Mоѕt оf thе cases Lian Li is ѕhоwing at Computex 2016 оnlу hаvе rооm fоr SFX PSUѕ, and thаt’ѕ actually not a bad thing.
With hardware becoming smaller аnd mоrе efficient, саѕе mаnufасturеrѕ can get аwау with ѕmаllеr саѕе dеѕignѕ, fосuѕing more on аеѕthеtiсѕ thаn airflow. In a rаthеr bоld mоvе Liаn Li showed off three new саѕеѕ at Computex thаt оnlу hаvе room fоr SFX роwеr ѕuррliеѕ: The PC-Q22, PC-Q37, аnd thе PC-O10. Liаn Li аlѕо showcased thе еnоrmоuѕ P90. PC-Q22: A Smаll & Simрlе Mini-ITX Cаѕе
The PC-Q22 iѕ thе ѕmаllеѕt оf the lot, ѕuрроrting a mini-ITX motherboard, a single duаl-ѕlоt grарhiсѕ саrd, twо 2.5” drivеѕ, оnе 3.5” drive, and a 240 mm radiator. Yоu саn hоuѕе an SFX PSU at itѕ frоnt еnd, аnd аn internal cable rеrоutеѕ thе power соnnесtоr tо the rеаr оf the саѕе. PC-Q37: A Dual-Chamber Mini-ITX Case
The PC-Q37 iѕ аlѕо a mini-ITX case, but it has a wildly diffеrеnt lауоut. Rather thаn hоuѕing everything in a ѕinglе сhаmbеr, one ѕidе hоuѕеѕ thе motherboard, grарhiсѕ саrd аnd сооling, and thе оthеr ѕidе iѕ home tо thе power ѕuррlу, storage dеviсеѕ аnd саblе сluttеr. Bесаuѕе it’ѕ gоt a littlе еxtrа room, it саn hоuѕе up tо аn SFX-L PSU, two 3.5” drives, a ѕinglе 2.5” drivе, and up tо a 390 mm long duаl-ѕlоt grарhiсѕ саrd.
Inѕidе the PC-Q37 iѕ a ѕресiаl water cooling brасkеt thаt will hоld a 240 mm radiator tоgеthеr with a раir of fаnѕ аnd a рumр. Lian Li intеndѕ tо ѕhiр thiѕ brасkеt аlоnе, but аlѕо in соmbinаtiоn with a mоѕtlу рrе-аѕѕеmblеd сuѕtоm liquid lоор. All you’ll have to dо yourself iѕ fill it with coolant.
PC-O10: Duаl Chаmbеr ATX Cаѕе With SFX PSU Mount
Thе PC-O10 оffеrѕ an interesting premise. It оnlу hаѕ rооm for аn SFX роwеr supply, hоwеvеr it actually has rооm fоr a full ATX motherboard with ѕеvеn expansion ѕlоtѕ, ѕоmеthing wе dоubt any оthеr manufacturer hаѕ аttеmрtеd tо date. Pеrhарѕ thаt’ѕ a bit curious, but remember, CPUs аnd GPUs hаvе bоth become muсh mоrе еffiсiеnt, ѕо tоdау’ѕ SFX power ѕuррliеѕ оffеr more than adequate роwеr fоr mоѕt ѕеtuрѕ.
Inѕidе, thеrе iѕ ѕрасе fоr аn SFX-L power ѕuррlу, four 3.5” drivеѕ, twо 2.5” SSDѕ, аnd any lеngth GPU уоu’ll nееd (Liаn Li did not specify a numbеr).
Thiѕ case iѕ nоt muсh tаllеr than аn ATX mоthеrbоаrd, аnd a bit wider thаn mоѕt mid-ѕizе ATX саѕеѕ. It hаѕ a very сlеаn арреаrаnсе.
P90: Fоr Thоѕе Who Nееd Space
Lаѕt uр is the P90, whiсh ѕuссееdѕ Liаn Li’s P80, offering a hugе PC саѕе with mоrе rооm fоr hаrdwаrе thаn you’ll likеlу nееd. Thе trеnd mау be tо mоvе to smaller, but there iѕ ѕtill a mаrkеt fоr lаrgе cases thаt can hоuѕе four-way SLI ѕеtuрѕ аnd еlаbоrаtе liԛuid сооling lоорѕ. Therefore, thе P90 also has rооm for twо 480mm rаdiаtоrѕ, in case уоu think such сооling роwеr iѕ necessary.
Phanteks leans pretty hard on the Enthoo name for case branding, and the Evolv name invokes a style that the company has spread across the spectrum from Mini ITX to full ATX. Phanteks even lists EATX capability for its Evolv ATX, though actual motherboard depth is limited to 10.4″. The case would need another 0.3″ to make it fit the plethora of 10.6″ to 10.7″ extreme-enthusiast motherboards that have been misnamed EATX by their manufacturers, but rest assured your standard ATX board fits. And now for something to get excited about!
