Part 2: Four More Gaming Enclosures Under $50

Test Settings

Test System Configuration
CPUIntel Core i7-920 (2.66 GHz, 8 MB Shared L3 Cache)
O/C to 3.80 GHz (19 x 200 MHz), 1.416 V
MotherboardAsus P6T, X58 Express IOH
BIOS 0801 (09/30/2009)
RAMKingston KHX2133C9D3T1K2/4GX (4 GB), DDR3-2133 at DDR3-1600 CAS 8-8-8-24
GraphicsXFX GeForce GTX 285 1 GB
670 MHz GPU, GDDR3-2500
Hard DriveWestern Digital Velociraptor WD3000HLFS, 300 GB
10 000 RPM, SATA 3Gb/s, 16 MB cache
SoundIntegrated HD Audio
NetworkIntegrated Gigabit Networking
PowerOCZ-Z1000 1000 W Modular
ATX12V v2.2, EPS12V, 80 PLUS Gold
Software
OSMicrosoft Windows 7 Ultimate x64
GraphicsNvidia GeForce 190.62 WHQL
ChipsetIntel INF 9.1.1.1014


Overclocking Intel’s C0 stepping Core i7-920 to 3.80 GHz allows us to test how well each case is able to remove large amounts of heat from its interior.

Keeping our system stable at high temperatures and loads is Asus’ original P6T motherboard.

A 2400 RPM fan keeps Rosewill’s oversized Fort 120 cool under pressure, while helping us to evaluate the noise isolation capabilities of each chassis.

An XFX GeForce GTX 285 adds even more heat and noise, especially in this factory-overclocked version.

OCZ’s Z1000 modular power supply keeps voltage stable on our mid-power system, even when it encounters relatively high case temperatures.

Benchmark Configuration
Prime 95 v25.864-bit executable, Small FFT's, 7-threads
FurMark 1.6.5Windowed Mode, 1280x1024, 8X AA, Stability Test
Minimum and maximum temperature
RealTemp 3.40Highest core reading at full CPU load (60 minutes)
Highest core reading at 30 minutes idle
Galaxy CM-140 SPL MeterTested at 1/4m, corrected to 1m (-12db), dBA weighting


Dedicating seven CPU threads to Prime95 and a single CPU thread to FurMark allows both programs to push peak power consumption and heat production simultaneously. Galaxy’s CM-140 meter tracks noise levels.

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61 comments
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  • The Antec 300 is the only case in the roundup that doesnt look and feel like your buying a cheap ass case. It is well worth the extra money and I dont think anyone should really consider building with anything less.
    0
  • stm1185The Antec 300 is the only case in the roundup that doesnt look and feel like your buying a cheap ass case. It is well worth the extra money and I dont think anyone should really consider building with anything less.


    Have you actually used an Antec 300? The quality is only average. Plus it lacks a lot of features that all the others have. Seems pretty cheap ass to me.

    Note I've used one Antec 300 and two Rosewill Challengers in different builds. Quality wise I would put them pretty close, the Antec 300's paint finish is like sand paper, where the Challenger is smooth, however the Antec 300 has slightly thicker metal. Feature-wise, its no comparison, and everyone who saw them together preferred the challenger.

    Nice review Tom's. Hopefully you will move on to some more gamer class cases ($50-$100).
    5
  • Awesome article toms. Appreciate it :D
    5
  • "Rosewill destroyed NZXT’s value leadership goals by putting a greater number of fans in an otherwise-similar chassis at the same price."

    Except that the NZXT gamma costs $7 less shipped (current and suggested prices) and has for a while now.
    0
  • I hope the HAF 912 get reviewed and compared. And centurion 590... but that is old and tom's did something with it a while ago
    4
  • I love my NZXT Gamma (mostly cos no floppy slot and mate finish), although as mentioned, u need to buy fans, 6 fan slots but only 1 included.
    0
  • Its pretty cool how cheap cases nowadays can top cases like the Antec 900 in some aspects.
    1
  • no offense to anyone who owns one of these cases, but all four of those cases are really ugly. All but the rosewill looks like a busted up autobot.
    -4
  • Well, you showed us 4 cases, but truly just two designs. The NZXT and Rosewill are almost identical, while the AeroCool and Silverstone are as well. You could have paired each general design together and pointed out their subtle differences simultaneously.

    If I were truly on a tight budget, I might consider one of these designs. But, it's easily argued that there are higher quality and more feature-rich cases (that don't cut any corners like grommets, fans, filters, etc.) within a $20-$30 earshot of these.
    1
  • I love my Gamma because I got it for $35 with a $25 MIR(which I received). Can't complain about a $10 dollar case, eat it 300!
    -1
  • AMW1011Have you actually used an Antec 300? The quality is only average. Plus it lacks a lot of features that all the others have. Seems pretty cheap ass to me.Note I've used one Antec 300 and two Rosewill Challengers in different builds. Quality wise I would put them pretty close, the Antec 300's paint finish is like sand paper, where the Challenger is smooth, however the Antec 300 has slightly thicker metal. Feature-wise, its no comparison, and everyone who saw them together preferred the challenger.Nice review Tom's. Hopefully you will move on to some more gamer class cases ($50-$100).

    Only problem with the Antec 300 in cable management and there is not enough room for a big Graphics card.Otherwise, it is a solid case.
    5
  • I have purchased a many sub $50 case and by far I like the GIGABYTE gz-ph1a3. At only $20 is the best built and best looking case I have seen under $50. The only thing worth note about this case is its 13.78" depth. Any GPU over 9.6" would require you to cut some metal. The 5770 works out great in this case. Luckily the HD bay is set to the outer edge with the HD's second metal hanger is recessed about middle way. Due to the divider between the 5.25" and 3.5" drive bays the mobo may require the remove of the back fan to slide in place. No worry tho just reattach it after. For what you get for $20 you should be expecting a little work.
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811233061
    0
  • Whoever says the 300 is a "far superior" or "not cheap" case has clearly never used it. It has pretty much 0 cable managment, higher price, and no terribly good features. Its actually quite a standard, generic, "cheap" case. All of these cases had a black interior, decent cable management, a lower price tag, and considering the 300 is stock with more fans than most of these, then put the same amount of fans in and im sure cooling would be the same.
    1
  • I enjoy my challenger that I got for my sub $500 build
    0
  • For the last couple of years I have found it mighty hard to beat Rosewill when it comes to value for your money.

    For building a cheap computer gaming or otherwise I always go Rosewill.
    2
  • I have the NZXT Gamma, and I built a server out of it. 2 8-port RAID cards, D-link 5-port Gigabit switch powered from the internal ATX power supply. I was able to cleanly tuck over 40 Ft of cable in the case, I would love to share pictures search flickr for "bnrclearcase" I'll post the updated pics tonight.
    0
  • 3 FANS! for $40 US and a CASE! The Rosewill Challenger is definitely a good case for a budget build.
    2
  • Aw... Silverstone! What were you thinking with those top fan mount offsets? Oh well, I'm sticking to my mATX box for now.
    1
  • I got the Gamma for 30 bucks, and wow, what a value. I added three more case fans and it was a budget beast!
    0
  • Ahh, cheap cases. Spending hard-earned money for a good suck or blow that may not be illegal, but is still pretty dirty.
    -1