Introduction and First Impressions
A newcomer in the PC enclosure space, RIOTORO has a lineup of unique-looking products to offer in a market flooded with options at every price-point. With this full-tower PRISM CR1280 enclosure the company says that they are providing not just a home for your components, but “the world’s 1st fully RGB case with unparalleled personalization options”.
Clearly, RGB lighting has been one of the biggest trends in PC hardware for the past year or so, and if you are so inclined the PRISM CR1280 promises fully customizable color with lighted accents on the front of the case, and included RGB intake fans.
Beyond the RGB lighting, however, the PRISM CR1280 has a rather unusual industrial design. There is angular black plastic over a steel body, and a large edge-to-edge side panel window (not to mention those bare aluminum feet). It looks like a premium enclosure, and it’s certainly priced like one with an MSRP of $169.99 (selling for $149 currently). Is it worth it? Read on to find out!
Subject: Cases and Cooling | June 1, 2016 - 11:38 AM | Sebastian Peak
Tagged: enclosure, Dark Base 900 Pro, Dark Base 900, computex 2016, computex, case, be quiet!, atx case
A pair of enclosures from be quiet! have been announced, with the Dark Base 900 and Dark Base 900 PRO, and both models offer modular construction for greater build flexibility.
Here are some of the specs and features from be quiet!:
- High flexibility through high modularity
- Modular motherboard tray can invert and also slide vertically to make space for radiators, etc.
- Motherboard tray is decoupled to avoid vibrations
- Removable motherboard tray can be used as a test bench, or install system completely outside the case first
- Separated HDD cages for maximum flexibility - each holds one 3.5” or two 2.5” drives
- Removable ODD cage
- Standard storage support: 2x ODD / 7x HDD / 15x SSD
- Highest compatibility to water cooling
- PWM fan control
- 3x SilentWings 3 PWM 140mm fans pre-installed
- Aluminum finish on top and front
- 4mm tempered glass side panel
- LED strips with 5 colors
- QI charger for mobile devices
The system looks spacious, and offers removable cages for storage drives:
The motherboard tray is removable, and it can also be inverted if desired for an alternate internal layout:
And what premium enclosure would be complete without LED lighting? The PRO version of the Dark Base offers LED strips with your choice of 5 colors:
The Dark Base 900 has an MSRP of $199, and the Dark Base 900 PRO is $249, with availability set for June 28.
Subject: Cases and Cooling | May 23, 2016 - 11:50 AM | Sebastian Peak
Tagged: tempered glass, steel, SECC, mid-tower, In Win 303, in win, enclosure, case, atx case
In Win's 303 enclosure has been released, and this mid-tower offers a very clean, simple look, and provides the option of a tempered glass side panel to show off your build.
"The IN WIN team presents the 303, a simple, yet elegant computer chassis crafted from steel and tempered glass. The distinctively clean front panel is complemented with a bright LED design to balance the overall appearance.
The IN WIN logo is highlighted “Neon” as well as the lucent stripped I/O front panel. These gorgeous LEDs also have the purpose of indicating when the PC is activated."
The In Win 303 is available with a white or black finish
The 303 is constructed primarily of SECC (electrogalvanized steel), which should help them keep costs down versus aluminum designs at the expense of some added weight.
The 303 offers buyers a choice between a pair of side panel styles, with both tempered glass and solid aluminum options. As to the former, the company states you are "able to remove the beautiful 3mm tempered glass side panel by just pressing the handle," while the aluminum panel is affixed with thumbscrews.
In Win 303 interior
While officially released with a product page up on In Win's site, actual retail availability in the U.S. might have to wait until after Computex, as listings have yet to appear on Newegg or Amazon for the new 303 (at time of publication).
Subject: Cases and Cooling | May 19, 2016 - 10:43 AM | Sebastian Peak
Tagged: steel, matx case, Lian Li, enclosure, case, atx case
Lian Li is now producing steel enclosures (gasp), which translates into some more affordable options on the market from this venerable brand that typically produces products from aluminum and glass.
