Introduction and First Impressions
The Source S340 from NZXT has been one of my favorite enclosures since I reviewed it early in 2015, offering a fantastic price/performance proposition with a street price between $69 and $79. Fortunately, this outstanding compact ATX design isn't going anywhere, and since my original review NZXT has introduced a premium Designed by Razer version, and this new S340 Elite was released just last month.
What makes the Elite so, well, elite? There are some key changes with this new version, including a tempered glass side panel, VR support from an external HDMI port and an included puck for storing a VR headset and cables, as well as new plastic cable management clamps behind the motherboard tray, an extra SSD mount up front, and a pair of USB 2.0 ports along with the previous USB 3.0 ports up top. While the VR support won't be required for everyone, the tempered glass panel alone makes this an attractive option at its $99.99 retail price, which is a very modest $20 premium over the standard version's $79.99 MSRP.
This review will be a little less in-depth compared to the usual review, as the S340 chassis is unchanged internally from our full review last April. Still, there is enough new here to take a fresh look at the S340 Elite, and it will be good to test it again with the current testbench components and see how it has held up.
The tempered glass side panel is the star of the 340 Elite
Introduction and First Impressions
Corsair’s Carbide Series Air 740 is a high-airflow cube-like ATX case, and it has a different look and some different options compared to the previous Air 540. Both Air cases are dual-chamber designs, with tons of room behind the motherboard tray for storage and hiding cables (and watercooling components). The cube style might not be to everyone’s liking, but if you do like the aesthetics there is a lot of case to cover here. Let’s get started!
The original Carbide Air enclosure has been around for a few years, and Ryan reviewed Air 540 back in 2013. The new Air 740 is more a refinement than a new enclosure, and internally the two cases are very similar. Corsair has dropped the 5.25-inch external drive bays with the 740, and the door has a very nice hinged/latching design now. Style is a little more aggressive, but the fundamentals are the same: a cube design offering two large chambers, and generous venting to promote high airflow.
The Air 740 has a hinged, latching door
Subject: General Tech | October 19, 2016 - 03:14 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: phanteks, matx case, Enthoo Pro M, Enthoo, enclosure, atx case
Sebastian reviewed the Enthoo Pro M back in August, a well received case with a layout similar to an EVOLV ATX or Fractal Design Define S. Phanteks have recently updated the exterior of the case, replacing the plastic side window and panel with a side panel made completely of tempered glass. You can see how the upgraded model looks over at Kitguru. There is also a variant which looks the same as this model, but with an acrylic side panel for those concerned about the price or mistrusting of a glass side panel.
"The short version of this review is that Phanteks has given its Enthoo Pro M case a minor update and has changed the main side panel for a sheet of tempered glass. The slightly longer version is that Phanteks has revised its superb entry level Pro M case by replacing one of the few weak features, a flexible steel side panel with a so-so plastic window, with a gorgeous panel of tempered glass."
Here are some more Cases & Cooling reviews from around the web:
- BitFenix Aurora Mid-Tower Tempered Glass @ eTeknix
- Deepcool Captain Genome Cooling System Review @ NikKTech
- ID-Cooling FrostFlow 240L Review @ OCC
- Alphacool Eisbaer 240 Expandable AIO @ Kitguru
- MSI Core Frozr L @ techPowerUp
Introduction and First Impressions
A newcomer in the PC enclosure space, RIOTORO has a lineup of unique-looking products to offer in a market flooded with options at every price-point. With this full-tower PRISM CR1280 enclosure the company says that they are providing not just a home for your components, but “the world’s 1st fully RGB case with unparalleled personalization options”.
Clearly, RGB lighting has been one of the biggest trends in PC hardware for the past year or so, and if you are so inclined the PRISM CR1280 promises fully customizable color with lighted accents on the front of the case, and included RGB intake fans.
Beyond the RGB lighting, however, the PRISM CR1280 has a rather unusual industrial design. There is angular black plastic over a steel body, and a large edge-to-edge side panel window (not to mention those bare aluminum feet). It looks like a premium enclosure, and it’s certainly priced like one with an MSRP of $169.99 (selling for $149 currently). Is it worth it? Read on to find out!
Subject: Cases and Cooling | June 1, 2016 - 11:38 AM | Sebastian Peak
Tagged: enclosure, Dark Base 900 Pro, Dark Base 900, computex 2016, computex, case, be quiet!, atx case
A pair of enclosures from be quiet! have been announced, with the Dark Base 900 and Dark Base 900 PRO, and both models offer modular construction for greater build flexibility.
Here are some of the specs and features from be quiet!:
- High flexibility through high modularity
- Modular motherboard tray can invert and also slide vertically to make space for radiators, etc.
