Five Gaming Cases Between $80 And $120, Reviewed

Test Settings And Benchmarks

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 1.40 V Core
CPU CoolerCoolink Corator DS 120 mm Tower
MotherboardAsus P9X79 WS: LGA 2011, Intel X79 Express, Firmware 0603 (11-11-2011)
O/C at 125 MHz BCLK
RAMG.Skill F3-17600CL9Q-16GBXLD 16 GB (4 x 4 GB) DDR3-2200
Benchmarked at DDR3-1600 CAS 9 defaults
GraphicsNvidia GeForce GTX 580: 772 MHz GPU,  GDDR5-4008
Maximum Fan for Thermal Tests, SLI
Hard DrivesSamsung 470 Series MZ5PA256HMDR, 256 GB SSD 
SoundIntegrated HD Audio
NetworkIntegrated Gigabit Networking
PowerSeasonic X760 SS-760KM
ATX12V v2.3, EPS12V, 80 PLUS Gold
Software
OSMicrosoft Windows 7 Ultimate x64
GraphicsNvidia GeForce 296.10 WHQL
ChipsetIntel INF 9.2.3.1020


We reused the test platform from Four ATX Cases For High-Capacity Water Cooling, Reviewed, but at an overclocked setting that’s more appropriate for air cooling. It includes Asus’ P9X79 WS and a sacrificial C0-stepping Core i7-3960X.

While we normally choose a cooler for its low noise and high cooling, Coolink’s Corator DS provides the moderately-low temperatures and moderately-high noise needed to properly evaluate the airflow and noise-dampening capabilities of these cases.

Benchmark Configuration
Prime95 v25.864-bit executable, Small FFTs, 11 threads
3DMark 11Version: 1.0.1.0, Extreme Preset: Graphics Test 1, Looped
RealTemp 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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    Top Comments
  • TekN9Ne
    The Phantom with the Gunmetal looks smooth.
    13
  • Other Comments
  • TekN9Ne
    The Phantom with the Gunmetal looks smooth.
    13
  • hellfire24
    my vote goes to phantom!
    BTW,i recently saw Antec 1100 and it's a very good case.for 100 bucks,it's best in it's class-
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811129178&Tpk=antec%201100
    5
  • Ohmybad
    I love the hell out of my 300R! i didn't want a show piece, Stylish and plain is fine with me!
    9
  • sirencall
    I almost got the Phantom case but I got the Raidmax Storm case instead....about the price range for this review but has some unique features like the motherboard is attached to a panel that hinges out so you can work on it very easily.
    1
  • anxiousinfusion
    I'm contemplating getting the 300r. It would be a big cooling boost over my Silverstone Sugo SG-03. I'm an idiot for trying to stuff a rig into that thing.
    0
  • sirencall
    anxiousinfusionI'm contemplating getting the 300r. It would be a big cooling boost over my Silverstone Sugo SG-03. I'm an idiot for trying to stuff a rig into that thing.

    CHeck out the Raidmax Blackstorm....you may find it a very pleasant choice, with good reviews and easy on the price.....and there is plenty of space lol
    2
  • Anonymous
    MSI Stealth now has a $20 MIR bringing it down to same price as the other cases
    2
  • Crashman
    sirencallI almost got the Phantom case but I got the Raidmax Storm case instead....about the price range for this review but has some unique features like the motherboard is attached to a panel that hinges out so you can work on it very easily.
    Hey guys, just remember this is the first Five of Fifteen. Your favorite brand could appear in a later part of this series!
    5
  • amuffin
    300R=OVERPRICED

    Better cases:
    NZXT Tempest 410
    Antec 300
    CM 690 II advanced
    Cooler Master Storm Enforcer
    -7
  • ojas
    I wish you guys could review the HAF 912 Advanced ...but that's Asia only...
    0
  • s3anister
    Maybe it's time to buy a new case. I am still using my Antec Sonata II, after all...

    Can't wait to see what other cases Tom's has in store.
    3
  • old mann
    No top exhaust fan, no buy. Makes NZXT the best. I have to be honest I always use more expensive cases from Antec or Cooler Master.
    2
  • roadrunner343
    Crashman,

    Since this is just the first 5 of 15, could the last article do a recap of all 15? That would make for an awesome article, and allow us to easily compare all the cases.
    3
  • 87ninefiveone
    amuffin300R=OVERPRICEDBetter cases:NZXT Tempest 410Antec 300CM 690 II advancedCooler Master Storm Enforcer


    What??? It's overpriced at $70? Really? Did you read the article or do you just hate Corsair?
    5
  • Crashman
    ct1615case A fits two 120mm fans up front & up top and one 120mm rear (like every other recently released case out there)case B fits two 120mm fans up front & up top and one 120mm rearcase A comes with three fans yet case B comes with two so lets rate case A as good for internal temps and case B as poor.rating temps for a case is pointless. focus more on build quality and the cases ability to prevent dust-balls. a case with two fans has poor internal temps...oh wait i have two fans lying around the house...now the case has four fans and temps are so much better...
    1. More fans means more noise
    2. Noise is compared to heat
    3. The noise-to-heat comparison is given more consideration than either the noise or the heat
    4. Adding your own fans alters the price, so this is the only fair way to do a value analysis.
    5. It appears you don't care about performance-to-price. That's fine, the last two paragraphs are specifically what you asked for.

    So, what's the complaint?
    6
  • Onus
    I'd still choose the Xigmatek. That drive dock is a great feature; for convenience, space, and cable clutter it beats heck out of using a separate external enclosure. To expand on what ct1615 said, cooling and noise are both adjustable. With a single graphics card and a modest CPU overclock, the Xigmatek will remain cool and quiet even if another [low speed] top fan is added.
    2
  • greenrider02
    I solve the oversized motherboard issue with half the cases in this round-up by only even considering the 12"x9.6" standard. If they can't fit those dimensions, they're cutting corners, IMO.
    1
  • ubercake
    Again...

    Case articles are perfect opportunities for the Tom's models or the Teaser Girl.
    2
  • catatafish
    Thank you for this article, I enjoyed it. I would love to see more articles written on cases and power supplies rather than the sea of GPU articles we seem to get.
    0
  • pacioli
    ubercakeAgain...Case articles are perfect opportunities for the Tom's models or the Teaser Girl.

    Crashman... you and teaser girl need to do a collaboration...
    -1