(left to right) Lian Li PC-K5, PC-K6, and PC-K6S
“Lian Li has been known for its signature brushed aluminum aesthetic for decades. For many years, a number of customers have requested more affordable alternatives. The Ebonsteel series is intended to provide this option for those who seek the best value in PC cases. While these chassis are built with steel rather than aluminum, they are still very much Lian Li cases – tool-less building features, grommeted panel cutouts for cable management, vibration-dampened PSU mounts and drive cages, removable mesh filters on fan mounts – they include many of the bells and whistles of a typical Lian Li case!”
The three new enclosures Lian Li is featuring in their news release include the mid-tower PC-K5 and PC-K6, and a silent version of the latter named PC-K6S. Of these the PC-K5 is a budget-minded option, with an MSRP of $56 for the standard version, and $60 if you'd like a side panel window. The PC-K6 is a more premium offering, with an MSRP of $93, with the silent version at $109.
As to availability, I'll quote the press release here: "The Ebonsteel cases will be available in mid June for K5, and late June for K6, K6S."
Subject: Cases and Cooling | May 2, 2016 - 09:00 AM | Sebastian Peak
Tagged: side window, P9 Window, mid-tower, Full-Tower, fan controller, enclosure, case, atx case, antec
Antec has listed a new P9 Window tower enclosure on their site ahead of Computex, and while it's listed as "not available" at the moment, that should change by the end of the month.
So what is this P9 Window? It's a straightforward case with a big side window, excellent storage and cooling support, and dual onboard fan controllers.
"Don’t let the sleek, understated exterior fool you. The P9 Window is loaded with builder-focused features that deliver performance, Quiet Computing, and future-proof expandability right out of the box. The interior volume, the variety of cooling options, and the modular HDD cages are just a few of the features that make the P9 Window stand out in the Performance One series."
- Motherboard Support: ATX, micro ATX, mini ITX
- Expansion Slots: 8
- 13 Total Drive Bays:
- 3 x Tool-less 5.25” ODD Bays
- 8 x Tool-less 3.5” HDD trays (each compatible with 2.5” SSD)
- 1 x 3.5” HDD (inside the 5.25” drive cage)
- 2 x Tool-less 2.5” Dedicated SSD Bays
- Cooling System:
- 2 x Front 120mm (included) fan
- 1 x Rear 120mm (included) fan
- 3 x Top 120mm or 2 x 140mm fan mounts (optional)
- 1 x Bottom 120mm (optional)
- 2 x 120mm HDD cage fan mounts (Optional)
- Water cooling support:
- Front: Supports 240mm radiator
- Top: Supports240/280/360 mm radiator
- Pump / Reservoir mounting brackets included
- Removable / Relocation of HDD cages for water cooling pump
- I/O Ports:
- 2 x USB 3.0
- 2 x USB 2.0
- 2 x Fan controls
- Audio In/Out
- Washable air filters (front intake and PSU)
- Supports up to 430 mm VGA cards
- Bottom mounted ATX PSU (not included)
- Dimensions: 22.44” (W) x 23.50 (H) x 11.26” (D)
- Weight: 20 lbs
Pricing shown in Antec's listing is a reasonable $109 for a full-tower design like this, and we'll doubtless get a chance to see how its performing soon enough as reviews start coming out.
Subject: Cases and Cooling | April 8, 2016 - 03:09 PM | Sebastian Peak
Tagged: mid-tower, enclosure, corsair, case, Carbide SPEC-ALPHA, atx case
Corsair has officially released the Carbide SPEC-ALPHA case they were showing off at CES 2016, and this mid-tower is a striking design that offers an alternative to more traditional look of the company's recent Carbide offerings.
