The mid-tower ATX market seems like it's burgeoning with options right now. Everyone's got some kind of mid-tower-with-shroud available, and those who don't already have one on the way. Of late, we've looked at the NZXT S340 (arguably the start to all this), the Corsair 400C – a good progression, Phanteks' disappointing P400, and we'll soon look at SilverStone's RL05B.
All of these cases seem to fall within the $60 to $100 range, too: The NZXT S340 is $60-$70, the Corsair 400C is $90-$100, the Phanteks P400 is $60-$90, and the Gungnir is a flat $65. SilverStone's forthcoming RL05B will land at about $60.
For today, we're reviewing and benchmarking Rosewill's own mid-tower gaming case, the “Gungnir.”
RGB components have been trending toward adoption of game-specific profiles to better justify the multi-colored peripherals. Logitech and Corsair have both been making gains on this front -- Logitech best-known for its GTA V "red-and-blues" flashing profile, and now Corsair for its community-made CSGO weapon skins profile.
Uploaded freshly to the Corsair community downloads page, user "Schwitz" has created individualized key backlighting profiles for RGB-enabled Corsair devices, fully recreating popular weapon color themes in the Valve shooter. Among others, an orange-and-white "Asiimov" pattern clearly matches its in-game inspiration, "Hyper Beast" goes heavy on the bright blues, "Case Hardened" mixes purples, whites, blues, and orange, and other color sets like "Redline" and "Boom" keep it more simple.
Phanteks' Eclipse P400 is immediately reminiscent of the NZXT S340 enclosure, which we've pinpointed as the origin of the industry's obsession with PSU shrouds and limited drive support. That's not to say there can't be multiple products in the category – it's good to see continual innovation atop well-founded concepts, and new competition drives development further.
The Phanteks Eclipse P400 ($70 to $90) first entered our lives at CES 2016, where we got hands-on with its significantly larger convention sibling, the Project 916. The Phanteks Eclipse P400 review benchmarks cooling performance, looks at thermal walls, ease-of-installation, cable management, and overall value of the case.
Since the dawn of the membrane switch, “gaming” keyboards have invested heavily in design choices that would make a Transformer self-conscious. An unrivaled dedication to excessive plastic and edgy aesthetics have driven keyboards to a market position that rivals cases, opposed only by an equally over-done and dutiful worship of brushed metals and deified simplicity. There's little middle-ground with keyboards, and ASUS has managed to violate as many design standards as possible with its Horus GK2000 keyboard.
Logitech’s recent keyboards have sported a prominent “gamer” type of style, but with the new RGB Logitech G810 Orion Spectrum, the company has embraced a more minimalistic design approach. It still has some style due to the familiar Logitech font and logo, but they don’t look out of place on the cleaner G810, Logitech’s latest full-sized RGB mechanical keyboard.
The G810 features a matte textured design and braided cable, neither of which are features the G910 and G410 have. Like the G410 and G910 though, the G810 features programmable RGB lighting with 16.8 million colors and default modes like “star mode” and “color wave,” but it also has game-specific lighting modes. The game-specific profiles only illuminate keys used for the particular game, and can produce color patterns for quicker identification. Logitech boasts that their software supports lighting profiles for over 300 games, although smaller and indie games aren’t as widely supported as AAA games. The Romer-G switches used help to ensure this RGB lighting is vivid and even. The Romer-G switches have a durability rating of 70 million actuations, making it rated for more actuations than most keyswitches (especially modern switches like Cherry MX and Kailh). Logitech also continues to emphasize that the 25% shorter actuation point (compared to Cherry MX switches) grants players an advantage; although, whether a couple milliseconds will make the difference is iffy when human reactions times can easily be above 150ms.
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.
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.
Rummaging through Corsair’s suite at CES 2016 produced the usual convention findings: New cases, coolers, software updates, croissants – the conventional assortment of convention goods. Our primary objective for this visit had us focusing on the creation of more unique content, eventually developing into an interview on tooling, manufacturing processes, and the cost of making a case.
We were joined by Corsair’s George Makris, Director of Product Marketing, who openly spoke to the merits of various tooling designs for Corsair and competing cases. High points are recapped in the article following the video interview.
Corsair’s CES suite warrants a few articles and videos, not the least of which includes a forthcoming interview on the topic of case manufacturing and tooling. The company’s newest lineup of cases – the Spec-Alpha, 600C (that we reviewed), and 400C – largely dotted the room, though our focus is on an update to Corsair Link.
Corsair Link is the company’s software utility for commanding “i” suffixed products and PWM-enabled fans. The H100i and HXi PSUs are enduring examples, both of which have some level of monitoring and control access through the software. It seems everyone’s got their own software these days, too – NZXT has CAM, peripheral manufacturers offer innumerable programs of varying utility and bloat, board manufacturers provide “smart” utilities that tap-in to the higher-level UEFI for OS layer firmware management. The idea isn’t new, but execution at a level of legitimate usefulness and stability is new; outside of reviews, our staff rarely goes on to continue use of applications required to change fan speeds and LED colors due to general sluggishness or instability.
Our team has already landed in Las Vegas for CES 2016 and, over the next week, we'll be posting video and written analysis of new products from all major manufacturers. Corsair's announced some of their new items ahead of meetings, to include the Spec-Alpha gaming PC case.
The Spec-Alpha ships in gray-on-black and red-on-white finishes, making ample use of jutting angularity and bezels on top of bezels. Part of the front panel is mesh-covered, the other covered by usual case plastics, and the entire enclosure sits atop black feet (which look a bit out of place for the white and red case).
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