Hardware Installation, Evaluation And Conclusion
The Crystal 460X includes a set of radiator mounting screws, motherboard and drive screws, fan screws, cable ties, and separate user manuals for the case and SP120 RGB fans.
The Crystal 460X includes a USB 3.0 front-panel header cable, a split-tipped power LED cable, HDD LED, Power and Reset button leads, and an HD-Audio headset lead long enough to reach nearly anywhere on the motherboard. The fan LED controller uses a separate SATA-style drive power plug, and the fan motors each require a 3-pin motherboard header.
Hardware installation is not for the faint of heart. All of the cables had to be run around the 2.5” drive trays, and there wasn’t enough space to turn around a spare right-angle plug on the SATA power cable to allow other ends to reach both the 2.5” drive and fan power connector. The extra connector is thus poked through one of the case’s cable access holes.
Installation woes didn’t stop with the cables however. Our long power supply required moving the 3.5” drive cage to its forward position. With no hole to install the power supply through, its two-piece shroud had to be removed first. And the screw tab on the rear half of the shroud won’t fit between the power supply and the bottom of the motherboard, so users must either install the power supply and shroud prior to the motherboard, or unscrew the power supply and slide it away from the motherboard tray to create a gap for the shroud, then install the shroud, then somehow re-position the power supply to realign its screw holes with the back of the case.
If you were wise enough to install the motherboard after the power supply, or foolish enough to do the other thing mentioned above, spending a good part of the day organizing cables so that the opposing side panel will close results in a compact and well-organized unit.
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Like the Crystal 460X, NZXT’s S340 Elite has a glass panel only on one side. The Bitfenix Aurora features two tinted glass panels, with one painted on the inside to conceal cables. All three cases are tested in our standardized configuration.
The Corsair Crystal 460X is cooler than the other cases in this comparison, helped along by a compact design that forces most of its exhaust air over the graphics card and out the vent behind the CPU cooler. That’s important, because air that bypasses the CPU zone does little to prevent heat buildup. The Crystal 460X is one of the few cases we’ve tested that provides adequate flow through our CPU cooler, without having an exhaust fan behind the CPU cooler.
Noise, on the other hand, is problematic. All three 120mm front fans spin at 1500 RPM, though turning them down via motherboard settings makes the noise a little more tolerable.
The Crystal 460X falls slightly behind the S340 Elite at low fan settings. A big cooling advantage helps the Crystal 460X beat the S340 at full case fan speed, but neither unit can keep this system’s idle noise below 30db at that setting.
Both the NZXT and Bitfenix cases are around $40 cheaper than the Crystal 460X, and the difference shows up as negative value in a performance-per-price comparison. Yet the Crystal 460X’s fans cost $30 more, and the included controller is likely worth more than the remaining difference. And the glass face panel likely costs more than the flat-black steel sheet NZXT uses as a place to put its magnetic headphone hanger. Do these difference and improvements equate to Crystal 460X value leadership beyond what’s shown in the chart?
The Crystal 460X’s advanced features probably are worth more than the price difference between it and its closest competitor. Unfortunately, installation woes mean that I can only recommend the case to builders who believe in the rewards of self-flagellation. The question is, have you been bad enough to deserve it?
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