Five Gaming Enclosures, Rounded Up

Test Setup And Conclusion

In order to test each case, we built the exact same PC within each one. The specifications are as follows:

Swipe to scroll horizontally
Test Hardware
MotherboardGigabyte EX58-UD3R
CPUIntel Core i7-920
CPU Cooling FanScythe Katana 3
Memory6GB OCZ PC3 12800
Graphics CardAsus Radeon HD 4870 X2
Sound CardCreative Labs SoundBlaster Titanium
Hard DriveWestern Digital Caviar Black 1TB SATA 3Gb/s
Optical DriveLite-On 22X DVD+/-RW SATA

We hooked up a monitor, mouse, and keyboard, and powered the system up, and then used CPUID Hardware Monitor to nab temperatures of the four CPU cores (we took an average of the four readings to report below), the GPU core temperature, and the ambient system temperature.

We used the default, built-in sensors on the Gigabyte EX58-UD3R and the Asus Radeon HD 4870 X2 equipment. Thus, we measured the ambient, CPU, and GPU temperatures with the probes already provided on the parts listed above, taking readings with CPUID's Hardware Monitor.

Because CPUID's Hardware Monitor measures four CPU core temperatures, we averaged them for our results.

For the record, the ambient temperature in the room in which we tested was 23.9 degrees Celsius.

The best-performing case, both under load and idle, was the NZXT Panzerbox. The taller, more elegant cases, the ABS Canyon 595 and the Lian Li PC-X1000, were warmer throughout the tests. The Panzerbox, however, was also among the louder cases (measured through observation), and the loudest was the Thermaltake Element G. The Antec P193, even with its huge side fan, was the quietest.

The ABS Canyon 595, at $400, is hard to swallow; the smaller and cheaper two cases were also the loudest. If we were to recommend a case based on thermal and audio observations, we'd go with the Antec P193.

However, going with ease of build, we really liked the monolithic Lian Li PC-X1000. Furthermore, we loved the big, black wall of sheer computing power it imparts. Sitting on a desk, it truly does resemble the monolith from the film 2001, and we're just as excited simply to touch it as the missing-link monkey men were in that movie.

  • doomtomb
    That Lian Li PC-X1000 is my favorite
  • CoryInJapan
    Haha I was thinking the same thing about the Lian Li PC-X1000
  • CoryInJapan
    I dont think I would ever need to change my case for an extremely long tile with that Lian Li PC-X1000 case
  • Proximon
    Thanks, good article. I have a comment and a request:
    You said, "The other complaint came in having to remove the bezel of our optical drive so that the case's own bezel could take over." this was on the Lian Li case.
    I would consider this a feature. Brushed aluminum cases look crappy with flat black optical drives and the only way normally to avoid that is a stealth mod, such as I have done with my TJ09.
    I would like to see a picture of each case with the motherboard in place. This helps provide perspective and gives the less experienced builders a clearer idea of what they are actually getting.
  • mcbowler
    Awesome PanzerBox. Where do the hard drives go?
  • redgarl
    400$ cases... WTH? I will never buy that! Where is the Raven one?
    Panzerbox.........I prefer a M1A1 ABRAMS BOX!!!!!!!
  • neiroatopelcc
    How flimsy/sturdy is the plastic cover for the connectors, and the power button ? looks like they're using the same parts as on my PC-A70 ; and on mine the power button feels as if it isn't big enough for its socket, and the top lid broke off quite easily.
  • Pailin
    "The best-performing case, both under load and idle, was the NZXT Panzerbox."

    err... not according to your own graphs its not.

    The P193 beats the Panzerbox at everything on idle! and the Panzer only beat the P193 on CPU temp by 1 deg.

    The 5870 "might" push me from my P182 to a P193 due to the extra length and me not wanting to loose HDD slots - but will prob just get a 5 and a qtr bay converter and hopefully only have to move one drive.
  • WheelsOfConfusion
    Pailin"The best-performing case, both under load and idle, was the NZXT Panzerbox."err... not according to your own graphs its not.The P193 beats the Panzerbox at everything on idle! and the Panzer only beat the P193 on CPU temp by 1 deg.Yeah, what gives? I could understand if we're taking points off for the effort that goes into assembling it and wire routing versus the Panzer, but "performance" would, I think, be measured by how well it cools and how quiet it was. It cools better when idle, almost identically under load, and apparently was the quietest case in the roundup.