The White/Red SPEC-ALPHA at CES
"With its modern, angular appearance, the SPEC-ALPHA really stands out in a crowd. But its looks aren’t all that are modern – the SPEC-ALPHA features native USB 3.0 support, room for up to four SSDs, and a three-speed fan controller for the three included 120mm fans. A large window shows off internal components and the Direct Airflow Path layout, which provides superior cooling by getting rid of unnecessary drive bays."
The inclusion of a 3-speed fan control is definately welcome at this price, which is an attractive $79.99 MSRP. We'll have to wait until we get one in to test to see how it performs, but at first glance it looks promising. Doubtless the look won't be for everyone, but if you look at a lot of enclosures (like someone I know) unusual designs are always welcome!
Inside the Black/Red version
Technical specifications from Corsair:
- Expansion Slots: 7
- 5.25” Drive bays: N/A
- 3.5” Hard Drive Bays: 3
- 2.5” Drive Bays: 4
- Cooling Layout:
- Front: 2 x 120mm (2 x 120mm LED included)
- Top: 2 x 120mm
- Rear: 1 x 120mm (included)
- Radiator Compatibility:
- 240mm: Front only
- 120mm: Front, or Rear
- Integrated dust filters for front and bottom intakes
- Front I/O Panel includes:
- USB 3.0 port (x2)
- Three-Speed Fan Controller
- Headphone and Microphone jacks
- Power on and Reset buttons
- Dimensions (LxWxH) 518 x 220 x 474 mm (20.39 x 8.66 x 18.66 inches)
- Maximum GPU Length: 380 mm
- Maximum CPU Cooler Height: 156 mm
- Maximum PSU Length: 190 mm
- 2 Year Warranty
(Image credit: Corsair)
As stated above the Carbide SPEC-ALPHA retails for $79.99 and is available now.
Subject: Cases and Cooling | January 10, 2016 - 01:02 PM | Sebastian Peak
Tagged: Silverstone, NAS, mini-itx, enclosure, CS380, CS280, CES 2016, CES, case, atx case
SilverStone had a pair of CS Series enclosures on display at CES this year, with both ATX and Mini-ITX form-factors covered with these storage-oriented designs.
Beginning with the larger CS380, an enclosure that had previously been shown at Computex in a Micro-ATX form-factor. This slightly modified final version now supports a standard ATX motherboard for additional build flexibility, but this enclosure is really all about the hard drives. With eight 3.5-inch HDD trays up front (along with a pair of 5.25-inch bays that can each be replaced with hot-swap HDD trays, sold separately), there is plenty of storage space for a NAS or storage server build.
Inside, a pair of 120 mm fans keep the hard drives cool, and while the bare metal interior looks plain by modern standards these CS Series enclosures were build with enterprise standards in mind. The rest of the interior is pretty standard for an ATX enclosure, with a bottom PSU placement, 120 mm rear fan, and 7 expansion slots.
The smaller of the two storage enclosures, the CS280, is a mini-ITX design that scales storage support down to 2.5-inch drives.
Offering 8 HDD/SSD trays and supporting standard mini-ITX motherboards with up to a 2-bay, full-height expansion card, the CS280 provides a lot of build flexibility. While it would make a very compact storage server or hold a tremendous amount of SSD storage for a high-speed NAS, the CS280 could also house a compact, high-power gaming rig with a GPU like AMD's R9 Nano - if you desired this much storage support, that is.
Panels in the front of both cases allow view of HDD activity lights
The two enclosures differ beyond size as the CS380 has a plastic front panel/door, and the smaller CS280 features a brushed aluminum front panel and a more rounded appearance. These enclosures will be priced a little higher than typical consumer drives given their construction and purpose, but we will await final retail pricing (and availability) to see where they fit in the market.
Follow all of our coverage of the show at http://pcper.com/ces!
