Patrick Lathan

Patrick Lathan

It’s difficult to differentiate motherboards, at least from a marketing perspective. There are definitely better and worse boards, and you can check any of the roundups or reviews Buildzoid has produced for this channel for explanations as to why, but “better” doesn’t mean “higher FPS in games” here. Using higher-quality or more expensive components doesn’t always translate directly into running Fortnite at a higher framerate, which makes it harder to communicate to consumers why they should spend $200 on board X instead of $100 on board Y if both can run the same CPUs. This has led to motherboard manufacturers playing games with numbers for boost duration, voltages, BCLK, and other settings in order to differentiate their boards from the competition with tangible performance increases.

We’ve talked about Intel turbo and “Multi-Core Enhancement” many, many times in the past. This serves as a companion piece to the most recent of these, our “Intel i9-10900K ‘High’ Power Consumption Explained” video. To reiterate, Intel’s specification defines turbo limits--the multipliers for boosting on one core, two cores, etc, all the way up to an all-core turbo boost. Here are some examples from Coffee Lake’s launch (8700K) and before:

The Thermaltake Level 20 RS ARGB is part of a small resurgence of Cooler Master HAF-esque cases that have come out in the wake of the H500P, with the two big 200mm RGB front intake fans that were distinctive of that case. We’re not going to try to pick apart Thermaltake’s naming conventions this time, so we’ll just say that although the chassis clearly reuses tooling from some earlier case, it’s not the Level 20 MT that we reviewed in 2018. This Level 20 uses mesh.

The Phanteks P400A Digital was one of the most impressive cases we reviewed last year, providing good airflow and a full set of four fans for a reasonable price, but you’d be hard pressed to find it in stock for that price anywhere currently. The P300A is a newer and even less expensive option with the same style of mesh front panel that we covered at CES in January

The original be quiet! Pure Base 500 completely failed to pique our interests. It was another mid-tower we knew would have subpar airflow in the $80-$90 range (depending on the configuration), not cheap enough to excuse faults or expensive enough to make it offensively bad. We’re much more interested in the new variant, the 500DX. We were informed back at CES that the DX stands for Deluxe, which may or may not have been made up by be quiet! on the spot, but the gist is a slightly higher-end airflow focused model that’s still part of the Pure Base line, traditionally the least expensive of their three case families. The DX is priced at $99.90, a little more than the original, but comes with an additional fan, RGB lighting, and a mesh front panel. Today we’ll be reviewing the 500DX and pulling our Pure Base 500 from storage to do some tests and comparisons with the original.

Cases below $70 with breathable, mesh front panels have become rarer in the past few years, but the trend is starting to pick back up: At CES, we saw a deluge of $60-$70 mesh cases, like the Phanteks P300A, which takes the principles of the P400A and down-costs them, and the SilverStone Fara R1, which is meant to be a successor to our long-praised Silverstone RL06. The RL06 was a long-time budget masterpiece. It managed chart-topping performance at around $70-$80, accomplished with four 120mm fans, a short chassis length that brought fans closer to components, and a mesh front. Now, we’re reviewing the spiritual successor to the Silverstone RL06, and that’s the Fara R1 mesh variant that we saw at CES.

The Fara R1 is one of several cases in the Fara line that share the same basic chassis tooling, like the V1, but the feature that sets the R1 apart and the reason we requested it for review is its mesh front panel--we haven’t seen many well-ventilated cases for budget builders lately, and our impending economic doom is the perfect time for budget builds. There’s always a bright side. Silverstone does, in fact, refer to this case as the Fara R1, but GN Sr. Camera Operator Andrew thought that the box said “FARAR1.” Maybe that’d be how DIYPC would name its Zondda follow-up, but not Silverstone.

Either way, enough people have complained about Silverstone’s letter-letter-number-number case names (especially us), or they were in danger of a repeat. If the full name is too much to handle, the official abbreviation is FAR1.

Silverstone shaved every penny it could off the production of this case, for better or worse, creating a utilitarian enclosure that reminds us strongly of the Cooler Master NR600, another budget mesh case that launched in early 2019 and has remained a strong competitor at the $70-ish price point since. The R1 is also positioned to be a successor to our perennial budget-tier favorite, the Silverstone RL06, which is almost impossible to find at a decent price these days. Today we’ll see how the Fara R1 stacks up against these and other cases in build quality, noise, and thermals.

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