Part 2: Four More Gaming Enclosures Under $50

And Then There Were Seven

While high-end hardware generates the most excitement among technology enthusiasts, the toughest competition happens at the other end of the pricing scale. Many of the products here are sold based solely on their good looks, rather than performance. After all, the highest-performance products cost the most money.

It’s no surprise, then, that only eight of the many manufacturers we contacted for our two-part roundup were ready to step up to our challenge. Unfortunately, one of the most enthusiastic of those companies was unable to get its part delivered, even after several follow-up messages. A second case model from one of our Part 1 comparison’s competitors fills the gap. Oh, and if you missed Part 1 of our Gaming Enclosures Under $50 story, be sure to check it out first!

When it comes to gaming hardware, overclocking is often a necessity to get entry-level components to serve up adequate performance in games. When it comes to gaming-oriented cases, the cost of extra fans can be a real problem for the entry-level vendors. Fortunately, big fans are not much more expensive than the typical 80 mm coolers found in budget boxes, and all of today’s contenders have at least a 120 mm exhaust fan, in addition to gamer-themed styling.

Swipe to scroll horizontally
Header Cell - Column 0 AeroCool VX-RNZXT GammaRosewill ChallengerSilverStone Precision PS05B
Space Above Motherboard0.5"1.1"1.1"0.5" to panel 0.3" to fan mounts
Card Length12.3"11.1"11.1"11.6"
Weight10.2 Pounds11.7 Pounds13.8 Pounds12.5 Pounds
Front Fans (alternatives)None (1x 120/92/80 mm)None (1x 120 mm)1x 120 mm w/LED (Stock Only)None (1x 120 mm)
Rear Fans (alternatives)1x 120 mm (92, 80 mm)1x 120 mm (92, 80 mm)1x 120 mm (92, 80 mm)1x 120 mm (92, 80 mm)
Top Fans (alternatives)None (None)None (2x 120/140 mm)1x 140 mm (1x 120/140 mm)None (2x 120 mm)
Side Fans (alternatives)None (None)None (2x 120/92/80 mm)None (2x 120/92/80 mm)None (None)
Drive Bays
5.25" ExternalFourFourThreeFour
3.5" ExternalOneNoneTwoTwo
3.5" InternalFourSevenFiveFour
2.5" InternalNoneNone1 x Adapter TrayNone

Also fortunate is that all four of the cases featured in today's story remain under our $50 limit, unlike a couple of models from our Part 1 comparison that rose in price after the enclosures were delivered.

Rosewill tops the fan-to-price curve by packing its $40 Challenger with a total of three fans. But has the company been able to retain a modicum of quality at this low price? Let’s take a closer look.

Thomas Soderstrom
Thomas Soderstrom is a Senior Staff Editor at Tom's Hardware US. He tests and reviews cases, cooling, memory and motherboards.
  • The Antec 300 is the only case in the roundup that doesnt look and feel like your buying a cheap ass case. It is well worth the extra money and I dont think anyone should really consider building with anything less.
  • AMW1011
    stm1185The Antec 300 is the only case in the roundup that doesnt look and feel like your buying a cheap ass case. It is well worth the extra money and I dont think anyone should really consider building with anything less.
    Have you actually used an Antec 300? The quality is only average. Plus it lacks a lot of features that all the others have. Seems pretty cheap ass to me.

    Note I've used one Antec 300 and two Rosewill Challengers in different builds. Quality wise I would put them pretty close, the Antec 300's paint finish is like sand paper, where the Challenger is smooth, however the Antec 300 has slightly thicker metal. Feature-wise, its no comparison, and everyone who saw them together preferred the challenger.

    Nice review Tom's. Hopefully you will move on to some more gamer class cases ($50-$100).
  • pangedit
    Awesome article toms. Appreciate it :D
  • wielander
    "Rosewill destroyed NZXT’s value leadership goals by putting a greater number of fans in an otherwise-similar chassis at the same price."

    Except that the NZXT gamma costs $7 less shipped (current and suggested prices) and has for a while now.
  • sparkle_ftw
    I hope the HAF 912 get reviewed and compared. And centurion 590... but that is old and tom's did something with it a while ago
  • ceps
    I love my NZXT Gamma (mostly cos no floppy slot and mate finish), although as mentioned, u need to buy fans, 6 fan slots but only 1 included.
  • takeapieandrun
    Its pretty cool how cheap cases nowadays can top cases like the Antec 900 in some aspects.
  • TommyV
    no offense to anyone who owns one of these cases, but all four of those cases are really ugly. All but the rosewill looks like a busted up autobot.
  • RazberyBandit
    Well, you showed us 4 cases, but truly just two designs. The NZXT and Rosewill are almost identical, while the AeroCool and Silverstone are as well. You could have paired each general design together and pointed out their subtle differences simultaneously.

    If I were truly on a tight budget, I might consider one of these designs. But, it's easily argued that there are higher quality and more feature-rich cases (that don't cut any corners like grommets, fans, filters, etc.) within a $20-$30 earshot of these.
  • Zplendid
    I love my Gamma because I got it for $35 with a $25 MIR(which I received). Can't complain about a $10 dollar case, eat it 300!