Quick Takes: 13 Mid-Tower Cases Rounded-Up

Because they’re not too tall and not too short, mid-tower chassis tend to be the most popular. When choosing our 13 candidates, we tried to collect a wide variety of models, based on the current market situation. Besides well known manufacturers like Silverstone and Enermax, we also found lesser-known companies offering their own interesting products.

We set out to answer a number of different questions. For example, how is the build of the case compared to others in the market ? Which advantages and disadvantages do the cases have relative to each other ? Are all edges sharp or rounded ? Further test criteria include the ease of adding hardware components and good internal ventilation.

An Overview of the Test Candidates

  • AeroCool T-Gun Pro
  • Antec Three Hundred
  • Enermax Phoenix Neo
  • Gigabyte iSOLO
  • Hiper Osiris
  • Huntkey H201 Aeolus
  • Ikonik Zaria
  • Inwin Gundam
  • LanCool PC-K1
  • Lian LI PC-B25 Black
  • Silverstone SST-KL01B Kublai
  • Thermaltake M5 VJ2000
  • Zalman Z-Machine GT1000
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  • xizel
    nice article, shame you didnt publish it earlyer i would o defenatly gone for the antec three hundred instead of the thermaltake VD2000BNS i got.
    Same price range looks better and PSU at the bottom, i like that.
  • JeanLuc
    I would have liked you to put have put these cases through their paces a bit more, looking at how well a case is put together and what fans and tools you get with a case is one thing but it more useful to know just how well these cases keep your components cool.

    You could set these case up with a Q6600 @ 3Ghz, HD 4870 512Mb and a 650 watt PSU (with stock coolers) and loop 3Dmark06/Vantage for an hour and see if the cases can keep the PC cool enough for that long.
  • 3lvis
    Last, computer I built had an Antec 300 case....theres only a couple issues with it.

    Side intake doesn't have a Dust filter. I had to use that fan as an exhaust until I can order one for it, which means that the case wont have positive airflow until then.

    Its really heavy. This case weighs more then my Lian Li full tower case.

    It doesn't have a removable Motherboard tray.

    One thing that was well thought out was the 3 fans that were not included. While this sounds like a draw back, it isn't. The 3 optional fans that are availible are the 3 most visible fans in the case. Which means that you can customize the color of LED fans you want in it.

    I used 3 green antec led 120 mm fans in this case and the air flow is phenomenal.
  • mennethitus
    Interesting article,
    However having owned the Lian Li B25 I disagree with your comments regarding complexity of installation of the hard drives. Having only built one other system I can say that it takes perhaps 30 sec more than normal to figure out what to do. Also I would have liked to see more details about noise regarding all cases. i can't say for the other but the B25 had sound dampening foam on the front door and on the top cover, the side panels were hollowed out further dampening the noise, the hard drives were connected using rubber (grommets I believe) and there were additional anti vibration features (cant remember) and the feet of the case also used rubber.
  • neiroatopelcc
    Good article, but I'm missing a few things from it really.
    1) You could've made a few pictures of the packaging. Cases are things your visitors can see, and you'd want them to be transported to you without taking any, visible or otherwise, damage. Silverstone do an outstanding job at this, and so does antec, but I don't think zalman or thermaltake would care much for the packaging quality (they care about flash stuff, not quality stuff after all). Also I'd have liked a list of noise levels for the cases.
    Perhaps you can make another roundup, without limiting yourself to a specific case size and color, of potential gamer cases. And at the end of the roundup make a comparison list with external dimentions, motherboard orientation, weight and noise levels. I'm still using an old thermaltake lanfire chassis for a lan gamer, cause though it's ugly, it's very very light (3kg) and rather well built.

