Antec is no stranger to the chassis market, with well respected products such as the Nine Hundred and Twelve Hundred series chassis. However, Antec has little to offer in the Mini-ITX market, with just the ISK100 and 300 series released thus far. Last November, Antec released the newest case in their Mini-ITX lineup, the ISK600. The small form factor ISK600 is designed to provide all the features any ITX builder would need without the price tag of other cases such as the Corsair Obsidian 250D and the BitFenix Prodigy. The ISK600’s main features include the ability to mount a standard ATX power supply, long graphics cards, up to five internal hard drives, and it comes with a decorative LED strip on the front panel. With the interest in small form factor PCs continuing to rise, it is imperative that new designs offer more to builders than the competition. But does the ISK600 have the features necessary to compete? In this article, Benchmark Reviews inspects the features of the Antec ISK600 and how they compare to the other popular choices in the Mini-ITX market.
Category Archive: Cases
BitFenix made their reputation in 2010 with their first product, the massive Colossus full tower case. The BitFenix Shadow brings some of the Colossus features, like the signature soft-touch coating and external LED lighting, to a lower price point in a mid-tower ATX case. Sporting room for three 5.25″ devices and seven hard drives, the Shadow tries to balance price with features to distinguish it from its competition. Join us as Benchmark Reviews checks out the BitFenix Shadow BFC-SDO-150-KKXBR-RP mid-tower computer case to see if it’s a worthy contender for your next build.
Lian-Li’s historical reputation is filled with some of the most innovative designs and ideas such as their “reverse-ATX” models. To add to their history, their products are undeniably well built and host one of the highest levels of quality that is available today in the market, which we have really come to enjoy here at Benchmark Reviews. Even in their budget oriented cases, Lian-Li has managed to impress us in the past with their choice of designs and user friendly layouts. The Lian Li PC-Q07B ITX case is no exception, featuring a very appealing and extremely small minimalistic cube design, we found that this case is perfect for the current trend of mini-ITX systems that keeps growing due to the improved integration of motherboard chipsets.
The Phanteks Enthoo Pro full-tower computer case boasts compatibility with EATX, ATX, and mATX motherboards, plenty of options for 3.5 and 2.5 inch drives, and a large tinted window combined with a PSU shroud for a clean, attractive build. Cooling wise, the Enthoo Pro features mounts for up to ten case fans ranging from 120mm to 200mm in size, four different locations for radiators, and and a mount for an internal reservoir.
Enter Fractal Design’s Node 804. While it isn’t an exact scaled-down replica of cases like the Carbide Air 540 or HAF XB, it still uses a cube/split chamber layout – this time in a micro-ATX size. With dimensions of 344 x 307 x 389 mm or 13.5 x 12.1 x 15.3 inches (WHD), the Node 804 is just a bit wider than a BitFenix Prodigy and almost exactly a third larger than the Node 304 (in the height and width dimensions – depth differs by only 15mm). The Node family is designed with a focus on Home Entertainment; with the vast array of fan, radiator and storage combinations that are possible the Node 804 could easily take on any number of roles. Benchmark Reviews has received the Node 804 for some testing, so let’s take a look at the newest member of Fractal Design’s Node family.
Thermaltake has recently added another chassis to their Urban lineup. A modern update of the classic Lanbox Lite chassis (also by Thermaltake), the Urban SD1 is designed for builders that are building around the mATX/mITX form factors and still want room for large graphics cards, AIO liquid coolers and multiple drives. Utilizing modular internals in a chassis not much bigger than many ITX boxes, the Urban SD1 promises an easy building experience. Weighing in at 5.8 kg and with dimensions of 239 x 280 x 456mm (HWD), will this sophisticated relative of the Lanbox / Armor A30 deliver on its claims of high-performance in a micro-ATX form factor? Benchmark Reviews was given an opportunity to build a system in the Urban SD1 (model CA-1A9-00S1NN-00), so let’s see what changes have been incorporated in this new member of the Urban chassis family.
Thermaltake is no stranger to the computer chassis market. With Reddot design awards for their Chaser A71 and Level 10 enclosures, they aren’t afraid to try different approaches to chassis design. With their new Core V71 Full Tower chassis, Thermaltake is offering an E-ATX capable enclosure that is both versatile and adaptable. Focusing on performance with either air or liquid cooling, the Core V71 offers an unprecedented level of flexibility and customization.
The Comrade Mid-Tower case is the latest case out of BitFenix, a manufacturer known for building high quality cases such as the Colossus Full-Tower and Prodigy Mini-ATX and ITX cases. The Comrade is BitFenix’s attempt to enter the budget case market, with a reasonably priced case that has many features that are normally expected in more pricey designs, such as removable dust filters. The Comrade accommodates both Mini-ITX / ATX and standard ATX boards, and has numerous features designed to make constructing a system a breeze for first-time builders, including tool-less 3.5″, and 5.25″ drive bays. The Comrade is available in either black or white colors.
