Testing Methodology

For testing Micro-ATX and full ATX cases, we use the following standardized testbed in stock and overclocked configurations to get a feel for how well the case handles heat and noise.

ATX Test Configuration
CPU Intel Core i7-2700K
(95W TDP, tested at stock speed and overclocked to 4.3GHz @ 1.38V)
Motherboard Gigabyte GA-Z68MX-UD2H-B3
Graphics Card ASUS GeForce GTX 560 Ti DCII TOP
(tested at stock speed and overclocked to 1GHz/overvolted to 1.13V)
Memory 2x2GB Crucial Ballistix Smart Tracer DDR3-1600
Drives Kingston SSDNow V+ 100 64GB SSD
Samsung 5.25" BD-ROM/DVDRW Drive
Accessories Corsair Link
CPU Cooler Cooler Master Hyper 212 Evo with Cooler Master ThermalFusion 400
Power Supply SilverStone Strider Plus 750W 80 Plus Silver

Each case is tested in a stock configuration and an overclocked configuration that generates substantially more heat (and thus may produce more noise). The system is powered on and left idle for fifteen minutes, the thermal and acoustic results recorded, and then stressed by running seven threads in Prime95 (in-place large FFTs) on the CPU and OC Scanner (maximum load) on the GPU. At the end of fiteen minutes, thermal and acoustic results are recorded. This is done for the stock settings and for the overclock, and if the enclosure has a fan controller, these tests are repeated for each setting. Ambient temperature is also measured after the fifteen idle minutes but before the stress test and used to calculate the final reported results.

Thank You!

Before moving on, we'd like to thank the following vendors for providing us with the hardware used in our testbed.

Assembling the In-Win GRone Noise and Thermal Testing, Stock
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  • mattgmann - Tuesday, September 18, 2012 - link

    Good article. My commentary is simply on the state of computer cases?

    It just seems that 99% of the "performance" cases out there are styled to appeal to a 14 year old boy's fantasy of some type of sci-fi prop.

    Lian-li and Silverstone seem to have stopped making sleek aluminum cases with decent finishes. At least, they're not what they used to be.

    There are certainly some custom chassis companies out there, but they've sacrificed pretty much all aesthetics for performance. They're certainly high quality, but utilitarian to say the least?

    Is anyone making good cases with solid, sleek modern designs? I'd like to see some cases with nice finishes too. NOT airbrushed pictures of chicks riding dragons! A good paint/powder coat job can do wonders for a case.

    Anyway, rant over. I'm just hoping someone at a major company will hear enough requests and hire some designers who don't dress like the cast of "Tokyo Drift".
    Reply
  • vincentlaw - Tuesday, September 18, 2012 - link

    The Corsair 550D has a rather understated design actually, and Anandtech has a review of it. It's basically a black slab, with no obnoxious lighting or windows, and a nice textured paint job. Reply
  • Omega215D - Tuesday, September 18, 2012 - link

    Along with Corsair's Carbide, Lian Li, Silverstone cases there's Fractal Design and A few Antec cases.

    My CM 690 is pretty conservative as well.
    Reply
  • Operandi - Tuesday, September 18, 2012 - link

    I agree this case is supremely stupid looking. Oddly enough Inwin do make some very clean looking cases. They are usually pretty light on features but they are very, very well built sadly they are not marketed toward the performance user. Instead we get these gaudy “gamer” cases that look like a prop from Starship Troopers.

    I have to disagree with your Lian Li comment though. Their modern cases are vastly superior to their old ones. All my high-end builds go in Lian Lis.
    Reply
  • StevoLincolnite - Tuesday, September 18, 2012 - link

    But I liiiike Starship troopers! D:

    Personally I liked the styling of the old silver Thermaltake Xaser 2 cases, think I might have one somewhere...

    Before my current case (Corsair Vengeance C70) I had an Antec Dark Fleet-85 that would light up like a Christmas tree, never again. :P
    Reply
  • Samus - Tuesday, September 18, 2012 - link

    I agree, even lan boxes/gaming PC's should look professional and not like they're designed by a 14 year old. I'm in my 30's and all Silverstone cases appeal to me, along with many Lian-Li cases. Just about everything else is styled like a bad joke. Reply
  • Belard - Tuesday, September 18, 2012 - link

    Antec 280. Its a slick and business like version of the Antec 1100. Check it out. Its a great case to work with.

    Yeah, the $100 Antec 280 and 1100 are a better deal.

    In-WIN is a good company... they have made some very interesting and good cases for many many years... only in the past year or so have they made themselves public.
    Reply
  • just4U - Tuesday, September 18, 2012 - link

    I like cases with a window in them (im 43!) but like the rest of you I am not into the childtoy design of some cases. I've found that the Corsair 600T is probably the best modern design (look wise) i've seen in years.. I also like the Storm Scout from Coolermaster and several of Antecs more modest cases (the one, three hundred, & Sonata)

    I was hopeful with the new lanboys that came out.. thinking yeah a modern take on the old one.... then I saw them and wanted to cry. Right now I am running thru some of Silverstones MATX cases... their quite stylish.. and the builds when complete look really sharp but their not the type of cases you want to fiddle with internals when your done. (alot of us I think.. change out parts all the time..)
    Reply
  • Belard - Wednesday, September 19, 2012 - link

    HAHAHA! Silly old man!

    A friend of mine bought the 600T... Its a good case. I tell friends and clients to pick what rubs them the right way. I do quite a bit of research myself and look at the construction, air-filter access, air-vents (I don't care for TOP vents), size, etc - as each build may require a different case. I got a $65 case on sale for $35 that was perfect for a client - but not something I would want... even thou its looks very good with brushed metal look ALL around.

    I'd really love to see an mATX size version of the P280... as I prefer my PCs on the desk, not the floor... but still look good.

    PS: I'm 42 :) But I'm in my 20s at heart and health (usually) - I still play 3DShooter games with some of the best.
    Reply
  • db4williams - Tuesday, September 18, 2012 - link

    Fractal Design's ARC Midi. I built my system using the ARC Midi and I will say it is simply amazing! It looks great, has great cooling capacity, and it's water cooling friendly! Fractal Design hit it out of the park with it's design IMO. Reply

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