- Motherboard tray is decoupled to avoid vibrations
- Removable motherboard tray can be used as a test bench, or install system completely outside the case first
- Separated HDD cages for maximum flexibility - each holds one 3.5” or two 2.5” drives
- Removable ODD cage
- Standard storage support: 2x ODD / 7x HDD / 15x SSD
- Highest compatibility to water cooling
- PWM fan control
- 3x SilentWings 3 PWM 140mm fans pre-installed
- Aluminum finish on top and front
- 4mm tempered glass side panel
- LED strips with 5 colors
- QI charger for mobile devices
The system looks spacious, and offers removable cages for storage drives:
The motherboard tray is removable, and it can also be inverted if desired for an alternate internal layout:
And what premium enclosure would be complete without LED lighting? The PRO version of the Dark Base offers LED strips with your choice of 5 colors:
The Dark Base 900 has an MSRP of $199, and the Dark Base 900 PRO is $249, with availability set for June 28.
Subject: Cases and Cooling | May 23, 2016 - 11:50 AM | Sebastian Peak
Tagged: tempered glass, steel, SECC, mid-tower, In Win 303, in win, enclosure, case, atx case
In Win's 303 enclosure has been released, and this mid-tower offers a very clean, simple look, and provides the option of a tempered glass side panel to show off your build.
"The IN WIN team presents the 303, a simple, yet elegant computer chassis crafted from steel and tempered glass. The distinctively clean front panel is complemented with a bright LED design to balance the overall appearance.
The IN WIN logo is highlighted “Neon” as well as the lucent stripped I/O front panel. These gorgeous LEDs also have the purpose of indicating when the PC is activated."
The In Win 303 is available with a white or black finish
The 303 is constructed primarily of SECC (electrogalvanized steel), which should help them keep costs down versus aluminum designs at the expense of some added weight.
The 303 offers buyers a choice between a pair of side panel styles, with both tempered glass and solid aluminum options. As to the former, the company states you are "able to remove the beautiful 3mm tempered glass side panel by just pressing the handle," while the aluminum panel is affixed with thumbscrews.
In Win 303 interior
While officially released with a product page up on In Win's site, actual retail availability in the U.S. might have to wait until after Computex, as listings have yet to appear on Newegg or Amazon for the new 303 (at time of publication).
Subject: Cases and Cooling | May 19, 2016 - 10:43 AM | Sebastian Peak
Tagged: steel, matx case, Lian Li, enclosure, case, atx case
Lian Li is now producing steel enclosures (gasp), which translates into some more affordable options on the market from this venerable brand that typically produces products from aluminum and glass.
(left to right) Lian Li PC-K5, PC-K6, and PC-K6S
“Lian Li has been known for its signature brushed aluminum aesthetic for decades. For many years, a number of customers have requested more affordable alternatives. The Ebonsteel series is intended to provide this option for those who seek the best value in PC cases. While these chassis are built with steel rather than aluminum, they are still very much Lian Li cases – tool-less building features, grommeted panel cutouts for cable management, vibration-dampened PSU mounts and drive cages, removable mesh filters on fan mounts – they include many of the bells and whistles of a typical Lian Li case!”
The three new enclosures Lian Li is featuring in their news release include the mid-tower PC-K5 and PC-K6, and a silent version of the latter named PC-K6S. Of these the PC-K5 is a budget-minded option, with an MSRP of $56 for the standard version, and $60 if you'd like a side panel window. The PC-K6 is a more premium offering, with an MSRP of $93, with the silent version at $109.
As to availability, I'll quote the press release here: "The Ebonsteel cases will be available in mid June for K5, and late June for K6, K6S."
Subject: Cases and Cooling | May 2, 2016 - 09:00 AM | Sebastian Peak
Tagged: side window, P9 Window, mid-tower, Full-Tower, fan controller, enclosure, case, atx case, antec
Antec has listed a new P9 Window tower enclosure on their site ahead of Computex, and while it's listed as "not available" at the moment, that should change by the end of the month.
So what is this P9 Window? It's a straightforward case with a big side window, excellent storage and cooling support, and dual onboard fan controllers.
"Don’t let the sleek, understated exterior fool you. The P9 Window is loaded with builder-focused features that deliver performance, Quiet Computing, and future-proof expandability right out of the box. The interior volume, the variety of cooling options, and the modular HDD cages are just a few of the features that make the P9 Window stand out in the Performance One series."
- Motherboard Support: ATX, micro ATX, mini ITX
- Expansion Slots: 8
- 13 Total Drive Bays:
- 3 x Tool-less 5.25” ODD Bays
- 8 x Tool-less 3.5” HDD trays (each compatible with 2.5” SSD)
- 1 x 3.5” HDD (inside the 5.25” drive cage)
- 2 x Tool-less 2.5” Dedicated SSD Bays
- Cooling System:
- 2 x Front 120mm (included) fan
- 1 x Rear 120mm (included) fan
- 3 x Top 120mm or 2 x 140mm fan mounts (optional)
- 1 x Bottom 120mm (optional)
- 2 x 120mm HDD cage fan mounts (Optional)
- Water cooling support:
- Front: Supports 240mm radiator
- Top: Supports240/280/360 mm radiator
- Pump / Reservoir mounting brackets included
- Removable / Relocation of HDD cages for water cooling pump
- I/O Ports:
- 2 x USB 3.0
- 2 x USB 2.0
- 2 x Fan controls
- Audio In/Out
- Washable air filters (front intake and PSU)
- Supports up to 430 mm VGA cards
- Bottom mounted ATX PSU (not included)
- Dimensions: 22.44” (W) x 23.50 (H) x 11.26” (D)
- Weight: 20 lbs
Pricing shown in Antec's listing is a reasonable $109 for a full-tower design like this, and we'll doubtless get a chance to see how its performing soon enough as reviews start coming out.
