Introduction and Case Exterior

Corsair's new Crystal Series 280X RGB enclosure brings tempered glass and lighting effects down to the size of the company's previous micro-ATX Carbide Air 240 case (reviewed here back in 2014), creating a high-end take on this compact dual-chamber design. Beyond the stylish appearance an important question presents itself: can the Crystal 280X RGB offer sufficient airflow for good cooling with all of those glass panels? We will find out!

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There is no more pervasive trend in the world of PC hardware than RGB lighting, and with the Crystal Series of enclosures Corsair adds the one component you will need to see as much of that colorful lighting as possible: glass, glass, and more glass. Yes, no fewer than three panels of the tinted, tempered glass variety adorn the 280X RGB, with the side, front, and top of the case covered - or, with the front and top, partially covered. About a third of the front is a solid panel, as is a third of the top, and this serves to help illustrate from the exterior that we are actually looking at a dual-chamber design.

Not so 'micro' ATX?

There are those who feel that an enclosure's internal volume must be low to qualify as "small form-factor", and that can certainly be argued; consider this design (like that of the Air 240), then, a compact take on the larger cube-like dual-chamber case that started with the Carbide Series Air 540 which we reviewed way back in 2013. As you will see, the ease with which a clean-looking build can be completed in such a case, and the ample storage and fan support, help mitigate the size. This case is wide for its height, though the rear chamber allows for the easy installation of a full-size ATX power supply, simultaneous installation of two standard hard drives and another three SSDs, and plenty of room for cable management.

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Continue reading our review of the Corsair Crystal Series 280X case!

Manufacturer: FSP

Introduction and Case Exterior

FSP is a familiar name in power supplies, and in the last year we have also seen the company branch out with CPU coolers (with the excellent Windale series reviewed last year) and cases. The latest of these enclosures is the CMT520, the second in their CMT series and featuring front and side tempered glass panels to showcase no fewer than four included RGB fans.

Glass can of course present some obstacles to cooling performance, particularly when the front intake is covered (as the gap between glass and fans becomes crucial), so we will see if the case's performance is equal to the elegance of its looks in this review.

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The CMT520 pictured sporting very colorful fans (image via FSP)

First a look at specifications from FSP:


  • Type: ATX Mid Tower
  • Color: Black
  • Materials: SPCC, Tempered glass x2
  • M/B Type: E-ATX, ATX, Micro ATX, ITX
  • Expansion Slots: 8
  • 3.5-inch Drive Bays: 2
  • 2.5-inch Drive Bays: 4
  • Power Supply Type: ATX
  • Component Clearance:
    • Maximum CPU Cooler Height: 163mm
    • Maximum VGA Card Length: 423mm
  • Cooling System
    • Front: 120mm RGB Fan x3 (included)
    • Rear: 120mm RGB Fan x1 (included)
  • Fan & Water Cooler Support:
    • Front: 120mm/140mm x3, or 360mm Radiator x1 
    • Top: 120mm x 3/140mm x2 or 360mm Radiator x1
    • Rear: 120mm x1
  • I/O Panel: USB 3.0 x2, USB 2.0 x2, Audio
  • Dimension LxWxH: 495 x 215 x 510 mm (19.49 x 8.46 x 20.08 inches)
  • Weight: 8.5 kg

Pricing and availability:

Continue reading our review of the FSP CMT520 RGB tempered glass case!

Manufacturer: SilverStone

Introduction and Case Exterior

The SilverStone Redline Series RL07 offers a stylish exterior with an interesting front panel design and a tempered glass side panel, and the interior is all business with a typically open layout for what should be an easy build. The solid front panel and quiet 140 mm rear exhaust fan suggest low noise levels, but how cool does this case keep the components in our test setup? We will explore both the build process and performance in this review.

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"SilverStone’s Redline RL07 is a tower chassis with spectacular front panel design mated to a functional and practical internal structure. It has audacious, one of a kind asymmetrical styling that pays homage to earlier aggressive Redline series chassis launched in 2012 but elevates with details often only available on cases costing much more. On the inside, the RL07 has many modern features such as power supply / drive shroud, convenient tool-less drive trays, quick access dust filter and smart backside cable routing design. So it not only has highly flexible space for installing all popular core components, it also has incredible support for a myriad of cooling configurations. There are four total 120 / 140mm fan slots around the case with maximum radiator support of up to 360mm to meet the needs of PC enthusiasts of all levels."

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Specifications:

  • Material: Steel front panel, steel body, tempered glass side panel
  • Motherboard: ATX ( up to 12" x 11") , Micro-ATX
  • Expansion slots: 7
  • Drive bays: 3.5" x3 (compatible with 2.5"), 2.5" x3
  • Cooling system:
    • Front: 3x 120 / 140mm fan slot
    • Rear: 1x 120 / 140mm fan slot (1x 140mm exhaust PWM fan included)
  • Radiator support:
    • Front: 120mm x2, 240mm / 280mm / 360mm x1
    • Rear: 120mm / 140mm x1
  • Compatibility:
    • CPU cooler: Up to 167mm
    • Graphics card: Compatible up to 16.3" (415 mm) length, 6.57" (167 mm) width
    • Power supply: ATX, up to 190 mm length
  • Front I/O ports: USB 2.0 x2, USB 3.0 x2, 3.5 mm audio, mic
  • Dimensions (WxHxD): 226 x 488 x 465 mm (8.9 x 19.21 x 18.31 inches)
  • Weight: 8.2 kg

First Impressions

When viewed from the front the RL07 looks pretty conventional, with a solid front panel that is common to most mid-tower cases these days (other than the high-airflow models of course), punctuated by the red line down the middle that frames the split design when viewed off-angle.

