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.
Subject: Cases and Cooling | September 3, 2015 - 01:04 PM | Sebastian Peak
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.
Introduction and First Impressions
The Enthoo Pro M is the new mid-tower version of the Enthoo Pro, previously a full-tower ATX enclosure from the PC cooler and enclosure maker. This new enclosure adds another option to the $79 case market, which already has a number of solid options. Let's see how it stacks up!
I was very impressed by the Phanteks Enthoo EVOLV ATX enclosure, which received our Editor’s Choice award when reviewed earlier this year. The enclosure was very solidly made and had a number of excellent features, and even with a primarily aluminum construction and premium design it can be found for $119, rather unheard-of for this combination in the enclosure market. So what changes from that design might be expect to see with the $79 Enthoo Pro M?
The Pro M is a very businesslike design, constructed of steel and plastic, and with a very understated appearance. Not exactly “boring”, as it does have some personality beyond the typical rectangular box, with a brushed finish to the front panel which also features a vented front fan opening, and a side panel window to show off your build. But I think the real story here is the intelligent internal design, which is nearly identical to that of the EVOLV ATX.
Introduction and First Impressions
The Antec Signature Series S10 is the company's new flagship enclosure, and it looks every bit the part. A massive full-tower design with seemingly no expense spared in its design and construction, the S10 boasts many interesting design details. So is it worth the staggering $499 price tag? (Update: A day after our review was published Newegg cut the $499 MSRP by $150, taking the S10 down to $299 after a $50 rebate.)
The Signature S10 is an interesting product to be sure. Antec, long renowned as a maker of premium cases has in recent years lost some of the cachet that they once had with enthusiasts. This is no reflection on Antec and more a result of the industy's flood of enclosures into the market, with virtually every brand filling all price segments. Corsair, SilverStone, Fractal Design, Lian Li, Cooler Master, In Win, NZXT, BitFenix, Phanteks, and the list goes on and on...
So where does the new S10 enclosure fit into this market? Antec made the daring move of placing the Signature enclosure directly at the top with a shocking $499 retail price - which subsequently dropped to $449 and then again to $349 before a $50 rebate. I can think of no other recent enclosure this expensive at launch other than the In Win S-Frame, and it positioned the S10 as an unattainable object for most builders. So was Antec successful in creating an aspirational product - even before the recent price cuts?
Is that... Batman??
Introduction and First Impressions
Phanteks has expanded their Enthoo enclosure lineup with a new ATX version of the popular EVOLV case, and it offers a striking design and some unique features to help it stand out in the mid-tower market.
Phanteks first came to my attention with their large double tower cooler PH-TC14, which competes directly with the Noctua NH-D14 in the CPU air-cooling market. But like a lot of other cooling companies (Cooler Master, Corsair, etc.) Phanteks also offers a full lineup of enclosures as well. Of these the Enthoo EVOLV, which until today has only been available in a micro-ATX and mini-ITX version, has been well-received and has a angular, minimalist look that I like quite a bit. Enter the EVOLV ATX.
With the larger size to this new EVOLV ATX there is not only room for a full-size motherboard, but much more room for components and cooling as well. The internal layout is very similar to the recently reviewed Fractal Design Define S enclosure, with no storage (5.25” or 3.5”) inside the front of the case, which gives the EVOLV ATX a totally open layout. The front is solid metal (though well vented) so we’ll see how this affects cooling, and it will be interesting to see how Phanteks has approached internal storage with the design as well. Let’s get started!
Subject: Cases and Cooling | June 1, 2015 - 07:30 AM | Sebastian Peak
Tagged: obsidian 750d, corsair, computex 2015, computex, cases, atx case, airflow edition, AF140L
Corsair has unveiled a new version of its 750D full-tower enclosure, and this iteration features a perforated front grill to improve airflow. The new enclosure also includes three of Corsair’s AF140L high-airflow, low-noise 140mm fans (2 front intake fans and 1 rear exhaust fan).
Here are some of the spec highlights from Corsair:
- Perforated front grille for improved cooling
- Nine expansion slots for larger motherboards and running multiple graphics cards or expansion boards simultaneously
- Six tool-free 3.5”/2.5” combo bays in two modular hard drive cages, with room for two more cages for up to 12 combo drive bays
- Four tool-free 2.5” side-mounted drive cages for SSDs, out of the airflow path
- Three tool-free 5.25” bays for expansion
- Four front mounted USB ports for easy peripheral or external storage device connection
- Three AF140L high-airflow 140mm fans (2 front, 1 rear) for excellent airflow and low noise levels
- Room for up to 8 fans
- Radiator compatibility:
- Top – 360mm or 280mm
- Front – 280mm or 240mm
- Bottom – 240mm
- Rear – 140mm or 120mm
Storage Layout Options
- Modular hard drive cages can be configured in four separate mounting locations.
- Side-mounted 2.5” cages allow quick, easy removal of the 3.5” drive cages for better airflow or room for radiators, while maintaining capacity for up to four 2.5” drives.
The 750D Airflow Edition will carry a $159.99 MSRP and will be available immediately through Corsair's usual retail channels.
Introduction and First Impressions
Supermicro recently entered the consumer space with a new line of enthusiast motherboards and today we’re looking at a gaming enclosure from the well-known enterprise manufacturer.
While many component manufacturers have diversified their product offerings to include everything from cooling fans to thumb drives, Supermicro is not a name that anyone familiar with the company would have likely suspected of this trend. With recent Z97 and X99 motherboard offerings Supermicro has made an effort to enter the enthusiast market with boards that don’t exactly look like gaming products, but this is to be expected from a company that specializes in the enterprise market.
It was something of a surprise to hear that Supermicro had created a new enclosure for the consumer segment, and even more so to hear that it was to be a gaming enclosure. And while the term “gaming” gets thrown around quite a bit the new enclosure does have the look we tend to associate with the moniker, with flashy red accents and a brushed aluminum front panel to go along with all-black steel enclosure.
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).