Tempered glass adds a little show without making the case look gaudy, which is why it was used so often in furniture 30 years ago. It’s harder than normal glass, more impact resistant, and those unfortunate enough to break it will find a bunch of glass pebbles rather than shards and splinters. Moreover, it does a far better job of containing noise than plastic side panels, while also being flatter and more scratch-resistant. Phanteks chooses a medium tint to help camouflage your uglier internal components while complimenting your external peripherals.
A pop-up door reveals two USB 3.0 ports, headphone and microphone jacks, and a control button for the case’s RGB LED controller. Phanteks uses 3mm-thick aluminum for its face and top panels, and the front edge of the top panel reveals that it’s a custom extrusion rather than a mechanically formed sheet.
Both side panels are in fact glass, so you’d better be willing to put some time into cable routing if you want to show your finished work to friends. Eight screw slots allow the rear fan to slide up and down to accommodate top or bottom fitting orientation of single-fan radiators of either 120mm or 140mm spacing.
A short dust filter slides under the bottom edge of the rear panel to cover the power supply’s air inlet. The front intake filter is hidden behind the front panel, but let’s take a look at a few dimensions before tearing into this thing.
One of the greatest features of the Enthoo Evolv ATX Tempered Glass isn’t actually a feature, but the price. The MSRP is currently only $10 higher than the standard non-glass windowed version. Conversely, the biggest deficit in the Enthoo Evolv ATX is its inclusion of only seven expansion slots. Several three-way (and all four-way) SLI boards need an eighth slot for the bottom graphics card, and many need 0.2″ to 0.3″ more motherboard mounting space than the 10.4″ provided. While compatible with most enthusiast-oriented hardware, the Enthoo Evolv ATX’s combination of “not quite there” dimensions excludes a broad swath of ultra-high-end configurations.
Peeling away the Enthoo Evolv ATX face panel, we find a snap-in filter that’s large enough to cover two 140mm or three 120mm fans. Behind it is a partial shroud covering the show-side of a power supply, and the front of that shroud hosts four mounting points for an optional additional SSD tray.
The power supply slides in from the right side, which would be the non-windowed side of the standard version of this glass case. The Tempered Glass side panel of this version reveals all those hidden wires, along with the two SSD trays on the back of the motherboard tray, plus the two 3.5″ drive trays that would otherwise hide behind the power supply shroud.
If you’re building a new system, one of the first decisions you have to make is what case you plan to use to house all of your components. There are a lot of things to consider: bang for your buck, overall size, expansion bays, ease of installation, cooling and airflow, the list goes on. This week, we’re going to look at five of the best desktop computer cases, based on your nominations.
Earlier in the week we asked you which desktop cases you think are the best. We could have broken this into categories, like “best case for watercooling, best gaming case, best case for this or that,” but we figured you would have some good all-around suggestions, and you came through with way more cases that are great for all types of builds than we could possibly feature. Even so, five of them did stand out above the rest. Let’s take a look, and when you’re ready to move on to the rest of your build, head over to our freshly updated PC build guides to see what we think you should toss in your new case.
We’ve walked you through building your own computer before. In this post—which we’ll update…
The poll is closed and the votes are counted! To see which case you voted as the best, head over to our Hive Five Followup post to see and discuss the winner! Cooler Master HAF X
The HAF X—and indeed, the entire HAF series—earned high praise from you for being roomy cases with lots of expansion bays and plenty of space for after-market coolers, watercooling, and multiple huge high-end video cards—all without getting so cramped that it’s difficult to get to a component you need to repair or replace. The monster door fan will lift warm air right off of your board and CPU, and there’s plenty of room for fans elsewhere in the case too. The front-side I/O ports are a nice bonus, as is the power supply cable partition that keeps unused cables out of sight. Bonus: you won’t need a screwdriver for much with this case—most components pop and slide open easily for installation or removal. Fractal Design Define Mini
Fractal Design’s cases are built for enthusiasts who want their computers to be sleek, modern, and minimal—not in features, just without all of the windows, mesh, LEDs, and blinking lights that other manufacturers have. Those of you who nominated the Define Mini all said the same thing: It’s a computer case “for adults.” You’re not missing out on features by going grown-up, either. The Define Mini may be built for Mini ITX and Micro ATX boards, but it’ll definitely keep your system cool and offer you plenty of drive bays and expansion slots for drives and graphics cards. The case also sports a built-in fan controller and two 120mm fans, and the side panels feature noise-absorbing material to keep your rig nice and quiet. Front access to the drive bays is a nice touch, and the top-side I/O is unobtrusive but functional. If you want one for your next build, it’ll set you back $100 at Newegg. Need a little more room? Step over to the $90 Fractal Design Arc Midi, an ATX mid-tower with less focus on silent running, but more space to move, a lower-price point, and great features, to boot. Corsair Obsidian 800D
