Introduction and Case Exterior

The Define Mini C is the micro-ATX variant in Fractal Design's excellent Define series, and this compact chassis is nearly as small as some of the mini-ITX cases we've looked at in recent months. The advantages of micro-ATX for a small form-factor build are undeniable, including added expansion slots (and multi-GPU support), and more robust power delivery for greater CPU flexibility including AMD socket AM3/AM3+ support.

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I freely admit to being a small form-factor enthusiast myself, and as much as I like mini-ITX, there are times when micro-ATX just makes sense. I mentioned AMD compatibility above, but even if you're building with Intel there are reasons to consider mATX. One of these is Intel's enthusiast platform, as X99 requires at least a micro-ATX board for quad-channel memory and greater PCIe flexibility. (Naturally, at least one mITX X99 board is available, but this is limited to a pair of memory slots and - of course - has just one PCIe slot.)

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As soon as I unpacked the Define Mini C, I knew it would make a perfect home for the EVGA X99 Micro2 motherboard I had on hand. This micro-ATX board makes a compelling argument for the smaller form-factor, as very little is lost vs. full ATX. The Mini C (which sounds like the name of a mini-ITX product, but Fractal's mITX variant is the called Nano S - which I reviewed a few months back) should make a great home for a powerful compact system. Let's get started!

Continue reading our review of the Fractal Design Define Mini C case!!

Corsair Introduces Carbide Series 270R Mid-Tower Case

Subject: Cases and Cooling | November 22, 2016 - 04:17 PM |
Tagged: windowed, mid-tower, enclosure, corsair, chassis, case, carbide, 270R

Corsair introduced three new enclosures yesterday, with the Crystal 570X (our review for this case is already live), Crystal 460X (review coming soon!), and this new Carbide Series 270R mid-tower.

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From Corsair:

"Solid, sleek and understated, the CORSAIR Carbide Series 270R offers all the essentials of a high-end PC case, while retaining a spacious internal layout and versatile cooling options. Available with either a huge transparent window or solid side panel, the 270R’s minimalist exterior hides an expansive interior that’s designed to make building a PC as easy as possible. Deep cable routing channels, numerous tie-down points and convieniently located drive bays combine with a dedicated cable routing compartment that surrounds the PSU, making clean and professional builds simple.

The 270R windowed comes equipped with a red-LED lit AF120 120mm intake fan and black AF120 120mm exhaust fan, while the 270R non-windowed ships with a single black AF120 120mm exhaust . Whichever you choose, the 270R offers great out-of-box cooling while also supporting a wealth of liquid cooling radiators and cooling upgrades. Able to mount upto a 360mm radiator in the front and a 240mm radiator in the roof, the 270R can accommodate almost anything your next PC might require, both now and in the future. It’s everything PC builders need for the essential PC build."

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While the other two announced cases feature tempered glass designs, the Carbide 270R is a practical alternative for shoppers on a budget. It combines an understated exterior with an internal layout that Corsair is calling "builder-friendly", and offers a compelling solution with an MSRP of only $69.99.

Corsair lists these features:

  • Builder-friendly with simple and intuitive internal layout.
  • Versatile cooling options with space for multiple radiator configurations.
  • Clean and minimalist exterior design.
  • 270R Windowed includes 1x red-LED lit AF120 120mm intake fan and 1x black AF120 120mm exhaust fan.
  • 270R Non-Windowed includes 1x black AF120 120mm exhaust fan.
  • Built-in cable routing compartments enables clean builds.
  • Direct Airflow Path™ provides airflow to the hottest components.

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Our review of the Carbide Series 270R will be completed soon, so stay tuned!!

Source: Corsair
Manufacturer: Phanteks

Introduction and Specifications

The Phanteks Enthoo Primo is a massive full-tower case with a monolithic appearance, and a ton of cooling support. It's tall, heavy, and certainly looks every bit the premium enclosure the price tag indicates. So how did it perform? Read on to find out!

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We've reviewed other cases in the Enthoo series from Phanteks, and these have been a solid choice in their respective price ranges. The cases we've looked at offer excellent construction, nice appearance, and excellent component support. The Enthoo Primo sits at the top of the lineup, and it looks it; a nearly 26-inch tall case that is nearly as deep, it's so large it even has a second ATX power supply mount (a dual PSU adapter is offered as a separate purchase).

