Thermaltake was one of our many stops upon our Computex 2017 journey, where the company was showing off a very expensive prototype case, as well as a more modest pair of ATX mid-towers. On the channel, we have a video showcasing these enclosures, so be sure to check that out if video format is preferable.
This year’s Computex featured the usual mix of concept and prototype cases, some of which will never make it to market (or some which will be several thousand dollars, like the WinBot). We particularly liked the “Wheel of Star” mod at Cooler Master, the “Floating” from In Win, Level 20 from Thermaltake, and Concept Slate from Corsair – but none of those are really meant to be bought in large quantities. This round-up looks at the best cases of Computex that are in the category of being purchasable, keeping cost below $400. We’ll be looking primarily at ATX form factor cases, with one Micro-STX co-star, with a few “needs work” members in the mix.
This case round-up won’t include everything we saw at the show and will exclude the more exotic cases, like the Concept Slate and the In Win WinBot, but still has plenty to get through. Before getting started, here’s a list of the relevant coverage of individual products and booths that are discussed herein:
Deepcool was at Computex this year with what seemed like an emphasis on cases and RGB lighting, although they did have a new CPU cooler to show off. Many of these cases seem to be updated models of previously announced cases at CES 2017, which are still pending release in the North America market.
In Win wouldn’t deign to bring something so pedestrian as a “normal” chassis to Computex. In Win demonstrated two new case concepts—the Floating and the Winbot—that exemplify In Win’s commitment to mostly surpass themselves when it comes to feats of case engineering.
In addition to the technical marvels, In Win’s Computex exhibition included an array of other products including new cases from the 800 and 300-series, which will include wood in their design. Other new chassis from In Win are the 301C and 101C. In Win also showed off their new line of fans, the MARS and Polaris RGB case fans, which we’ve seen in limited capacity at previous shows. In Win’s new magnetic Mag-Ear headphone holder, ostensibly created in the vein of NZXT’s Puck, made an appearance, along with cases on display with the latest EKWB cooling products on show, presumably in honor of their revealed co-operative arrangement from earlier this year.
Continuing our Coverage of Computex 2017, we met with the Be Quiet! team at their booth to discuss some of their new and upcoming products. We took a look at their Silent Loop CLC CPU cooler, the new SFX-L PSU, the Shadow Rock TF2 air cooler, and the limited edition Dark Base Pro 900 - White Edition case.
The Dark Base Pro 900 was a case we covered last year at Computex, if it feels familiar. This year, Be Quiet! displayed their new iteration of the Dark Base Pro 900 - now in white. The White Edition uses the exact same tooling as the Dark Base Pro 900, with changes entirely cosmetic. Be Quiet! reps noted that the color-matching process was the most time consuming, and that the run will be limited at first to gauge market reception. The first all white case from Be Quiet! will be limited to 2000 units worldwide, with a specific number being given to each enclosure (a nameplate in the top-right corner, near the drive cages). The White Edition will ship with an included three 140mm Silent wings 3 fans in black, contrasting the white (we’re not sure if we like that just yet), and hosts all the usual features of the DBP900. The chassis is capable of hosting three 140mm fans at the front, another three 140mm fans on top, a single 140mm at the rear for exhaust, and another single 140mm fan at the bottom, near the PSU; that brings it up to eight possible fans in total.
We stopped by the Cooler Master booth at Computex 2017 to take a look at two of their new iterations of previous Cooler Master cases: the HAF and the Cosmos ATX towers. The HAF, or High Airflow, cases were popular mid- and full-towers a few years ago, and CM will be bringing that back with their new Master Case H500P. The former Cosmos cases are also being refreshed for 2017 in the form of the new Cosmos C700P.
The Cooler Master H500P brings back the HAF series with dual 200mm RGB fans at the front for intake (included), and will provide less noise and more airflow than traditional 120mm or 140mm options. Static pressure is theoretically lower, but we’ll test all that in due time. Front intake is available through mesh on each side and the top and bottom of the curved acrylic front panel. The H500P comes with the two 200mm RGB fans included at the front but is capable of housing another three 140mm fans at the top -- above the top chamber -- or three 120mm fans within the lower chamber of the top panel. A 140mm radiator or fan mount is also present at the rear.
We attended EVGA’s Press Day in Taipei before the start of Computex, where we tore down the new Kingpin 1080 Ti card and spoke with engineering staff about power design. EVGA showcased a number of other items too, including the DG-70 line of cases, a new mechanical keyboard, and EVGA’s new SC15 laptop.
The new ATX mid-tower cases are the DG-73, DG-75, and DG-76, all of which use the same tooling (from what we’ve seen thus far), meaning the differences are largely cosmetic. The DG-73 will be the most budget-focused and features an acrylic side panel window, while the DG-75/76 have tempered glass panels. All three have a tempered glass front panel that is slightly offset, which could allow for front airflow intake through side ventilation, something we’ve seen before. Cable routing could prove to be difficult as there are no dedicated pass-throughs or grommets; instead, the DG-73, DG-75, and DG-76 use an open plate style design for cable management.
Over the past few years, we’ve built up an impressive stockpile of case reviews, the most common of which are sub-$100 ATX mid-towers. This is a roundup of some of our favorites, wildly different in purpose and appearance but all solid, affordable enclosures for the average gaming PC. Our best cases feature includes temperature and acoustic testing, and build quality discussion for the top PC cases under $100.
Everything here is something we’ve worked with in person, either in the lab or at tradeshows; if you feel something is missing, it is likely that we simply didn’t test it. We’re trying to keep the list to things released in the past year (or so), which means chart-toppers of previous eras are being skipped.
The Thermaltake Core P3 ($100) is one of the more unusual cases we’ve tested: it’s a skeleton case with only two sides, one of which is entirely transparent. This is a case that could theoretically be used as a normal mid-tower, and it’s not priced unreasonably for that, but its design makes the P3 exposed to anything that approaches it at a slight angle -- pets, kids, potentially dust if floor-bound. It’s also cooled just by ambient circulation, as there’s not support for case fans outside of a radiator mount. The P3 is, however, an ideal display case for colorful systems with elaborate liquid cooling, and it’s also a much cheaper alternative to the open-air test benches that we use every day.
For modders, the P-series (P1, P3, P5, P7) offer a basic and compact foundation on which to build. For display systems or testing, the case takes a backseat to the components, offering itself up as a platform for hot-swapping components or for component display. These are the use cases where the P3 shines.
Corsair’s SPEC-04 ($50) is a new mid-tower aimed squarely at the budget market. The case shares its price and much of its hardware (and tooling) with the aged SPEC-01, but with the alien, angular appearance of the SPEC-ALPHA, channeling the aesthetics of the once-$80 case into an affordable $50 package.
Borrowing tooling from its predecessors, the SPEC-04 is able to ship with a lower price-point, aided further by a stripped-down set of interior accoutrements. The SPEC-04 is a small case, but capable of supporting ATX form factor components. This makes the unit deployable for ultra-budget machines, theoretically perfectly fitting for G4560 users.
Today’s review will heavily analyze the thermals, acoustics / noise levels, and build quality of the Corsair Spec-04 case. We test for thermal throttling and additional fan installation, wherein some time is spent adding +1x 120mm fan to multiple positions in the case.