Introduction and First Impressions
Antec’s P-series enclosures have been around for quite a while, and have been known as quiet, stylish cases for a premium build. It had been quite a while since the last entry in the series as the previous model, the P280, which received our Gold Award when Ryan reviewed it way back in 2011, and this current version hit the market in January of 2015. Needless to say, Antec’s Performance enclosures have some staying power. So how does this latest entry stack up?
The new P380 carries an MSRP of $229.95, placing it in the higher end of the premium enclosure market. While it can certainly be found for less (around $140 currently on Amazon) the bar is still set pretty high when the price exceeds $100, though the P380 is in a different world than Antec's Signature S10 enclosure, which launched at a mind-boggling $499 (it has since come down considerably). With the highly competitive enclosure market offering a number of spacious and quiet options, the P380 will need to differentiate to succeed.
“When only the best can satisfy your needs, the P380 is the answer. Known for its minimalistic design, the Performance series focuses on delivering the perfect balance between performance and Quiet-Computing. Whether you’re designing your ultimate dream PC or, just creating a monster file server, the P380 should be the choice, without hesitation.”
Antec is obviously confident about this newest P-series enclosure and I’ll be putting it to the test using a new, more stringent enclosure review process. We'll take a look at the case inside and out, and then see how it performs with a gaming build using both a closed-loop liquid CPU cooler, and a conventional air CPU cooler to see how the case airflow affects warm components.
Subject: Cases and Cooling | December 8, 2015 - 05:00 PM | Sebastian Peak
Tagged: silent case, quiet computing, inverted motherboard, corsair, Carbide 600Q, Carbide 600C, atx case
Corsair has announced a new model in their Carbide lineup with the 600Q and 600C enclusures, both of which feature an inverted motherboard design - a first from Corsair.
The Corsair Carbide 600C
The two models share the same basic design, though the 600Q is optimized for silence with sound-deadening material (and a solid side panel), while the 600C offers a very large side-panel window for more style when silence is at less of a premium. Both versions use Corsair's AF140L 140 mm fans for cooling, which are connected to an external 3-speed fan controller to easily adjust based on cooling/noise needs.
The Corsair Carbide 600Q top I/O and fan controller
"Unlike many PC cases which demand enthusiasts choose between noisy, high-airflow ventilation or low-noise, restricted airflow designs, the 600Q and 600C are able to deliver the best of both. The distinctive inverted-ATX internal design places the heat producing components in the direct airflow pathway of the two AF140L 140mm intake fans and single AF140L 140mm exhaust fan, providing powerful and efficient cooling, with extra wide vents ensuring unimpeded airflow.
Specially tuned for low-noise operation, the 600Q and 600C’s three included fans have been redesigned for excellent airflow at lower noise levels, with an integrated external 3-speed fan controller allowing users to reduce the fan RPM, further lowering noise with a minimal impact on cooling performance. The result is a no-compromise approach to cooling that delivers fantastic system temperatures at extremely low noise levels.
The 600Q dedication to low-noise continues well beyond fan speeds. High density sound deadening material fitted in the front panel, side panels, and roof works to further mute system noise and ensure that the 600Q is as quiet as it is beautiful."
The Carbide 600 enclosures have an unobtrusive steel constuction, and the hinged front panel opens to reveal a pair of 5.25" optical drive bays. The interior features includes a PSU/drive bay cover to help keep things looking clean (especially for the windowed 600C version), and support for up to a 280 mm liquid cooler up front, and up to 360 mm on the bottom.
The Carbide 600C with hinged door open
Here are some of the specs and features from Corsair:
- Inverse-ATX Layout: With this new layout, airflow is easily directed at the hottest devices in your system; the GPU and CPU, and not wasted on drive cages.
- Sound Damping Throughout (600Q only): Keep your system quiet and cool with high-density sound damping material on side panels, front panel, and top panels. It’s so quiet, you’ll find yourself wondering if your PC is even powered on.
- Hinged and Latched Full Side Panel Window (600C only): Easily access your components with a single touch – and when closed, enjoy viewing every part of your build through the full size side panel window.