Subject: Cases and Cooling | April 8, 2016 - 03:09 PM | Sebastian Peak
Tagged: mid-tower, enclosure, corsair, case, Carbide SPEC-ALPHA, atx case
Corsair has officially released the Carbide SPEC-ALPHA case they were showing off at CES 2016, and this mid-tower is a striking design that offers an alternative to more traditional look of the company's recent Carbide offerings.
The White/Red SPEC-ALPHA at CES
"With its modern, angular appearance, the SPEC-ALPHA really stands out in a crowd. But its looks aren’t all that are modern – the SPEC-ALPHA features native USB 3.0 support, room for up to four SSDs, and a three-speed fan controller for the three included 120mm fans. A large window shows off internal components and the Direct Airflow Path layout, which provides superior cooling by getting rid of unnecessary drive bays."
The inclusion of a 3-speed fan control is definately welcome at this price, which is an attractive $79.99 MSRP. We'll have to wait until we get one in to test to see how it performs, but at first glance it looks promising. Doubtless the look won't be for everyone, but if you look at a lot of enclosures (like someone I know) unusual designs are always welcome!
Inside the Black/Red version
Technical specifications from Corsair:
- Expansion Slots: 7
- 5.25” Drive bays: N/A
- 3.5” Hard Drive Bays: 3
- 2.5” Drive Bays: 4
- Cooling Layout:
- Front: 2 x 120mm (2 x 120mm LED included)
- Top: 2 x 120mm
- Rear: 1 x 120mm (included)
- Radiator Compatibility:
- 240mm: Front only
- 120mm: Front, or Rear
- Integrated dust filters for front and bottom intakes
- Front I/O Panel includes:
- USB 3.0 port (x2)
- Three-Speed Fan Controller
- Headphone and Microphone jacks
- Power on and Reset buttons
- Dimensions (LxWxH) 518 x 220 x 474 mm (20.39 x 8.66 x 18.66 inches)
- Maximum GPU Length: 380 mm
- Maximum CPU Cooler Height: 156 mm
- Maximum PSU Length: 190 mm
- 2 Year Warranty
(Image credit: Corsair)
As stated above the Carbide SPEC-ALPHA retails for $79.99 and is available now.
Subject: Cases and Cooling | January 10, 2016 - 01:02 PM | Sebastian Peak
Tagged: Silverstone, NAS, mini-itx, enclosure, CS380, CS280, CES 2016, CES, case, atx case
SilverStone had a pair of CS Series enclosures on display at CES this year, with both ATX and Mini-ITX form-factors covered with these storage-oriented designs.
Beginning with the larger CS380, an enclosure that had previously been shown at Computex in a Micro-ATX form-factor. This slightly modified final version now supports a standard ATX motherboard for additional build flexibility, but this enclosure is really all about the hard drives. With eight 3.5-inch HDD trays up front (along with a pair of 5.25-inch bays that can each be replaced with hot-swap HDD trays, sold separately), there is plenty of storage space for a NAS or storage server build.
Inside, a pair of 120 mm fans keep the hard drives cool, and while the bare metal interior looks plain by modern standards these CS Series enclosures were build with enterprise standards in mind. The rest of the interior is pretty standard for an ATX enclosure, with a bottom PSU placement, 120 mm rear fan, and 7 expansion slots.
The smaller of the two storage enclosures, the CS280, is a mini-ITX design that scales storage support down to 2.5-inch drives.
Offering 8 HDD/SSD trays and supporting standard mini-ITX motherboards with up to a 2-bay, full-height expansion card, the CS280 provides a lot of build flexibility. While it would make a very compact storage server or hold a tremendous amount of SSD storage for a high-speed NAS, the CS280 could also house a compact, high-power gaming rig with a GPU like AMD's R9 Nano - if you desired this much storage support, that is.
Panels in the front of both cases allow view of HDD activity lights
The two enclosures differ beyond size as the CS380 has a plastic front panel/door, and the smaller CS280 features a brushed aluminum front panel and a more rounded appearance. These enclosures will be priced a little higher than typical consumer drives given their construction and purpose, but we will await final retail pricing (and availability) to see where they fit in the market.
Follow all of our coverage of the show at http://pcper.com/ces!