Lian Li has been known to take chances in case design, like the PC-777 snail shell chassis. But never have we seen anything like the Pitstop PC-T1 Mini-ITX Spider Test Bench.
This four-legged arachnid sports an angle-adjustable motherboard tray that sits out in the open for easy access, but only accommodates mini-ITX boards. There's a place for a single 5.25-inch slim optical drive, one standard 3.5-inch HDD or SSD, and an ATX power supply.
"Lian Li's PC-T1 is most ideal for hardware enthusiasts looking to display an impressive computer system for the next LAN party or to challenge family and friends with a unique looking HTPC," Lian Li explains.
Not everything being shown off at CeBIT will actually make it to retail, so we may never actually see Lian Li's PC-T1R chassis. Judging by the pictures, that might not be a bad thing.
Lian Li certainly found itself thinking outside the box on this one, perhaps a bit too far. At first glance, the PC-T1R looks like a gigantic metal spider, but that's not even the quirkiest part. What we can't wrap our heads around is why the oversized contraption only accommodates micro-ATX motherboards. The whole point of building a mATX system is to save space, but good luck stuffing the PC-T1R into your home theater cabinet or any other tight squeezes.
Misgivings aside, the PC-T1R also makes room for a hard drive, optical drive, and power supply. There's an on/off switch, and according to news and rumor site Fudzilla, should this make it past CeBIT, you'll be able to buy it in red or black for about $225.
Corsair today put to rest persistent rumors regarding its Obsidian series 700D computer case by officially announcing the enclosure, which is based on the familiar Obsidian 800D.
“From the moment we announced the Obsidian Series 800D chassis, enthusiasts were captivated by its unique combination of features, looks and performance, and the fact that it is a true builders’ chassis,” said Jim Carlton, VP of Marketing at Corsair. “Our goal with the Obsidian Series 700D is to offer a chassis that retains the essence of what made the 800D so popular, but at a lower price point, allowing a wider range of consumers to build their own Corsair Dream PC.”
To help cut costs, the four hot-swap SATA bay of the 800D has been replaced by four fixed SATA bays. Corsair also tossed the side window out the, er, window and replaced it with a solid side panel on the 700D.
Other than those two changes, the case looks to be largely the same as its bigger-numbered brother, including the same CPU backplate, tool-free drive installation, and cable management scheme.
Look for the 700D to start shipping in April. No word yet on price.
Asetek is no stranger to boutique OEM builders, and the latest rendevous involves iBuyPower teaming up with Asetek to deliver the "first and only liquid cooling solution for [Thermaltake's] Level 10 tower."
"When iBuyPower decided to liquid cool the Level 10 chassis, Asetek's Total Solutions Team was quick to respond with the guidance on how to optimize liquid cooling performance in this unique chassis," said Steve Branton, Asetek's Director of Marketing. "This is our commitment to 'Thermal Management Done Right!'"
Marketing goofiness aside, it's no small feat integrating a liquid cooling solution into the Level 10. Individual compartments and an overall unique design makes mounting a standard liquid cooling apparatus nothing short of a challenge.
Stepping up to Asetek's liquid cooling solution runs $20, which for the time being is negated by a $20 mail-in-rebate offer.
We imagine most board meetings at Lian Li start off with a few pleasantries about the weekend, and then quickly kick into a discussion about how to design a new chassis. Someone yells out 'brushed aluminum' and it gets written down. This is followed by Billy raising his hand and suggesting it be a full tower, because Billy loves full towers. Everyone agrees. Finally, the intern reminds everyone it should also be high-end so that they can charge several hundred dollars.
That seems to be the recipe for Lian Li's new PC-A77F full tower case, just as it is with so many others. So what does this latest model do differently? The biggest addition is incorporating USB 3.0 support into the four top-mounted USB ports. You'll also find the now ubiquitous eSATA port and a pair of audio jacks.
Others specs include 8 PCI expansion slots, support for E-ATX, ATX, CEB, and mATX form factors, removable side, front , and top panels, an anti-vibration rubberized tool-less PSU bracket, 3 front input 120mm fans with blue LEDs, 2 top mounted 140mm fans, a single rear 120mm fan, folded elements to ward off sharp edges, a complete tool-less design, and other odds and ends.
Lian Li says the PC-A77F will start shipping towards the end of March for about $390.