    On another note - does anyone know if it is possible to only buy the side panel for that aerocool chassis ? I'd like to built such a door into a new top cover for my custom desktop system ...
  • Proximon
    Well it was called Quick Takes and it certainly was. It was informative to a point and introduced me to a few models I was unfamiliar with.
    Not sure why you would base a recommendation on this information however.
    Throw a couple overclocked 4850s and an overclocked C2D in those cases and measure the various temps and get a decibel reading from a fixed point. Those are the things I should know before buying a case.
  • arkadi
    Nice case collection, but what about Nvidia BIG cards recommended cases? In many cases the card will take a place of a hard drive or not fit at all.
    Some recommendation can be at use for many folks.
  • neiroatopelcc
    @ demonhorde665 : I know I've told you before, but I will again! Please spend a few more seconds writing your posts. There's no need for four posts about how good your chassis is. One post would suffice. But what's worse is, that your posts are riddled with typos. A typo here and there is expected in comments, but you're almost typing more words wrongly than correct - and it does appear you can spell them correct if you were looking at what you wrote, before you hit the submit button.

    On a side note, I think coolermaster may not be represented because they didn't send in any case in time - it's entirely possible they were asked to take part.
  • theLaminator
    I agree I would have liked to see CM in the round up, after all I have a RC-690 that I've customized for a nice water system but its like neiro said, its entirely likely that they simply didn't get a case sent in THG in time for the round up. Anyway interesting article but I'm not looking to go into another mid-tower at the moment I need more room for my water loop, so I'd like to a see a round up of the full tower cases
  • boostercorp
    i used to buy thermaltake cases for my builds but i always found the cases kinda "floppy". They felt like they were made out of tinfoil and never liked to drag it around but, since i've tried an antec case for a build i kept using those instead. Sure they're heavy as hell but at least you're sure that your hardware inside is safe and the case won't fall appart when you pick it up.
  • neiroatopelcc
    I like antec because you can buy a few of their cases with good power supplies already in there and save a few bucks, but in general I don't really like their cases. None of those I've tried to install stuff into (primarily the cheaper, smaller ones) felt like they'd been thought thru. Cable routing always seemed to be a huge issue, and in some cases the stuff's really badly designed.
    One example would be an antec sonata (forgot version). Sleek looking piano black chassis. But the plastic front felt like it was gonna come off any second (still hasn't though), and the power supply they supplied, while brilliant in specs, featured too short cables for the sata drives. So before I was done building it I had already broken a sata power connector as I thought brute force would help make it long enough (it usually does with antec problems). Also the chassis was rather tiny once a motherboard, two harddrives, a dvd and a graphics card were installed.
    Anyway I've heard a lot of good stuff about the 900 and p150 apart from noise, so perhaps the bigger cases are good. But I don't really like the small ones except for the value they sport when comming with a psu installed.
  • You ought to check out this case as a possible entry, with the added modular power supply, 2x 120mm fans and 2x 80mm fans, as well as the fold-out motherboard trays, it is well worth note. http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811156209
  • cobra420
    cool article but why pay over 100 bucks for a case , when you can get a cooler master 690 or antec 900 for example for under 100 bucks . why not do a gaming case review for under 100 bucks ? you might have to do a little more research to find one you like , but the money you save you can buy a game and have somthing to play and enjoy all your hard work building your pc .
  • hellwig
    According to the specs you listed, the AeroCool DOES have e-SATA, yet you list the supposed absence as a minus.

    Also, is it better to have positive or negative pressure in a case? I.e should more fans be pulling air in, or pushing air out? These cases differed in their approach (some had two 120s pushing air out, while the AeroCool as a giant 400 pulling air in).

    I was always under the impression pulling more air in, and directing that air onto the components, was better than pushing air out, and allowing the air to cut its own path in and around the components (where it might miss some).
  • ravenware
    I am surprised that neither the cooler master 590 or 690 cases were included.

    Pretty good article though. I like the screen shots of the loaded cases as well so you can get an idea of how much space is in the cases.
    Surprised by the build quality of the Hiper case, very nice.
  • Some temp and noise facts would help the reader get a better idea of the cases. It's one thing to have a case that looks nice and is well built, but another if you want to throw it out the window cause it sounds like a 747 taking off.. Also not all chassis are good at keeping the temps low, so for an overclocker the nightmare is a case which builds up heat.

