Skip to main content

Four More Sub-$100 Cases For Your Gaming Build, Reviewed

Value-Oriented Cases: More Quality, Same Cash?

Reader responses to Four Sub-$100 Cases For Your 2013 Gaming Build, Reviewed validated our notions that a quality case can last through several builds, allowing frugal enthusiasts to save money they can spend on go-fast parts. On the other hand, keeping an older chassis around through multiple generations means you sometimes miss out on new technologies, like front-panel USB 3.0 ports.

Part two of our search for the best value in long-term enclosure investment began with In Pictures: Four More Sub-$100 Cases For Your 2013 Gaming Build. Today's round-up puts each of those enclosures through their paces.

Of course, value is as subjective of a term as durability or ventilation. But we've already seen some pretty heavy duty cases selling for as little as $60 armed with 120 mm fans and enough room for a full load of ATX-sized parts. Hoping for some extra features to show you, today's round-up is capped by a $100 limit. After all, if you're going to live with a chassis through multiple builds, you'd better really like it, right?

BitFenix ShinobiEnermax Ostrog GT ECA3280A-BRRosewill R5Zalman MS800 Plus
Dimensions
Height18.2"20.1"20.1"21.0"
Width8.1"9.5"8.1"7.8"
Depth19.6"19.5"24.1.3"21.1"
Space Above Motherboard1.1"1.5"1.1"2.2"
Card Length12.7"11.0-16.2"***12.5"11.4-20.0"^
Weight15.0 Pounds16.9 Pounds15.8 Pounds22.8 Pounds
Cooling
Front Fans (alternatives)1 x 120 mm (2 x 120 mm)2 x 140 mm (None)2 x 120 mm (None)92 mm Internal (None)
Rear Fans (alternatives)1 x 120 mm (1 x 92 mm)1 x 120 mm (None)1 x 120 mm (1 x 140/120 mm)1 x 120 mm (None)
Top Fans (alternatives)None (2 x 140/120 mm)None (2 x 140/120 mm)None (2 x 140/120 mm)1 x 120 mm (2 x 140/120 mm)
Left Side (alternatives)None (1 x 120 mm)None (None)None (None)None (None)
Right Side (alternatives)None (None)None (None)None (None)None (None)
Drive Bays
5.25" ExternalThreeThreeFourSeven
3.5" External1 x AdapterNoneNone1 x Adapter
3.5" InternalEight +1**EightSixThree
2.5" InternalZero +1**TwoSix*Three*
Card SlotsSevenEight +1SevenSeven
Noise Dampening
SidesNoneNoneNoneNone
TopNoneNoneNoneNone
FrontNoneNoneNoneNone
Price$70$75$80$100
*Shared on 3.5" hard drive tray **Via 5.25" adapter tray ***w/o Center Cage ^Slots 1-5

Of the 28 companies we invited to participate, 11 responded with cases they thought would give the Tom's Hardware audience the best balance between quality, features, and price. We divided the round-up into three groups based on when each of the samples arrived.

  • jdwii
    Why no love for coolermaster its easily the best Case company out there, i rarely even consider anything else. For just 60$ they offer one heck of a deal.
    Reply
  • Crashman
    jdwiiWhy no love for coolermaster its easily the best Case company out there, i rarely even consider anything else. For just 60$ they offer one heck of a deal.Tom's HardwareOf the 28 companies we invited to participate, 11 responded with cases they thought would give the Tom's Hardware audience the best balance between quality, features, and price. We divided the round-up into three groups based on when each of the samples arrived.
    Reply
  • Crashman
    Sorry about the double post, I can't seem to find the delete button :) Moderators?
    Reply
  • griptwister
    Wow! Looking for a new case! It's time to upgrade my Antec OneHundred windowed. it's too loud with all the fans. and the PSU. Looks like I'll be going with a Zalman MS800 for my next rig! I liked the look of the z11 better at first, but seeing what the MS 800 looks like with a few LEDs, it seems classy and sleek yet not overdone. Great review THW!
    Reply
  • slomo4sho
    Thank you for not doing a slide show for this like the other reviews.

    Also, still looking forward to a review of the Cooler Master HAF XB.
    Reply
  • dalmvern
    slomo4shoThank you for not doing a slide show for this like the other reviews. Also, still looking forward to a review of the Cooler Master HAF XB.
    Apparently you were unaware of the slideshow they released last week. What Toms has done with all of these round ups was take the pictures and post them, then once they get done with their battery of tests they post the results and commentary afterward.
    Reply
  • nd22
    Excellent review! I like to get the best possible performance for the money I spent and it seems that these cases you reviewed are perfect for a mid-end gaming build I am planning to do! How about some exotic cases to review for us Tom? For example I would like to see a review of cooler master haf xb or fractal 304.
    Reply
  • sincreator
    It's about time Zalman sent you guys one of their budget oriented cases. I bought the Zalman Z9+ for $34.99 last year with free shipping from NCIX, and I absolutely love the case. Great quality with a huge amount of features for a case of that price. It has more features than my brothers Antec 900 surprisingly, and it probably should of been $70-80. I'm not complaining though. lol. I have recommended the MS 800 and the Zalman Z9+ to a few friends, depending on their budget. They all loved the cases and were shocked at what they got for the money. I'd love to see more reviews for Zalman's cases on Tom's.
    Reply
  • ubercake
    Ok. Where are the Tom's models?

    Inner butt cheek. Side boob. That's what's going to sell cases. :)
    Reply
  • Crashman
    ubercakeOk. Where are the Tom's models?Inner butt cheek. Side boob. That's what's going to sell cases.Sorry, all the models near this location are BBW. I don't believe that would go-over with the majority :p
    Reply