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Best Of The Best, Part 3: Who Makes The Most Elite PC Case?

Three More High-End Cases Compete For Enthusiast Attention

We can’t remember the last time we’ve issued an “Elite” award to a case, and there are reasons for that. Elite means “best”. An Elite case should have the best features, the best performance, the best build quality, and the best materials. Yet every single case we had recently tested had been nothing more than a bundle of compromises. Looking to avoid those issues, we began our search by setting a relatively-high $180 price baseline, and expected everyone to deliver something that was both costlier and worth the extra cost. Some companies still managed to shove mid-market parts into our roundup, as if anyone wanted to pay more than $180 for a mid-market product.

We trudged on into Part 2, and found two examples of the upper limits of mainstream product. The mainstream’s “ragged edge” if you will. And while those two examples might have been worth more than $180, any level of mainstream isn’t going to live up to our “Elite” expectations. Today we take our third swing at this beyond-value curve ball: Do Elite cases even exist, or will we strike out of this game?

Mountain Mods U2-UFO CYONanoxia Deep Silence 6Zalman H1
Dimensions
Height18" (w/o 1.5" wheels)25.3"23.0"
Width18"9.9"9.4"
Depth18"28.2"23.8"
Space Above Motherboard4.7" (as tested)2.5"1.3"
Card Length16.3" (w/fans)16.0"13.8" / 19.1"**
Weight20.3 Pounds48.7 Pounds21.5 Pounds
Cooling
Front Fans (alternatives)6x 120mm (as tested)2x 140mm (None)1x 200mm (None)
Rear Fans (alternatives)3x 120mm (as tested)1x 140mm (1x 120mm)1x 120mm (1x 140mm)
Top Fans (alternatives)3x 120mm (as tested)2x 140mm (3x 120 / 140mm)2x 120mm (2x 140mm)
Left Side (alternatives)None (as tested)None (2x 120 / 140mm)None (None)
Right Side (alternatives)None (as tested)None (None)None (None)
Drive Bays
5.25" ExternalSix (as tested)FourThree
3.5" ExternalNone1x AdapterNone
3.5" InternalSix13Six
2.5" InternalNone13*Six*
Card SlotsSeven10Nine
Noise Dampening
SidesNoneAsphaltNone
TopNoneAsphaltNone
FrontNoneFoamNone
Price$706$230$240
*Shared on 3.5" tray **w/o Center Cage ***By 5.25" Adapter Tray

Mountain Mods produces custom cases, and the supplied configuration includes half-windows that are only available using its flash configurator. The price shown includes a $40 assembly fee, which advanced users won’t likely need. The case we received can be configured as a double-wide tower or a double-high desktop, as shown.

Zalman’s H1 is facing limited distribution in the United States, with the last in-stock vender charging $240. After it disappeared from that site, we re-confirmed price consistency at European venders.

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