Quality And Value: The Final Five, Evaluated
We required all of the submissions in our 15-case series to sell between $80 and $120. And yet, a few of them are actually available for less than $80 in some areas. That's not a bad problem to have (it's the opposite of what motherboard vendors generally try to get away with). Fortunately, all of these cases sell for at least $80 somewhere—and the manufacturers of the less expensive models agreed that their cases could still compete in the $80 category.
Available for as little as $70, Raidmax’s Seiran tops our performance value chart, even if we consider it as an $80 model. Using the same $80 baseline, MSI’s $77 Ravager is not far behind. The spread between those two would be even greater if this was a round-up of $70 to $120 cases.
We were reluctant to compare lower-end enclosures, because that discussion quickly degenerates into a complicated debate about quality. The Ravager is built better than the Seiran, but neither contender exhibits the quality we'd need to see for a recommendation in this competitive segment. Even at their lowest $77 and $70 online prices, both cases feel overpriced by about $20.
Ironically, the flimsiest case in today’s comparison actually seems like it might be worth $80: In Win’s Buc. However, the company has trouble winning us over with such obvious design deficits as the inability to run an EPS12V cable up the back of the motherboard tray. A $95 asking price adds insult to injury.
That leaves two strong contenders: Corsair’s 400R and Antec’s Solo II. The Solo II exhibits slightly better build quality, but the 400R delivers far better thermal performance. Antec tops our noise isolation chart, but the Solo II's thermal performance is so mediocre that the 400R scored more than 25% higher on our acoustic efficiency chart.
The Solo II’s admirable acoustic performance combined with barely-adequate thermal performance might have earned Antec a solid win in a comparison of quiet cases. However, Corsair’s 400R is the only case from today’s five contenders to offer the right balance of cooling, build quality, and features needed to satisfy the mid-budget gaming market—and win our stamp of approval.
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Hell yeah!!! NZXT Phantom 410 FTW!!Reply
Toms should do a review on high-end cases featuring EXTREME watercooling.Reply
idroidToms should do a review on high-end cases featuring EXTREME watercooling.Reply
the only tiny problem at the most part i see in that is that it would be slightly harder to test thermal efficiency, since its being cooled by water, rather than air + hsf so in a wc build, the thermal ratings will be extremely close.
now try to find the best micro-atx case...Reply
The Antec Solo II is not a case meant for gaming.Reply
It would be nice to see a left-sided window case listing, there are definate advantages to a left sided window / upside down mobo configReply
amuffinThe Antec Solo II is not a case meant for gaming.Well...Antec sent it anyway. Along with the Eleven Hundred. So they evidently had a plan.back_by_demandIt would be nice to see a left-sided window case listing, there are definate advantages to a left sided window / upside down mobo configDid you know that the reason many manufacturers abandoned the upside-down case was because some motherboard heat pipes supposedly didn't work right in that configuration?iknowhowtofixitBut, but, but.... The Phantom 410 is sooooo ugly...Eye of the beholder :)Reply
The Solo II would probably have done a little better with your LGA2011 / GTX580 setup, if Antec included at least one front intake fan. Any chance of a re-test with an added intake fan or two? :)Reply
I'm a fan of smaller casesReply
I have a qx-2000 case from aerocool. it's a nightmare for cable management and upgrading partsm but I like it
can toms also do an in-depth article on smaller cases?
particularly, I want a similar case as the qx-2000 but the PSU is mounted at the bottom so that adding items inside woundnt be too much of a chore.
thermaltake armor a30 looks awesome, but still has a top mounted PSU