Yeah, we went old school in the title, and while Robert Van Winkle (Vanilla Ice's off-stage name) probably still has a few fans who think "Ice Ice Baby" is the greatest song ever, the 1990 single could just as easily apply to NZXT's new Hades chassis.
It's clear NZXT made airflow a top priority with its Hades gaming case, and you'll find no less than five fan slots littered throughout, almost all of which are larger than 120mm. There's two 200mm intake fans (front and side), dual 140mm top exhaust fans, and a 120mm rear exhaust. And with the exception of a top 140mm fan, all the rest are included.
"Enthusiasts and gamers have a lot to be excited about with the advanced airflow and control options that Hades brings to the table," said Johnny Hou, chief designer at NZXT. "With an array of options for limitless upgradeability, Hades has the performance and longevity that gamers desire."
The "control options" Hou refers to includes the dual-fan 8W per channel controller, along with a three temperature display on the front panel, which NZXT says is visible even when the door is closed. Other features include an all black interior, nine drive bays (configurable as nine 5.25 inch, or five 5.25-inch and four 3.5-inch), SSD bracket for up to two SSD drives, and mounting holes for a dual radiator at the top.
iBuyPower this week announced it is the only system builder to offer Thermaltake's new and unique Level 10 enclosure, which was designed in partnership with the BMWGroup and scored an 8 verdict in our recent evaluation.
"We are constantly searching for the best components, cases, and peripherals to use in our systems," said Darren Su, Vice President of iBuyPower. "The Level 10 system is just another example of our drive to offer gaming rigs that can deliver the performance and aesthetics our customers demand."
iBuyPower decked out the Level 10 with a respectable assortment of components, including an Intel Core i7 920 processor, 6GB of DDR3 memory, a GeForce GTX 285 videocard, a 128GB SSD for the OS and 1TB hard drive for storage duties, and optional Killer Xeno Gaming Network Card, NZXT Sentry LCD, or Blu-ray drive.
The newly launched V3 carries a suggested retail price of only $39, placing it squarely in budget territory. Even Ebenezer Scrooge would approve. But don't expect an ugly beige chassis. Instead, the V3 Black Edition lives up to its name with an all black coating, both inside and out. And so the interior view doesn't go unnoticed, it also boasts a left side panel window.
Thermaltake only includes a single 120mm exhaust fan, albeit with a blue LED. However, there are three additional 120mm fan mounts throughout the case (front intake, top exhaust, and side intake).
Thermaltake isn't boasting a tool-less design, which is curious considering a peak through the case's gallery reveals that both the hard drive cage and optical bays sport tool-less mechanisms.
NZXT has been on a roll churning out affordable cases that, at least on paper, appear to belie their low price tag with features typically reserved for more expensive enclosures. The same can be said for NZXT's newest chassis, the Tempest EVO.
Constructed of all black steel, the EVO edition expands on the original Tempest's design with better cooling potential and more attention to cable management schemes. Cooling duties are provided by four 120mm fans (dual intake, one side, and one rear). NZXT said it even redesigned the fan blades to push more air at lower noise levels.
The mid tower Tempest EVO targets enthusiasts looking for server-level performance. The E-ATX form factor is now supported, and there are slots for up to 8 hard drives.
"The original Tempest is one of our most successful designs due to its optimal airflow capabilities," said Johnny Hou, Chief Designer at NZXT. "With the additional improvements the Tempest EVO brings to the equation, it's destined to be a top performer in its class."
The Tempest EVO is available now for with an MSRP set to $100.
NZXT has been on a budget rampage lately and continues to add to its lineup of enclosures priced in $50 territory. The latest low-priced mid-tower to come off the assembly line is the company's just announced Gamma chassis, and it too will sell for around half a C-note.
Despite the low price tag, NZXT says it placed a "premium on effective airflow," which includes slots for 6 case fans, dedicated VGA/CPU cooling, and a front panel design the company claims allows for extra air to be sucked in. It also includes a few amenities often reserved for higher priced cases, including water-cooling holes, mounting holes for a dual-radiator at the top, and an all-black interior.
"There is no other chassis on the market that offers this kind of feature set for around $50," said Johnny Hou, Chief Designer at NZXT. "For enthusiasts looking to shave some money off their build, Gamma will provide everything you need for a high performance system at a remarkably low price."
Hou's singing a familiar tune that we've heard from the company before, and don't mind hearing again.