We started testing the Meshify 2 XL even before our Meshify 2 review went up, which should give some idea of how busy the last few months have been. The Meshify 2 XL is to the Define 7 XL what the Meshify 2 was to the Define 7: essentially the same case, but with redesigned outer panels. We’ve never reviewed a Fractal XL case before, though, so this model is all new to us.
We’re keeping the build section relatively brief this time to avoid repeating information from our Meshify 2 non-XL review. Check that content for basic information on elements that the two cases share, like cable management and the front panel design--this review fills in the blanks and adds additional information, so the original content is must-see for anyone considering buying one of these cases.
We’ve been sent three cases for review by Corsair: the 4000D, the 4000D Airflow, and the 4000X. Today we’ll be covering the two 4000D variants, since they’re entirely identical other than the “front bezel” plate that ships with the enclosure. Companies like Phanteks and Cooler Master have sometimes handled situations like this by sending us multiple front panels, but Corsair is fighting hard to eliminate our last few square feet of storage space--we have all three. As of this writing, all 4000D SKUs are available for sale for $80.
It’s been busy here, but we finally have a brief window to talk about something other than GPUs. Today, we’re reviewing Lian Li’s Lancool 215, internally nicknamed the “P400A killer” despite a design that visually takes more inspiration from Cooler Master’s H500-whatever cases, as we’ve seen some other cases do recently. We’ve been very interested in this design since we first saw it during a visit to Lian Li’s headquarters back in March, when they showed us around several of the factories they work with. The design was made public back in July, but some (understandable) production delays have prevented it from hitting the market until now, with preorders currently open for an October 12th release date. The nickname comes from the 215’s airflow-focused design at a target price of $70, which directly competes with the two-fan P400A, currently $71 on Amazon and Newegg. The four-fan P400A Digital, the one which we reviewed highly last year, is currently more in the $80-$90 range in the stores where it’s actually in stock. The Lancool 215 has addressable RGB LEDs and three stock fans, two of which are 200MM intake fans that cover the entire surface of the front panel, making it potentially a very strong competitor to Phanteks’ offerings. As we’ve already reported, Lian Li has been able to keep the price low by contracting out case production rather than making the 215 in-house (as they would for their more expensive aluminum cases).
We’re reviewing the NVIDIA RTX 3080 FE today, where new testing methods for pressure analysis, acoustics, and game benchmarks are all in place. We also have a separate upcoming piece involving Schlieren photography of the RTX 3080 FE card, but we can show a short clip of that here as a preview. More on that soon. These cards are so complex -- especially thermally -- that the hardest part was figuring out how to segment the content in a way that’s usable and also possible to complete. Today, our focus is on rasterized games, hybrid rendered games, and path-traced games, alongside basic thermals, acoustics, pressure, power, and coldplate flatness. We have a separate piece going up today for a tear-down of the RTX 3080 (but a quick note that we finished all testing prior to the tear-down, as always). We’ll have more on PCIe generation results, but rest assured that our benchmarks use the best-performing bench, and more thermals.
Note: This is a transcript from our video review of the NVIDIA RTX 3080 Founders Edition card. You can watch that here (or embedded below). We also have a tear-down video coming up.
If you would like to learn about our new GPU testing methodology, we have a video on the channel here.
The Abkoncore Ramesses 780 is a case that our friend Brian from BPS Customs discovered back in mid-2019. He dubbed it “the most interesting case I’ll never build in,” and with encouragement from our benevolent community he then decided to dump it on us. At first glance, the 780 is a full-tower that seems visually inspired by the In Win 303, with the most unique feature being the twelve preinstalled 120mm ARGB fans. We say visually inspired because the 780 lacks most, if not all, of the functional features that merited our Editor’s Choice and Quality Build awards in our 2016 review of In Win’s case, which admittedly has flaws of its own to begin with. Let’s not mince words: the Ramesses 780 is a bad case, and it was specifically sent to us because everyone knew we would say so. That makes it hard to decide where to begin, so we’ll treat this like a normal review and start with the build process.
