Six Low-Noise, Performance-Oriented Cases, Tested

Building With The BitFenix Colossus

Double panels give BitFenix more than just noise reduction; they also add a place for LED lighting. The light controller allows users to select soft red or gentle blue, slow pulsating or constant brightnes, and of course off.

A few screwless installation features mean fewer screws in the Colossus installation kit. The kit also includes two three-piece hold-down straps for expansion cards.

Some readers will need to adjust the brightness and contrast of their monitors to see how BitFenix’ optical drive latches work. Pushing the latch button in forces drive engagement, and sliding it to one side locks the engaged position. BitFenix leaves the drive’s second set of screw holes accessible.

The Colossus includes seven slide-out drive trays with grommet-mounted location pins. Spreading the rails of the tray allows a 3.5” drive to be inserted, while 2.5” drives like our test SSD rely instead on screws.

The Colossus' card-holding straps wouldn’t fit our hardware, no matter how we tried to install it, as various other components (such as the CPU cooler and the graphics card’s power connectors) were in the way. We didn’t feel a big loss by not using these, however.

Remaining component installation followed the layout of our How To Build A PC guide, with exception of the USB 3.0 pass-through cable. We were forced to run that through one of the case’s four liquid-cooling egress holes before plugging it into the motherboard’s I/O panel.

One of the few modern cases that doesn’t include a fan on its rear-panel mount, BitFenix added a pair of its quiet 140 mm fans to its shipment for additional evaluation. As an alternative configuration, the LED fan mounts as a rear-panel exhaust, while the white fan acts as a bottom-panel intake.

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  • Tamz_msc
    i7 2600K at 34.5 GHz? o.O
    7
  • Anonymous
    the rv03 is out at less $$$ you guys should do a rv02-E vs rv03 round in the cooling side and thats because the rv03 has more fans
    4
  • dragonsqrrl
    Using a SilverStone Fortress Series FT02B-W here. Basically identical interior design, except in my opinion the exterior is more aesthetically pleasing. Glad to confirm the excellent cooling characteristics.

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811163161&cm_re=ft02_b-_-11-163-161-_-Product

    Another big plus with the Fortress 2 is the inclusion of sound dampening foam on every panel, but to be entirely honest with you, due to the open nature of the case, I'm really not sure how much sound it's actually dampening.
    0
  • henryvalz
    34.5 Ghz...

    Hell, yes! About time, pushing those extreme overclocks!
    6
  • Gamer-girl
    I think there needs to be info on how much space there is for graphics cards.
    2
  • xmaswraith
    34.5 gigahertz? 34.5 gigahertz? Great Scott!

    Marty, I'm sorry. But the only power source capable of generating 34.5 gigahertz of electricity is a bolt of lightning... (begin back to the future theme song!)
    4
  • JOSHSKORN
    henryvalz34.5 Ghz...Hell, yes! About time, pushing those extreme overclocks!

    I bet they were overclocking from Pluto.
    2
  • killerclick
    JOSHSKORNI bet they were overclocking from Pluto.


    Didn't you watch the news? Astronomers sent a dwarf in a rocket to remove Pluto so it doesn't exist anymore.
    3
  • Luay
    RV-03 pushes more air and cools better than the 02, but it's also louder.
    0
  • madsbs
    Yet, as a gaming case, the Raven 2 Evolution may not fulfill the aesthetic or storage needs of some computing professionals
    0
  • madsbs
    "Yet, as a gaming case, the Raven 2 Evolution may not fulfill the aesthetic or storage needs of some computing professionals"

    This conclusion makes no sense. Why do "computing professional gamers" need storage.
    And further the case holds 5 HDDs. That's 1 SSD + 4x2TB of storage.
    2
  • srgess
    35.4ghz with silent operation ! Wondering if it can play crysis !
    0
  • Anonymous
    Sonata - top mounted PSU = no go, especially for semi passive ones.

    Fractal or Raven? This is harder one.
    0
  • VirtualMirage
    The specs on page one for the Fractal Design Define XL are wrong. The intake fan is 140mm, not 120mm. There is room for 2 140mm intake fans plus a 120mm intake fan. The specs list incorrectly shows it as one 120mm fan with an alternative for three 120mm fans.
    1
  • Petey1013
    madsbs"Yet, as a gaming case, the Raven 2 Evolution may not fulfill the aesthetic or storage needs of some computing professionals"This conclusion makes no sense. Why do "computing professional gamers" need storage. And further the case holds 5 HDDs. That's 1 SSD + 4x2TB of storage.



    You mean 5x2TB. It holds 5 HDDs and a SSD.

    Also, the FT02, although more expensive, should have been used due to the extra sound dampening material.
    0
  • randomstar
    Anyone remember the Silio case? is it still in production? Quiet, insulated, cools well.
    0
  • Anonymous
    This is unusual for Tom's...an inconclusive review on poorly chosen hardware.
    -2
  • verbalizer
    I do not particularly care for ANY of these cases, thanks anyways..
    -1
  • chesteracorgi
    I'd rate the Bitfinix, Lian Li and Silverstone for having the best aesthetics. Antec's design placing the PSU at the top is anachronistic: heating the top of the case. Silverstone's idiosyncratic design produces the best cooling at the price of more noise. None of these cases give me a second thought about going with the Corsair 600T.
    0
  • marraco
    I would love an article about how to "make it yourself".

    Do a case with good electromagnetic and noise insulation. With good cooling.

    What materials are better? Is electromagnetic insulation that important? (so, is necessary a conductive -metallic- case?)

    how do you solve the precise location of backward holes (for motherboard, and boards).

    how do you make the holes for different form factors (hint: there are standards)

    etc. there is a lot to talk. You can make a cheap case much better than the trademark garbage sold.
    2