The Corsair Obsidian series, not just the 800D, is a great range of richly featured full-sized tower cases that give you room to maneuver and a solid build designed to last for multiple system builds. The aluminum and steel body of the 800D makes for a lightweight case as well regardless of its size, and its size works to its advantage; Corsair has separate “cooling zones” inside the case to keep your power supply, CPU, graphics cards, and hard drives independently chilly, thanks to smart airflow design and separate fans. Cables won’t get in the way, thanks to rubber cable management slots all over that make routing them easy. The case comes with three 140mm fans, and sports tool-free installation for hard drives and components, including hot-swappable drive bays so you don’t have to take the windowed (or meshed) case door off. Front-side I/O offers access to USB, Firewire, audio, and power without being too intrusive, keeping the design and lines nice and clean. The Obsidian is another pricey case, going for If you want some of those same features without the premium price, check out the rest of the Obsidian chassis family. Antec Nine Hundred
Antec makes great cases, there’s no doubt about that, but many of you really preferred the Nine Hundred, and we can see why. it’s a solid case, and even though it’s targeted to gamers, you don’t have to be one to appreciate it. There’s plenty of room inside for your components (standard ATX or smaller), seven expansion slots, two front-side 120mm fans and a massive 200mm fan at the top of the case, a fan controller to manage them, top-mounted I/O for USB, power, audio, and Firewire, along with a handy top drawer for a music player, smartphone, or external hard drive. Don’t let the angled design fool you—there’s plenty of room inside and outside this chassis. The Nine Hundred isn’t terribly expensive; it’ll set you back $100 at Newegg. If you have a little more to spend, consider the also nominated and well-loved Antec Twelve Hundred for $160. Corsair Graphite 600T
Another Corsair? Well, your nominations warranted it: the Corsair Graphite 600T is a more streamlined and less frilly model than some of Corsair’s other chassis families. It’s a mid-tower, but it’s remarkably roomy considering its 8 expansion slots and 10 total drive bays (four 5.25″ and six 3.5″). Plus, the case sports those rubber cable management slots that make wrangling cables or watercooling so easy, and tool-free installation and swappable trays. The steel case is sturdy, and for your money you’ll get a chassis that should last you a couple of builds. It’s sharp matte black with a few plastic accents, and comes packed with 2 120mm fans and a 200mm fan positioned to keep your components cool, along with room for plenty more. The top-side I/O port offers quick access to USB ports, audio ports, power, Firewire, and the fan controller so you can control performance versus noise with a single knob. The price on the 600T varies depending on whether you want it in white or black, with a window on the side or with a mesh case door.
Small form factor (SFF) cases have been around for a long time, but they haven’t always been as popular as they are now. Like anything else that has to do with technology in the 21st century, the road always seems to lead to smaller and smaller products. Sure, some computer DIY hounds still build PCs in gargantuan enclosures like Thermaltake’s Urban T81, just as there’s a market for gas-guzzling trucks with extended cabs. However, having a home-brewed PC with grunt no longer requires finding a home for a massive case.
Such a drool-worthy configuration capable of 4K-resolution gaming could fit into an SFF case like SilverStone’s Kublai K06, and there’d still be room for more hardware. Want to liquid-cool the CPU? Go right ahead. Fancy more SSDs? The K06 will hold up to eight of them. Looking to feed this bad boy a high-end power supply to support those video cards? Yep, it’ll hold one.
Not all SFF cases are so accommodating—not nearly. Apparently there’s a learning curve for case makers, as compromises and oversize cases are endemic of this market shift towards smaller footprints. We’ve seen cases that take up more space than the Kublai K06 inexplicably limit support to Mini-ITX motherboards, while others have put tight restrictions on component selection. We saw the latter scenario play out with Cougar’s QBX, a Mini-ITX enclosure that got the size of the case right for such a build, but had some truly quirky power-supply requirements.
SilverStone avoids these pitfalls with the Kublai KL06. Now, it’s not overly small, as SFF cases go; measuring 15.9×8.3×14.8 inches (HWD) and rectangular in shape, it’s not much smaller than a typical mid-tower case. As such, it’s big enough to support a Micro-ATX motherboard, and so it does, which, as we’ve pointed out, isn’t always a given.
That’s not to say the Kublai KL06 is completely without compromise. If you own several 3.5-inch hard drives, only one will fit in this case. Not without purpose, SilverStone is essentially testing the market to see what kind of interest exists for cases that predominately favor 2.5-inch SSDs and laptop-style 2.5-inch hard drives. To that end, the KL06 accepts up to eight such drives spread out among three different locations.
Other amenities that sometimes get slashed in SFF territory are present and accounted for. Things like flexible cable-routing options, tool-less drive installation, sound-dampening material, a painted exterior, and even a removable motherboard tray are part of the package.
There’s really not much to complain about here, and that happily includes the price. With an MSRP of $70, the Kublai KL06 could be, potentially, the least-expensive part of a high-end build like the one we outlined above. And if you’re aiming in the other direction, the KL06 makes it possible to build a system that’s as small as it is affordable.