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
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 12, 2015 - 11:22 AM | Sebastian Peak
Tagged: phanteks, mini-itx, micro-atx, Enthoo Mini XL, enclosure, dual-motherboard, cases
Phanteks has introduced a computer enclosure with a new form-factor they are calling “super micro ATX”, a large alternative to standard mATX designs that has the advantage of supporting two complete systems within a single case.
The second motherboard is supported via their ITX upgrade kit, and as the name indicates the second system must be built on the mini-ITX platform. While this might appeal to a very small market there is a need for running discrete systems for some users, and this design is certainly an interesting alternative to running two boxes. How it handles heat dissipation is a good question, but considering the “extreme cooling” capacity of the case - with up to 14x 120mm or 8x 140mm fan mounts - there would be plenty of room for a pair of AIO solutions to keep the CPU heat outside of the enclosure.
The mini-ITX board is installed at the top (Image credit: cowcotland.com)
The enclosure’s dimensions are (WxHxD) 260mm x 550mm x 480mm (10.24” x 21.65” x 18.90”), and the feature list includes:
- Dual removable hard drive cages
- 2x removable Drop-N-Lock SSD brackets
- Fully equipped with dustfilters (1x top, 1x front, 2x bottom)
- Removable top panel for easy fan installation and dust filter cleaning
- Compartment for fan installation in top panel
- Clean cable management using Phanteks' preinstalled Hoop-N-Loop cable ties
- Mod friendly structure uses screws NOT rivets
- 10 color abient lighting controller
- 2x USB 3.0, microphone, 3.5mm audio jack
Two backplates! (Image credit: cowcotland.com)
For full specs see the product page at the Phanteks site. Pricing is not listed and searching for the product at the usual places doesn’t turn up any listings as of this morning.
Subject: Cases and Cooling | January 9, 2015 - 04:02 PM | Sebastian Peak
Tagged: mini-itx, enclosure, Deepcool, ces 2015, CES, cases
Deepcool has announced a couple of new mini-ITX enclosures, and they are anything but average.
The Deepcool Tristellar (Credit: Legit Reviews)
First we have one of the wildest looking enclosures at I’ve ever seen (other than the In Win D-Frame mini), and it looks very much like an Imperial shuttle (ROTJ, anyone?). With three sections connected to a central hub, the Tristellar has the look of some sort of spacecraft, and would appear at first glance to be rather complicated to build in (though I'd love to find out first-hand).
Exploded view of the Tristellar (Credit: Legit Reviews)
The enclosure was featured as the basis of an upcoming gaming system from CyberPower, and it would indeed house a capable gaming machine with support for mini-ITX motherboards, full-size graphics cards, and standard ATX power supplies.
The second case is a little more conventional on the surface, but again we have a design that is quite a departure.
The Pentower enclosure (Credit: Legit Reviews)
The upright Pentower enclosure seems to borrow from the design of the latest-gen Mac Pro (albeit in a less cylindrical fashion), but is not built upon the Mac’s cooling design (in which the CPU and GPU are directly connected to the large central heatsink). Such a design seems ideal for this enclosure shape, but Deepcool has implemented their own air cooling system here.
The Mac Pro’s thermal design (Credit: Apple, Inc)
With the Pentower standard components can be used and installation should be relatively easy since “after the shell is removed, all of the panels and trestles are exposed (and) users can install units directly without uninstall(ing) any other part of the case“, according to the press release.
There is no listing for the Tristellar or Pentower cases on the Deepcool website as of today, and naturally pricing and availability have not been announced.
Follow all of our coverage of the show at http://pcper.com/ces!
Subject: Cases and Cooling | December 22, 2014 - 08:16 PM | Sebastian Peak
Tagged: wall mount, Steam Machine, PC-05S, mini-itx, Lian Li, enclosure, cases, aluminum case
Techspot posted a review of the unreleased Lian Li PC-05S case over the weekend, and as you can see it’s a lot more interesting than the generic name might suggest.
The case features aluminum construction (of course - it’s a Lian Li!) and a tempered glass side to showcase the build. And what better way to show off a build than hanging it on the wall like a picture? Well, the reviewer didn’t show this but the case is described as a “wall mountable open-air chassis” by Lian Li on their site. Overall, Techspot liked the PC-05S and called it “a beautiful case that is well-designed inside and out”.
Looks great on a desk!
At just over 14 lbs (without components) this will require some planning to mount on a wall. The dimensions (WHD) are 15.1” x 18.3” x 5.8”, and it has a similar layout to Steam Machine cases like the SilverStone RV01 which we reviewed back in January. Like the RV01, the PC-05S requires a mini-ITX motherboard and orients the GPU at a 90° angle (via an included ribbon adapter) to fit in such a slim enclosure. The PC-05S also requires an SFX power supply (such as the SilverStone SX600-G we reviewed recently) and supports 240mm radiators.
