Introduction and First Impressions
SilverStone has another contender for a budget ATX build with the Kublai KL05 enclosure, and today we’ll take a look at the windowed variant of this mid-tower design.
What would life be like without computer cases? Various components strewn about on desks, tables, and floors, creating headaches and tripping hazards everywhere. Fortunately, they exist, and I'm thankful for this every day. However there are now so many that scrolling down the list on any site in any price range is like shopping for RAM or power supplies these days: endless selection of similar things. But it's not enough to make sure the specs match your build as enclosures can vary a great deal even with the same component support. So, when looking for a good case for a build or upgrade you just end up reading a review like this. I hope I don't disappoint you, and we have a pretty interesting offering from SilverStone here to consider.
I've been enamored of late with lower-priced components. Sure, I've reviewed $300 cases but as cool as the high end can be it's not realistic for a lot of people (myself included). Finding great value has always been kind of fun, and to me a great value for a PC enclosure is something well under the $100 mark. I had the pleasure of reviewing NZXT's excellent S340 enclosure recently, and the SilverStone Kublai we're about to take a look at carries the same $69.99 MSRP. A larger case than the NZXT, the Kublai retains support for 5.25" optical drives and makes use of this added space up front for plenty of hard drives. The case looks and it sounds like a good value, but there's only one way to find out (and it involved actually reviewing it).
Introduction and First Impressions
NZXT has created a stylish mid-tower enclosure with their Source 340 chassis, and made it an especially attractive option with a retail of just $69.99. Can this new case contend in a crowded market? We will find that out here!
With several interesting designs under their belt NZXT isn’t a surprising name when it comes to nice-looking enclosures. I looked at their H440 Razer Edition recently, and the H440 it was based on is a popular mid-tower enclosure with good looks and performance. This new S340 is very similar to the H440 but on a slightly reduced scale, and offers a more open internal layout with a reduction in hard drive storage space. This is a move that won’t work for everyone, but as I mentioned in the recent SilverStone Raven RV05 review being limited to a pair of hard drives and SSDs a fair tradeoff for a gaming or productivity setup.
On the subject of storage, like the aforementioned H440 and RV05 this Source 340 enclosure is another example of a optical bay-free design. There are no hidden slim-ODD bays here, and for any optical data needs a user will be required to use an external solution. I personally like an open layout and don’t use 5.25” bays at all anymore, and the added room in the S340 provides nearly unlimited space for long GPUs and stays clean with a clever approach to cable routing.
Introduction and First Impressions
The RV05 is the current iteration of SilverStone's Raven enclosure series, and a reinvention of their ATX enthusiast design with a revised layout that eliminates 5.25" drive bays for a smaller footprint.
Return to Form
The fifth edition of SilverStone's Raven is a return to form of sorts, as it owes more to the design of the original RV01 than the next three to follow. The exterior again has an aggressive, angular look with the entire enclosure sitting up slightly at the rear and tilted forward. Though the overall effect is likely less visually exciting than the original, depending on taste, in its simplicity the design feels more refined and modern than the RV01. Some of the sharpest angles have been eliminated or softened, though the squat stance coupled with its smaller size gives the RV05 an energetic appearance - as if it's ready to strike. (OK, I know it's just a computer case, but still...)
The Raven series is important to the case market as a pioneer of the 90º motherboard layout for ATX systems, expanding on the design originally developed by Intel for the short-lived BTX form-factor. In the layout implemented in the Raven series the motherboard is installed with the back IO panel facing up, which requires the graphics card to be installed vertically. This vertical orientation assists with heat removal by exploiting the tendency of warm air to rise, and when implemented in an enclosure like the RV05 it can create an excellent thermal environment for your components. The RV05 features large fans at the bottom of the case that push air upward and across the components on the motherboard, forcing warm air to exit through a well-ventilated top panel.
And the RV05 isn't just a working example of an interesting thermal profile, it's actually a really cool-looking enclosure with some premium features and suprisingly low price for a product like this at $129 on Amazon as this was written. In our review of the RV05 we'll be taking a close look at the case and build process, and of course we'll test the thermal performance with some CPU and GPU workloads to find out just how well this design performs.
Subject: Cases and Cooling | January 6, 2015 - 12:00 PM | Sebastian Peak
Tagged: micro-ATX case, enclosure, corsair, ces 2015, CES, case, Carbide 100R, atx case
Corsair is announcing the newest members of the Carbide Series family of enclosures, with the 100R and Carbide Series 100R Silent mid-tower cases.
The Carbide 100R standard edition with side window
The Carbide Series 100R and Carbide Series 100R Silent will be among Corsair's lowest-cost enclosures at $49.99 and $59.99 each, but they are attempting to avoid "the look of many low-cost PC cases, instead offering an elegant aesthetic that will appeal to gamers, hobbyist PC builders, and system integrators". Along with expected features such as SSD mounts and front-panel USB 3.0, the enclosures also feature tool-free drive mounts (four 3.5" drives and four 2.5" drives), up to five fan mounts (and two included fans), and support for long graphics cards.