So what market does this Enthoo Primo case serve? It could house any sort of enthusiast or high-end workstation/server setup, supporting EATX and even SSI EEB motherboard form-factors. There's a ridiculous amount of liquid cooling potential, though given its size the average all-in-one cooler will need to stay close to the processor given the length of typical AIO cooler hoses. This thing is begging for a custom watercooling loop (sorry, I didn't oblige in this review).

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The Enthoo Primo is fitted with an aluminum faceplate

Continue reading our review of the Phanteks Enthoo Primo enclosure!!

BitFenix Announces the Aurora Enclosure with Tempered Glass and RGB Lighting

Subject: Cases and Cooling | August 10, 2016 - 01:54 PM |
Tagged: tempered glass, SSD Chroma, RGB, mid tower, enclosure, e-atx, chassis, case, bitfenix, aurora, ASUS Aura

BitFenix has announced the Aurora chassis, their latest enclosure which features tempered glass side panels and RGB lighting effects.

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Both sides of the Aurora are covered by tempered glass, with the component side a clear panel, and the back a dark-tinted panel to help hide cables behind the motherboard tray.

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One interesting feature is called “SSD Chroma”. BitFenix explains:

“‘ASUS AURA’ certified ‘RGB Chroma Control and SSD Chroma’ are co-developed with Asus Republic of Gamers giving you the ability to customize and illuminate the SSDs.”

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Specifications and highlights from BitFenix:

  • Colors: Black│White
  • Materials: Steel, ABS
  • Supported Motherboards: E-ATX│ATX│M-ATX│Mini-ITX
  • Expansion Slots: 7
  • Drive Bays:
    • 3.5”: 2 + 2
    • 2.5”: 2 + 1
  • Cooling:
    • Front: 120mm x 2 or 140mm x 2
    • Rear: 120mm x 1 (Included)
    • Top: 120mm x 2 or 140mm x 2
  • Component Clearance:
    • CPU Cooler: Up to 160mm height
    • Graphic Card Length: Up to 400mm
    • Power Supply: Up to 220mm
  • I/O: USB 3.0 x 2│USB 2.0 x 2│HD Audio MIC & Headphone
  • Weight: 10.58kg
  • Dimensions: 215 x 490 x 520mm

Highlights: BitFenix LED Lighting Controller & SSD Lighting Bracket│20-25mm Cable Management Space│Graphic Length up to 400mm│Support Dual 280mm radiator│Removable HDD cage│Removable PSU Dust Filter


Pricing and availablility for this new BitFenix Aurora are not yet known late August and $99 US.

Source: BitFenix

Introduction: Defining the Quiet Enclosure

The Define R5 is the direct successor to Fractal Design's R4 enclosure, and it arrives with the promise of a completely improved offering in the silent case market. Fractal Design has unveiled the case today, and we have the day-one review ready for you!

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We've looked at a couple of budget cases recently from the Swedish enclosure maker, and though still affordable with an MSRP of $109.99 (a windowed version will also be available for $10 more) the Define R5 from Fractal Design looks like a premium part throughout. In keeping with the company's minimalist design aesthetic it features clean styling, and is a standard mid-tower form factor supporting boards from ATX down to mini-ITX. The R5 also offers considerable cooling flexibility with many mounting options for fans and radiators.

The Silent Treatment

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One of two included 1000 RPM hydraulic-bearing GP-14 silent fans

There are always different needs to consider when picking an enclosure, from price to application. And with silent cases there is an obvious need to for superior sound-dampening properties, though airflow must be maintained to prevent cooking components as well. With today's review we'll examine the case inside and out and see how a complete build performs with temperature and noise testing.

Continue reading our review of the Fractal Design Define R5 enclosure!!

Manufacturer: In Win

Introduction: Caged Beast

The D Frame Mini from In Win is a wild-looking, wildly expensive case that defies convention in many ways.

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First of all, calling the In Win D Frame mini an enclosure is a bit of a stretch. The design is part open-air case, part roll cage. Of course open air cases are not a new concept, but this is certainly a striking implementation; a design almost more akin to a testbench in some ways. When installed the components will be more open to the air than otherwise, as only the sides of the frame are covered (with panels made of tempered glass).

