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Part 1: Four Gaming Enclosures Under $50

Test Settings

Test System Configuration
CPUIntel Core i7-920 (2.66 GHz, 8 MB Shared L3 Cache), O/C to 3.80 GHz (19 x 200 MHz), 1.416 V
MotherboardAsus P6T, X58 Express IOH, BIOS 0801 (09/30/2009)
RAMKingston KHX2133C9D3T1K2/4GX (4 GB), DDR3-2133 at DDR3-1600 CAS 8-8-8-24
GraphicsXFX GeForce GTX 285 1 GB, 670 MHz GPU, GDDR3-2500
Hard DriveWestern Digital Velociraptor WD3000HLFS, 300 GB, 10 000 RPM, SATA 3Gb/s, 16 MB cache
SoundIntegrated HD Audio
NetworkIntegrated Gigabit Networking
PowerOCZ-Z1000 1000 W Modular, ATX12V v2.2, EPS12V, 80 PLUS Gold
Software
OSMicrosoft Windows 7 Ultimate x64
GraphicsNvidia GeForce 190.62 WHQL
ChipsetIntel INF 9.1.1.1014

Overclocking Intel’s C0 stepping Core i7-920 to 3.80 GHz allows us to test how well each case is able to remove large amounts of heat from its interior.

Keeping our system stable at high temperatures and loads is Asus’ original P6T motherboard.

A 2400 RPM cooling fan keeps Rosewill’s oversized Fort 120 cool under pressure, while helping us to evaluate the noise isolation capabilities of each chassis.

An XFX GeForce GTX 285 adds even more heat and noise, especially in this factory-overclocked version.

OCZ’s Z1000 modular power supply keeps voltage stable on our mid-power system, even when it encounters relatively high case temperatures.

Benchmark Configuration
Prime95 v25.864-bit executable, Small FFT's, 7-threads
FurMark 1.6.5Windowed Mode, 1280x1024, 8X AA, Stability Test, Minimum and maximum temperature
RealTemp 3.40Highest core reading at full CPU load (60 minutes), Highest core reading at 30 minutes idle
Galaxy CM-140 SPL MeterTested at 1/4m, corrected to 1m (-12db), dBA weighting

Dedicating seven CPU threads to Prime95 and a single CPU thread to FurMark allows both programs to push peak power consumption and heat production simultaneously. Galaxy’s CM-140 meter tracks noise levels.

  • rzilla91
    Great article!
    I have the Antec 300 and love it - my current build is/was my first build, and the Antec case was very easy to build in.

    My only (rather silly) question is how did you get the case fans to run on low? They appear to be plugged into your PSU, which is what i did, but that forces it to run on high.
    Reply
  • falchard
    I think the Antec 300 and AeroCool models lose for 1 simple reason. They cannot house the longer ATI HD5850~HD5970.
    Reply
  • gkay09
    ^ Did you read the Aerocool specs properly ? Card Length - 17.7"
    AFAIK there are no graphic cards that are longer than 12.5", so it would fit HD 5970...
    But as for the 300, I doubt it wont fit the 5970, but other cards would...
    But if you will be spending ~$600 for a graphic card, then am sure you wont skimp on the case...
    Reply
  • Mark Heath
    Interesting to see the Antec 300 doing well even when the fan speed's put to low.
    Reply
  • smithereen
    No NZXT Beta?
    Reply
  • rzilla91Great article!I have the Antec 300 and love it - my current build is/was my first build, and the Antec case was very easy to build in.My only (rather silly) question is how did you get the case fans to run on low? They appear to be plugged into your PSU, which is what i did, but that forces it to run on high.It should be equiped with speed-adjustmentable tri-cool fans, which should have added speed selectors to go from LOW to MID or HI, and back.
    Reply
  • falchard
    I just reread the card length on the AeroCool.
    I would like a review on the NZXT Beta. Sub $50 market, you really aren't looking at any of those cases. You are looking at the Rosewills, NZXT, and cheap Thermaltakes.
    Reply
  • @falchard - My Vapor-X 5850 fit perfectly in my Antec 300. I don't know what you're BSing about.
    Reply
  • rajangel
    I own the 300. It's a nice sturdy case, but in the end it really was a pain in the rear to put it all together. It's extremely cramped.

    @falchard-
    Also don't ever buy Rosewill. EVER. Their products are terrible. I've bought a few items they've had on clearance (from newegg) and not a single product is worth the 90% discount. One case came bent and the power supply inside was missing some of the power plugs the manual said it had. One item came shipped with a driver all in Chinese. Customer service blamed it on whoever shipped it (right because Newegg is going to switch the power supply inside a case). Newegg switched the case out and the girl on the phone said they have a lot of problem with Rosewill products. The laptop pad was missing fan blades.

    Reply
  • falchard
    Well thats your problem right there, you are looking at Rosewill for electronic products. You shop Rosewill for products that don't rely on electricity like a case.
    Reply