Author:
Manufacturer: Puget Systems

Clearly a contender

Open air cases are a pretty niche market. The number of DIY users that are interested or willing to have their components fully exposed need to have some specific goals in mind. You could be a full time overclocker, looking for easy access to the CPU socket for LN2 or to hit that BIOS reset button. You could also be an enthusiast that is always swapping out components so the ability to bypass getting under a desk and removing a door makes things faster. Or you could just be a show off and want to be certain your friends and family see the gear you have purchased to power your PC gaming.

Just don't be someone with curious cats. 

Puget Systems is a high end system builder based in the north west United States and though they don't plan on making a living selling these open air cases, called the Puget Systems EATX V1 Test Bench, they decided if they were making it, they might as well sell it too. Used primarily for the company's own internal testing and evaluation, the open air test bench is an acrylic structure that holds the power supply and storage on a bottom level along with the motherboard and other components up top, totally open to the elements.

IMG_0311.JPG

It is expensive though, at $170.

The stand out features include support for a 120mm or even 240mm water cooler mount, triple GPU support and of course, as the name implies, the capability to hold EATX motherboards. Check out the full video review above and if you just want to see some more photos, click the link below!

Continue to see some more photos of the Puget Systems Test Bench EATX Version 1!!

NCASE M1 Crowdfunded Mini-ITX Case Now Available for Pre-Order

Subject: Cases and Cooling | May 29, 2014 - 07:42 AM |
Tagged: ncase, mini-itx, m1, Lian Li, case, aluminium

The NCASE M1 - that impossibly small crowdfunded Mini-ITX case -  is now available for pre-order at the company’s website in both silver and black styles, and it will set those of us in the U.S. back $185 plus shipping and import charges (they are being shipped directly from Taiwan upon fulfillment).

ncase_m1.jpg

Ah yes, that famous Coke can photo…

Those who have had the privilege of hands-on experience with this micro-sized enclosure (myself included) come away highly impressed with not only its impossibly diminutive size compared to the component options, but to the high build quality as well. Manufactured by Lian Li, it is of all-aluminum construction and very lightweight.

Our review of the case here at PC Perspective showcases some of the build options to give a prospective buyer ideas about the flexibility of the design, but the “no compromises” approach with the M1 does command quite an investment for an enclosure. Still, if you’re looking at an ultimate-level Mini-ITX system and don’t mind spending some of that hard-earned green (on an already expensive form-factor, let's not forget), you’d be hard pressed to find a better option at this size.

Source: NCASE
Manufacturer: BitFenix

Introduction, Packaging, and Specifications

The BitFenix Colossus has grown into a family of enclosures, from the massive E-ATX original all the way down to their diminutive mini-ITX version. But somewhere in between there lies a case offering some impressive flexibility, while still retaining a small footprint.

colossus06.jpg

As the PC industry has evolved over the last decade, the days of high-performance rigs requiring large towers and full-size ATX and E-ATX motherboards are gone. Of course there is still a market (and need) for full tower systems, and the majority of enthusiast motherboards available are still full ATX. But the evolution in process technology and platforms has allowed for more and more to be done within a smaller footprint, and the micro-ATX form factor has emerged as a solid option for anything from budget systems to extreme multi-GPU gaming powerhouses. Regardless of the path you choose, all of those sweet components need a home, and finding the right computer case has long been a very personal odyssey.

BitFenix entered the PC enclosure market in 2010 with the original Colossus, and since then they have grown into a respected brand with a large and differentiated product offering. From that first massive Colossus to the popular Prodigy mini-ITX, they have created an enclosure for just about any build. And while many cases specialize in one or two particular areas, once in a while you will find an enclosure that just begs for experimentation. The micro-ATX variant of the Colossus from BitFenix is just such a case. Every aspect of this small enclosure has been given a close look by BitFenix, and there are options galore for a variety of builds.

Continue reading our review of the BitFenix Colossus Micro-ATX Case Review!!

Podcast #266 - Corsair Air 540 Case, MSI GTX 780 Lightning, hUMA in the PS4, and more!

Subject: General Tech | August 29, 2013 - 11:45 AM |
Tagged: xbox one, video, ps4, podcast, msi, hUMA, hsa, gtx 780, corsair, case, amd, air 540, 780 lightning

PC Perspective Podcast #266 - 08/29/2013

Join us this week as we discuss the Corsair Air 540 Case, MSI GTX 780 Lightning, hUMA in the PS4, and more!

You can subscribe to us through iTunes and you can still access it directly through the RSS page HERE.

