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).
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.”
Today is a round-up of the best airflow-focused cases currently out, which can also be tuned to be good acoustic performers by nature of unrestricted intakes. Over all the years that we’ve been doing case reviews, we’ve advocated for high airflow designs. That generally implies lots of mesh and lots of fans, like the classic Cooler Master HAF cases that adopted “high airflow” as a brand name. As those cases aged and optical drives fell out of favor, front panel designs became increasingly clean and minimalistic, and therefore increasingly closed-off. Now the tide has turned again, and in 2020, we have more airflow cases than we know what to do with. Today, we’ll be covering some of our top choices--this isn’t our yearly best-and-worst cases roundup, it’s just a selection of airflow-focused cases with good value. We have almost 300 rows of test data multiplied across about 7 sheets, so although we’ll be limiting ourselves to cases we’ve reviewed, that’s still a big list. As always, let us know if there’s another case we should check out in the comments below.
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.
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.
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.
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