The Silverstone Raven RV03 is a solid case, and gets points for ingenuity. It may look a little garish and feel a little plasticky, but it’s roomy, features a stunning amount of ports and slots, and offers a crazy-organized build and great cooling.
Our initial impression of the Cooler Master Storm Enforcer wasn’t great. Though the case is only $90, we can’t help but feel wary running our hands over a lightweight plastic front panel. It’s just instinct. But after spending some time with the Enforcer, we actually came away impressed—mostly.
NZXT’s H2 is a simple-looking case—in fact, simplicity seems to be the overall theme—and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. In the world of PC building, simple can be good.
The H2 is an ATX mid-tower, constructed of sturdy steel. The side panels (which lack windows or adornment of any kind) are lined with acoustic-dampening foam to keep your hardware quiet. It works well for the most part. We had the case running three fans, and the addition of the side and front panels made the case noticeably quieter.
From the outside, the Enermax Hoplite doesn’t really stand out. Its generic industrial look has been done before, and better—it owes a lot to Cooler Master’s HAF series, by way of example. What it lacks in the looks department, however, it makes up for with ease of use. Couple that with a $100 price tag and a pretty spiffy LED-enabled front fan, and you’ve got yourself a deal. Kind of.
We’ll admit it: When the Thermaltake V9 BlacX Edition mid-tower chassis showed up on our doorstep, we thought it was a joke. “Surely,” we said, “Thermaltake didn’t just slap one of its dual-bay BlacX hard drive docks onto a cheap mid-tower chassis and call it a day.” Well, Thermaltake did, and in a really confusing way. The V9 BlacX Edition is virtually identical to the plain ol’ V9, true, except the BlacX Edition has more features, better build quality, and a $60 dual-SATA dock slapped on the top. And it’s $30 cheaper than the plain ol’ V9. Er, what?
Are mid-towers the future of PC chassis design? Used to be that a mid-tower case was a compromise—an admission that you were willing to sacrifice a few features for a rig that could fit under your desk (or on top of it) without making drastic changes to your decor or furniture. Based on the products we’ve seen in the Lab over the last few months, those days are all but over.
Read on to learn more about five of the hottest (or coolest) cases around.
Cases with handles are nothing new. Cases billed as LAN-ready are nothing new, either. But BitFenix’s first mid-tower chassis, the Survivor, has a wraparound rubberized plastic bumper that’s kinda new. We love the so-called “SofTouch” coating on the case’s wraparound shell—many editors said it was the coolest case they’d ever felt. We won’t name names, but some Lab members wouldn’t stop touching it, which disturbed us a little. The shell protects every corner on the machine—you have to remove two rear bumpers in order to remove the side panels—a slight inconvenience when building, but another step between your components and a hard surface (or a grabby thief) at a LAN event.