The URL for the podcast is: http://pcper.com/podcast - Share with your friends!

  • iTunes - Subscribe to the podcast directly through the iTunes Store
  • RSS - Subscribe through your regular RSS reader
  • MP3 - Direct download link to the MP3 file

Hosts: Ryan Shrout, Josh Walrath, Allyn Malventano, and Morry Teitelman

Program length: 1:12:24

  1. Week in Review:
  2. News items of interest:
  3. Hardware/Software Picks of the Week:
    1. Allyn: Samsung 840 EVO pricing was definitely not kidding!
  4. 1-888-38-PCPER or podcast@pcper.com
  5. Closing/outro

Fractal Design Launches ARC XL and ARC Mini R2

Subject: Cases and Cooling | June 5, 2013 - 04:47 AM |
Tagged: XL-ATX, fractal design, computex 2013, computex, case, arc xl, arc mini r2

Fractal Design is using Computex 2013 to launch two new cases, called the ARC XL and ARC Mini R2. As their names suggest, the ARC XL is a massive brushed aluminum case capable of supporting motherboards up to XL-ATX in size while the ARC Mini R2 is a Micro ATX case that is compatible with Micro ATX and Mini ITX motherboards.

Fractal Design ARC XL

The ARC XL chassis measures 232 x 572 x 552mm and weighs 13.8kg. The full tower case features a texturized aluminum exterior with a clear side window and top-mounted IO panel. The front of the case holds a large mesh grill with white Fractal Design logo. Above the front intake are four 5.25" drive bays. The front IO panel is mounted on the top of the case and includes two USB 3.0 ports, two USB 2.0 ports, audio in/out jacks, and power/reset buttons.

Fractal Design ARC XL.jpg

Internally, the ARC XL chassis supports motherboards up to XL-ATX in size, up to eight 3.5" hard drives, and space for two 2.5" solid state drives behind the motherboard tray. In total, the case supports seven 140mm fan positions. Fractal design includes three Silent Series R2 case fans with the chassis. Dust filters in the front, top, and bottom fan vents. Water cooling enthusiasts will be pleased to know that they can install 360mm radiators on top and 240mm radiators in the front of the case (with the hard drive cages removed). Other features include 9 PCI expansion slots, space for a bottom mounted PSU, integrated 3-fan 3-speed fan controller, and space for cable routing behind the motherboard tray.

Fractal Design ARC XL_back.jpg

Fractal Design's ARC XL case will be available in July or early August with an MSRP of $129.95 USD (119.95 EURO).

Fractal Design ARC Mini R2

The ARC Mini R2 is a miniature version of the ARC XL suitable for smaller systems using Micro ATX or Mini ITX motherboards and either water or air cooling.

The Mini R2 has a large mesh grill on the front panel as well as two optical drive bays. The front IO includes two USB 3.0 ports, audio in/out, power and reset buttons, and the fan controller switch. The case measures 210 x 405 x 484mm and weighs 9kg.

Fractal Design ARC Mini R2.jpg

Internally, the ARC Mini R2 supports Micro ATX or Mini ITX motherboards, up to six 3.5" hard drives, two 2.5" SSDs (behind motherboard tray), and 4 PCI expansion slots. Graphics cards up to 260mm are supported with the hard drive cage installed, or 400mm with it removed. There is space for cable routing behind the motherboard and water cooling grommets on the back of the case to support external radiators.

Cooling is handled by three bundled Silent Series R2 fans controlled by an included fan controller. The case can support a total of seven fans, including:

  • Front: 2 x 120mm (1 included)
  • Rear: 1 x 120mm (1 included)
  • Top: 1 x 120mm plus 2 x 140mm (1 included)
  • Bottom: 1 x 120mm

Watercooling support includes the ability to mount a thin 360mm radiator on top as well as a 240mm radiator over the front intake (with the optical drive and hard drive bays removed respectively). Fractal Design includes removable dust filters over the front, top, and bottom vents.

Fractal Design ARC Mini R2_open.jpg

The Micro ATX ARC Mini R2 will be available for $89.95 (79.95 EURO) in August or early September.

In all, they look like decent cases, though I would have loved to see some additional color options on the ARC Mini R2! (heh).

Computex 2013: ASRock Teams Up With BMW To Create New SFF M8 Chassis

Subject: General Tech | June 2, 2013 - 10:28 PM |
Tagged: SFF, m8, Lan Box, computex 2013, case, bmw, asrock

New PC cases seem to be popular at Computex this year, and ASRock may have just blown away the small form factor competition with its compact BMW Group-designed “M8” chassis.