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The most noticeable design aspect of the D Frame mini are the welded tubes that make up the frame. The tubes are aluminum and resemble the frame of an aluminum bicycle, right down to the carefully welded joints. Around the perimeter of the frame are rather sizable soft plastic/rubber bumpers that protect the enclosure and help eliminate vibrations. Due to the design there is no specific orientation required for the enclosure, and it sits equally well in each direction.

There is support for 240mm radiators, virtually unlimited water cooling support given the mostly open design, and room for extra-long graphics cards and power supplies. The frame looks and feels like it could withstand just about anything, but it should probably be kept away from small children and pets given the ease with which fans and other components could be touched. And the D Frame mini is extremely expensive at $350. Actually, it’s just kind of extreme in general!

Continue reading our review of the In Win D Frame mini enclosure!!

Computex 2014: Corsair Announces Carbide Air 240, Graphite 780T, and Graphite 380T Enclosures

Subject: Cases and Cooling | June 2, 2014 - 11:00 AM |
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.

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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.

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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.

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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. 

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The Graphite 780T will be available in September and listed prices are expected to range from $179.99 - $189.99.

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Graphite 380T 

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.

Source: Corsair
Author:
Manufacturer: Corsair

Quick look at a low cost Carbide

Corsair continues its push into the case markets with yet another option, the Carbide 200R, bringing the price of entry down to sub-$50.  Currently selling on Newegg.com for $45 with a coupon code, check out this quick video walkthrough of the latest case from Corsair!

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After spending a bit more time with the case I can tell that for the price, the 200R is a pretty solid option.  I am not a fan of the 2.5-in drive arrangement that puts the power and data cables out into the case rather than towards the back (like the 3.5-in drives have) just from a cleanliness point of view, but that's somewhat minor.  Also worth noting is that even though we have a $50, and very light chassis, there aren't any sharp edges to cut you; Corsair did a good job rounding off the edges and having the metal fold back for a safe environment. 

There are a TON of case options in the price range so it might be hard for the Carbide 200R to stand out with a simple Newegg/Amazon search, but I think the Corsair brand will help sift it to the top.

Fractal Design Launches Define XL R2 Chassis

Subject: Cases and Cooling | December 19, 2012 - 03:58 PM |
Tagged: pc case, fractal design, chassis, atx case

Fractal Design recently introduced a new model to its Define XL series with the Define XL R2 that comes in either Black Pearl or Titanium Grey. The new case supports motherboards as large as XL-ATX and is packed with features for a relatively cheap $130 price.

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See more photos and specifications after the break.

NZXT Launching New Switch 810 Full Tower Computer Case

Subject: Cases and Cooling | January 17, 2012 - 09:34 PM |
Tagged: nzxt, full tower, computer, chassis, case, atx

NZXT, a computer case manufacturer that has been around since 2004, is today launching a new full tower computer case with the Switch 810 chassis. The new full tower case includes several features aimed at enthusiasts along with a 2 year warranty and choice of two colors (white or black). NZXT founder Johnny Hou seems confident in the case by stating that the new chassis "offers enthusiasts an array of advanced features intuitively implemented into one of the most unique designs we've ever created."

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The full tower case supports EATX motherboards with up to nine expansion slots and 375 millimeters of space for large, modern graphics cards when the front fan is removed. The motherboard tray further supports plenty of cable routing holes and a CPU back plate cut out. Further, the interior of the can can hold four 5.25" drives, six 3.5" drives, and up to 10 120mm or 140mm fans. The front, bottom, and drive bay area of the case houses two fans each. Meanwhile, the top of the case houses three cases and the rear holds one fan. Constructed of steel and plastic, the case weighs in at 9.1 Kg or about 20 lbs.

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As you can see from the outside of the case, the Switch 810 chassis supports four 5.25" drives, audio and microphone connectors, two USB 3.0 and two USB 2.0 ports, and a card reader. Also, a filter for the bottom intake can be removed from the front of the case. Some of the touted features of the new case include the ability to easily install water cooling and the new "hybrid fins" that allow users to close the fins to reduce dust and quiet the computer or open the fins along the top to maximize airflow. Tool-less drive bays, an acrylic side window, and a white LED that can be switched on or off are also features of the Switch 810 case.

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The NZXT switch is available now for $169.99 USD. More information and photos of the case can be found here. What do you think of the new case, are you impressed with the "hybrid design?"

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The proposed airflow diagram for the new NZXT case.

Source: NZXT