Manufacturer: PC Perspective

New Components, New Approach


After 20 or so enclosure reviews over the past year and a half and some pretty inconsistent test hardware along the way, I decided to adopt a standardized test bench for all reviews going forward. Makes sense, right? Turns out choosing the best components for a cases and cooling test system was a lot more difficult than I expected going in, as special consideration had to be made for everything from form-factor to noise and heat levels.

Along with the new components I will also be changing the approach to future reviews by expanding the scope of CPU cooler testing. After some debate as to the type of CPU cooler to employ I decided that a better test of an enclosure would be to use both closed-loop liquid and air cooling for every review, and provide thermal and noise results for each. For CPU cooler reviews themselves I'll be adding a "real-world" load result to the charts to offer a more realistic scenario, running a standard desktop application (in this case a video encoder) in addition to the torture-test result using Prime95.

But what about this new build? It isn't completely done but here's a quick look at the components I ended up with so far along with the rationale for each selection.

CPU – Intel Core i5-6600K ($249,


The introduction of Intel’s 6th generation Skylake processors provided the excuse opportunity for an upgrade after using an AMD FX-6300 system for the last couple of enclosure reviews, and after toying with the idea of the new i7-6700K, and immediately realizing this was likely overkill and (more importantly) completely unavailable for purchase at the time, I went with the more "reasonable" option with the i5. There has long been a debate as to the need for hyper-threading for gaming (though this may be changing with the introduction of DX12) but in any case this is still a very powerful processor and when stressed should produce a challenging enough thermal load to adequately test both CPU coolers and enclosures going forward.

GPU – XFX Double Dissipation Radeon R9 290X ($347,


This was by far the most difficult selection. I don’t think of my own use when choosing a card for a test system like this, as it must meet a set of criteria to be a good fit for enclosure benchmarks. If I choose a card that runs very cool and with minimal noise, GPU benchmarks will be far less significant as the card won’t adequately challenge the design and thermal characteristics of the enclosure. There are certainly options that run at greater temperatures and higher noise (a reference R9 290X for example), but I didn’t want a blower-style cooler with the GPU. Why? More and more GPUs are released with some sort of large multi-fan design rather than a blower, and for enclosure testing I want to know how the case handles the extra warm air.

Noise was an important consideration, as levels from an enclosure of course vary based on the installed components. With noise measurements a GPU cooler that has very low output at idle (or zero, as some recent cooler designs permit) will allow system idle levels to fall more on case fans and airflow than a GPU that might drown them out. (This would also allow a better benchmark of CPU cooler noise - particularly with self-contained liquid coolers and audible pump noise.) And while I wanted very quiet performance at idle, at load there must be sufficient noise to measure the performance of the enclosure in this regard, though of course nothing will truly tax a design quite like a loud blower. I hope I've found a good balance here.

Continue reading our look at the cases and cooling test system build!

Lian Li Releases PC-V33 Small Footprint ATX Cube Enclosure

Subject: Cases and Cooling | September 3, 2015 - 01:04 PM |
Tagged: Test Bench, PC-V33, Lian Li, enclosure, atx case, aluminum case

Lian Li has announced a new enclosure along the lines of the PC-Q33 (a mini-ITX enclosure we reviewed here), but this new PC-V33 houses a full ATX motherboard inside its cube-like, hinged exterior.


If you’ve looked into open test benches at all you’ll really appreciate the design of the PC-V33, which essentially takes that idea and adds a cover that conveniently folds down on a hinge, exposing all components. This is a very unconventional design, and one I really appreciated when reviewing the mini-ITX version. So what’s new besides the larger size and support for ATX motherboards?

Here’s a quick rundown of the enclosure’s features:

  • Unique flip-open canopy, opens to test bench style ease of access
  • Full ATX size build in compact mid-tower case
  • Full sized PSU and GPU card supported
  • Up to 240mm internal radiator support
  • Redesigned rear vents with increased air flow
  • New shock-absorbing drive cage
  • Easy-open side doors with no screws and toolless design throughout
  • Black or silver full aluminum or add a tempered glass side wall

In addition to supporting full-sized components and 240mm radiators, there is also support for tower air coolers up to 190mm high, and the case also features a rubber-damped hard drive cage (and drives have their own 120mm exhaust fan). How much space will the PC-V33 take up on your desk? Dimensions are (WxHxD) 13.15" x 13.86" x 15.35", which are on par with an open test bench case.


The MSRP of the standard version is $199 and the version with a glass side panel is $229. The PC-V33 will available in early September.

Source: Lian Li
Manufacturer: Primochill

Introduction and Technical Specifications



Courtesy of Primochill

The Wet Bench open-air test bench is Primochill's premier case offering. This acrylic-based enclosure features an innovative design allowing for easy access to the motherboard and PCIe cards without the hassle of removing case panels and mounting screws associated with a typical case motherboard change out. With a starting MSRP of $139.95, the Wet Bench is priced competitively in light of the configurability and features offered with the case.


Courtesy of Primochill


Courtesy of Primochill

The Wet Bench is unique in its design - Primochill built it to support custom water cooling solutions from the ground up. The base kit supports mounting the water cooling kit's radiator to the back plate, up to a 360mm size (supporting 3x120mm fans). Primochill also offers an optional backplate with support for up to a 480mm radiator (supporting up to 4x120mm fans).

Continue reading our review of the Primochill Wet Bench kit!

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.


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!!

Manufacturer: Cooler Master

Introduction and Technical Specifications



Courtesy of Cooler Master

The HAF XB mid tower case is the newest member of the Cooler Master HAF line of cases. Touted as a LAN box, this cube-shaped case has both looks and features that appeal to any enthusiasts. We decided to put the HAF XB on our test bench to validate these claims. At a base price of $99.99, the HAF XB is a bargain for the features you are getting.


Courtesy of Cooler Master


Courtesy of Cooler Master

Cooler Master designed the HAF XB with a scratch-resistance, flat-black colored coating applied to all surfaces. Both side panels have integrated hand-holds for easy lifting and transport to your event and the front and top panels contain non-impeding mesh grills allowing for optimal airflow across your vital system components. Integrated into the case's front panel are power and reset buttons, power indicator LEDs, audio input and output port, USB 3.0 device ports, two 5.25" device bays, and two hot-swappable hard drive bays.

Continue reading our review of the Cooler Master HAF XB case!