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

Value-Oriented Cases: More Quality, Same Cash?

Reader responses to Four Sub-$100 Cases For Your 2013 Gaming Build, Reviewed validated our notions that a quality case can last through several builds, allowing frugal enthusiasts to save money they can spend on go-fast parts. On the other hand, keeping an older chassis around through multiple generations means you sometimes miss out on new technologies, like front-panel USB 3.0 ports.

Part two of our search for the best value in long-term enclosure investment began with In Pictures: Four More Sub-$100 Cases For Your 2013 Gaming Build. Today's round-up puts each of those enclosures through their paces.

Of course, value is as subjective of a term as durability or ventilation. But we've already seen some pretty heavy duty cases selling for as little as $60 armed with 120 mm fans and enough room for a full load of ATX-sized parts. Hoping for some extra features to show you, today's round-up is capped by a $100 limit. After all, if you're going to live with a chassis through multiple builds, you'd better really like it, right?

BitFenix ShinobiEnermax Ostrog GT ECA3280A-BRRosewill R5Zalman MS800 Plus
Space Above Motherboard1.1"1.5"1.1"2.2"
Card Length12.7"11.0-16.2"***12.5"11.4-20.0"^
Weight15.0 Pounds16.9 Pounds15.8 Pounds22.8 Pounds
Front Fans (alternatives)1 x 120 mm (2 x 120 mm)2 x 140 mm (None)2 x 120 mm (None)92 mm Internal (None)
Rear Fans (alternatives)1 x 120 mm (1 x 92 mm)1 x 120 mm (None)1 x 120 mm (1 x 140/120 mm)1 x 120 mm (None)
Top Fans (alternatives)None (2 x 140/120 mm)None (2 x 140/120 mm)None (2 x 140/120 mm)1 x 120 mm (2 x 140/120 mm)
Left Side (alternatives)None (1 x 120 mm)None (None)None (None)None (None)
Right Side (alternatives)None (None)None (None)None (None)None (None)
Drive Bays
5.25" ExternalThreeThreeFourSeven
3.5" External1 x AdapterNoneNone1 x Adapter
3.5" InternalEight +1**EightSixThree
2.5" InternalZero +1**TwoSix*Three*
Card SlotsSevenEight +1SevenSeven
Noise Dampening
*Shared on 3.5" hard drive tray **Via 5.25" adapter tray ***w/o Center Cage ^Slots 1-5

Of the 28 companies we invited to participate, 11 responded with cases they thought would give the Tom's Hardware audience the best balance between quality, features, and price. We divided the round-up into three groups based on when each of the samples arrived.

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