Many more photos and full specs are available on the main product page, and the Lian Li PC-05S is slated for a February 2015 release. The cost? $319.
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: General Tech, Cases and Cooling | June 17, 2014 - 06:39 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: nzxt, razer, cases, steel
There does not seem to be much difference between the newly announced Special Edition H440, "Designed by Razer", and the original. The announcement claims: a custom paint design, LED lighting, a tinted window, and more. The design includes four fans (3x 120mm and 1x 140mm) and supports water cooling radiators up to 360mm.
By the specifications, nothing is different, functionally. That said, when you are dealing with a company who will budget out hundreds of thousands of dollars in research and development for a USB port color, it is entirely possible that a few screws might have moved slightly, and so forth. Then again, the images on the product pages seem fairly identical. Speaking of Razer's expensive USB ports, it looks like the USB 3.0 ports are that shade of green. Call it, "Extending their return on investment"?
Annnnd of course, no pricing or availability. That is, apart from: "Coming Soon".
Subject: Cases and Cooling | June 13, 2014 - 11:31 PM | Sebastian Peak
Tagged: enclosure, computex 2014, computex, cases, bitfenix pandora, bitfenix atlas, bitfenix aegis, bitfenix
Yes, Computex is over - and in its wake we’re still left with a ton of new product announcements. Three of these come from BitFenix, who unveiled new enclosures at their booth in Taipei last week.
The first is the BitFenix Atlas, which has incorporated some interesting design features including what they are calling “swappable chambers” and a “test-mode motherboard tray”. (Could this be an open test-bench feature?)
The design is very interesting (a bit along the lines of the Corsair Carbide Air 540), and the extra width allows for no less than ten 3.5” hard drive bays behind the motherboard tray! The Atlas also has six 2.5” bays for SSDs, and features a full array of dust filters and nifty RGB lighting.
Next we’ll look at the Aegis, a sleek minitower enclosure.
The Aegis supports micro-ATX and mini-ITX motherboards and features water cooling support and a built in fan controller. In addition to 240/280mm radiator support on the top, the Aegis also boasts 360mm radiator support up front.
Finally we have the Pandora, which in addition to streaming music (as I’ve been informed) is also apparently a PC case that looks like part of a stormtrooper’s armor.
Besides protecting imperial troops from rebel attacks, the Pandora offers a stylish take on a mini-ITX tower design and offers support for full-size ATX power supplies and (presumably) liquid cooling via two pairs of 120mm fan mounts.
No specifics on pricing or availability from BitFenix on these three new enclosures just yet, but expect them this year as they are part of the 2014 BitFenix catalog.
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.
Subject: Cases and Cooling | June 2, 2014 - 07:00 AM | Sebastian Peak
Tagged: mini-itx, micro-atx, corsair, computex 2014, chassis, cases, atx case
Today Corsair announced three new enclosures in a lineup covering the ATX, micro-ATX, and mini-ITX form factors.
Carbide Series AIR 240
The first announcement is a smaller version of the popular Carbide AIR 540, which promises big cooling with a small footprint. The Air 240 supports micro-ATX and mini-ITX motherboards, comes equipped with three of Corsair's high performance AF120 fans, and can support 240mm radiators and long graphics cards.
The Carbide Series AIR 240 will be shipping in August in both black and white color schemes, with a list price between $89 - $99.
Graphite 780T in black
The Graphite 780T is a full tower case dripping with features and functionality. With a style similar to the 600T more than the previous 760T, it has the same distinctive, rounded look of that earlier Graphite case.
Like all of today's announced cases, the 780T also comes in white
The 780T features premium latched side panels, a huge interior, and mammoth water cooling support (like, dual 360mm radiator support!), along with space for up to 9 hard drives. The Graphite 780T also includes three 140mm AF140 fans, and the case has an integrated 3-speed fan controller along with a “Start/Stop” button that looks like it came from a late-model car.
The Graphite 780T will be available in September and listed prices are expected to range from $179.99 - $189.99.
My personal favorite from this group, this full-featured case is Corsair's no compromise approach to mini-ITX, and looks like a miniature version of the 780T (or a really deluxe igloo cooler). It supports full-length graphics cards, 240mm radiators, and up to four 3.5"/2.5" hard drives - and the features don't stop here. The 380T has latched side panels (similar to the larger 780T), includes both 120mm and 140mm AF-series fans, and has a 3-speed fan controller.
The Graphite 380T will be available in August in white and black versions with a list price of $129.99.