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Five Eight-Slot Cases For SLI And CrossFire, Tested

Accoustic Efficiency Wins?

A cool case is only nice when the noise that comes out of it is tolerable. While everyone has a slightly different definition of tolerance, we know that the easiest way to make a system cooler is to significantly increase its fan speed. It's a game of give and take, and the vendor able to play it best, wins.

The best way to compare performance levels is by first comparing cooling to noise. Dividing our temperature results from our noise results gives us an acoustic efficiency chart with a 100% efficiency baseline. Since nothing in this industry is really 100% efficient, we subtracted one from each of the above calculations to create a realistic 0% baseline, where zero represents the average.

With a tied-for-third place finish in temperature and a second-place finish in noise, the Raven RV03 easily walks away with the best cooling-to-noise ratio. This is most easily explained by SilverStone’s unusual design that faces fans inwards from the floor, rather than the front panel.

Buyers with smaller budgets should be happy to see Rosewill take second place in acoustic efficiency. Cooler Master takes third place, while Thermaltake and In Win fall below the class average.

The top case, SilverStone’s Raven RV03, has all of the cooling, quietness, and quality required for our recommendation, but that recommendation comes with an caveat: the face panel is held in place with eight screws, in addition to snaps, and each of the bay adapter trios is also secured by eight screws. While most users can get away with a single 5.25" drive and the five bays behind the motherboard tray, access to remaining front bays is unusually cumbersome.

At the lower end of the price scale, Rosewill’s Blackhawk provides top cooling performance, middle-of-the-road acoustic performance, and a low price that could make it a great choice for buyers who’d rather spend their money on internal hardware. It does not, however, provide an internal connector for its front-panel USB 3.0 ports, and that's a feature enthusiasts building modern systems should expect. Rosewill says it plans to offer that feature soon, but it's not available today as we consider the case we'd most like to have hosting our own three- or four-graphics card gaming setup.

  • bhtechmech
    I like the ThermalTake the best for access to HDD. Shape is nice too.
    Reply
  • compton
    The Raven is an appealing case except for it's (supposedly removable) gold trim. That stuff might fly for Mr. T or Too Short, but not for most of the masses. It is truly ugly on the outside, but I like what's going on inside. In fact, I like most any case that deviates from the standard layout conventions, but damn, the RV-03 is fugly. I'm sticking to the Lian Li PC-A05NB for a while longer. You can make most cases quieter, but you can't really make most cases less fugly on the outside.
    Reply
  • hammer256
    @compton: why not go for the RV-02E then? It's much more subdued. In my opinion though, the true stunner is the FT-02. Now that is a case with a proper sense of style. Too bad it's quite a bit more expensive though.
    Reply
  • hammer256
    Should have mentioned that those cases don't have the 8th slot though, so I guess they won't work if that's what you need.
    Reply
  • rylan
    Why did you test with a single graphics card? I thought the title of the review was Five Eight-Slot Cases FOR SLI AND CROSSFIRE, Tested.

    Just because a case performs well with a single graphics card doesn't mean it performs well in SLI or CrossFire. I know this from experience.
    Reply
  • mattmock
    It is important to note the >180mm PSU size requirements of the RV03. My Enermax 1050W wouldn't fit in the 03 so I ended up getting a rv02e
    Reply
  • hmp_goose
    The factory castors on my HAF 932 died rather quickly: I'd scrounge up a (metal) substitute set of wheels if I was thinking about another build.
    Reply
  • chovav
    yeah come on guys, you don't even look at the temperature of the most important card, the 2nd, 3rd or 4th in SLI! isn't that why you chose a 8-slot case?

    This article misses the whole point! your could have used a mini-ITX board/case for all that matters.

    Please do yourself a favor and revisit this article with 3/4 graphic cards this time!
    Reply
  • boltronics
    Yeah - one graphics card doesn't cut it when CrossFire and SLI are in the article name.

    I've got a HAF-X with 2x RadeonHD 6990 cards in CrossFire... and can confirm that you missed seeing all the flaws because you didn't review it properly.

    1. The bracket doesn't cover the 6990s - it physically cannot be made to fit.

    2. The fan sitting behind the graphics cards also does not fit with 6990s - they take up more room than the cards allow. Even if they did fit, it would never work with 4 graphics cards (if you were going that way) - it's only designed for 3!

    3. My HAF-X case didn't come with the USB3 header cable. When I contacted CoolerMaster about this and asked them to send me one, they basically said "Yeah we announced we would send them out to people who missed out, but we only meant it if you're in the USA and you're not so..."

    Further, the case cannot handle the heat. The top fan of the HAF-X above the CPU actually warped out of shape and started making a huge noise - the blades started hitting the metal insides of the case. I had to move the fan to the opposite side of the frame - hanging from the metal roof, instead of sitting on top of it.

    And the alignment of the PCI slots is off. I originally intended to go 4-way SLI with my HAF-X (before going down the CrossFire path), and realised it would not be possible (using my Gigabyte GA-X58A-UD9 at least). The top two PCI slot ports on the case do not match up with the top two slots on my motherboard! The third & forth case slot would be for graphics card 1, 5 & 6 would be for card 2, 7 & 8 would be for graphics card 3... but if I wanted a forth card, there is only one slot left!

    Now, CoolerMaster did cut a hole internally so you could plug a card that overhangs unto the missing 10th slot... but one problem - since there is actually no 10th slot where the heck would all the hot-air go? Yep - straight back into the card. You would be mad to try it on air - otherwise the card would get GPU death.

    Needless to say, deeply deeply disappointed with the HAF-X due to wanting a 4-card setup, which the case clearly isn't designed for. Your article missed every one of these flaws!
    Reply
  • JamesSneed
    The thought was good if the tittle was changed.

    Testing of multiple graphics cards mean more heat and a possibly a larger PSU. I read this thinking I would see answers to the following three questions. Do any of these cases struggle with the added heat from multiple graphics cards? Do any of these cases have an issue supporting larger PSU's? How is the acoustic efficiency when more heat has to be dissipated(do they get louder)?
    Reply