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Treasures or Trash, 5 PC Cases for Gamers 369

An anonymous reader writes "Tom's Hardware has a look at 5 different customized PC cases and a few peripheral devices that may be of some interest to gamers. From the article: 'Those who believe it is impossible to make any missteps when buying a gaming case are sadly mistaken. In most cases, you get too much plastic for your hard-earned money. Case components, covers and door panels break off far too easily, and are hard to use besides. That's why we advise savvy buyers to spend a few more dollars on their cases, and make sure they're getting quality components - especially where plastic covers or door panels are present.'"
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Treasures or Trash, 5 PC Cases for Gamers

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  • by Sycraft-fu ( 314770 ) on Monday May 29, 2006 @06:52PM (#15426107)
    It'd be the one I just picked up, the Antec P180. Actually I opted for the P180B, the black version (the normal 180 is silver) but either way same case, different finish. It's a case that has it all, if you asked me. It's got the setup for extremely effective cooling, yet runs very quiet for all that. Plenty of interior room, good design, etc. The only real gripe I have is it takes a long time to properly install all your components what with the special mounts and such. However, you do that once and you've got a great case.

    Of course it also looks stellar. It's extremely sleek and clean the whole way around. It's the kinds of subdued good looks that make you want to leave it alone, rather than put stickers on it and rice it out.

    These cases I'd liken to a riced out Civic. You are going for flash to try and distract and wow people. The P180 is more like an Audi sedan, it looks so good it needs no modification.

    Either way if you are willing to spend the cash on cases like this (the $100+ market) give these overly flashy jobs a miss and have a look at a P180. It will look good in just about any room and they really put some thought in the engineering of it. It's the first case I've seen that really seemed to think someone might want to have a system that's quiet AND high performance, but not want to screw with water cooling.

    Why get a Civic with a spoiler and fart pipe if you could get an S4 without for the same price?
  • by Silwenae ( 514138 ) on Monday May 29, 2006 @06:56PM (#15426116) Homepage
    The case absolutely does matter - but not for the reasons mentioned above (lights and looks).

    It's all about the cooling - get the right fan placement and air flow in the right place and that's what matters. When you're running an AMD processor faster than a 4200 with an Nvidia 7800 SLI rig, it will matter that you have the right case to get it cool.
  • ugly!!!! (Score:4, Informative)

    by moosesocks ( 264553 ) on Monday May 29, 2006 @07:04PM (#15426130) Homepage
    29 pages for five cases? You've got to be kidding!

    I hate to be the token apple fanboy, but these cases are amazingly ugly. all of them are significantly uglier than anything apple's produced, dating all the way back to the blue and white G3s.

    that's not to say that OEM PC cases have to be ugly. IBM's produced some slick-looking cases, and so has Dell (for their small-form factor business stuff at least).

    Lian-li's cases are also reasonably attractive [], even if they somewhat appear to be knockoffs of the G5.

    Industrial design seems to be an art lost to many theese days, which is a real shame... the G5's case was beautiful, functional, and able to cool several ridiculously hot G5 processors silently.
  • by rabiddeity ( 941737 ) on Monday May 29, 2006 @07:16PM (#15426158) Homepage
    I was going to post the full text of the article, but there's no real point. Most of the "pages" just have three or four photos of parts of the case. The meat of the article is on page 26 for those who are actually interested. Ignore the last 2 pages, they're basically ads for "input devices that light up". Two entire PAGES with no relevance to the article topic at all. Man, what the hell happened to Tom's Hardware? You guys used to be good.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 29, 2006 @07:24PM (#15426178)
    Funny story, for an art class in high school I modded an old case with regular old fiberglass resin and sheet EPS to look like a Cray. The art teacher gave me an "F" because "It still just looks like a computer." I added some extra fans in the back because the resin caused it to retain a lot of heat, but I used it for more than eight years and finally retired it because my new motherboard didn't fit. :(
  • This Calls For... (Score:5, Informative)

    by 8ball629 ( 963244 ) on Monday May 29, 2006 @07:36PM (#15426222) Homepage
    29 Pages?!?

    An article like this calls for Anti-Pagination []!
  • by tayhimself ( 791184 ) on Monday May 29, 2006 @07:51PM (#15426262)
    The antipagination plugin does help somewhat []
  • Re:ugly!!!! (Score:4, Informative)

    by vux984 ( 928602 ) on Monday May 29, 2006 @07:59PM (#15426277)
    Apparently you've never seen the G5 case, as they are truly works of art. arge.jpg [] _case.jpg []

    And even the iMac Rainbow of the late 90's, which were colorful to a fault were admirably well thought out in terms of being functional. Sure, upgrading the internals was a royal pain, especially on the earliest models - but those cases were never designed to be opened by their owners; but they were quite functional. The only fault I'd give to modern mac cases is the lack of highly accessible usb ports -- for using with flash drives, cameras, and other similar devices.

