM
    That Lian Li PC-X1000 is my favorite
  • 0 Hide
    CoryInJapan , October 9, 2009 6:25 AM
    Haha I was thinking the same thing about the Lian Li PC-X1000
  • 0 Hide
    CoryInJapan , October 9, 2009 6:27 AM
    I dont think I would ever need to change my case for an extremely long tile with that Lian Li PC-X1000 case
  • 0 Hide
    Proximon , October 9, 2009 6:39 AM
    Thanks, good article. I have a comment and a request:
    You said, "The other complaint came in having to remove the bezel of our optical drive so that the case's own bezel could take over." this was on the Lian Li case.
    I would consider this a feature. Brushed aluminum cases look crappy with flat black optical drives and the only way normally to avoid that is a stealth mod, such as I have done with my TJ09.
    I would like to see a picture of each case with the motherboard in place. This helps provide perspective and gives the less experienced builders a clearer idea of what they are actually getting.
  • 0 Hide
    mcbowler , October 9, 2009 6:46 AM
    Awesome PanzerBox. Where do the hard drives go?
  • 3 Hide
    redgarl , October 9, 2009 7:41 AM
    400$ cases... WTH? I will never buy that! Where is the Raven one?
  • 2 Hide
    CHRISTLUBAS , October 9, 2009 7:47 AM
    Panzerbox.........I prefer a M1A1 ABRAMS BOX!!!!!!!
  • 0 Hide
    neiroatopelcc , October 9, 2009 8:45 AM
    How flimsy/sturdy is the plastic cover for the connectors, and the power button ? looks like they're using the same parts as on my PC-A70 ; and on mine the power button feels as if it isn't big enough for its socket, and the top lid broke off quite easily.
  • 10 Hide
    Pailin , October 9, 2009 10:15 AM
    "The best-performing case, both under load and idle, was the NZXT Panzerbox."

    err... not according to your own graphs its not.

    The P193 beats the Panzerbox at everything on idle! and the Panzer only beat the P193 on CPU temp by 1 deg.

    The 5870 "might" push me from my P182 to a P193 due to the extra length and me not wanting to loose HDD slots - but will prob just get a 5 and a qtr bay converter and hopefully only have to move one drive.
  • 3 Hide
    WheelsOfConfusion , October 9, 2009 11:47 AM
    Pailin"The best-performing case, both under load and idle, was the NZXT Panzerbox."err... not according to your own graphs its not.The P193 beats the Panzerbox at everything on idle! and the Panzer only beat the P193 on CPU temp by 1 deg.

    Yeah, what gives? I could understand if we're taking points off for the effort that goes into assembling it and wire routing versus the Panzer, but "performance" would, I think, be measured by how well it cools and how quiet it was. It cools better when idle, almost identically under load, and apparently was the quietest case in the roundup.
  • 3 Hide
    Onus , October 9, 2009 12:17 PM
    Pailin and Wheels beat me to it. Unless the numbers on the chart were transposed, the P193 is equal or superior to the Panzerbox on all but one test.
  • 1 Hide
    JohnnyLucky , October 9, 2009 12:18 PM
    I can understand hardcore gamers into serious overclocking getting excited about case cooling but I don't think a difference of a few degrees would matter for the typical user.
  • 3 Hide
    icepick314 , October 9, 2009 12:26 PM
    is side window going out of phase in these latest cases?

    the cases themselves look great but what if i want to show what components i used to build my gaming rig?
  • 1 Hide
    Onus , October 9, 2009 12:33 PM
    I'll also agree with Proximon. Additional data I'd like to see includes a pic of the final build (showing cable routing), decibel measurements at typical distances from floor to a desk, and total weight.
    What power connectors are on the fans? I may have no desire to water-cool, but many do; so what about radiator mounting and pump placement? The article was interesting as far as it went, but could have included a lot more.
  • 0 Hide
    nukemaster , October 9, 2009 12:37 PM
    mcbowlerAwesome PanzerBox. Where do the hard drives go?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LSdJZyrsj1g
  • 1 Hide
    coolronz , October 9, 2009 12:39 PM
    interesting review, but my ugly HAF 932 will take em all!!! and i have room to park my car... lol
  • 1 Hide
    JackNaylorPE , October 9, 2009 1:06 PM
    "The best-performing case, both under load and idle, was the NZXT Panzerbox. The taller, more elegant cases, the ABS Canyon 595 and the Lian Li PC-X1000, were warmer throughout the tests."

    Er......Not according to ya charts dude. The Antec and ABS looked better at idle. 27-81-28 The total (136) is 8% bigger than 24-78-27 (129)

    30-82-39 (141)under load also looks like a virtual w/ 29-82-40 (141)
  • 0 Hide
    baddad , October 9, 2009 1:26 PM
    Thermaltake has much better cases for gaming then the one you showed and you don't need to spend 400 to get a nice roomy case with lots of fans.
  • 1 Hide
    Lavacon , October 9, 2009 1:29 PM
    This is missing the Corsair 800D. I would have liked to have seen that against these cases since it @ $270 it is in the middle of the price range in this round up.

    I wasn't impressed with the selection of cases for this review one bit.
  • 0 Hide
    cknobman , October 9, 2009 1:30 PM
    Panzerbox looked sweet gonna consider it for my next build. Small, open, airy, and tool free.
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