Mid-Tower Mega Roundup

by Joshua Buss on 9/8/2005 12:05 AM EST


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  • Abecedaria - Sunday, September 11, 2005 - link

    What was the criteria for choosing these cases? Most of them look nasty-plasticy and even the Antec P-180, although it looks good, has a veery plasticy feel.

    Where was Silverstone in your review? They have some of the best cases available:
    and from their new subsidiary:

    These things rock.

  • unclebud - Monday, September 12, 2005 - link

    please consider reviewing the performance 640 next time?
    it currently includes a smartpower v2 400w, for $129
    thanks in advance
  • Rudee - Saturday, September 10, 2005 - link

    There is an error in the article. The Sonata II does indeed have a removable air filter in the front of the case, thus should not be given a score of "0" for this catagory. Reply
  • Tamale - Saturday, September 10, 2005 - link

    The filter is removable from the bottom of the case only.. while this certainly is 'removable', it is nowhere near as accessible as the other cases which I gave this point to. I struggled with the idea of giving the case .5 for this category, but it wouldn't have made a difference in the end, and I really don't feel that most users would go through the trouble of tipping the case over just to clean the filter, so no points were awarded.

    Thanks for pointing out the detail though.
  • Rudee - Saturday, September 10, 2005 - link

    The Sonata II case is great. I was able to overclock a AMD 64 3700 to 2700mhz using the stock AMD heatsink and fan with one Panaflo 92mm fan in the duct over the CPU. Temps are great and I ended up returning my Zalman 7700 as I didn't need it. Reply
  • dgkulzer - Friday, September 09, 2005 - link

    After 1 month of use I am very happy with my P180. Assembly does take a bit longer than a standard case if you are trying to hide your cables but that isnt much of an issue to me. I put a Phantom 500 PSU in it and because its longer than most other PSU's I had to replace the lower fan with a thinner model (Nexus 120). I have 4 hard drives in the lower chamber and the Nexus at 5 volts keeps them very cool - I havent had the Phantom fan kick on yet either.

    This is one case that looks better in person than it does in pictures, the pictures make it look like a little fridge or something but it looks pretty sweet on your desk :)
  • mschira - Friday, September 09, 2005 - link

    I guess the two compartment design is great for watercooling. You could put the pump reservoir etc in the lower compartment. If something leaks, the electronic is save.
    I think that's great thing...
    P.S. onla trouble is where to put the power suply...
  • Griswold - Friday, September 09, 2005 - link

    Kids, having a flashy computer under your desk doesnt make the chicks like you more. Say no to stupid side windows! Reply
  • Tamale - Friday, September 09, 2005 - link

    you seem to forget that most kids who think it would look cool to have the window in the first place probably don't care about girls anyway ;)

    p.s. - most people (girls included) seem to think my all-acrylic case is pretty cool
  • Griswold - Sunday, September 11, 2005 - link


    p.s. - most people (girls included) seem to think my all-acrylic case is pretty cool

    Besides the total lack of EM shielding (which is enough reason to not do what you did, not only because it's not allowed in many countries (I know, I know, US is different, there, the cops wont stop you if your car has only 3 wheels..)), a full acrylic case is a nice show thingie. I just find side windows embarrassing, especially when the rest of the case looks like Optimus Prime's chest armor.
  • Phantronius - Friday, September 09, 2005 - link

    My P180 is the last case I'll ever buy. I love you Antec!!! Reply
  • leviathan19 - Friday, September 09, 2005 - link

    the 1200 is deeper yes but is still mid tower class it fixes the psu problems and more space is always better for work with it Reply
  • Zepper - Friday, September 09, 2005 - link

    Re. cases that come with PSUs. Either rate the PSU too or deduct the portion of the price that the PSU represents from the case price so you are comparing apples to apples price wise.
    . And I don't care for the looks of a lot of the cases on the market either. But beauty is in the eye of the beholder. My case is a Silverstone Berserker which many think is fugly...

  • kmmatney - Thursday, September 08, 2005 - link

    I don't see why people make such a big deal out of aluminum cases. In my experience, they are flimsier and louder than steal cases, and more prone to rattle. I don't see why anyone would pay so much money for one... Reply
  • at80eighty - Thursday, September 08, 2005 - link

    DRTFA yet, so forgive me if its been covered

    You guys have any leads on cases with more fans?

    with the new VGA's and CPU's i think a cooler case than a cooler-looking case is a better investment..

    any pointers people?
  • johnsonx - Thursday, September 08, 2005 - link

    RTFA, and no forgiveness for you!

    The Antec P180 is a quiet cooling dream I think. I looked at one on display over at Fry's and just about wet myself. Then I looked at the price tag and decided to stick with my old, free, boring, beige case. But if the price is no objection, I can't imagine purchasing anything else.
  • at80eighty - Thursday, September 08, 2005 - link

    thanx mate! the p180 looks pretty sweet! the price is OK (just about) for me :)

    plus it doesnt have that HEY LOOK AT ME IM AN ATTENTION WHORE!!! look.

    /hope this case shows up in my part of the world :-(
  • Cygni - Thursday, September 08, 2005 - link

    I saw one case that i would even consider putting next to my desk.

    If you are supporting the case mfts making these hideous beasts by buying them, i personally hate you.
  • leviathan19 - Thursday, September 08, 2005 - link

    why they used this one the 1200 is a better version and fix the psu problem...

    there is missing the pc75b and the TT shark those are nice cases too
  • OvErHeAtInG - Thursday, September 08, 2005 - link

    The 1200 is much deeper, for extended-atx boards I think. Definitely not something I would get except for a big duallie rig. Reply
  • RupertS - Thursday, September 08, 2005 - link

    The power supply is a good part of the total value of the case. Also, some of the cases may work better (cooling, sound) with the power supply they come with.