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Continue reading our review of the SilverStone Redline Series RL07!

Corsair Introduces Crystal Series 280X RGB Micro-ATX Case

Subject: Cases and Cooling | June 4, 2018 - 10:13 AM |
Tagged: tempered glass, RGB, micro-atx, mATX, enclosure, Crystal Series, corsair, case, 280x

Corsair has unveiled a new micro-ATX enclosure at Computex with the Crystal Series 280X, available in RGB or non-RGB flavors, and sporting no fewer than three tempered glass panels (side, front, top).

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"With tempered glass panels in the front, side and roof, the Crystal 280X RGB provides a stunning view of your PC. Illuminated by two LL120 RGB fans, each featuring 16 RGB LEDs, the Crystal 280X RGB also includes a CORSAIR Lighting Node PRO digital RGB lighting controller, combining with powerful iCUE software to light up your PC in a dazzling array of patterns and effects. With 32 individually controllable LEDs to light up your system, and plentiful airflow to cool multi-core, multi-GPU systems, the Crystal 280X RGB is the clear choice for your next compact MATX system."

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The Crystal 280X is a dual-chamber design, and supports full-length GPUs up to 300 mm, radiators up to 240 mm on the front and case floor with up to 280 mm rads up top, and offers support for 2x 3.5-inch and 3x 2.5-inch storage drives.

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Available in white or black, the Crystal 280X will retail for $159.99 for the RGB version, and $109.99 for the version without RGB. It is available now from Corsair's official store.

A black review unit is being evaluated as we speak, so stay tuned for the full review!

Source: Corsair

A new MasterCase arrives, the H500M

Subject: Cases and Cooling | May 29, 2018 - 02:16 PM |
Tagged: cooler master, MasterCase H500M, tempered glass

Cooler Master demonstrates their love of tempered glass with the MasterCase H500M, all four sides are made of it with the installation of the front panel up to you depending if you prefer looks to airflow.  The case ships with a pair of 200mm fans in the front and a single 140mm in the rear, you can replace the front with a radiator of up to 360mm, the top also supports radiators of that size as well.  Cable management is well executed, with a cover for almost every component and wiring path, though it takes some effort to install them all.  Apart from a few minor issues Guru of 3D loved this case, check it out in all it's glory here.

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"Join us in a review the new MasterCase H500M from Cooler Master. The new chassis has that familiar in-house CM feel, yet was brought into the year 2018 with some nice modern features and the ability to go all stealth with the stuff you do not want to show. Intrigued? Sure you are, let's have a look, shall we?"

Here are some more Cases & Cooling reviews from around the web:

CASES & COOLING

Source: Guru of 3D

Hey Luce! I'm home ... with a new case from Antec

Subject: Cases and Cooling | May 24, 2018 - 04:25 PM |
Tagged: tempered glass, p110 luce, antec

Antec's new aluminium and glass case offers a nice space to build a system, 518x23x489mm (20.4x9x19.2") in size and with removable vents and filters on all sides but the large tempered glass panel.  RGBs are limited to a seven colour backlit logo at the top left corner of the front panel, and a fairly simple controller to control any illuminated components you have.  That logo is the only feature on that surface as the ports and buttons have been moved to the top of the case.  Inside you will find a PSU shroud, decent cable management and an adapter to vertically mount your GPU.

The Tech Report takes you through the highs and lows of the case here.

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"Antec's P110 Luce weaves aluminum and tempered-glass panels into a sleek, premium-looking case with some nifty features inside. We built up our test system in this case to see whether it marks a return to form for the company's cases."

Here are some more Cases & Cooling reviews from around the web:

CASES & COOLING

 

NZXT Announces H500 and H500i Cases with Tempered Glass

Subject: Cases and Cooling | May 22, 2018 - 09:00 AM |
Tagged: tempered glass, nzxt, mid-tower, H500i, H500, enclosure, case, CAM, budget, affordable

NZXT has announced a pair of new cases with the H500 and H500i, mid-tower designs both featuring a tempered glass side panel. We looked at the previous H700i case a few months back, and these similar H500 cases combine elements of the H700i and popular S340 to create a pair of budget-friendly options at $69.99 for the standard model. and $99.99 for the CAM-powered H500i.

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The NZXT H500 (left) and H500i (right, with optional vertical GPU bracket)

“With the H500, we’ve taken everything we learned from both our top-selling S340 line and our recent H Series products to offer an updated, feature rich chassis that continues our commitment to designing affordable premium hardware. From the stunning tempered glass to its durable all-steel construction, the H500 and H500i give builders of all levels everything they need to build an extraordinary gaming machine.”