Inside the Carbide 100R
While the standard version of the Carbide Series 100R features a side panel window and upper fan vents, the 100R Silent version features sound dampening with no opening on the top, and no window on the side panel to further reduce noise.
- Tool-free mounting of hard drives and optical drives
- Dual USB 3.0 front panel ports
- Direct airflow path to top GPU
- Plenty of room for large graphics cards and power supplies
- Cable routing channel behind motherboard tray
- Up to five fan mounts
- Front: 2 x 140/120mm
- Top: 2 x 120mm
- Rear: 120mm (included)
- Two 5.25” drive bays
- Four 3.5”/2.5” drive bays with trays that support hard drives and SSDs
- Seven expansion slots
- Supports ATX, Micro ATX, and Mini ITX motherboards and ATX power supplies
The Carbide Series 100R and Carbide Series 100R Silent PC cases have an MSRP of $49.99 and $59.99, respectively, and will be available in Q2 2015.
Follow all of our coverage of the show at http://pcper.com/ces!
Subject: Cases and Cooling | December 28, 2014 - 11:15 PM | Sebastian Peak
Tagged: silent case, silencio, mid-tower, matx case, enclosure, cooler master, case, atx case
Sometimes you don't want your system to sound like a clogged vacuum cleaner, and that's where a silent case can help. To be fair, all cases are silent until there are running components inside (it's been scientifically proven), but with enough insulation and some quiet fans a case can provide virtual silence with a system installed and running.
The Silencio cases from Cooler Master have been around for a while, and the current iteration comes in both mid and mini tower versions. The mid-tower Silencio 652S was just reviewed over at The Tech Report, and it looks like a solid option for a quiet case without being too expensive at around $119.
The features and price tag of this case compare favorably with Fractal Design's Define R5 enclosure - recently reviewed here at PC Perspective. The 652S boasts massive storage capacity for up to 9 hard drives or 10 SSDs, along with support for long GPUs and liquid cooling, making it a nice option for quiet cooling depending on performance.
Pretty clean looking build you have there, Cooler Master
The case looks good if you like a minimalist design, though the review did find the included fans to be a bit loud. Check out the full review over at The Tech Report for a detailed look at the Silencio 652S.
Introduction: Defining the Quiet Enclosure
The Define R5 is the direct successor to Fractal Design's R4 enclosure, and it arrives with the promise of a completely improved offering in the silent case market. Fractal Design has unveiled the case today, and we have the day-one review ready for you!
We've looked at a couple of budget cases recently from the Swedish enclosure maker, and though still affordable with an MSRP of $109.99 (a windowed version will also be available for $10 more) the Define R5 from Fractal Design looks like a premium part throughout. In keeping with the company's minimalist design aesthetic it features clean styling, and is a standard mid-tower form factor supporting boards from ATX down to mini-ITX. The R5 also offers considerable cooling flexibility with many mounting options for fans and radiators.
The Silent Treatment
One of two included 1000 RPM hydraulic-bearing GP-14 silent fans
There are always different needs to consider when picking an enclosure, from price to application. And with silent cases there is an obvious need to for superior sound-dampening properties, though airflow must be maintained to prevent cooking components as well. With today's review we'll examine the case inside and out and see how a complete build performs with temperature and noise testing.
Introduction: A Crowded Market
The case market is not only saturated at every conceivable price point, but there is enough of a builder’s DNA in their enclosure selection that making recommendations in this area can be a galvanizing undertaking. The enclosure with less usefulness can have perceived deficiencies mitigated by style, and vice versa. For some, style is the most important attribute. But functionality alone, when unnecessary elements are stripped away, can be attractive as well. Here we have a bit of both.
Fractal Design is a Swedish company specializing in computer enclosures, though much like Corsair (which started life as a memory company) they have diversified their product offerings with a line power supplies and all-in-one liquid CPU coolers, as well as case fans and accessories. The company cites Scandinavian design as the influence behind their aesthetic, with the minimalist approach of 'less is more'. With the “Core” series Fractal Design has just what that nomenclature indicates. An entry-level offering that still provides the essentials for a solid build.
With the Core 3300 ATX case the basics are all represented, and it seems that nothing has been included for artistic reasons alone. The Core 3300 does not have a side window, and inside you won't see convenience features like toolless drive bays. Ultimately it’s a rather nondescript matte black case that’s mostly steel, but there are touches that help it stand out in this particular segment of a crowded market.
Subject: Cases and Cooling | June 19, 2014 - 05:22 PM | Sebastian Peak
Tagged: Silverstone, raven rv05, raven, enclosure, cases, atx case
SilverStone’s Raven series, what I would describe as the “Batmobile” of PC enclosures, has graduated from the Tim Burton-like approach of the RV01, to a little more of a Chris Nolan-reboot feel with its fifth incarnation. Announced today, the RV05 is a sharply angled matte black design sure to strike fear in the hearts of villains everywhere.
