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.
- Part 1a: Picture Preview of Corsair's 300R, In Win's Mana 136, MSI's Stealth, NZXT's Phantom 410, and Xigmatek's Midgard II
Part 1b: Performance Analysis of Corsair's 300R, In Win's Mana 136, MSI's Stealth, NZXT's Phantom 410, and Xigmatek's Midgard II
- Part 2a: Picture Preview of Antec's Eleven Hundred, Cooler Master's Storm Enforcer, Fractal Design's Arc Midi, Raidmax's Agusta, and SilverStone's Kublai KL04
Part 2b: Performance Analysis Antec's Eleven Hundred, Cooler Master's Storm Enforcer, Fractal Design's Arc Midi, Raidmax's Agusta, and SilverStone's Kublai KL04
- Part 3a: Picture Preview of Antec's Solo II, Corsair's 400R, In Win's Buc, MSI's Ravager, and Raidmax's Seiran
Part 3b: Today’s Performance Analysis
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.
|Header Cell - Column 0||Antec Solo II||Corsair 400R||In Win Buc||MSI Ravager||Raidmax Seiran|
|Space Above Motherboard||0.6"||1.3"||0.7"||1.3"||0.8"|
|Card Length||16.0"||13.1"||12.0"||12.0" to 16.9"**^^||11.7" to 16.6"|
|Weight||20.5 Pounds||16.8 Pounds||16.6 Pounds||15.7 Pounds||13.0 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)|
|3.5" External||None||None||One||None||1x Adapter|
|3.5" Internal||Three||Six||Five||Six||6x Adapter|
|2.5" Internal||Three* +1||Six*||Five*||Six*||Seven*|
|*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.
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.
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