Skip to main content

Four Sub-$100 Cases For Your 2013 Gaming Build, Reviewed

Temperature, Noise, And Acoustic Efficiency

SilverStone’s Precision PS06 offers the lowest CPU temperatures, though its GPU temps are beaten by the similar-sized Cougar Evolution. This makes perfect sense in light of the PS06’s top-mounted, downdraft 180 mm fan.

We could also credit Cougar’s vented side panel for its lower GPU temperatures, though we’ve seen cases that operated better without the vents. That’s because the primary function of the front fan is to feed cold air into the CPU cooler, and vents work both ways.

Nananoxia’s Deep Silence 2 has the best noise suppression, followed closely by the non-silenced Lian Li PC-9N. Thick panels appear to be the PC-9N’s key feature for keeping it quiet, thought we’re sure that capping off its unused fan mounts helps.

Averaging each case’s temperature measurements creates a temperature scale in degrees, and averaging all of those temperatures together creates a group average. Dividing the class average by each case’s temperature average provides an inverse percent scale, with the coolest temperature achieving the highest cooling percentage.

In a similar manner, dividing each case’s average temperature by the group average creates a direct percent scale, with the quietest case garnering the lowest score. Math wizards will instantly recognize that the lower number, when used as a divisor, grants the highest rating. Dividing our first set of calculations (Temperature) by the second (Noise) allows a temperature-to-noise ratio with a 100% group average.

Since nothing can be more than 100% efficient, I offset the scale to zero by subtracting 100%. In this manner, we can see that Cougar’s Evolution provides an average cooling-to-noise ratio in high-fan mode, but drops to 4% below average in low-fan mode. SilverStone’s PS06 is the clear winner in this metric, though Nanoxia Deep Silence 2 is only 1% behind.

  • g-unit1111
    Nice choice of cases that aren't from the usual contenders. I'm a fan of Silverstone - I think I might use the PS06 in my next build, but the polished metal look of the Lian Li is awesome, I wish more case manufacturers would use that look.
    Reply
  • mjmjpfaff
    Nanoxia, in my opinion has produced a winner. It is pretty significant what they have been able to do with such a short time in the American market. My vote goes out for Nanoxia DS2. The size of it is a plus, as well as its looks. And of course it is aesthetically very pleasing, especially for its price.
    Reply
  • ASHISH65
    Good review,i think there should have been more cases and contenders,but personally liked SilverStone’s case due to looks.
    Reply
  • slomo4sho
    I would like to see the temp ratings with a GPU that isn't using a blower style cooler since these seem to be the minority these days.

    Also, I would like to see more cases at this price point. The Cooler Master HAF XB is one I would like to see included personally.
    Reply
  • vmem
    I think Nanoxia is the winner in this contest imho

    HOWEVER, I'd be curious to see how it's GPU temperature problem can be alleviated by adding a few fans, and how that affects it's noise reduction. if the overall picture is still good, then it is the clear winner
    Reply
  • dudewitbow
    I think Nanoxia. albeit temperatures are one thing, silence is another. there is a trens for people to pick up better fans, and the trend of people using low end AIO WC units with Dwoods brackets to cool gpus.
    Reply
  • rolli59
    I say it again any case that has a door for drive bays or a flap for ports, does not work for me. Making the Silverstone and Cougar cases my choice out of the lot but I would prefer both all black.
    Reply
  • dalmvern
    g-unit1111Nice choice of cases that aren't from the usual contenders. I'm a fan of Silverstone - I think I might use the PS06 in my next build, but the polished metal look of the Lian Li is awesome, I wish more case manufacturers would use that look.
    I was thinking the same thing g-unit. Im 90% sure im going to use the PS06 for my Haswell build in a few months.
    Reply
  • major-error
    vmemI think Nanoxia is the winner in this contest imho
    HOWEVER, I'd be curious to see how it's GPU temperature problem can be alleviated by adding a few fans, and how that affects it's noise reduction. if the overall picture is still good, then it is the clear winnerI have the exact same opinion.
    If I had the case, I don't think I'd put a fan on the side panel. I'd be more inclined to install some stand-offs and install a larger baffle, allowing passive airflow but still keeping things quiet.
    Of course, if I needed more fans, I'd fill all the other slots with Noctua NF fans...
    http://www.quietpc.com/na-ds2

    Bottom line: I think this would be an excellent choice to replace my 14-year-old In-Win Q500 case.
    Reply
  • BVKnight
    Why does the Nanoxia look (inside) like a chopped-in-half version of the Rosewill Thor V2? Design characteristics, materials,and layout are almost exactly the same. Seems like both companies may have sourced from a Chinese general supplier in making these cases.
    Reply