The Cooler Master Elite 110 Mini-ITX Computer Case is a compact, cube style case that can handle some full sized desktop components, while maintaining a relatively small footprint. With the ability to handle a ATX sized power supply, and desktop graphic cards up to 210mm (8.26 inches), the Elite 110 is aimed at more than just the niche market. Sporting the ability to hold 4 SSDs or 3 HDDs, storage options are not a problem.
The AZZA XT1 Full-Tower Gaming case has it all. With great features offered in only some of the highest-end products, the AZZA XT1 makes a great case for consumers on a larger budget and even some enthusiast who want to go with a full-fledged customized water cooling system. It also features a lot of expand abilities for multiple hard drives and solid state drive configurations. The AZZA XT1 will accommodate XL-ATX motherboards thanks to its full-tower design. With this accommodation, it has a total of eight expansion slots at the back of the case allowing flexible and unlimited expand abilities.
Finishing up a run of new cases based on the Prodigy, BitFenix has started shipping their Colossus M. Taking its name from one of BitFenix’s first full-tower enclosures, the Colossus M inherits the original’s distinctive lighting and combines it with the familiar internals of the micro-ATX Prodigy M. Offering a different approach from the smooth lines of the Phenom and the airflow of the Prodigy, the Colossus M wraps an angular, soft-touch shell around familiar internals while adding a few new tricks in the process. Have they saved the best for last? Benchmark Reviews has the micro-ATX Colossus M on hand (model BFC-CLM-300-KKLS1-RP), so let’s take a closer look at the unique traits that define this mini-Colossus.
Corsair introduced their new Obsidian line of cases with the full-tower 800D; they’ve since expanded into the super-tower market with the 900D, added the 750D to the full-tower lineup, addressed the mid-tower market with the 550D and 650D, and the micro-ATX market with the 350D. Their latest case, the Corsair Obsidian 250D, brings the design and versatility of the Obsidian line to the mini-ITX field.
You might think, upon initial inspection, that the NZXT H440 Mid Tower computer case is just another well-crafted and attractive case from NZXT; and you’d be right, in the sense that it’s both attractive and well-crafted. But the H440 hides several innovations under its painted steel skin, one of which will be controversial.
The Raidmax Cobra comes in a variety of different colors: Black, Red, Blue, White, and Titanium. We will be looking at the black one for this review. The Raidmax Cobra Black Steel Mid-Tower ATX Case will fit the bill of many consumers on a tight budget. Without spending a whole lot of money, the Raidmax Cobra offers many features that only some of the bigger and more expensive cases have. It provides tool-less drive bays, adequate space for cable management thanks to its wide body design, and four internal 2.5″ drive bays for laptop hard drives and even SSD’s, which is crazy for a case in this price range. The Raidmax Cobra also provides great airflow for high performance air cooling along with the option for a custom water cooling system. Thanks to two water cooling retention holes at the back of the case, a custom water cooling system can be installed into this case. With so many high-end features, this makes the Raidmax Cobra a very competitive case due to its aggressive pricing.
The deceptively small ML05 HTPC case from SilverStone sits in a class of its own. Part of the Milo series of entry-level HTPC cases (designed to incorporate features from the Grandia series in a slim form factor), the ML05 is one of the most inexpensive home theater enclosures on the market. Essentially half the size of the previously reviewed micro-ATX ML04, the smaller Milo ML05 still checks a lot of the home-theater specific boxes: short depth, available optical drive, room for additional storage, and enough airflow to keep things quiet. Benchmark Reviews has a chance to evaluate the SilverStone ML05 Mini-ITX HTPC case (model SST-ML05B) to see what building a different kind of computer in a different kind of case is like.
Benchmark Reviews was recently given the chance to sample the Milo ML04 HTPC micro-ATX case from SilverStone. Possibly an under-appreciated corner of the PC case market, a good home theater case can provide a subtle home for some powerful components. With computers making a gradual shift from the office to the living room and form factors steadily decreasing in size, HTPC cases can offer a home for an older, re-purposed office machine or a sophisticated enclosure for a dedicated media box. Part of the entry-level Milo series designed to offer the full size features of the Grandia series in a smaller size, will SilverStone’s SST-ML04B fulfill the special requirements of an HTPC platform? Why not just use any old computer case and set it in the living room? Let’s take a look and find out if the ML04 is a better option.
Today Benchmark Reviews will be looking at the lastest Raven enclosure from SilverStone, the Raven SST-RV04B-W. Since the RV01, the Raven series served as the “experimental” arm of the SilverStone chassis lineup; testing out unique ideas like a 90-degree rotated motherboard orientation and exotic applications of materials in a line of enclosures that had the extreme looks (and performance) to match. The RV04 forgoes the vertical orientation of the motherboard in previous Ravens and instead rotates it yet another 90 degrees. Utilizing a cooling design inspired by the impressive micro-ATX TJ-08E, the ATX Raven RV04 uses two 180mm AP fans in a slightly more traditional format – well, as traditional as a Raven case can be…
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.
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.