Part 2: Four More Gaming Enclosures Under $50

Inside The Gamma

Many builders insist on painted interiors, and NZXT responds with a black finish on top of bare steel. A chip in the paint near one of the mounting holes reveals that the underlying metal is neither galvanized nor aluminized.

NZXT provides a cooler support plate access hole behind the CPU socket of most motherboards, along with several slots for easier cable management. Keeping cost low does require a few sacrifices, however, such as the omission of screw-free drive clips for external bays.

That’s not to say that all drives must be screwed down. A five-bay drive cage uses sliding rails, rather than screws, to ease 3.5” hard drive insertion and removal.

The front of the Gamma is boxed-in enough to provide moderate stiffness in spite of the case’s thin material, and supports an additional 120 mm intake fan. The two 3.5” external drive bays above the intake fan are blocked by the Gamma’s plastic face plate, though internal drives (hard drives) can still be mounted there.

The Gamma’s inset slot panel and replaceable slot covers, both standard on older high-end cases, are a prized find in the sub-$50 price class. Owners who change card configurations occasionally are most likely to appreciate these features, and they're certainly more valuable than a certain competitor’s fan controller to this editor. Then again, this editor uses motherboard-based fan control.

NZXT even adds a removable dust filter to the bottom of its Gamma case, below the intake fan of many power supplies.

A close examination of its hidden features makes the Gamma appear a little more complete than some of its “fancier” competitors.

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  • stm1185
    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
  • AMW1011
    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
  • pangedit
    Awesome article toms. Appreciate it :D
    5
  • wielander
    "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
  • sparkle_ftw
    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
  • ceps
    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
  • takeapieandrun
    Its pretty cool how cheap cases nowadays can top cases like the Antec 900 in some aspects.
    1
  • TommyV
    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
  • RazberyBandit
    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
  • Zplendid
    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
  • Tamz_msc
    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
  • elbert
    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
  • ares1214
    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
  • zooted
    I enjoy my challenger that I got for my sub $500 build
    0
  • cknobman
    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
  • jonxor
    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
  • coldmast
    3 FANS! for $40 US and a CASE! The Rosewill Challenger is definitely a good case for a budget build.
    2
  • jestersage
    Aw... Silverstone! What were you thinking with those top fan mount offsets? Oh well, I'm sticking to my mATX box for now.
    1
  • TheStealthyOne
    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
  • kilthas_th
    Ahh, cheap cases. Spending hard-earned money for a good suck or blow that may not be illegal, but is still pretty dirty.
    -1