    Hard to compare prices like this.
  • johnsonx - Thursday, September 08, 2005 - link

    Ditto that... this complaint has been leveled before of course:

    Anandtech should at least mention what power supply is (or can be) included with the case, and give some sort of subjective rating of same. For example, the Aspire case is most often available with a 420W power supply (usually a mere $15 or so more than the PS-less version), but I've heard it's crap... but maybe it isn't; I'd like Anandtech to tell me.

    Likewise, the Sonata II ALWAYS (AFAIK) includes a SmartPower 2.0 450... doesn't that add significantly to the value equation? (granted, it'd be better if it were a TruePower 380 like the old Sonata, but a SmartPower 2.0 is nothing to scorn)

  • ElFenix - Thursday, September 08, 2005 - link

    everyone should read the reviews on SPCR before setting up a system on this case. the reviews are very thorough and tests it in multiple configurations, and it turns out there are things you can do to improve its thermal performance by quite a bit (such as duct taping over the holes next to the power supply) Reply
  • flatblastard - Thursday, September 08, 2005 - link

    Duct tape on a brand new case? I don't think so..... Well, I personally wouldn't do it, but for modders/OCers I guess it might make sense. Reply
  • fass mut - Thursday, September 08, 2005 - link

    what's the link to the article? Reply
  • ElFenix - Thursday, September 08, 2005 - link

    all three articles, the first is over main features, the second is an absolutely silent computer, and the third is more mainstream rigs

  • jonp - Thursday, September 08, 2005 - link

    Doesn't an ATX extension cable for $4 cover the power supply to motherboard distance concern? Granted, Antec could have included it with the case; but it's NO big deal to resolve. Shouldn't be an issued when deciding. Reply
  • mjz - Thursday, September 08, 2005 - link

    i hate lian li cases. I spent probably 200 dollars on their case (2 years ago) and it vibrates too much, the sound is pissing me off. I guess it can't handle my raptor or something. Reply
  • Tamale - Thursday, September 08, 2005 - link

    I too agree that way too many of these cases are kinda ridiculous looking, but someone said it best when they said "the Eclipse must look better in person"... it really does. I liken it to those fancy cd players from places like brookstone and the sharper image..

    It's flashy, sure, but at least it's kinda 'classy flashy', if you know what I mean. If that kinda look still doesn't please you at all, there's always cases like the P-180 ;)
  • mkruer - Thursday, September 08, 2005 - link

    Considering that I have a PC-V2000 Plus. I am in a unique position to voice my opinion for everyone reading this thread. I will say that yes the cases Lian Li cases are overly expensive, but considering that they are the only “all aluminum” case manufacture, and they have arguably the best design, they can get away with it. The main issues with an “all aluminum” case is that because aluminum is light then steal and yet does not have the absorbing capacity of plastic, aluminum as rule of thumb tends to be louder. However there are three things you can do o improve the noise ratio of the system. First is to install sound absorbing foam in the case. This will cut down on high pitched noise. Next is to install quieter fans. The Lian Li fans are good, but they are only about average in the noise to air ratio. Finally and this is the biggest thing. In order to cut down on the “wan wan” resonance sound coming form the case you need to suspend the drive is a sling and not it the mounting bays. This by far reduces the most noise. Reply
  • 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.
  • 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
  • xsilver - Thursday, September 08, 2005 - link

    just because you like the "stealth" look it doesnt mean everybody else does
    why is there a market for car neons?
    why is there a market for phone covers and ringtones?

    but good god, that thermalrock case needs to DIAF! :P
  • smn198 - Thursday, September 08, 2005 - link


    why is there a market for car neons?

    why is there a market for phone covers and ringtones?
  • imaheadcase - Thursday, September 08, 2005 - link

    Well its evident there is a market, but your comparing apples to oranges. Its computer part not something everyone builds themselves. If you have people buying power ranger cases that built computers, then they need a new hobbie.. Reply
  • xsilver - Thursday, September 08, 2005 - link

    who says you have to build a system yourself?
    dont your local pc store (not best buy etc) stock their cases from somewhere?
    if some 10 year old (or some tryhard that doesnt know how to build his own) wants a pc, what case is he going to choose, crappy bling neons or real aluminium?

    dont get me wrong -- I prefer stealth too - but I do realize that there is a market for crappy neons :P
  • raildogg - Thursday, September 08, 2005 - link

    ThermalRock Eclipse looks sweet, although I'd still get a P-180.

    why would you pay that much for the V1000? rather get a cheaper case like a P-180

    oh and primo posto! :)
  • OvErHeAtInG - Thursday, September 08, 2005 - link

    I was going to to correct you with "primer poste" until I realized you typed the Italian... a race fan should know... *hits himself...* Reply
  • ksherman - Thursday, September 08, 2005 - link

    I personally dont think any case should be worth so much... unless it was the MOST amazing theng ever to hit the world... which I dont think the V1000 lives up to. I personally dont like the look of the Eclipse... to flashy, and it actually looks kind of cheap. But it might look different in person. I am a big fan of the Sonata 1 so, I would guess the #2 would be better, but it doesnt seem to include a PSU from what I have seen... Reply
  • Furen - Thursday, September 08, 2005 - link

    The Sonata 2 does include a PS: a SmartPower 2.0 450w. The problem with it is the fact that it's quite a bit louder than the original TruePower and the TruePower2 of the newer Sonatas. Reply

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