Defining The Game-System Case
A seemingly never-ending stream of press releases bombards the review world with flowery language and hard-to-prove claims of superiority, often from case manufacturers maintaining that a specific model is perfect for nearly anyone’s gaming rig. In the face of all this fluffy stuff, we have to ask ourselves what really qualifies as an ATX enclosure for gaming use. Is it a combination of features? The way certain graphics cards fit? Could ventilation be the deciding factor? Portability, perhaps? Or could the term “gaming case” simply be one of those nondescript descriptors that define nothing more than a styling theme?
Flat-black paint, top-panel ports, and manual fan control are three things that all of today’s competing cases have in common. Now that we know the similar features that chassis designers believe gamers desire, here’s a short list of differences.
|Header Cell - Column 0||Cooler Master Storm Sniper||NZXT Hades||Thermaltake Element V||Zalman Z7 Plus|
|Space Above Motherboard||1.75"||1.06"||1.82"||1.0"|
|Weight||25.0 lbs.||16.0 lbs.||31.5 lbs.||17.0 lbs.|
|Front Fans (alternatives)||1 x 200mm (120mm, 140mm)||1 x 200mm (stock only)||2 x 120mm (stock only)||1 x 120mm (140mm)|
|Rear Fans (alternatives)||1x 120mm (92mm, 80mm)||1 x120mm (80mm)||1 x 120mm (92mm, 80mm)||1 x 120mm (92mm, 80mm)|
|Top Fans (alternatives)||1 x 200mm (2 x 120mm)||1 x 140mm (2 x 140mm/120mm)||1x 200mm (2x 200mm/120mm)||None|
|Side Fans (alternatives)||1 x 200mm (2 x 120mm)||1 x200mm (stock only)||1 x 230mm (1 x 120mm)||1 x 120mm (2 x 120mm)|
|3.5" External||1 x Adapter||None||1 x Adapter||Combo Tray|
|3.5" Internal||Five||4 x Adapters (5x 5.25" internal bays)||2 x Three-Bay Cage||Four-bay/Five-HDD cage, Combo Tray|
|2.5" Internal||1 x Adapter||Two-drive Tray||None||Combo Tray|
Zalmans’ small Z7 Plus stands out as having the most external bays, though four of these are consumed by an internal 3.5” drive cage. Meanwhile, Thermaltake’s Element V actually has 11 external bays, though the bottom six are covered in groups of three. With explanations like these needed for such a simple features table, a closer examination is required for each product before testing begins.