    The older generation at least had usb ports on the keyboard, but that's gone away with bluetooth/wireless. (And even then those ports weren't generally as well powered.)

    Of course this is easily fixed with a usb hub and ipod dock combo device... ;)

  • by Kazzahdrane ( 882423 ) on Monday May 29, 2006 @08:19PM (#15426319)
    Just want to agree with the parent, I just bought a new PC and the P180 was the case I chose. I have a lot of love for it already, its design actually made putting the rig together enjoyable, especially since the structure meant you could do it all in obvious stages (this was the first time I'd built a PC and I'd recommend the case to other newbies) and then slot it all back in. I originally chose it because I'd read good reviews praising its effective cooling but the best thing about it for me has to be the spaces inside.

    The only thing worth mentioning is that it's quite a deep case, so much so that it doesn't fit on the ledge in my PC desk and has to sit on the floor beside it. All in all a great case though, well worth the money.
  • by ip_fired ( 730445 ) on Monday May 29, 2006 @08:23PM (#15426332) Homepage
    I have the same case. It's great! Very quiet. My only complaint with it is that the Antec power supply that I bought with it didn't have a long enough 24-pin connector. The power supply is actually situated on the bottom of the case instead of the top like normal, so you need an especially long power cable if your motherboard has it's power connector near the top. I had to sit around for 5 days looking at the beautiful case with all the parts in it while the extension was mailed :)

  • Re:This Calls For... (Score:2, Informative)

    by imunfair ( 877689 ) on Monday May 29, 2006 @08:26PM (#15426343) Homepage
    That plugin doesn't seem to work on tomshardware. This one does though: []

    It does take quite a while to download all 29 pages though. Definitely far longer than it should. I'm still waiting for it to finish loading, but I can see it's been downloading stuff, unlike the first one.
  • by deacon ( 40533 ) on Monday May 29, 2006 @08:43PM (#15426386) Journal
    Yes, but none of these cases do that.

    The fans these cases use are absurdly small (so they can be really cheap to make) and using many fans creates added noise due to the beat frequency between them.

    The correct way to go about this is to get a cheap steel case, like this for $20.75 E16811156011 []

    Then get a fan like this for $9.95 19261386&item=16-1331&catname=electric []

    Now to slow the fan down, to make it quiet, wire a motor run capacitor in series with the fan. Use a cap like this ($1.99) : 19273017&item=22-1186&catname=electric []

    If you use a smaller value cap, the fan will run slower. If you use a larger value cap, the fan will run faster. The fan speed changes a lot for small changes in the cap value.

    Now cut a blowhole in the top of the case, bolt the fan on top blowing into the case, and get rid of all other case fans. Leave the faceplates off on both sides of the video card so lots of air rushes out that way.

    Stick a fork in it. It's done.

  • Re:Too many pages... (Score:2, Informative)

    by mr_3ntropy ( 969223 ) on Monday May 29, 2006 @09:27PM (#15426478) Journal
    C'mon guys, surely you have heard of this extension [] by now. Never click those tiny page numbers again. This is indispensable these days when all the information on the web seems to be buried in "forums" of this and that.

    Sheesh has everyone forgotten newsgroups? Thats what they are there for.
  • by NeMon'ess ( 160583 ) * <> on Monday May 29, 2006 @09:28PM (#15426484) Homepage Journal
    Next time read the second page of the article. The first case [] reviewed has a 250mm fan on the side for cooling. It spins at 800rpm for quiet operation. The front fan is a 120mm that is also quiet, although there were no dB numbers given. The rest of the cases impede airflow with useless plastic and extra grating, but the first one was pretty good.

    Your suggestion about leaving the doors off is only good for people without pets or young children. Furthermore, if the power supply is blocking the fan-propelled air from directly reaching the CPU heatsink, its possible the CPU will actually operate at a higher temperature than if the doors were on and quiet fans placed in the pre-punched case mounts.
  • by Rod Beauvex ( 832040 ) on Monday May 29, 2006 @09:52PM (#15426536)
    Three words:

    Printer. Friendly. View.
  • Re:Too many pages... (Score:5, Informative)

    by fief ( 12961 ) * on Monday May 29, 2006 @09:59PM (#15426550)
    Simply replace "index.html" with print.html. This trick works across all of Tom's sites. So, for this article it would be this link []
  • by miyako ( 632510 ) <(miyako) (at) (> on Monday May 29, 2006 @10:26PM (#15426601) Homepage Journal
    Whenever I build a computer, there are a few things that I always look for in a case. Fancy blinkenlights and windows are not among them.
    Here are the things I always look for when I buy a case:
    Is the case a Full Tower?
    I have fairly small hands, and even I find that it's really painful trying to get into a mid-tower, let alone a mini tower. Especially with Video Cards getting bigger, people more likely having multiple hard drives/optical drives, etc. I think a full tower is the only way to go. It helps with airflow, it helps getting everything into the case in the first place, and it makes it easier to get inside and work on the machine later.
    Good Side Pannels
    Some people don't like them, but good cases with good sidepannels make working on machines much easier. My case, for example, has a latch that locks into place when you snap the sidepannel on. It's sturdy enough that even when transporting the computer to lan parties or similar, I've never had a problem with it comming loose. When I want to get into the case, just pulling on the door latch and sliding it out and I'm into the case. The only problem I've ever had is that it's a slight pain trying to get the side pannel to line back up to snap back into place. I'd much rather mess with that than screws though.
    Removable Drive Holder..thingy
    I'm not sure what you'd call these, but my case - and a few others that I've worked on, has a little thing that slides in and out of the case from the front where the optical drives and hard drives go. The nice thing about this is that it makes it easier to actually get these things stablilzed well. I don't know how many computers I've worked in where the hard drive was held in by a single screw, because it was too hard to get any of the other screws in because of the case design.
    Those are the big things I look at when getting a case. I'm particularly fond of the Antec cases, which aren't necessarily the most stylish looking cases, but in my experience are well built and have the right features.
  • by DeepEyes78 ( 551679 ) on Monday May 29, 2006 @10:31PM (#15426620)
    Well, I don't really know, but it may have something to do with this:

    Editor In Chief and CEO of Tom's Hardware Both Step Down []

    IMO, "jumped the shark" several years prior to this (2001?). Seemed like Tom stopped writing articles to focus on starting a corporate empire. Once all of the so called "editors" started putting their hands in the pie, the quality suffered quite a bit. Now it seems like everything on the site is targeted at the clueless newbie and paginated to maximize advertising revenue.
  • by antdude ( 79039 ) on Monday May 29, 2006 @11:12PM (#15426710) Homepage Journal
    Two biggest problems with computer cases for me are that I have physical disabilitles and heat control.

    I have problems moving computers (even minitowers), and opening and closing cases, using screwdrivers (even electronic ones), removing case covers (sliding types still fail for me). Are there any out there work for me so I don't have to get someone to do it for me?

    Second, heat!! I have problems keeping my computers stable for every upgrades. My room can go aboev 85 degrees(F) in the heat wave. A/C won't do well since my room is upstair so all heat rises. I don't even overlock.

    Here's a sampler of my Web surfing temperatures:
    -Athlon 64 754 CPU (3200+) Windows XP Pro. SP2 box: 113F
    -ASUS K8V SE Deluxe (1007 firmware): 132F
    Note: Have seen CPU go up to 150F during stress like gaming in 85+F room (don't remember the peak temperatures for motherboard).

    Idled system in my Linux/Debian box:
    -MSI KT4AV-L (Socket A/Socket 462; VIA KT400A) motherboard: 151F
    -Athlon XP 2200+: 122F

    You can see my system specifications here: rs.txt []

    No, I am not getting water cooling. Too much work, and my disabilities will not work with that setup.

    I am planning to do redo my hardwarwe setups when I get my Athlon 64 x2 in autumn (much hotter than now).

    I don't care about the look of the case as long as it is not pink color. :)

    Any suggestions? Thank you in advance. :)
  • by Reziac ( 43301 ) * on Monday May 29, 2006 @11:33PM (#15426750) Homepage Journal
    I have several RaidMax cases, and one reason I keep buying 'em is because the edges of the metal are all beveled and/or rolled. No sharp edges. I've had cases where you didn't dare open 'em without donning leather gloves first!

    Also, the PSUs RaidMax useds seem to be pretty good -- haven't had any fail. And the included fans are quiet.

    Plus the sides go on/off easily.

    My only gripe has been that the 3.5" drive bays have this little extra piece in the mount that interferes with the fan doodad that I like to attach to the bottom of hot-running HDs. Tho I suppose I could just mount it in the next drive bay down; there are 6 such bays, so usually some surplus space.

  • by deacon ( 40533 ) on Tuesday May 30, 2006 @11:48AM (#15428581) Journal
    I use an AC fan to reduce the load on the power supply, and make the computer more electically efficient. Otherwise I am putting a huge load on the 12 volt rail, and I have paid extra for the 12 volt electricity to drive the fan due to the inefficiency of the power supply.

    A 12 volt squirrl cage blower can draw 20 amps. Thats a lot to pull from a PC supply.

    P.S. Your mom called and said to tell you to wash your mouth out with soap.

At work, the authority of a person is inversely proportional to the number of pens that person is carrying.