NZXT breaks down the features of both models:

  • H500 / H500i features:
    • Modern design and builder-friendly features
    • Premium, all-steel construction with the sleek H Series aesthetic; available in four color combinations
    • Tempered glass side panel showcases your build
    • Wire management is made easy with an intuitive, patent-pending cable management system
    • Water-cooling installation is simplified using a removable bracket for either all-in-one CPU coolers or custom loop configurations

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Matte Black with Blue is one of four color options

  • H500i exclusive features:
    • The Smart Device, a built-in RGB and digital fan controller powered by CAM, delivers HUE+ and GRID+ functionality and includes two pre-installed fans and RGB LED strips.
    • An optional Adaptive Noise Reduction fan control mode in CAM measures CPU and GPU temperatures, as well as ambient and system component sound levels to create custom fan curves that optimize the balance between cooling and noise
    • Integrated, CAM-powered RGB lighting allows for dynamic personalization of each and every build
    • Vertical GPU mount (optional) showcases the gaming power inside

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The H500 cases offer some of the integrated cable routing seen on the H700i

The new H500 series cases will be available "early June" and are offered in four color combinations: matte white, matte black. matte black/red, and matte black/blue. Pre-orders are available from NZXT's online store.

Source: NZXT
Manufacturer: Fractal Design

Introduction and Case Exterior

The Meshify C - TG from Fractal Design is a high-airflow ATX case design with some added style from its unique angled front panel. Throw in a tempered glass side panel and a pair of pre-installed Dynamic X2 GP-12 120 mm fans and the $89.99 price tag looks pretty good - but how did it perform? We'll find out.

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Having reviewed a few Fractal Design cases in the past three years I have come to expect a few things from their enclosures: solid construction, intelligent internal layouts, and excellent cable management. As to style, their cases are generally understated, and the Meshify's black color scheme with a tinted glass side certainly fits the bill - though the angled front mesh design catches the light and does add some visual interest.

More than a single enclosure, Meshify is now a dedicated line from Fractal Design, with a new Meshify C Mini for mATX/mITX motherboards, as well as variants of this Meshify C including a model with a solid side panel (the standard Meshify C) and one with dark-tinted glass (Meshify C - Dark TG). Regardless of which model you might be considering, they share a common design focused on high airflow (with a full compliment of filters), flexible storage options, and maximizing component space within their compact dimensions.

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Continue reading our review of the Fractal Design Meshify C Tempered Glass case!

Manufacturer: Corsair

Introduction and First Impressions

Launching today, Corsair’s new Carbide Series 275R case is a budget-friendly option that still offers plenty of understated style with clean lines and the option of a tempered glass side panel. Corsair sent us a unit to check out, so we have a day-one review to share. How does it compete against recent cases we’ve looked at? Find out here!

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The Carbide 275R is a compact mid-tower design that still accommodates standard ATX motherboards, large CPU coolers (up to 170 mm tall), and long graphics cards, and it includes a pair of Corsair’s SP120 fans for intake/exhaust. The price tag? $69.99 for the version with an acrylic side, and $79.99 for the version with a tempered glass side panel (as reviewed). Let’s dive in, beginning with a rundown of the basic specs.

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Continue reading our review of the Corsair Carbide Series 275R Tempered Glass case!

Manufacturer: NZXT

Introduction and First Impressions

NZXT has proven to be willing to adapt and innovate in the competitive DIY PC space, introducing their own software control suite (CAM) to control cooling and lighting effects in 2014, and this year launching their first motherboard. We have have seen CAM in action with products like the Kraken AiO liquid CPU coolers, which required the software to fully unlock their potential - both thermally and visually (RGB) speaking, and it's an integral part of the new H700i enclosure.

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“The H700i showcases NZXT’s vision for modern PC building. This premium mid-tower case features a unique CAM Powered Smart Device that digitally drives RGB lighting and fan performance. You can effortlessly control RGB lighting and fans, while Adaptive Noise Reduction optimizes your build’s acoustics through machine learning and ideal fan settings. Includes four integrated Aer F fans and two RGB LED to enhance the aesthetics of your build as seen through the H700i’s stunning tempered glass panel.”

Now that NZXT has brought that CAM software feature-set to enclosures beginning with the H700i mid-tower we have for you today, we will pay close attention to the way the integrated "Smart Device" - a module that controls fans and lighting - fits into the usual thermal/noise equation. OEM systems from the likes of Dell with their Alienware desktops have used similar dedicated hardware for cooling and lighting control, and it's interesting to see this enter the DIY space. How important is software control of cooling and RGB effects to you? That depends, of course, and partly on how easy it is to use.

We will take a close look in and around this new enclosure, and while it’s on the test bench we will see how the stylish H700i stacks up with thermal and noise results vs. some other recent cases - and test the H700i both with and without CAM software optimization to see what sort of difference it makes in practice. Let’s get started!

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Continue reading our review of the NZXT H700i enclosure!!