Luxury case designer Lian Li announced yet another brushed aluminum ATX computer case, though this latest one is purportedly silent. The PC-B12, as it's been dubbed, features a handful of traits designed to keep noise at a minimum, including noise dampening foam attached to the removable front and side panels. There's also a downward facing exhaust baffle that's supposed to help keep acoustics to a minimum.
Fractal Design, the same company that recently took a 12-gauge shotgun to its Define XL case to prove the sturdiness of the side panel structure, extends the Define line with the newly introduced Define R4. The Define R4 isn't built to take a shotgun blast to the gut (and neither was the Define XL, it just happened to be able to survive one), but it is intended to stomp out unwanted noise with panels that are fitted with dense, sound-absorbing material.
At a time when computers are trending towards smaller towers and shrinking form factors, Lian Li decided to blatantly buck current tradition and release the PC-X2000FN, a hulking brushed aluminum enclosure with support for oversized EATX motherboards. The PC-X2000FN is made up of three separate compartments so that you can stuff a smorgasbord of components inside while maintaining some semblance or organization.
"Short" and "Full Tower" aren't a pair of descriptors that typically go together, but then again, Lian Li claims its new PC-V750 computer case isn't your typical enclosure. The PC-V750 is a "short full tower," as Lian Li describes it, and if you build a system inside it, the power supply goes in front, a design decision that allows it to "hold the hardware that enthusiasts desire while keeping a smaller footprint."
Cooler Master this week rolled out another aggressive looking computer case, the CM Storm Stryker. This latest model is a full tower enclosure and the second model in its class to include a sturdy carrying handle, just in case you want to pack this thing with high end hardware and then lug it around to LAN parties (or from room to room, as it were) "with relative ease." It's relative, because trying to carry a hulking computer case without a handle will test both your strength and agility.
USB 3.0 hard drive enclosure with plenty of ports, little appeal
LAST FALL'S flooding in Thailand caused massive devastation and the loss of hundreds of lives. Much less importantly, it also caused many hard drive factories to shut down temporarily, leading to a huge drop in HDD production. Drive prices are coming back down, but for some capacities cost is still prohibitive—which makes upgrading a little less tempting, never mind purchasing a portable drive for backup.
Of course, you can do your part by recycling and repurposing an old drive. And you can make that drive mobile with an enclosure like the Akitio SK-3501 Super-S3, which comes with myriad connection options and lets you give your old drive the new lease on life it deserves.
The Akitio SK-3501 is a basic-looking hard drive enclosure made of aluminum that's a magnet for greasy fingerprints and good for scratching up whatever it's resting on if you forget to attach the rubber feet. Mounting a drive inside of it requires a lot of screwing—that is, four screws to seat the drive into the internal base, and then four screws to bind the internal base to the external frame. Despite its price, the package and presentation actually feels cheap.
NZXT’s Switch 810 is aptly named: This toolless steel chassis is an excellent choice whether you’re indulging in extreme air cooling, radical water cooling, or near-silent running. It’s beautiful to behold no matter how you set it up, with white plastic panels that can be removed with a simple press of your fingertips.
The 22.3‑inch‑long by 23.5‑inch‑tall by 8.5‑inch‑wide chassis supports multiple platforms including ATX, microATX, Mini-ITX, E-ATX, XL-ATX, and Flex ATX mobo configurations. There’s plenty of room inside, with nine PCIe slots running in parallel with four tube cutouts, and plenty of convenient cable‑routing options. The Switch 810’s motherboard tray features 10 rubber-grommeted cutouts and an oversize 8-pin cable-routing hole. There’s enough room at the top of the case to fit a 60mm thick, 360mm radiator with push-pull fans. If you opt for a quiet configuration, you can slide the top-panel fan vents closed to reduce noise.
Cooler Master’s Storm Trooper is trimmed with a light-gray, rubber-coated plastic liner that covers the front and top of the case, creating a nice contrast with the black steel frame. It looks even better once its red fan LEDs switch on. It’s smaller than both NZXT’s Switch 810 and Xigmatek’s Elysium, measuring 23.8 inches high by 9.8 inches deep by 22.8 inches long and weighing 31.7 pounds. But this enclosure has plenty of room, boasting nine PCIe slots and space for even the longest consumer videocards.
Nine 5.25-inch drive bays occupy the front of the chassis, with a hot-swap 2.5-inch drive bay at the top of the stack. Two hard-drive cages with toolless trays can accommodate 2.5-, 3.5-, or 5.25-inch drives, and a second drive cage at the bottom of the chassis can handle four additional 2.5-inch drives. The trays aren’t shoddy, but they do feel less sturdy than what we’ve come to expect from Cooler Master.
Xigmatek’s Elysium is fricking huge. At 24.3 inches tall, 9 inches wide, a whopping 26.1 inches deep, and weighing more than 34 pounds, this monstrous full-tower enclosure is among the largest we’ve seen. Its cavernous interior can accommodate HPTX, XL-ATX, E-ATX, ATX, microATX, and Mini-ITX mobo configurations—and you can mount a second PSU at either the top or bottom for those power-hungry HPTX builds. The Elysium has 10 PCIe slots, and you can fit a 12.2-inch GPU with room to spare. But all that interior vertical space is a double-edged sword: We had to mount our PSU in the top bay, because its 8-pin ATX 12V cable wasn’t long enough to reach the motherboard from the bottom.
Twelve 5.25-inch drive bays adorn the front of the case. Two four-bay drive cages in the lower half are secured with thumbscrews and can be moved or removed, but the two 12cm front fans mounted to them must go along for the ride. Drives must be secured inside the cages with screws, and all the bays are secured using finicky plastic mechanisms. The case weirdly lacks any 2.5-inch drive mounts, so you’ll need to spring for your own adapters if you’re using SSDs.
The whole point of building a mini-ITX system is to have something with a small footprint that you can tuck inconspicuously out of the way or plop on your desk without having it dominate your work/play environment. And that's well and good, but it typically means making sacrifices in your component selection. What if you didn't have to? That's the question BitFenix asks with its new Prodigy, "the first mini-ITX chassis designed with enthusiasts in mind."