Introduction: The Core Series Shrinks Down
Image credit: Fractal Design
The Core 1100 from Fractal Design is a small micro-ATX case, essentially a miniature version of the previously reviewed Core 3300. With its small dimensions the Core 1100 targets micro-ATX and mini-ITX builders, and provides another option not only in Fractal Design's budget lineup, but in the crowded budget enclosure market.
The price level for the Core 1100 has fluctuated a bit on Amazon since I began this review, with prices ranging from a high of $50 down to a low of just $39. It is currently $39.99 at Newegg, so the price should soon stabilize at Amazon and other retailers. At the ~$40 level this could easily be a compelling option for a smaller build, though admittedly the design of these Core series cases is purely functional. Ultimately any enclosure recommendation will depend on ease of use and thermal performance/noise, which is exactly what we will look at in this review.
Mini-ITX Sized Package with a Full Sized GPU
PC components seem to be getting smaller. Micro-ATX used to not be very popular for the mainstream enthusiast, but that has changed as of late. Mini-ITX is now the hot form factor these days with plenty of integrated features on motherboards and interesting case designs to house them in. Enthusiast graphics cards tend to be big, and that is a problem for some of these small cases. Manufacturers are responding to this by squeezing every ounce of cooling performance into smaller cards that more adequately fit in these small chassis.
MSI is currently offering their midrange cards in these mini-ITX liveries. The card we have today is the GTX 760 Mini-ITX Gaming. The GTX 760 is a fairly popular card due to it being fairly quick, but not too expensive. It is still based on the GK104, though fairly heavily cut down from a fully functional die. The GTX 760 features 1152 CUDA Cores divided into 6 SMXs. A fully functional GK104 is 1536 CUDA Cores and 8 SMXs. The stock clock on the GTX 760 is 980 MHz with a boost up to 1033 MHz.
The pricing for the GTX 760 cards is actually fairly high as compared to similarly performing products from AMD. NVIDIA feels that they offer a very solid product at that price and do not need to compete directly with AMD on a performance per dollar basis. Considering that NVIDIA has stayed very steady in terms of marketshare, they probably have a valid point. Overall the GTX 760 performs in the same general area as a R9 270X and R9 280, but again the AMD parts have a significant advantage in terms of price.
The challenges for making a high performing, small form factor card are focused on power delivery and thermal dissipation. Can the smaller PCB still have enough space for all of the VRMs required with such a design? Can the manufacturer develop a cooling solution that will keep the GPU in the designed thermal envelope? MSI has taken a shot at these issues with their GTX 760 Mini-ITX OC edition card.
Subject: Cases and Cooling | September 5, 2014 - 06:14 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: mini-itx, mini ITX, graphite, corsair, 380t
You have seen Ryan's video review by now but you can also check out a different review of Corsair's Graphite Series 380T. The so called drink cooler case was tested with an A10-7850K and an MSI A88XI AC motherboard which unfortunately blocked some of the bolt holes that would have attached the Cooler Master Seidon 120V so be sure to install any coolers which require a custom back plate before mounting the motherboard. The radiator did fit in the side mounting points as it could not be placed in the front or back, something else to keep in mind if building a system in this tiny little cube of 8.2" x 10.3" x 11.1" (356 x 292 x 393 mm). To complete The Tech Report's Casewarmer a GTX 660 Ti, SSD and Cooler Master V550 PSU were installed, all of which remained at decent temperatures under load and thanks to the integral fan controller did so without producing ridiculous amounts of noise. If you are wondering about the handle, it did not feel at all strained when being carried even with all components installed.
"Corsair's Graphite Series 380T is a supercar-themed Mini-ITX case designed for the PC enthusiast. Does it live up to its billing? We loaded it up with our Casewarmer build to find out."
