Do you stand up at the start or end of an intense virtual battle and yell out a battle cry to let other LAN party goers know you're the top dog? If so, you can immortalize your catchphrase on your computer case through iBuyPower's new laser engraving service, provided you're buying a system from the boutique system builder. Other options include customized graphics, or you can upload your own custom design to be etched on the side panel. Video of the etching process after the break.
Congratulations guys, and don't hesitate to take pictures with your brand new cases, and send em' on over!
As we've shown you before, we've got a lot of stuff crowding up our lab (and offices. and hallways.). But! Once every so often, our rational minds get the better of us and we schedule a lab cleaning. Oh, how we do cringe at the thought of spending a day sorting through wires, chords, peripherals and stack and stacks of cases.
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?
Senior Editor takes a post CES 2011 look at Silverstone's new FT03 case, marking Silverstone's foray into the world of Micro ATX. The FT03 fully is a full size case that supports Micro ATX motherboards, leaving oodles of room for anything else you'd like to cram in there. Watch Gordon take it apart, below.
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.
Despite its fairly standard mid-tower dimensions—8.7 inches wide, 20.4 inches high, and 19.3 inches deep—the LanBoy Air is like no other case on the market. It’s more like a cross between an Ikea end table and a Lego set, if a Lego set needed a screwdriver. Its motherboard tray is not only removable and separate from the back panel, but it can switch places with the PSU bracket, if you decide you want your PSU at the top of the case instead of the bottom. Feel like swapping the location of the two three-speed front fans with the three optical drive trays? Go for it—you can even alternate them if you want. The hard drive mounts are more like hammocks, complete with bungie cords, and can be oriented any way you like, though we’d recommend removing them before you move the machine for any reason. This flexibility enables the use of the longest graphics cards you can find. And the floor of the hard drive well includes mounts for two 2.5-inch drives.
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.
The NZXT Phantom is gorgeous in a Dark Side kind of way—whether you opt for Darth Vader black, Imperial Guard red, or our favorite: Stormtrooper white. Though NZXT considers the Phantom a full-tower chassis, at 8.75 inches wide, 21.25 inches tall, and 24.5 inches deep (and with no EATX support), it’s no taller or wider (and barely deeper) than the other mid-tower chassis that make up the rest of this roundup. The Phantom packs seven toolless hard drive trays in a dual-bay configuration that (hooray!) leaves room for long cards like the Radeon HD 5970. We’re not crazy about front-panel doors like the one that covers the Phantom’s five (toolless) optical drive bays, but the Phantom’s door is at least nicely weighted and has a magnetic latch.
It’s no secret that we really like Corsair’s full-tower case, the 800D. That chassis earned a Kick Ass Award for its no-nonsense exterior, gloriously roomy interior, and its mysterious ability to make every build look fantastic. Of course, it was enormous and cost close to $300. So we had high hopes for the mid-tower 600T: Sure, it’s graphite-colored and clad in (gasp!) curvy plastic, but it’s still Corsair on the inside, right?
Lian Li’s chassis are renowned for their all-aluminum construction and superb build quality, but are also known equally well for costing a fortune and featuring questionable design choices. The mid-tower PC-8FI, thankfully, brings the legendary build quality, adds some nice new toolless touches, and for the most part eschews silly design elements—aside from a giant spider-shaped side window, that is.