Final Words

At the end of the day, what is it that really matters then in a computer case? For most people, once a computer is installed, it will probably sit however you place it for a very long time, making only its looks, noise, and temperature performance important. If this is the case, perhaps a cheaper enclosure such as the Trio would be best, given its relatively good cooling and modest noise levels.

For the enthusiasts, however, how easy it is to install and remove parts and how securely the case can hold those expensive components will be much more important, and it is this premise on which the rating system was based in this review. Both of the Antec cases show the maturity of the company and their willingness to do things a little differently from everyone else, which help them secure the top two spots in the noise levels test. The Lian Li's higher cost will certainly be unjustified to most, but with it comes the most thoughtful layout and greatest ease-of-use.

With all else said and done, though, out of nowhere came a company with an amazing product. The Eclipse's exceptional cooling, light weight yet sturdy construction, bold-yet-classy looks, and tool-less, noise-reducing features all come at a knock-out value with a price right around $115, fully justifying (in our opinion) the awarding of a Gold Editor's Choice award.

Almost all of this can be said about the P-180 as well, but its design choice to mount the power supply so far away from the top of the motherboard really makes power cable routing difficult or even impossible for some PSU/motherboard combinations.

With a little effort, however - and a very similar price point, we might add - comes exceptional pay-offs, and this is why we are still rewarding the P-180 with our Silver Editor's Choice award. The more mature, seamless looks of the P-180 will appeal to many, we think, and if the power supply placement and tool-less parts aren't an issue for you, you too will be able to enjoy the case's fantastic customizability, over-the-top noise limiting features, high-quality 120mm fans, and great ease-of-use.

ThermalRock Eclipse

Antec P-180

Many congratulations to both ThermalRock and Antec for top-notch cases!

Feature Comparisons


View All Comments

  • 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.

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