What a long, strange trip it's been. Ten years ago, most computer chassis were plain beige enclosures, barely worth mentioning. But over the years, manufacturers have been adding features: better materials, more fans, toolless drive bays, side windows, cable-routing cutouts, airflow ducts. And where they've faltered, modders have picked up the pace. Today's sub-$100 cases have features that weren't seen on the fanciest cases five years ago, and thing are only looking up. In the wake of the new case roundup we posted earlier this week, let's step back in time and look at some of the coolest cases of yesteryear.
Lian Li, maker of high end, all aluminum computer cases for going on three decades now, just released a couple of new enclosures aimed at two different target audiences. There's the PC-C60 that's destined to end up in an entertainment center pulling HTPC duties, and the PC-6, a "simple and elegant mid-tower," as Lian Li describes it. We have a different adjective in mind.
Corsair's new Carbide Series 400R and 500R computer cases share DNA with the company's Obsidian and Graphite Series and "have been designed for PC gamers with the same builder-friendly philosophy," but one thing these newcomers don't have in common is the price. The 500R will ship for $129, and the 400R slips just under the century mark with a $99 price tag, making them affordable alternatives to higher end cases that creep past the $200 mark.
It's a good thing our PCs don't run on gas. This hobby is expensive enough as it is, and that's especially true for gamers. If you're more interested in fragging than Facebook, then that means you'll spend twice, maybe three times as much on the videocard alone. Factor in more RAM, a speedy SSD for ultra fast load times and overall system performance, and high-dollar gaming peripherals, and you can blow through a budget faster than Lady Gaga on tour. NZXT feels your pain, and if you can live with a case that's anything but ostentatious, the company's new Source 210 is about as wallet friendly as it gets.
You've seen Corsair's Graphite Series 600T mid-tower computer case before, but never like this. The newly available 'Special Edition White Graphite Series 600T' is exactly what it sounds like -- a mostly white version of the original with "other accents rendered in the black of the original 600T for a dramatic look" -- plus a couple of enhancements not revealed in the product's long-winded name.
If Lian Li's new PC-U6 Cowry case is the funkiest thing you've ever seen, then you didn't catch our review of the company's PC-777 Memorial Edition chassis five years ago to the month. We awarded the PC-777 a 9 verdict and Kick Ass designation for its exotic looks, "old school huge" design (as Senior Editor Gordon Mah Ung described it), and quiet operation. Lian Li has brought the "seashell" design back (we think it looks like a snail) with a modern makeover.
Need a new compact case that can accommodate high end GPUs, like the AMD Radeon HD 6990 and Nvidia GTX 590, but is small enough to tote around to LAN parties? If so, Cooler Master hopes you'll give its new Storm Enforcer gaming case a once over. Cooler Master describes the case as "a bold new LAN deployable addition to the Storm lineup." And according to CM, it's the first mid-tower to include native support for the above mentioned dual-GPU videocards.
We've awarded high marks to Cooler Masters HAF (High Air Flow) line of computer cases, including an 8 verdict for the HAF 922 and 9 verdicts for both the original HAF and HAF X enclosures. Needless to say, we've been pretty impressed. Building on the success of earlier variants (and milking the HAF reputation for all it's worth), Cooler Master announced a new addition to its High Air Flow line, the HAF 932 Advanced case.
One of the downsides to Apple's Smart Cover for the iPad 2 is that it does nothing to protect the back of the tablet. That'll never do if you're clumsy or otherwise prone to scuffing up the back of your digital gadgets. This is where the third-party peripheral market comes into play, and a company called HandStand just released a rotating iPad 2 case that will have you singing Flo Rida's catchy "Right Round" as you spin your tablet, well, right round.
NZXT has a long history of cranking out funky looking enclosures, though that isn't always the case. The case maker's latest creation is designed to give gamers a silent computing experience so they can concentrate on the in-game action rather than the sounds coming from their PC. Truth be told, the new H2 silent midtower chassis looks lke a modern take on Antec's P182 from a few years back.