In the same move SilverStone is making with the upcoming Fortress series revision, the new Raven eliminates the 5.25" bays from the prior iterations and the result is a much smaller size overall.
Still utilizing the trademark inverted layout of the series, the RV05 includes two of their 180mm "Air Penetrator" fans at the bottom of the case to force warm air upwards and across components. The case also offers support for various watercooling radiators along the bottom in place of the included 180mm fans (up to 120mm x3 or 140mm x2), and 120mm support on the top.
The case retains the full ATX form factor with the new smaller footprint, which is listed as 242mm W x 529mm H x 498mm D - or 9.52” x 20.83” x 19.60” if you aren’t on the metric system.
The SilverStone Raven RV05 will be available next month and will be offered in two versions, the SST-RV05B (black) and SST-RV05B-W (black + window).
Subject: Cases and Cooling | June 8, 2014 - 10:58 PM | Sebastian Peak
Tagged: Silverstone, SFX PSU, PSU, Fortress, computex 2014, computex, atx case, aluminum case, 1500W PSU
Computex may be over but SilverStone had enough new product announcements to last us for a while! Among the many offerings there were a number of highlights, including new enclosures and power supplies. We'll check out a few of the new PSUs here.
The first is a new 1500-watt PSU with a smaller size.
ST1500-GS 1500W 180mm ATX PSU
At 180mm deep the most powerful Strider Gold S-series PSU isn't small, but compared to other 1500-watt options (including SilverStone's ST1500 at 220mm) the shorter depth promises some additional chassis options for a high-power build. The ST1500-GS is fully modular and also features all flat cabling.
New SFX Options!
The smallest PSUs in the SilverStone lineup also have new models, with two new SFX power supplies for mini-ITX builds. The first is a more powerful version of the popular 450-watt ST45SF-G, now in a 600-watt flavor in the SX600-G.
SX600-G SFX PSU
Next we have the SX500-LG, and perhaps more exciting to mini-ITX enthusiasts the new 500-watt option in the SFX lineup features a 120mm fan!
SX500-LG "SFX-L" PSU with 120mm fan
The SX500-LG's 120mm "ultra-quiet" fan adds a bit to the depth of the PSU, which is 130mm compared to the 100mm of the ST45SF-G and SX600-G, and it is classified as an "SFX-L" form factor - with only the length being non-standard for SFX. This new fan implementation should really help reduce some additional load noise from a small high-powered system. Both of the announced additions to the SFX family will also feature all flat cabling this time.
There are new models across all of SilverStone's lineup coming up, so stay tuned. No pricing or availablity just yet, but there's a lot to look forward to from SilverStone this year in the cases and cooling department!
Subject: Cases and Cooling | June 3, 2014 - 05:45 PM | Sebastian Peak
Tagged: enclosure, computex 2014, computex, cases, be quiet!, atx case
Today Be Quiet! - known for its line of quality power supplies (like the Power Zone 1000W PSU) - introduces their first PC enclosure, and the case (it has no apparent name as of yet) looks excellent, especially at the price point Be Quiet intends to target ($129).
The monolithic design will be available with your choice of three colors of accents
The Be Quiet! case supports ATX, micro-ATX, and mini-ITX motherboards, and has tons of room for your various components. It comes with three of the company's "Pure Wings 2" fans pre-installed (2x 140mm in front, and 1x 120mm in back), and will offer a lot of additional cooling flexibility. The case will support liquid cooling radiators up front (120/140mm), on the back (120mm), and on top (up to 240/280mm).
The Be Quiet! case is part of this balanced breakfast - er, build
Be Quiet! provided some specs for us:
- 3x 5.25” optical drive bays
- 7x 3.5” HDD bays
- 2x SSD behind motherboard
- 2x SSD inside HDD tray
- 2x 140mm front fan mounts
- 1x 120mm back, and 2x 120/140mm top fan mounts
- 1x 120/140mm bottom, and 1x 120mm side panel fan mounts
- Top-mounted USB 3.0 x2 and USB 2.0 x2 ports, plus audio
A larger enclosure, the Be Quiet! case will allow large components as well:
- CPU cooler max height 170mm
- PSU max length 290mm
- VGA max length standard (with HDD cage) 290mm
- VGA max length (without HDD cage) 400mm
An emphasis has been placed on noise reduction (no surprise here - see company name!) and the case will include noise-dampening mats as wekk as anti-noise HDD and Fan mounts. Adding to the premium feel, all of the numerous air intakes will have filters to keep dust away from your gear.
The (as yet unnamed) Be Quiet! case is set to launch in September with an MSRP of US $129, and will be available as a black chassis with silver, orange, or black inserts.