The Final Five: Gaming Cases Between $80 And $120, Rounded-Up

Making A Case For Performance And Value

Mid-range gaming hardware is a favorite among Tom’s Hardware readers. So, we were not surprised last year when a poll revealed that a majority of responders wanted us to focus on the $80 to $120 range for our next round-up of cases. That's a super-dense field, involving more enclosures than one reviewer can tackle. We set a few reasonable ground rules, though, that helped reduce the number of submissions we received to a more manageable 15. As we prepare to test the last five entries, here are a few links to the coverage of the 10 models that came before.

Previous performance analysis revealed several award-worthy products, such as NZXT’s high-quality Phantom 410 and Cooler Master’s high-value Storm Enforcer. The big question today is whether any of the final five enclosures are better than the cases we've already tested. At the end of this piece, we'll compare all 15 submissions to determine one overall winner. But first we have to test the last quintet.

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Header Cell - Column 0 Antec Solo IICorsair 400RIn Win BucMSI RavagerRaidmax Seiran
Space Above Motherboard0.6"1.3"0.7"1.3"0.8"
Card Length16.0"13.1"12.0"12.0" to 16.9"**^^11.7" to 16.6"
Weight20.5 Pounds16.8 Pounds16.6 Pounds15.7 Pounds13.0 Pounds
Front Fans (alternatives)None (2 x 120 mm)2 x 120 mm (None)1 x 120 mm (None)1 x 120 mm (2 x 120 mm)1 x 120 mm (None)
Rear Fans (alternatives)1 x 120 mm (None)1 x 120 mm (1 x 140 mm)1 x 120 mm (None)1 x 120 mm (1 x 92 mm)1 x 120 mm (1 x 80 mm)
Top Fans (alternatives)None (None)None (2 x 140/120 mm)1 x 120 mm (None)None (2 x 140/120 mm)None (None)
Left Side (alternatives)None (None)None (2 x 140/120 mm)None (2 x 120 mm)None (2 x 140/120 mm)1 x 180 mm (1 x 120 mm)
Right Side (alternatives)None (None)None (None)None (None)None (None)None (None)
Drive Bays
5.25" ExternalTwoFourThreeThreeNine
3.5" ExternalNoneNoneOneNone1x Adapter
3.5" InternalThreeSixFiveSix6x Adapter
2.5" InternalThree* +1Six*Five*Six*Seven*
Card SlotsSevenEightSevenSevenSeven
*Shared on 3.5" tray **Slots 1-5  ^^w/o Center Cage

Prices have dropped on several models since our series began. For instance, Raidmax's Seiran sells for only $70 at Directron, and MSI’s Stealth shows up at Micro Center for an online price of $77. Because all of these cases had to be priced between $80 and $120 to qualify for this round-up, we're using the price floor in our comparison. However, we'll factor in the updated prices when it comes time to compare the value of each product in the 15-way evaluation.

Thomas Soderstrom
Thomas Soderstrom is a Senior Staff Editor at Tom's Hardware US. He tests and reviews cases, cooling, memory and motherboards.
  • idroid
    Hell yeah!!! NZXT Phantom 410 FTW!!
  • idroid
    Toms should do a review on high-end cases featuring EXTREME watercooling.
  • dudewitbow
    idroidToms should do a review on high-end cases featuring EXTREME watercooling.
    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...
  • amuffin
    The Antec Solo II is not a case meant for gaming.
  • back_by_demand
    It would be nice to see a left-sided window case listing, there are definate advantages to a left sided window / upside down mobo config
  • Crashman
    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 :)

  • 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? :)
  • antemon
  • antemon
    I'm a fan of smaller cases

    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