Here are some more Cases & Cooling reviews from around the web:
- Corsair Graphite 380T @ techPowerUp
- Corsair Graphite 380T Mini-ITX @ eTeknix
- Corsair Graphite 380T @ Kitguru
- CORSAIR Graphite 380T Computer Case Review @ Madshrimps
- Corsair Obsidian 450D Chassis Review – Hitting the Sweet Spot @ Techgage
- Corsair Carbide Air 240 Chassis Review @ Techgage
- Aerocool DS Cube @ techPowerUp
- Akasa Euler Mini-ITX Thin Fanless Chassis @ eTeknix
- Silverstone Raven RV05-BW @ eTeknix
- NZXT Kraken X31 Liquid Cooler Review @ Neoseeker
- Zalman Reserator 3 Max Dual @ techPowerUp
- SilverStone Tundra TD02 AIO Liquid CPU Cooler Review @ Techgage
- DeepCool MAELSTROM 240 AIO Liquid CPU Cooler Review @ NikKTech
- SilentiumPC Gradis XE1236 CPU Cooler Review @ NikKTech
- bequiet! Shadow Rock Slim Heatsink Review @ Hardware Asylum
- Thermaltake Frio14 Silent CPU Cooler @ Kitguru
Little. Yellow. Different.
Corsair just can't help themselves, they just can't stop building new cases. Obsidian, Carbide, Graphite; the obsession is never ending it seems. That's good news for enthusiasts though as Corsair's entries to the case market have almost always been high quality. Today's official launch of the Graphite 380T, available in yellow, black and white color schemes, brings yet another entry to the Mini-ITX form factor. It's a market that has been getting a lot of attention lately and one that requires more careful thought in design.
With a price of $139-149 depending on color, the Graphite 380T isn't a cheap case by most users descriptions but it is quite unique - both from the look and style as well as the implementation of components. You get a 3-speed fan controller as well as an interior dome light that adds a little character to an exterior that will already get a lot attention. And maybe some comparisons to a Dewalt portable worksite stereo.
The front panel removes with a simple spring-loaded click release and acts as both air inlet and filter for the large 140mm fan included up front.
Subject: Cases and Cooling | August 21, 2014 - 05:46 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: cooler master, Elite 110, Casewarmer, mini-itx
A few months ago Lee reviewed the $40 Cooler Master Elite 110 and with the recent resurgence of mini-ITX systems it is worth revisiting this case. Measuring 8.2" x 10.3" x 11.1" (208 x 260 x 280 mm) it is a rather small enclosure which will lead to a crowded interior but a stylish looking and easy to place system. As you are limited to a 3" tall heatsink The Tech Report opted to go with watercooling as you can just squeeze a 120mm radiator in; in this case the Seidon 120V. The A10-7850K based "Casewarmer" was installed and with some tweaking The Tech Report managed to keep temperature and sound levels within a decent range but you should consider your cooling components with the knowledge that this case can get warm and loud without the right fans and heatsink.
"Cooler Master's Elite 110 is a tiny case with a price to match. Is it a good value? We loaded it up with parts and ran it through our testing gauntlet to find out."
Here are some more Cases & Cooling reviews from around the web:
- In Win 901 @ techPowerUp
- Thermaltake Core V71 Full-Tower Case Review @ Legit Reviews
- Thermaltake Core V1 Mini-ITX Case @ [H]ard|OCP
- Phanteks Enthoo Luxe Full-Tower @ Benchmark Reviews
- CORSAIR CARBIDE SPEC 01 Gaming Case Review @ Madshrimps
- Corsair Carbide Air 240 Micro-ATX @ eTeknix
- Corsair Carbide Air 240 @ techPowerUp
- Corsair Carbide Air 240 @ Kitguru
- Phanteks Enthoo Pro Chassis @ Funky Kit
- Phanteks Enthoo Pro @ techPowerUp
- DeepCool Steam Castle mATX @ eTeknix
- BitFenix Neos @ Benchmark Reviews
- NZXT Kraken X41 AIO Liquid CPU Cooler @ [H]ard|OCP
- NZXT Kraken X31 & X41 Liquid CPU Coolers @ SPCR
- Thermaltake Water 3.0 Extreme Liquid CPU Cooler Review @ NikKTech
- Thermalright Archon IB-E X2 CPU Cooler Review @ NikKTech
- Raijintek Pallas Low Profile Heatsink Review @ Hardware Asylum
It's so cool, and so tiny
Corsair continues to march down the path of making a PC case for just about every user imaginable. At Computex this past June, Corsair announced the Carbide Air 240 case, which is a smaller version of the very popular (and well reviewed) Carbide Air 540. These unique cases include two separate compartments: one for the motherboard, CPU, and graphics card and another for the power supply, storage, and miscellaneous cable clutter. The result is a sleek cube-shaped form factor that is easy to build inside.
