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

Can You Find Value In A Sub-$100 Case?

A high-quality case can outlast even the fastest build. Ironically, though, value-oriented enthusiasts spend money on components that improve performance and tend to cut back on those that don't. You already know that a $30 enclosure won't give you the durability, airflow, or room to expand that a smart upgrade should be expected to offer. But there's no guarantee that a $300 chassis will give you anything more in those areas than a far cheaper model. Sometimes, splurging on a case is simply wasted expense.

Knowing that there are a few solid enclosures out there available for under $100, we made that our budget for this month's round-up. As you read in In Pictures: Four Sub-$100 Cases For Your 2013 Gaming PC, we received 11 total submissions, all battling for supremacy. Today's story is a follow-up to our first picture-based exploration, designed to go beyond our initial visual inspection and lead to more concrete conclusions. 

Cougar Evolution BOLian-Li PC-9NNanoxia Deep Silence 2SilverStone Precision PS06
Space Above Motherboard0.0"0.5"1.3"1.2"
Card Length12.1"17.3"13.6"12.1"
Weight19.1 Pounds10.8 Pounds24.6 Pounds19.5 Pounds
Front Fans (alternatives)1 x 120 mm (2 x 120 mm)1 x 140 mm (2 x 140 mm)2 x 120 mm (None)1 x 120 mm (None)
Rear Fans (alternatives)1 x 120 mm (None)1 x 120 mm (None)1 x 140 mm (1 x 140/120 mm)None (1 x 120 mm)
Top Fans (alternatives)None (2 x 120mm)None (None)None (2 x 140/120 mm)1 x 180 mm (None)
Left Side (alternatives)None (1 x 140 mm)None (2 x 120 mm)None (1 x 140/120 mm)None (None)
Right Side (alternatives)None (None)None (None)None (None)None (None)
Drive Bays
5.25" ExternalSixThreeThreeFive
3.5" ExternalNoneNone1 x Adapter1 x HDD Bay
3.5" InternalFourThreeEightFour
2.5" InternalFour*TwoEight*Four*
Card SlotsEightEightSevenEight
Noise Dampening
SidesNonePlastic CoversCloth/MatNone
FrontNonePlastic CoverFoamNone
*Shared on 3.5" Tray

Quality is the primary consideration for our round-up, though unusually good or unusually bad performance could certainly set a single case apart from the pack. Features are next up for evaluation, primarily when comparing price to value. Let’s take a closer look at the quality and features each case offers.

Thomas Soderstrom is a Senior Staff Editor at Tom's Hardware US. He tests and reviews cases, cooling, memory and motherboards.