One Value-Oriented Chassis Satisfies Most Buyers
Limiting our value analysis to the five cases present, we have already seen that one of these is less expensive than the rest. Fortunately for its manufacturer, that same enclosure also finishes in the middle of the pack with regard to overall performance.
Cooler Master’s Storm Enforcer appears to be the best value in a simple comparison of performance to price, yet a comparison that simple leaves out things like added features. And the one case that cost 50% more than the Storm Enforcer, the Raidmax Agusta is packed with features.
Or are they gimmicks? The biggest case in today’s comparison was also the lightest, and that lightness doesn't come from the use of exotic material like carbon fiber or even aluminum. Instead, Raidmax manages to make a bigger/lighter case in the most frugal way possible, by removing much of its structure. It goes head-to-head with In Win’s recently-reviewed Mana 136 in a flimsiness competition, and comes out only slightly better.
Other things that didn’t help make the case for an Agusta win were that it has only a quarter-inch of space behind most of its motherboard tray for cable management, that the access hole for ATX12V leads is blocked by any motherboard, that it requires motherboard removal to service its fans, that its grommets fall out whenever they're touched, that its card holder screws are blocked by the edge of the chassis, that a bridge of metal between the top slot and I/O panel partly blocked our DVI cable, and that we somehow managed to push its power button out of its mount when attempting to turn on the finished build. It still has the longest features list of any mainstream-priced case we’ve ever tested, and thus might be recommended to new system builders who would like to attend the PC builder’s school of hard knocks.
Our final analysis ends with Antec’s Eleven Hundred getting a recommendation for its support of oversized motherboards, SilverStone’s KL04B (the B is for black, remember?) getting a recommendation for its slight edge in overall performance, dual-fan radiator support, and enhanced drive capacity, and Cooler Master’s Storm Enforcer getting a recommendation based on its mid-pack performance, quad USB ports, and low price. All three of these medium-duty cases are sturdy enough for most users, yet the Storm Enforcer’s ultra-low price and lack of obvious flaws (apart from the missing radiator mounting space) makes it the most attractive option for a majority of mid-budget builders.
We know that a recommendation appropriate for most folks doesn't fit every need. One of our readers complained that our most recent System Builder Marathon included mostly un-awarded parts. In the example of this review, we would happily pick the Eleven Hundred to fit larger hardware or the KL04B for low-cost radiator support, even though neither of these could match the overall value that today’s award winner offers to a majority of buyers.