We reported on the Silent Base 800 back in November when Be Quiet! posted its specs, then later revisited the case at CES 2015. Over the past few weeks, we finally had the opportunity to try out the Silent Base 800 for ourselves. It’s pretty clear what its purpose is (silent, “be quiet,” etc.), but the question remains whether the case will fit the niche well enough to merit its price.
NZXT has come a long way. For a company that at one time made some of the most... “interesting” cases on the market, we've transitioned from cautioned observance to ranking recent enclosures among the likes of Corsair. The launch of the H440 ($120) proved that NZXT can design something discreet and functional without venturing into the “gamer” aesthetic that they've historically occupied. Alongside the H440, NZXT's S340 – a case I actually like better, although it's cheaper – and Phantom 530 have fronted a redoubled effort to capitalize on the market's demands for stout, robust build quality.
The Noctis 450 ($140) combines properties of the Phantom- and H-series lineups, something we recently discussed with former NZXT case designer Chung Tai. Today, we're reviewing the build quality, installation, cable management, and airflow of the NZXT Noctis 450 (N450) case.
Case & cooler manufacturer NZXT just announced its new Noctis 450 ($140) mid-tower enclosure, an amalgamation of aggressive, quality-driven design and the trusted H440 chassis. NZXT's product page went live earlier tonight, finally unveiling its new design approach to the public. The case makes use of NZXT's H440 interior, but applies a new outward-facing aesthetic that aims to bring high build quality to the “gamer” appearance.
We previously awarded NZXT's H440 an Editor's Choice Award, and it looks like its budget-priced cousin – the S340 ($70) – is pretty respectable in its own ways. The S340 is a minimalistic case designed to keep costs low without sacrificing quality; it’s plain, it’s neat, and it gets the job done efficiently.
As we ramp into GDC and PAX East, we're using the gap in review time to overhaul our testing methodology and test platforms. Yesterday's post revealed our open air GPU testing station, a direction that'll drastically improve our efficiency when testing multiple graphics configurations. Today, we're looking at the new case review test bench. The site has grown substantially in the past two years; we'll no longer be using the same bench for testing all components, and will now use individual systems for testing each component. This will eliminate chance of test error, improve efficiency, and allow each of our writers to specialize in an area.
GN's Staff Writer & Social Media Manager, Patrick Lathan, will be handling most ATX and micro-ATX case reviews going forward. As such, I dropped off a load of parts for Patrick's new test bench, which will be put to immediate use with NZXT's S340. Following his review of the S340, we'll look at Be Quiet's Silent Base 800.
Our coverage of last year's best PC enclosures has remained some of our most popular content to date, and as is CES tradition, we're updating the coverage for 2015. The previous years have gone through trends of mini-ITX / SFF boxes (the Steam Box craze, now dying down) and larger, enthusiast-priced boxes. This year's CES trends saw a lull from major case manufacturers like Corsair, Cooler Master (reeling from a lawsuit by Asetek), and NZXT, but welcomed budget-friendly enclosures and high-end works of art. Users seeking more mid-range enclosures will be left waiting a while longer, it seems.
Antec's CES presence this year showcased a few rehashed exteriors on existing frames, but also teased the forthcoming release of a new high-end enthusiast case. The company's general theme was one of a "comeback" to the higher-end market, suggesting that they're aware of the general perception that Antec dwells in its own shadow. We've got an upcoming article that'll discuss whether we think this plan is going to work.
Boutique case manufacturer In-Win brought home yet another CES Innovation Award at this year's show. This time, the company’s award-winning case carries the moniker "S-Frame," an $800 piece of metalworked art befitting of a showroom.
We've routinely been impressed by SilverStone's CES showing. Last year saw the exhibition of the jointly-designed SilverStone / ASUS XG02, an external GPU enclosure that garnered significant attention on our YouTube channel. This year's item of interest is the company's Raven RVZ02, a mini-ITX enclosure built to showcase the CPU cooler and video card heatsink.
Thermaltake released their latest trio of cases at CES 2015 yesterday: the Core X9, Core X2, and Core X1. The cases are designed to be stackable and, when stacked, they have enough room for even the largest liquid cooling systems. The Core X series cases houses its motherboards horizontally and can be almost completely disassembled to the builder’s liking, allowing for complete customization. The other thing that really pops out during the first impression is that they are large, and in the Core X9’s case, really large. Here are some of the measurables:
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