At the beginning of working on this case round-up, these three selections – the NZXT S340, Antec P70, and Zalman R1 – were all about $60 to $70 max. The price range was perfect, and the cases made for currently-marketed solutions that users may encounter. Over the week that we've worked on the round-up, things have changed a bit: Zalman's R1 and Antec's P70 now sit at $40 after a $20 rebates, shifting the price range to be unintentionally wider. The base price is still $60 for both cases.

These are the three cases we're looking at today:

In this gaming case round-up, we review the performance and build quality of NZXT's S340, Zalman's R1, and Antec's P70, hoping to narrow the selection of budget gaming cases. There are dozens of similarly-priced chassis out there and this is far from a comprehensive list, but it's our start on producing regular component round-ups as a means to more easily compare products for our readers. We'll work on more comparisons shortly following.

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.

NZXT's CAM desktop monitoring software today received its 2.0 update, introducing an FPS overlay, integrated SMART detection, and CPU / GPU read-outs. The utility's expansion markets it as an attempt to build an all-in-one monitoring tool, merging limited and basic aspects of other popular tools – GPU-Z, CPU-Z, and HDD SMART readers – under the NZXT suite.

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.

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.

During our NZXT office tour back in September, we spotted a tiny box in the corner of a conference room – something that wouldn't be given a name or explanation “until further notice.”

Last week's CES tour saw a revisit to NZXT, whereupon the company showcased its strikingly familiar “DOKO” streaming box. The unit serves as an input passthrough between a gaming rig and a living room gaming setup, effectively forwarding USB signals from the box (like gamepads or keyboards) to the LAN-connected PC.

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Now that Black Friday is upon us, we have loads of hardware sales to choose from – more than we could possibly list here. We found what we consider the best sales going on right now. Only once a year do we see sales of this magnitude: An NZXT H440 for $90 (won't go live til 11/28), 240GB SSD for $85, R9 270 for $135, and more.

Shortly after Game24 and the GTX 980 unveil (fully benchmarked here), we visited the likes of NZXT, HyperX (Kingston), CyberPower, and others to learn more about the inner-workings of the industry. This is something we're making a habit of, including previous tours of nVidia's phenomenally expensive silicon failure analysis lab and Kingston's SMT line, where we showed how RAM & SSDs are made.

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We found a fairly high-end system in the CyberPowerPC meeting room that was begging for video coverage. The unit used a modified version of NZXT's S340 enclosure, through the window of which we spotted nVidia's new GTX 980. As for the processor, the custom-built rig was running on Intel's Devil's Canyon 4790K CPU overclocked about 10% (it's capable of more, but would require fine tuning due to thermal constraints). The CPU was topped-off with NZXT's X61 that we've previously spoken about – a 280mm CLC powered by Asetek, staking variable pump speed as its claim to fame – and the host platform was Gigabyte's SOC Force Z97 overclocking motherboard. A full 32GB of HyperX Fury memory (clocked at 1866MHz natively and easily overclocked) was found slotted into the board. We previously reviewed HyperX Fury over here.

Most of the tech industry’s major players are located somewhere in California – a state that has, in our experience, proven to be very large and very saturated with horrifyingly bad drivers. It also happens to be saturated with leading technology innovators and game development companies; the hardware split is pretty even between SoCal (Orange County, Fountain Valley, LA, Industry) and NorCal (home to Silicon Valley). Game developers mostly hang-out in San Francisco and San Jose.

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We’ve previously toured both regions, with some of our best content focusing on nVidia’s silicon failure analysis lab (San Jose) and Kingston’s automated RAM/SSD manufacturing line. Following Game24 and the GTX 980 launch, we returned to the Los Angeles area for more. In our most recent California trip, we visited NZXT, HyperX, CyberPower, and iBUYPOWER to see their assembly lines and warehouses.

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