    Myself settled long ago for the Antec three hundred. It was a tight budget decision.. but geez did I get alot for my bucks!!!
    Corsair support say the clearing of about 1 inch between the fan and the bottom of the case is enough for sufficient airflow to the PSU.. In this case it was in regards to a TX650W. I've got a HX520 there turned right side up. So probably need not to worry install the PSU with the fan down.
    There was only two tri-cool fans included with the Three Hundred, one 120mm facing back and one 140mm in the roof. They are quiet at the low setting and a bit noisy at medium.. but way to audible at the highest speed! The Tri-Cool 140mm was vibrating a bit so I eventually decided to replace it with a Fractal Design 140mm fan, this lowered the vibrations though I did not use the rubber mounts.
    I can second Toms recommendation for the Antec Three Hundred.
  • Thanks to this article, I know not to buy the Lancool PC-K1 because its hard drive installation is complicated. I have no clue how to tighten 4 screws onto a hard drive.
  • Shadow703793
    ^You'll have to learn that. :P. Even a cave man could do it :lol:
  • bobbknight
    Another beauty of a review that continues in the tradition of inconsistency and missed features.
    Some cases have eSata ports, and this is listed as a plus, but some cases with the eSata ports do not have a listing in the Pro Column. Some cases with out eSata ports do not have that listed in the Con Column.

    One of the things I do not like are propitiatory plastic fittings made of crap plastic easily broken and expensive to replace.

    My take on the review of the Antec Three Hundred.
    Complained about no eSata port, umm so what, the motherboards I buy have that. If I want that feature.
    Completely left out the fact that this case has great air flow through for a case of this price point. In the same class as the 900 and 1200. The 300 has a filter behind the bezel that easily removes and gives you access to the add on fan cages.

    "The power supply in the Antec housing sits on the bottom. However the case does not have any ventilation openings for the power supply there". Umm WTF A PSU vents out the back, pulling air from the inside of the case. The PSU can be mounted with either the top or bottom of the PSU facing up or down. There is 3/8 of an inch of clearance between the case floor and the PSU.

    But hey for $170 I can get a key chain with a serial number on it.
  • one-shot
    My first case was a CM Centurion 5 and it was great. I think I paid $80 with a 350W PSU, thats working in my little bro's PC. I have moved up to an Antec P182 and It is much better, but it costs about three times as much.
  • slomo4sho
    The Antec tower is solidly built and has three pre-installed system fans, which come with a three-step speed control.

    The Antec 300 actually only comes with two case fans and has vents for adding three more 120 mm fans.
  • xsamitt
    More Mid Tower Cases......MMMMMMMM

    A few months back you guys reviewed mid tower cases.....There are lots here I would think who are waiting for a Review of some Quality Full Tower Cases.Oh Well , "{.
  • the Antec Sonata III would have been worth reviewing here too, as a slightly pricier but still exceptional value case that looks much better than the 300, and has a 500W PSU - more suitable for overclocking and gaming needs.
  • heltoupee
    xizelnice article, shame you didnt publish it earlyer i would o defenatly gone for the antec three hundred instead of the thermaltake VD2000BNS i got.Same price range looks better and PSU at the bottom, i like that.

    I'll be building a budget gaming rig in an Antec Three Hundred next weekend. Newegg has an insane deal on this case right now which basically amounts to them giving you a 500W earthwatts PSU for free when you buy this case.

    I'm not a huge fan of PSU-on-the-bottom. It does help with cooling - I will give you that, but when I built my own machine a couple years back in an Antec P180, I had a hell of a time routing all the PSU cables where they needed to go. With the power supply at the lower rear of the case, and the power block connector on the board on the upper front, I had to get an extension to get it there. Pain. In. The. Butt.