Teased at CES 2016, Corsair's 400C ($90) enclosure swiftly followed the chart-topping 600C, a case that dominated our GPU cooling charts. The 600C and 600Q cases instituted an inverted motherboard layout – rotating and flipping board installation such that the GPU is oriented “upside-down” – but stuck with tried-and-died optical drive support. To allow for an enclosure more fitting of the “mid-tower” form factor, Corsair removed the 5.25” support in its new Carbide Series 400C & 400Q cases, shrinking the height from ~21 inches to ~18.27 inches.
This review of the Corsair Carbide 400C benchmarks cooling performance for CPUs and GPUs, all accompanied by build quality and installation analysis. The 400Q is more-or-less the same case, just with the window removed and sound-damping material added.
Deriving a computer case from a Ferrari 458 seems like a bit of a stretch – but everyone's got to have an origin story, and that's where NZXT started with its Manta case. A previous tour of NZXT's offices showed us that case designers do, in fact, plaster photos of cars upon the office walls and leverage the visual prompts in concepting phases. The Manta makes its statement with curved, stamped paneling made of all steel, creating somewhat of a 'bubbled' look to the enclosure.
The mini-ITX case is NZXT's first venture into sub-ATX form factors since the Vulcan, but keeps to a familiar “tower” form factor that we're calling “Full-Size ITX.” It's not the shoebox form factor that ITX system builders may be used to and feels like a slightly distant cousin to the S340 ($70). In this NZXT Manta ($140) review, we run in-depth cooling benchmarks for a gaming system, analyze build quality, and determine overall value vs. other market contenders.
“Balancing Size with Silence” is the motto for Fractal Design’s new Define Nano S, a case which continues the eternal struggle to fit all the features of a full ATX case into a compact ITX package. Essentially a scaled-down version of the Define S, the Nano model preserves the design philosophy of its larger sibling, but with a 203x412mm footprint.
CES serves as a means to introduce some of the year's biggest product announcements. At last week's show, we saw new GPU architectures, virtual reality 'jetpacks,' Star Wars Destroyer case mods, and a dozen or more cases. Although by no means a definitive listing of all the year's cases, CES 2016 offers a look at what to expect for the annual computer hardware and technology trends and announcements. In the world of cases, it seems that's the trend of power supply shrouds.
This round-up lists the best gaming cases of 2016, including products from NZXT, Corsair, In-Win, Thermaltake, Phanteks, EVGA, and SilverStone. We look at the top PC cases from $50 to $400+, all shown at CES 2016, to best span all major budget ranges for PC builds.
Rosewill had a subtle offering at CES 2016. The case & power manufacturer brought along its recently released full-tower, the Nighthawk 117, and announced the release of a new mid-tower case, the Gungnir. There were also a few minor updates with fans and power supplies that we'll mention at the end of the post.
Released 12/14, the Nighthawk 117 ($115) is the full-tower hybrid of the Throne and the Thor v2. The prominent, adjustable ventilation on those two cases is carried over to the Nighthawk 117. On this new case, Rosewill chose to go with two “click-type,” integrated fan controllers versus the rheostat-types after listening to user input. Other measureables include a top-mounted hot-swap drive bay, 4 x 5.25" drive bays, and 8 x 3.5" drive bays. All of the the 3.5" bays are oriented left-to-right for easy access. The top five 3.5" drive bays can be removed via two thumb screws to increase air flow. The Nighthawk 117 fits any ATX form factor motherboard and has the standard bottom-mounted PSU location. For cooling, the Nighthawk comes with 5 x 140mm fans: 2 blue LED fans in the front, 2 non-LED fans in the top, and 1 non-LED in the rear.
Phanteks introduced several new products at CES 2016, additionally implementing a few variations on existing cases. The new gear included a large addition to the Enthoo Primo line-up, a new series of cases for beginning system builders (dubbed 'Eclipse'), and a power product aimed at simplifying multi-PSU installations. The existing product updates came to the Evolv ATX, Pro M, and Primo.
The biggest new product in the Phanteks suite is still a work in progress. At the moment it's being called “Project 916” or, as noted on the back of the name card, the “Primo Pro.” The design has deep channels along the outside that mirror the other Primo series cases, but P916 adds more LED lighting, thick aluminum and steel, and tempered glass that separate it from the others.
Thermaltake greeted us this year with a steel tank packing two mini-guns. It was the winner of the X9 modding competition and was created by Jesse Palacia, a case modder prolific in the Dirty South PC Mods group on Facebook. The Core X9 was hardly recognizable as the top had been cut down at about a 45-degree angle and the side panels had been sawed through and made into hinged, steel covers. Even though the mod wasn't currently powered, it was still eye catching.
SilverStone’s CES 2016 product arrangement illustrated the company’s preference shown toward function. The company’s cases largely consisted of improvements upon existing designs – like the SFF Raven series – with one new mid-tower landing at the ~$60 price-point.
The SilverStone RL-05-B is progressing through final prototyping stages and will enter market availability shortly. SilverStone’s annual cooler showcase had thinner pickings than usually, but still had a set of four CPU coolers that we briefly discussed on camera.
Without fail, five years running, case manufacturer In-Win has presented the most definitively impressive and artistic PC cases at CES. The company sometimes acts like boutique car companies: They don’t seem to understand “stop,” adding to designs until they hit $400, $800, and – in one remarkable case -- $2400. In-Win does make lower-end, affordable enclosures, but that spotlight is nonetheless stolen by what are clearly intended to be “halo” products; of course, there’s nothing wrong with that for a tradeshow.
CES 2016 wasn’t any different. In-Win had its 805 and 809 enclosures representing the affordable market (to some degree, anyway), with the $800, 30th anniversary H-Frame and $2400 H-Tower fronting the high-end. The video immediately below shows the H-Tower, the next one (and article) carry on with the 805. A photo gallery is below the article.
The domineering maw of a Venator class Destroyer from Star Wars stares down visitors entering MSI’s CES 2016 suite, a case mod 400 hours in the making by Sander van der Velden. The Destroyer bears near-perfect resemblance to the iconic Star Wars ship; its 3D-printed PLA shell is textured with intended imperfections to more realistically depict its battle-hardened exterior. Behind all the plastic casing and a sturdy, aluminum frame, the Venator hosts a micro-ATX gaming PC that’s fully operational and cooled on an open loop – but all the function is aesthetically implemented.
We moderate comments on a ~24~48 hour cycle. There will be some delay after submitting a comment.