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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  • RupertS - Thursday, September 8, 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 8, 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 8, 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 8, 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 8, 2005 - link

    what's the link to the article? Reply
  • ElFenix - Thursday, September 8, 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 8, 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 8, 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 8, 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 8, 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

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