The new “M8” case was designed by a BMW Group consultancy firm called DesignworksUSA. They have created a compact metal case that will be right at home at a LAN party or on many enthusiasts' desks. The case is a large square with cut-off corners and indented side panels. It is designed to show off the PC internals with a large octagonal side window, and can be stood upright or laid out horizontally. Carrying handles are integrated into the corners as well, making it easier to carry to LAN parties. The front of the case includes the “A-Command” button which is basically a large home theater-style volume control dial with an integrated OLED screen. The dial can adjust audio volume and fan speeds while the OLED display reports on system temperature, time,  and usage (presumably HDD or CPU activity indicators).

ASRock M8 BMW Case.jpg

The case has a rather clean and sharp look that shows a bare metal side and a glossy black front panel. The BMW Group has added red accents to the front panel and side windows. In an interesting twist, according to the press release, the side panels are magnetic which enables easy access to the internals.

The small form factor (SFF) M8 case will be used by ASRock to create a custom gaming PC. The internal specifications have not yet been announced, however.

This is definitely a unique design that is likely to be popular among the enthusiast and gamer crowd. You can find more photos of the M8 case on the BMW Group website.

What do you think of this BMW-inspired PC chassis?

Source: BMW Group

Computex 2013: NZXT Launches Silent, Tool-less H230 Mid Tower Case

Subject: Cases and Cooling | June 1, 2013 - 09:07 PM |
Tagged: nzxt, mid tower, h230, computex 2013, case

NZXT has kicked off the Computex 2013 coverage with the announcement of a new H230 mid-tower ATX case. Continuing the tradition of the H-series, the H230 is a minimalistic white or black design that incorporates sound dampening material and tool-free internal bays.
The outside of the case is simplistic, with vents and three 5.25” bays  on the front. In keeping with the silent intentions, there is no case window here. Brushed aluminum case feet lift the case off of the floor. Two USB 3.0 ports and a single microphone audio jack are available as front IO.

NZXT H230 Mid Tower Case (1).jpg

The H230 is constructed of steel with some plastic parts. It measures 195mm x 447mm x 502mm and weighs 7.25kg (approximately 16 lbs.). There are two SKUs, CA-H230I-W1 in white and CA-H230I-B1 in black.

Internally, the H230 mid tower case features tool free drive bays that can accommodate up to 6 3.5” drives and 3 5.25” drives. It can fit GPUs up to 290mm in length with the hard drive cage installed or up to 400mm with the drive cage removed. Heatsinks up to 158mm in height are supported as are motherboards up to full ATX in size (with 7 PCI expansion slots). A bottom mounted PSU slot and cable management routed behind the motherboard tray are also features. Cooling options include up to two 120mm front intake fans, a single 120mm bottom intake fan, and a single 120mm rear exhaust fan. NZXT provides the 120mm exhaust fan with the case. In the press release, NZXT states that “Our designers had one goal in mind while crafting the H230: create an affordable, silent chassis with all of the necessary essentials for a clean, functional build. ”

NZXT H230 Mid Tower Case (2).jpg

The new H230 case comes with a 2-year warranty and has an MSRP of $69.99. More information is available on the H230 product page.

The full press release is below:

Source: NZXT

Fractal Design's Node 304 White Mini-ITX Case Is Coming In July

Subject: General Tech | May 22, 2013 - 03:27 PM |
Tagged: fractal design, mini-itx, case, Node 304

Fractal Design is launching a new version of its existing Node 304 computer chassis. The new Node 304 White comes in white and supports Mini-ITX motherboards. The case measures 250 x 210 x 374mm and weighs 4.9kg.

FD-CA-NODE-304-WH_3_lo.jpg

The Node 304 is constructed of aluminum and has a white painted exterior. There are two mesh air vents on either side of the case as well as two 92mm Silent Series R2 fans working as front intakes behind filters to keep dust out of the case. Front IO includes two USB 3.0 ports and two audio jacks. The rear of the case features two expansion slots, a space for an ATX power supply, and a single 140mm Silent Series R2 exhaust fan.

FD-CA-NODE-304-WH_8_lo.jpg

Internally, the Node 304 White can fit standard ATX power supplies, a Mini-ITX motherboard, and up to six 3.5" or 2.5" hard drives. Alternatively, with two of the hard drive mounts removed, the case can accommodate graphics cards up to 310mm in length.