Available in both black and white (with UV resistant paint), the $89/99 case fits both Mini-ITX and Micro-ATX motherboards allowing quite a bit of component flexibility.
A quick look at the front of the case shows the cube-like shape that both the Air 540 and Air 240 share, a form factor resulting from the dual-compartment design. The Corsair logo in the center can actually be rotated depending on the orientation of the case which itself can be rotated to allow the windowed case door to be the top of the case rather than the side.
Features and Specifications
As the popularity and availability of small form factor PC components continues to grow, more companies are coming out with new enclosures that support this expanding market. Today, we are taking a detailed look at Cooler Master’s latest entry into the mini-ITX arena; the Elite 110 case. It’s amazing just how powerful a PC can be built around one of the latest mini-ITX motherboards and how much hardware can be stuffed into a small cube. In addition to basic computing needs, the Elite 110 enclosure offers a great many expansion options, with support for overclocking, a high end graphics adapter, up to four HDD/SSDs, a full size ATX power supply, and even water-cooling; all inside a small ~10” cube!
Cooler Master Elite 110 mini-ITX case key features:
• Small footprint: 280 x 208 x 260 mm (11.1 x 9.2 x 10.3”)
• Supports mini-ITX motherboard
• Front mesh panel with vents on both sides and top
• One 120mm intake fan in front (included) or one 140mm fan (optional)
• Two 80mm fans on the side (optional)
• Supports a 120mm radiator in front for water-cooling
• Supports a standard length ATX PSU (up to 180mm)
• Supports one dual-slot graphics card (up to 210mm length)
• Supports up to three 3.5” HDDs / four 2.5” SSDs
• External I/O panel with two USB 3.0 ports
• Blue LED On/Off switch on front panel
Specifications for the Elite 110 case (Courtesy of Cooler Master):
Subject: Cases and Cooling | June 2, 2014 - 11:00 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.
Subject: Cases and Cooling | May 29, 2014 - 02:42 PM | Sebastian Peak
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).
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.
Introduction: The Elements of (Life)Style
If this review began by describing this mini-ITX enclosure's all metal and glass construction, its rounded corners, and the premium price tag, it might easily start to sound like it came from that company in Cupertino. Come to think of it, this case would look right at home in a lifestyle magazine photo shoot...
Living the IN WIN 901 lifestyle?
The 901 is definitely stylish, and this is in keeping with the design philosophy of a company that promotes the aesthetics of products first and foremost. So where does this design merge with functionality? This question is a fundamental part of industrial design (ID as it's known in the industry), and in our look at this striking enclosure we'll see how much substance there is to go along with all of that IN WIN style.
One Size Does Not Fit All
Computer cases are a personal thing, which is why we hesitate to make recommendations in this area. Within a certain price point there might be dozens of options for just about any need. But whether or not you're a fan of the sleek styling of a product like the 901, it's different beyond that first impression. The case starts with an aluminum quasi-unibody construction with tempered glass panels on both sides. There is a rather complex structure within this simple exterior, but it is well organized with some thoughtful (and some really smart) design choices.
IN WIN says the 901 mini-ITX case is an example of “precision craftsmanship with no compromises”, and an initial inspection would leave one hard pressed to disagree. It's apparent that some serious engineering has gone into this enclosure, and there is a high level of quality befitting something with this price tag. At $179.99 this is geared toward the high-end enthusiast community, and even a smaller subset considering it is only compatible with mini-ITX motherboards. And while mini-ITX is the supported form-factor, this is definitely not a SFF case. In fact, it’s almost big enough to be a micro-ATX enclosure, but this isn't a complaint. The size of the 901 allows it a unique internal layout.