I’ve reviewed a lot of Cooler Master cases over the years for Benchmark Reviews, and one thing that impresses me about the company is that they never stop innovating or refining. One has only to track the evolution of the Cosmos series of cases to see this writ large (very large, in the case of the Cosmos II), but what keeps my attention is the way they’ll roll smaller, incremental improvements into an existing case line. Today’s example: the Cooler Master Elite 130 mini-ITX computer case.
Category Archive: Cases
The second revision of the Arc Mini micro ATX chassis brings a few revisions while keeping the essential styling that differentiates Fractal Design from other PC case manufacturers. The original Arc Mini PC case was well received by PC enthusiasts and system builders alike, and now Benchmark Reviews has the Arc Mini R2 for testing and we will detail what sets it apart from the crowd.
When the BitFenix Prodigy was released last year, it expanded on the idea of how much performance could fit in a small case. There were some users (me included) that felt the original Prodigy was just a little too big for an ITX box – responding to customer feedback, BitFenix wanted to provide a more streamlined option for those users that wanted all that the Prodigy had to offer in a more compact package. With essentially the same internal layout as the original Prodigy, the new BitFenix Phenom (model BFC-PHE-300-WWXKK-RP) caters to those that want something a little more minimalistic with airflow taking a backseat to looks and finesse. Benchmark Reviews is ready to look inside and see how much of the Prodigy legacy stays intact with the BitFenix Phenom ITX case.
After seeing numerous modders do just that (and the customer feedback that was clamoring for such a case), BitFenix has responded with the Prodigy M. Using the frame of the original Prodigy, they reworked the internals to accommodate a micro ATX motherboard and all of the enthusiast configurations that go along with it. Even with its proven performance in ITX trim, can the Prodigy chassis keep up with mATX components? BitFenix sent their Midnight Black Prodigy M, model number BFC-PRM-300-KKXSK-RP to Benchmark Reviews so we could have a look.
When it comes to high-end full-tower cases, a few models immediately come to mind: Corsair’s 900D, Thermaltake’s Level 10 GT, Cooler Master’s HAF-X, and a couple others. There isn’t nearly as much variety for E-ATX compatible cases as there is for cases that support ATX and Micro-ATX motherboards. Perhaps this why Phanteks was keen to release their first case into this category. Enter the Enthoo Primo, A premium full-tower aluminum body case with numerous new features and great compatibility for water-cooling hardware. Phanteks is among the best manufacturers of computer case fans and CPU heatsinks, so one would expect that their genius in cooling innovation would carry over to the Enthoo Primo. It is quite clear that Phankteks aims to make a statement with this new case; It will be competing head on with the already established high-end full-tower cases. Benchmark reviews will take a closer look at the Enthoo Primo (model PH-ES813P) to see whether or not Phantek’s first chassis deserves a place among the very best.
The Kublai series of cases fits right in between the Precision and Temijin lines of enclosures by SilverStone. Losing some of the Temjin’s aluminum construction but retaining most of the innovative features of the more expensive line of towers, the KL04 is the fourth iteration of a chassis that began in 2007 and was notable for its storage capacity in a mid tower form factor. Looking to continue the tradition, the SilverStone Kublai KL04 uses a slightly different cooling arrangement and understated design to offer space for nine 3.5″ drives, along with four external 5.25″ bays and room for six 2.5″ drives. That’s a lot of storage in a mid tower – can it keep everything cool? Benchmark Reviews is ready to find out!
Cooler Master’s HAF Stacker 935 modular case system is an innovative new entry in the computer case market. Enthusiasts can configure the multiple, stackable “modules” of this system to build the ideal enclosure for their system (or systems). Whether it’s providing storage for water cooling or extra drives, or just housing multiple systems in a compact space, the HAF Stacker system is versatile enough to handle pretty much anything you can throw at it. Cooler Master calls these new cases a mod tower expandable system and says they’re a better case ecosystem.
Since this is my first venture into building a system inside an M-ITX PC case I didn’t know exactly what to expect when I started out. I had certain expectations of the Lian Li PC-Q28; I knew it would take a full size ATX PSU (up to 17cm) and double slot video cards (up to 29cm long). The Lian Li PC-Q28 PC case, while small, has a large internal volume and will make for an excellent enthusiast M-ITX case with a few tweaks and mods. In this article Benchmark Reviews will hopefully provide answers to all of the questions you may have regarding the capabilities of the Lian-Li PC-Q28 Aluminum Mini-ITX Tower PC Case (model PC-Q28B), and more that you may have not considered.
As I am sure you are all well aware, the Thermaltake Chaser A71 is not the first chassis in the Chaser Series. Its direct predecessor, the A41, was a mid-tower addition to the Chaser Series that boasted some of the same features that are prevalent in the A71, such as great cooling, tool-less drive bays, and great cable management. And, it is not the first full-tower design in the Chaser Series. That distinction goes to the Chaser MK-1, which shares the same dimensions and has very similar features to the A71, including a top-mounted HDD hot-swap bay. Now, let’s move forward and take a closer look at the Thermaltake Chaser A71.
NZXT has dabbled in quiet cases before (Hush, H2). While I don’t personally have experience with those particular chassis, I’ve gathered the attempts in the past have left consumers wanting. It appears a revived Phantom line has also provided another opportunity for NZXT Technologies to tackle the “silent” segment once again – can NZXT bring the H series of chassis to new levels with the H630 Silent Ultra Tower Computer Case? Benchmark Reviews has a chance to answer this question.
Starting with the Obsidian series, Corsair has systematically released a chassis to tackle almost every segment. With most of the segments covered, Corsair has rethought the ATX case and has released something a little… different. Launching at the top of the Carbide series (designed to be focused on performance and high-end features, while still being accessible to every builder), the Carbide Air 540 cube-style computer case brings a unique option to the series. Benchmark Reviews tests to see if it’s worth the $139.99 price of admission.
When Corsair introduced its Obsidian line in 2009 with the 800D it brought out a case that was beautiful, functional, and massive. In 2011 Corsair introduced the mid-tower Obsidian 650D it was still beautiful, functional, and just a bit too big for many enthusiasts. In 2013, Corsair introduced its first Micro-ATX case the 350D. The 350D keeps the beauty and functionality of its larger brethren but fits it into 17.7″ x 17.3″ case designed to contain a powerful multi-GPU system in a much smaller enclosure than many enthusiast have been accustomed to in the past. So let Benchmark Reviews walk you through the Corsair 350D and look at the new smaller case design.