10 High-End Cases Face Judgement
Remember that we initially scratched two cases off of our list for not even being high-end parts, let alone elite. Still, those submissions are still part of our data collection. Azza’s Genesis and Rosewill’s Blackhawk instead get nominated for "most likely to injure a builder” after their side panels stuck as if they were glued-on.
Those back-of-the-pack finishers ironically perform great thermally. Then again, so does a handful of fans on an open desk.
If noise is going to be part of our evaluation criteria, we should probably set a cut-off point. Perhaps 45 decibels? That unfortunately cuts off high-fan mode for the case with the best finish, In Win’s Tòu, which got to be glassy-smooth by being made of glass.
SilverStone’s FT04 didn’t have an Elite-worthy finish or materials list, but it tops our Acoustic Efficiency chart. In fact, it wins by a huge margin with its fans set to low-speed mode. It’s also relatively cheap, by more value-oriented high-end standards.
In fact, SilverStone’s performance-per-dollar beats those cheaply-made cases that I said I wouldn’t talk about.
This wasn’t supposed to be a performance contest, and any search for the ultimate configuration of quality and features certainly sets aside some aspects of value. Yet, cases with the highest quality, Caselab’s Merlin SM08, In Win’s Tòu, and Mountain Mod’s U2-UFO, came up short on features. Conversely cases with top features like Corsair’s 760T and Thermaltake’s Urban T81 aren't made of top-quality materials, and the T81 even suffered a couple of bothersome shortcuts, such as the slide-on right-side panel and divisible hinges that didn’t divide easily. At least these two less-expensive cases looked nearly as nice as their more-exclusive competitors.
We told manufacturers that we’d consider adding a value award only after exhausting all options for finding a uniquely elite case. Since the most excessive enclosures from our search ended up not having an excess of convenient features, SilverStone’s FT04 surfaces as the top-performing model for value consideration. It wins Smart Buy recognition as a result.