It is a minimalist design,but one that works well. Airflow should not be a problem even for high-end components, and the inclusion of the three fans, filters, and a fan controller is nice to see. The case will be available in July with an MSRP of $89.90 in the US and 69.90 EURO in Europe.

Lian Li Announces New Mini-ITX Chassis with a Curve-Shaped Design and Front Acrylic Window – PC-Q30

Subject: General Tech, Cases and Cooling | May 14, 2013 - 12:20 PM |
Tagged: Lian Li, PC -Q30, mini ITX, case

Lian Li has just released a very unique case for those who want to show off their internal components, the PC-Q30.  The unique curved chassis will certainly make your system stand out as no other competitor is offering a case with this particular look.  It is mini-ITX so their are some space constraints for the highest end systems but you can still fit a good system into the (W)223mm x (H)357mm x (D)300mm chassis.

q03-28.jpg

May 14, 2013, Keelung, Taiwan - Lian-Li Industrial Co. Ltd, today announces a new brushed aluminum Mini-ITX chassis – PC-Q30. With its curve-shaped design and large acrylic front window the fully aluminum PC-Q30 allows users to show off their systems, and is sure to be the talking piece of any room.

Whether in the living room, bedroom, or office, the PC-Q30 with its curve-shape and brushed aluminium finish takes visual command without being ostentatious. Additionally, DIY builders can put their stylized internal components and intricate builds on full display – as they should not be hidden from sight.

Thanks to the two expansion slots on the top of the chassis, the PC-Q30 supports graphics cards up to 200mm (7.8”). For storage, up to four 2.5” hard drives or SSDs can be mounted in the removable hard drive cage at the bottom of the chassis.

A 140mm fan in the rear of the chassis expels hot air, while ventilation on the top and side allows for cool air to enter. A small form factor power supply up to 125mm (4.9”) is placed on rubber pads in order to reduce vibrations.

q03-04.jpg

The front of the PC-Q30 is minimalistic in aesthetics and houses the dual LED illuminated power button that glows blue when on and red while loading. The I/O panel with two USB 3.0 ports and HD audio connections is located on the left side of the front of the chassis to not interrupt the elegant aesthetics.

Price and Availability
The PC-Q30 will be available in June in the US and Canada for the suggested retail price of US$149

Source: Lian Li

NZXT Unleashes Feature-Packed H630 Ultra Tower Case

Subject: Cases and Cooling | May 8, 2013 - 10:46 AM |
Tagged: ultra tower, nzxt, h630, grid hub, case

NZXT has unleashed a monstrous new PC case onto the tech world with the H630 Ultra Tower. The new chassis is constructed of powder coated steel and ABS plastic. It can accommodate XL-ATX motherboards, two 360mm radiators, 8 hard drives, and a bunch of fans within its sound dampened interior. The H630 case weighs approximately 31 pounds and measures 547 x 245 x 567mm (HxWxD).

NZXT H630 Ultra Tower White.png

On the outside, the NZXT features a glossy white or black powder coated finish. You will not find any case windows or bling, but the design is clean and simple. It offers filtered fan intakes and an IO panel located on the right side with two USB 2.0, two USB 3.0, and two audio ports as well as a SDXC card slot. Two 5.25” drive bays adorn the top-front of the case.

The inside of the case is rather spacious with an optical drive bay, three removable hard drive bays, an opening for a bottom mounted PSU, and a large motherboard tray that can hold boards up to XL-ATX in size. Water cooling enthusiasts will be pleased to know that they can mount a 360mm radiator in the top and front of the case, which is a pretty impressive feat without needing to use an externally-mounted rad (like I had to with my case). If you opt for additional air cooling, you can further fit two 140mm fans in the bottom of the case, one 140mm case in the HDD cage, and one 140mm case in the rear of the case. Needless to say, that’s a lot of cooling options!

NZXT H630 Ultra Tower.jpg

NZXT has also outfitted the H630 with sound dampening material, which should help to soften the noise of all the hardware enthusiasts are likely to pack into the case--though I would wait for reviews to see how well the material works. Additionally, the H630 has 9 expansion slots, cable routing holes, the company's 10-port Grid fan hub, and two 2.5” SSD mounts hidden behind the motherboard tray.

NZXT H630 Ultra Tower Black.jpg

The new H630 Ultra Tower should be available in the US for around $150 by the end of May and in the UK for £129.05 sometime in June. For the price, it seems like an impressive deal. I’m tempted, though I’m not sure if it will fit under my desk. You can find more photos and specifications on this NZXT product page.

Source: NZXT