Introduction

Perhaps twenty or even just ten years ago, people thought of a computer case as simply pieces of metal holding the components in their proper places; nothing more. Today, however, things are pretty different. As computers become more and more commonplace, average people are starting to be more concerned with concepts such as airflow patterns, better heat-dissipating materials, or sound-dampening drive mounts - all things increasingly needed to keep today's high-wattage powerhouses cool and quiet.

Also, popularity of computers in general is quite possibly the cause for the biggest shift in case design, which is improved asthetics. As computers occupy more places in our everyday lives, people are less interested in large, beige, boxy eyesores, and much more interested in finding a machine that fits in with its surroundings and incorporates the type of features that a true enthusiast values.

In order to serve our readers better, we have decided that it makes more sense to have a review of a comparative analysis of multiple cases than an extremely close look at an individual case that we receive. Today, we're focusing on a range of cases that we feel best represents a popular price point - between $60 and $150 - and have selected cases that most of our readers either are seriously considering or we feel should be considered. This all being said, several of the cases that we are looking at in this article are unique enough to certainly write several pages about them, but we are going to try to condense the information and present it in as concise a manner as possible.

We'll look at the cases in order of cost, least expensive to most expensive.

Aspire X-Cruiser
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  • Quanticles - Thursday, September 08, 2005 - link

    $200 for a case really isnt that bad when you're paying $400 for a GPU, $300 or more for a CPU, $200 on memory, etc etc etc. If you're building a budget system, then of course this would be a horrible buy. But if you're building a nice system, then you might want a nice case. I have a black v1000 w/ window and it looks great, and was great to work with. As far as noise, I have 4 120mm fans in here, but the system is nearly silent with the help of a cheap sunbeam rheobus. Reply
  • OvErHeAtInG - Thursday, September 08, 2005 - link

    Exactly. Check out the V1100 , it comes with sound-damping precautions. I'm a 3-year user of the PC60 (old kind before they changed it) and I still love it. Yes, a little loud, but hey. Drooling on the V1100. Reply
  • flatblastard - Thursday, September 08, 2005 - link

    ...to only include one fan with their best-looking case. Then the P-180 comes with 3 fans, more features/functionality and doesn't really cost that much more than the sonata. I guess the Sonata is the better value overall considering the included PSU but damn that P-180 doesn't look too shabby either. Dang ole decisions, decisions...man, i tell ya whut....man, dang ole Antec man. Reply
  • swtethan - Thursday, September 08, 2005 - link

    made the right choice buying one :-) Reply
  • imaheadcase - Thursday, September 08, 2005 - link

    Because half of those cases just screamed "Burn me in the nearest fire!". lol

    I mean seriously, why do case manufactors make these crap cases, I would rather have a plain beige case than something made with freakin lights all on the outside covered with cheap plastic peices. Not to mention looks like they had there 3 year olds draw out the designs on ourside.

    I don't care care if its the best case in the world inside, if its ass on the outside im not buying it. I can get the same thing in beige..hehe

    Some of those look ok though..except.

    1. Aspire: Oh please tell there designers to stop asking there 3 year old kids to do there work for them. This case screams crapplastic. it would prob melt if your coffee was to close..
    2. Dynapower: This one does not look half bad, the drive bays could use a all black cover or a matching grill cover.
    3. Sunbeam: Pretty cool looking case. Remove the lame blue circles though, all the stuff you can do when on the PC, who is going to glance at that anyways when most are on the floor or out of the way.
    4.coolmaster: What would make it cool is without the pillars of salt on the side...hehe Remove those it would look sweet.
    5. Both Antec cases: Looks good to me. Antec seems to make some nice cases in the budget area.
    6. ThermalRock: What in gods name is that red circle for? That ruined the front of case, without that red circle it would look good.
    7. Lian Li: Ohhhh Ahhhh! me likey alot.
    Reply
  • Bonesdad - Thursday, September 08, 2005 - link

    Gotta agree on the Coolermaster case...I got the Centurion 5 last year...glad I didn't wait. The older Centurion 5 is a really nice looking, well made case that looks like it was made for someone with a level of maturity over 16 years old. I can see using this case for many years to come... Reply
  • manno - Thursday, September 08, 2005 - link

    you're not kidding out of all those cases the only ones I would touch with a 10' foot pole were the Antech's, and the Lian Li. For the love of god stop putting side windows on your cases it's drinking beer with a straw tacky. Reply
  • Tamale - Thursday, September 08, 2005 - link

    a LOT of people still look for windows on the side - it's still a fad that's 'catching on' to most people. Reply
  • Quanticles - Thursday, September 08, 2005 - link

    I have a window so I can check my watercooling easier. Besides, they look cool. Reply
  • ElFenix - Thursday, September 08, 2005 - link

    no, they look dorktastic. Reply

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