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In Pictures: Five More Mainstream Gaming Cases, Previewed

Inside The Storm Enforcer

A standard seven-slot panel supports full-ATX motherboards, but lacks the added space to mount a double-slot graphics card in the motherboard’s bottom slot, which some motherboards require for three-way graphics configurations. An eighth slot is available from Cooler Master's submission, but as you can see, it's set off to the side exclusively for use with port breakout plates or external cable hangers.

A Call To Large Cards

We mentioned that the Storm Enforcer isn’t designed for double-slot graphics cards plugged in to a motherboard’s bottom slot, inhibiting compatibility with three-way graphics arrays on some motherboards. Cooler Master appears to instead target extra-long dual-GPU cards by making its center drive cage removable. After all, a pair of dual-GPU cards yield four-way CrossFire or SLI.

Sacrificing four 3.5” drive bays allows cards up to 16.6” to be used in all slots. A pair of 2.5” drives can be installed in a smaller cage next to the two remaining 3.5” bays.

Behind The Storm Enforcer

The Storm Enforcer provides three holes above its 120 mm exhaust fan with protective grommets to support external liquid coolers and pass-through cables.

Storm Enforcer Cable Management

Cooler Master’s Storm Enforcer does not have internal grommets to hide the points where cables pass through, but does have rolled edges on all of its cable access holes. There’s barely enough space behind the motherboard tray to stuff the main ATX power cable, and the CPU back-plate access hole is just big enough to support CPU cooler installations on most motherboards.

Storm Enforcer Dust Control

A sheet of dust-reducing mesh covers the Storm Enforcer’s power supply intake, which is important since power supplies are the hardest part to clean. Access to this filter requires flipping the case on its side and sliding several tabs out of place.

Storm Enforcer Intake

A quiet giant, the Storm Enforcer’s 200 mm intake fan uses blood-red LEDs to give the front panel a soft glow. We think its good that this isn’t very bright, since we didn’t find any way to disable the lighting effect.

Non-removable front-panel mesh provides a modicum of dust control.

Storm Enforcer Top Panel

Designed to hold a second 200 mm fan, separate mounting holes on the Storm Enforcer’s top panel also allow a dual 120 mm-fan radiator to also be installed. Only 1.6” of space exists above the motherboard, however, so a standard 2” radiator and fan stack could only be used on motherboards that have at least 0.4” of clearance between the top edge and tall components (such as PWM sinks and memory slots).

Fractal Design’s Arc Midi

Though its nearly-monolithic design makes Fractal Design’s Arc Midi appear small, it’s actually 0.3” wider than Cooler Master’s Storm Enforcer. The Arc Midi is, however, 0.3” shorter than that competing model, with two fewer external bays making room for two more internal bays.

Arc Midi Ports

The Arc Midi’s front-panel ports are located on the case’s top edge, facing straight up to allow easy access for users who place their case on the floor. Alternatively, this design prevents easy port access for users who prefer to keep their PCs on a desk. We also find the number of ports to be a little strange, with a double-row USB 3.0 internal connector feeding a single USB 3.0 port.

Inside The Arc Midi

Chief among the Arc Midi’s features are its pair of four-drive hard drive cages, which are designed to fit both 3.5” and 2.5” drives. Motherboard and graphics configurations are far more limited, since there isn’t enough space beneath the seven-slot panel to properly support a double graphics card in the motherboard’s bottom slot. An eighth slot to the side is meant to hold port breakout plates or an included slot-mounted fan controller.

Removing the center drive cage opens the case for cards up to 17.8” long, but only in slots two, three, and four. That’s only good enough for one dual-GPU graphics card, and even that pairing requires a typical motherboard layout with primary graphics in slot position two or three.

Thomas Soderstrom is a Senior Staff Editor at Tom's Hardware US. He tests and reviews cases, cooling, memory and motherboards.
  • EzioAs
    Cooling wise, I'm guessing the eleven hundred will come out on top
  • amuffin
    That is correct^^ The Eleven Hundred is one of the cases I have seen that has superb cooling over the competition. I recommend it to anyone who needs a well rounded and cooled system :)
  • jimmysmitty
    EzioAsCooling wise, I'm guessing the eleven hundred will come out on top
    Depends. More holes are not always better. Their Dark Fleets are pretty horrible when it comes to cooling.

    I still prefer my Corsair 500R as these cases are either bland or ugly.
  • monkeymonk
    I lilke the side panel on the eleven hundred and the fan behind the cpu is cool too.
  • refillable
    Antec 1100. Who is with me? :)
  • Onus
    I like the 1100 also, but would probably prefer a version without the big window.

    The Raidmax looked like gimmicky junk.
    CM has too many "oops"es.
    The Fractal Designs and Silverstone cases also didn't quite "get it right," at least not for me; but I could probably make them work. The aesthetics were good on them.
  • old mann
    Didn't care fore any of these. All seemed boxy and without personality. Whatever the price point is for these, it is probably too high. Hopefully, the next segment will show the HAF XM or the NZXT Phantom 410. These are supposed to be gaming cases yet, they lack most of the features of an enthusiast case. Heck, I'd pick the Rosewill CHALLENGER over any of these and it's only fifty bucks.
  • ivyanev
    I would never buy/recommend a case with top mounted fan: just begs to spill something on.
  • element1981
    I've had numerous cases including the Antec 900 and 300. I just upgraded to the Antec 1100 for my main PC and have been extremely pleased with it. I mounted 2 more 120mm fans behind the front panel and the cooling is nothing short of amazing. It's a relatively simple looking case, but it's elegance is in it's simplicity. It does everything exceedingly well. Installation was a breeze and future modifications will be easy with the extra interior space. You'd have to pay double the cost of this case to get something that exceeds it significantly in features. An all around great case, and I'd definitely recommend it over any other case in the $80-120 range.
  • spookyman
    Cases are more a personal preference then design.