Which 10-Slot Case Is Right For Your XL-ATX Motherboard?
All of today’s cases have distinct features that divide them from the competition. An unexpected surprise was that they were all produced using similar quality steel sheet and plastic. Perhaps that’s why the price range was packed so closely at $170-230, even though this round-up began without any budget criteria at all.
Most unique is Azza’s Fusion 4000, with its ability to hold two systems in a single structure. This could be particularly useful to owners of recent Asus Republic of Gamers motherboards, since the ITX system can be used to overclock the ATX system through the ROG Connect cable. Asus doesn’t really require an Ultra ATX case though, so only a creative builder can determine the best use of this feature.
Liquid cooling fanatics can ignore the Fusion 4000’s secondary platform support and instead focus on its ability to hold a three-fan and a four-fan radiator in its two top panels. Add the normally-pricey feature of backplane-support for eight 3.5” and four 2.5” drives, and Azza’s quoted $230 MSRP appears unbelievably low. Though we can’t recommend a case this large for the majority of 10-slot gaming case buyers, those few who can take advantage of its available space will find top value.
While we may approve of Azza’s added-value features for specific building needs, we’re certain a case this large won’t appeal to the majority of buyers. Users with only one motherboard and little to no need for liquid cooling can get better air-cooled performance from one of the other three candidates.
With the largest of the almost-mainstream cases, Enermax got our attention with its support for HTPX. Again, this is a rather small market, and if you don't have one of those rare motherboards, you'll likely be turned off by its price. A few additional builders might choose the Fulmo GT for its triple-fan radiator capability, but that still won’t appeal to the majority of Ultra ATX buyers.
For normal Ultra ATX needs (that is, if you consider four-way graphics arrays normal), perhaps the best way to determine a winner would be to compare overall performance (cooling/noise) to price.
Rosewill’s Thor V2 had the lowest price and the highest air-cooled performance, so it easily tops the price versus performance chart. It also supports an enthusiast-favored two-fan radiator—with most motherboards—which is something Thermaltake’s runner-up Armor+ can’t do with any motherboard (at least not internally).
One place Thermaltake overtakes Rosewill is in the VH6000BWS’ removable motherboard tray, a feature many enthusiasts have told us they can’t live without. Conversely, many other builders (including me) do live without that feature, as it's rarely a time-saver. Cables must be attached after the tray is installed, which often requires expansion cards to be taken out. At the end of the day, Thermaltake’s removable motherboard tray is a very nice inclusion, even if its value is questionable.
After performance and price, the third most important place Rosewill beats its runner-up is in USB 3.0 support. The lack of this feature on any upper-range case at this point defies reason. After considering all of its pros along with its few cons, the value-priced Thor V2 appears best suited to the broadest number of XL-ATX motherboard users.