- Steel Exterior: Get rid of those plastic cases – the 600Q and 600C have full steel exterior panels for extra durability and gorgeous good looks.
- Three Included AF140L fans: Great airflow doesn’t have to be noisy – the three AF140L fans can push large amounts of air across your hottest devices without that annoying fan hum, and the three-speed fan controller lets you decide exactly how fast they run.
- PSU and 5.25” Bay Cover: Clean up the inside of your case by tucking all those cables and less-attractive drives behind a clean, refined PSU and 5.25” bay cover. Or remove them for assembly – it’s up to you.
- Watercooling Ready: Fit up to a 280mm radiator up front and up to a 360mm radiator on the bottom – along with a 140mm rear fan mount.
- Easy to Clean: Easily access dust filters on front and bottom meaning you’ll never spend more than a minute getting dust out of your system.
- Easy to Build: Tool-free drive installation, tool-free side panel access, and tons of cable routing options and tie downs means you can spend less time building your PC and more time using it.
The Carbide 600Q and 600C will be available in this month, and both models carry an MSRP of $149.99.
Subject: Cases and Cooling | November 23, 2015 - 10:04 AM | Sebastian Peak
Tagged: pandora atx, Mid-Tower Case, enclosure, case, bitfenix pandora, bitfenix, atx case
BitFenix has released a larger follow up to the Pandora enclosure, previously a slim Micro-ATX tower. The new full ATX sized Pandora offers the same styling and optional customizable screen as the previous version, and now offers support for up to 360 mm radiators.
“The Pandora ATX offers the same much-loved unique styling as the original Pandora - but with housing capabilities for full-sized hardware and a 360mm radiator, either in the top or the front. Conceived as a versatile base for DIY projects, it is designed to show off your hardware in a tasteful manner through its large side window. The front panel is like no other, with the wrap-around side panels covering parts of it, leaving only a sober glossy black front panel housing the programmable 2.8" ICON color display visible through it. The ICON is a story in itself, allowing you to add any logo or picture you wish, for maximum personalization.”
I was impressed with the original Pandora when I reviewed it at the end of last year, but there were certainly concessions to size (beginning with the restriction to mATX or mITX motherboards) including limited cooler and taller GPU support. This was in fact a very narrow tower previously. With the new Pandora ATX you can have the same style including an optional LCD with ICON software that allows drag-and-drop customization with your own image. And while some might think ICON is a gimmick, and it arguably is, this is still a solid-looking enclosure.
So what exactly does this new Pandora ATX support? Here’s a rundown of the specs:
- 2.8" BitFenix ICON Display
- One-piece PSU cover and MB tray
- Top, Front and Bottom Dust Filters
- 360mm Radiator Support
- 20mm Cable Clearance
- Graphics Card Length up to 440mm
- Materials: Steel, ABS
- Colors (Interior/Exterior): Black/Black
- Supported Motherboards: ATX, Micro ATX, Mini-ITX
- LCD: 2.8" TFT, 240 x 320 (Pandora ATX only)
- I/O: 2x USB 3.0, 2x USB 2.0, 2x 3.5mm Audio (Line Out, Mic-in)
- 3.5” Drive Bays: x4, x3 (Pandora ATX Core)
- 2.5” Drive Bays: x4, 2x (Pandora ATX Core)
- Front Cooling: 1x 140mm (Included, Pandora ATX only), Max 3x 120mm OR 2x 140mm (Not Included)
- Rear Cooling: 1x 120mm FDB Fan (Included)
- Top Cooling: Max 3x 120mm OR 2x 140mm (Not Included)
- Expansion Slots: x7
- Power Supply: ATX & EPS, up to 220mm length
- Dimensions (WxHxD): 203 x 510 x 558 mm
- Weight: 9.92 kg (net), 11.4 kg (gross)
It seems that the only thing we don’t know about this new enclosure is pricing and availability, which have not yet been released.