Six Low-Noise, Performance-Oriented Cases, Tested

Test System Configuration

Test System Configuration
CPUIntel Core i7-2600K (Sandy Bridge) 3.40 GHz, 8 MB L3 Cache
O/C to 4.50 GHz (45 x 100 MHz), 1.35 V
CPU CoolerThermalright MUX-120 w/Zalman ZM-STG1 Paste
MotherboardAsus P8P67 Deluxe, P67 Express IPCH, BIOS 1502 (03/02/2011)
RAMKingston KHX1600C9D3K2/8GX (8 GB)
DDR3-1600 CAS 9-9-9-27
GraphicsNvidia GeForce GTX 480 1.5 GB
700 MHz GPU, GDDR5-3696
Hard DrivesSeagate Barracuda XT 2 TB, 7200 RPM, 64 MB Cache
Samsung 470 Series MZ5PA256HMDR, 256 GB SSD 
SoundIntegrated HD Audio
NetworkIntegrated Gigabit Networking
PowerSeasonic X760 SS-760KM
ATX12V v2.3, EPS12V, 80 PLUS Gold
OSMicrosoft Windows 7 Ultimate x64
GraphicsNvidia GeForce 270.61 WHQL
ChipsetIntel INF

Performance users usually prefer SSDs for their OS and frequently-used programs, yet those SSDs are rarely large enough to store all of the files a user wants to have on-hand. We added Seagate’s 2 TB Barracuda XT to Samsung’s 470-series 256 GB drive to address both performance and capacity needs.

Because Antec’s 2.5” mount was located in a manner that prevented any cable connection to the SSD, we were forced to load software on the slower HDD in today’s test.

Kingston’s 8 GB DDR3-1600 CAS 9 kit provides adequate performance and good value among high-density modules.

Asus' P8P67 Deluxe holds our Core i7-2600K processor stable at 4.5 GHz, even under less-than-ideal thermal conditions.

Nvidia’s GeForce GTX 480 supplies the two things a case review needs in mass quantity: heat and noise. Sparkle was kind enough to supply a sample.

Benchmark Configuration
Prime95 v25.864-bit executable, Small FFTs, seven-threads
FurMark 1.6.5Windowed Mode, 1920x1080, 4x AA, Stability Test
Maximum temperature
RealTemp 3.40Average of maximum core readings at full CPU load
Galaxy CM-140 SPL MeterTested at 1/4 m, corrected to 1 m (-12 dB), dBA weighting
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  • Tamz_msc
    i7 2600K at 34.5 GHz? o.O
  • Anonymous
    the rv03 is out at less $$$ you guys should do a rv02-E vs rv03 round in the cooling side and thats because the rv03 has more fans
  • dragonsqrrl
    Using a SilverStone Fortress Series FT02B-W here. Basically identical interior design, except in my opinion the exterior is more aesthetically pleasing. Glad to confirm the excellent cooling characteristics.

    Another big plus with the Fortress 2 is the inclusion of sound dampening foam on every panel, but to be entirely honest with you, due to the open nature of the case, I'm really not sure how much sound it's actually dampening.
  • henryvalz
    34.5 Ghz...

    Hell, yes! About time, pushing those extreme overclocks!
  • Gamer-girl
    I think there needs to be info on how much space there is for graphics cards.
  • xmaswraith
    34.5 gigahertz? 34.5 gigahertz? Great Scott!

    Marty, I'm sorry. But the only power source capable of generating 34.5 gigahertz of electricity is a bolt of lightning... (begin back to the future theme song!)
    henryvalz34.5 Ghz...Hell, yes! About time, pushing those extreme overclocks!

    I bet they were overclocking from Pluto.
  • killerclick
    JOSHSKORNI bet they were overclocking from Pluto.

    Didn't you watch the news? Astronomers sent a dwarf in a rocket to remove Pluto so it doesn't exist anymore.
  • Luay
    RV-03 pushes more air and cools better than the 02, but it's also louder.
  • madsbs
    Yet, as a gaming case, the Raven 2 Evolution may not fulfill the aesthetic or storage needs of some computing professionals
  • madsbs
    "Yet, as a gaming case, the Raven 2 Evolution may not fulfill the aesthetic or storage needs of some computing professionals"

    This conclusion makes no sense. Why do "computing professional gamers" need storage.
    And further the case holds 5 HDDs. That's 1 SSD + 4x2TB of storage.
  • srgess
    35.4ghz with silent operation ! Wondering if it can play crysis !
  • Anonymous
    Sonata - top mounted PSU = no go, especially for semi passive ones.

    Fractal or Raven? This is harder one.
  • VirtualMirage
    The specs on page one for the Fractal Design Define XL are wrong. The intake fan is 140mm, not 120mm. There is room for 2 140mm intake fans plus a 120mm intake fan. The specs list incorrectly shows it as one 120mm fan with an alternative for three 120mm fans.
  • Petey1013
    madsbs"Yet, as a gaming case, the Raven 2 Evolution may not fulfill the aesthetic or storage needs of some computing professionals"This conclusion makes no sense. Why do "computing professional gamers" need storage. And further the case holds 5 HDDs. That's 1 SSD + 4x2TB of storage.

    You mean 5x2TB. It holds 5 HDDs and a SSD.

    Also, the FT02, although more expensive, should have been used due to the extra sound dampening material.
  • randomstar
    Anyone remember the Silio case? is it still in production? Quiet, insulated, cools well.
  • Anonymous
    This is unusual for Tom' inconclusive review on poorly chosen hardware.
  • verbalizer
    I do not particularly care for ANY of these cases, thanks anyways..
  • chesteracorgi
    I'd rate the Bitfinix, Lian Li and Silverstone for having the best aesthetics. Antec's design placing the PSU at the top is anachronistic: heating the top of the case. Silverstone's idiosyncratic design produces the best cooling at the price of more noise. None of these cases give me a second thought about going with the Corsair 600T.
  • marraco
    I would love an article about how to "make it yourself".

    Do a case with good electromagnetic and noise insulation. With good cooling.

    What materials are better? Is electromagnetic insulation that important? (so, is necessary a conductive -metallic- case?)

    how do you solve the precise location of backward holes (for motherboard, and boards).

    how do you make the holes for different form factors (hint: there are standards)

    etc. there is a lot to talk. You can make a cheap case much better than the trademark garbage sold.