The Phanteks Enthoo Pro 2 is a case that we last saw at CES 2020, back in January. It’s a giant liquid cooling-focused enclosure built on the existing P600S chassis and, as such, it differs from our usual case reviews in much the same way that the O11 Dynamic XL review did. Incidentally, the Phanteks reviewer’s guide suggests that this case is intended to directly compete with the XL, as well as Fractal’s Define 7 XL, be quiet!’s Dark Base Pro 900, and Corsair’s Obsidian Series 1000D. Today, we’ll be discussing the airflow and some unusual features of the Enthoo Pro 2, including our first hands-on testing of Phanteks’ self-dubbed “High Performance Fabric.”
The Lian Li Lancool II Mesh is a revision of the original Lancool II, which we reviewed in December of last year. For the most part, the Mesh is a simple panel swap, so the build notes from that earlier coverage still apply. We first saw the prototype Mesh edition during our tour of Lian Li’s Taiwanese factories earlier this year, and the updates we discussed back then have made their way to the final product. We’ll mostly limit this build section to differences from the original case.
As a reminder, the Lancool II is a chassis that already exists and was already reviewed, but this mesh version makes significant changes to the exterior paneling. For these reasons, we won’t fully recap our build quality thoughts from the original review, but we will go back over what has been addressed by Lian Li. This means that, for the complete picture, you should also check our original Lancool II review.
The Phanteks P400A Digital was our winner for best overall case in 2019, but our feelings were mixed about the less-expensive P300A because of its single stock fan. Today, we’re reviewing the latest addition to the family, the Phanteks Eclipse P500A Digital, to see whether Phanteks is back on track.
Like the P400A, the P500A comes in both normal and “digital” variants. The base model comes with two 140mm non-RGB fans, the digital version comes with case lighting effects and three 140mm “D-RGB” fans, which is how Phanteks refers to addressable RGB. Listed specs for the fans are identical other than the LEDs. The lighting is compatible with the 3-pin 5V headers used by ASUS, MSI, ASRock, etc. Other than the fans, thin strips at the top of the front panel and along the edge of the PSU shroud are lit. The base model has a reset button, the D-RGB model replaces this with color and mode buttons. The built-in controller has baked-in lighting profiles for those that can’t or don’t want to use control software.
EK is best-known for its open-loop liquid cooling components, as we show at CES every year in the company’s bombastic display of systems, but that’s a small market, and EK has been trying to get into closed-loop liquid coolers for years. The EK AIO series is its newest attempt at that, but after facing one delay after another for shipping, it’s taken some time. Today, we’re reviewing the EK AIO 360 and 240 closed-loop liquid coolers for thermals, noise, noise-normalized thermals, coldplate levelness, efficacy on Intel and AMD platforms, and more.
EK’s AIO D-RGB series of coolers is a new approach to closed-loop liquid coolers from EK, most recently shown in public at CES 2020. Following that public update, the company encountered months of setbacks, but has finally reached the market with its new liquid coolers. Competition is fierce for CPU coolers right now, with Arctic’s Liquid Freezer II, which we reviewed here, posing the biggest challenge for EK.
Pricing for EK’s solution lands at $155 (via EK’s website) for the EK AIO D-RGB 360 and $120 for the AK EIO D-RGB 240. At time of writing, the Arctic Liquid Freezer II 280 is $95, but out of stock (at least via Amazon, and Newegg). It’s been mostly out of stock following positive reviews like ours, so although the LF II is directly competitive in price and performance (seen below), it’s somewhat moot if no one can buy it.
NOTE: This is a transcript of our video, for the most part, although the video has some more discussion in the intro and conclusion than found here. We publish these articles to be helpful, but make most our money to sustain this expensive operation via videos. If sharing the content, please consider sharing the video instead.
Cooler Master has yet to master its overwhelming instinct to put 500 in the name of cases. This latest offering is the Masterbox TD500 Mesh, a mesh-ified version of an existing acrylic-fronted case. Apparently they’ve gotten so tired of us drilling holes in their cases that they’ve started doing it for us. The TD500 Mesh is a mid tower with three ARGB fans, good ventilation, and an MSRP of $100, and based on our review of the Phanteks P400A, that’s a good place to be right now.
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