It’s a little crazy to think that just a few years ago Fractal stormed the market with their Scandinavian designs. Now Fractal is a common name in the enthusiast scene. They were able to do this because they never compromise on their design philosophies and their high build quality. As it turns out, people want a good product at a reasonable price, who knew right? Well today, I have the chance to take a look at a case from their Arc series of cases that are designed for increased cooling while still giving you the “fractal” styling that we know and love. Specifically today, I will check out their Arc XL, their largest model. I’m excited to see what sets the Arc XL apart from the competition and from Fractals other product lines.

Over the last few years In Win has really stepped up their game. They have been introducing limited edition case designs that are extremely unique and nothing like anything else on the market. After the first few designs I assumed they would run out of ideas but they have continued to innovate by incorporating tempered glass into some of the case designs. As most of you know I am a big fan of Mini-ITX builds so when In Win asked me if I wanted to check out their 901, a Mini-ITX case that incorporates some of the unique features of their concept chassis.

When it comes to small form factor builds our main focus has been on builds that can fit high powered video cards for LAN use. But the truth to the matter is there are a lot more people who are looking to build small PCs for routers, HTPCs, and just to save room on your desk. As someone who has HTPCs all around the house I completely get it. After juggling a few parts around I realized I had a half height Mini-ITX motherboard sitting around and I decided to make use of it. I came across the Silverstone Petit PT13 case and the AR04 cooler from Silverstone as well. Together they should make for a small but powerful PC, let’s see how performs.

Just in time for Christmas we have a mid-tower for you, this time from Cougar. The MX500 promises to be a case with a gaming centric design and the capability to handle just about any ATX/mATX setup you could want to throw at it with an array of possible drive setups. With the promise or flexibility and expandability the MX500 looks to target gamers and ever since we got our hands on their Vortex PWM fans we knew Cougar was capable of making quality products. Let’s see if they can continue to impress us.

If people left things alone and didn’t continue to innovate we would all still be driving around in Model T’s rather than the car options we have now. Lian Li has impressed me every time I have had a chance to check out their cases, but they haven’t been sitting on their hands. I recently had their new PC-10N come in. With their new rail design for motherboard installation and with its corners cut off the PC-10N does have a few new features while sticking with the all-aluminum design that Lian Li is known for. Of course I can’t leave it at that, I had to dig into the case and see what it is all about.

Years ago most every PC you came across was beige in color and a tower or desktop in size/shape. As things have progressed we saw that slowly move from beige to black and we now see a lot of manufactures offering white as well. It has happened so much other component manufactures have taken notice and we now see everything from RAM to power supplies that also come in white to match. When it comes to size, things have changed as well. We now have a range of options from large builds down to small table top PCs. Today I’m going to take a look at the Fractal Node 304 white. We have covered the Node 304 in the past but I’m excited to see what it looks like in white.

Earlier this year we went hands-on with the R4 from Fractal, a mid tower solution to the Define product line. We were quite pleased with the humble case, the simple Fractal facade silently housing a myriad of features. Our one complaint was the weight of the chassis, to which Fractal responded by sending us the R4’s big brother full tower, the XL R2. I'll be installing a full ATX building and, against better judgement, showing it off at our upcoming LAN party.Take a look with us, we could use an extra hand lifting.

Five years ago if you were on the market for a case there were really only a few directions to go. More recently this has changed considerably; there are so many manufactures that weren’t even in the market five years ago. One of those manufactures is Corsair, moved into the market with a very impressive 800D and has been slowly filling out their product lineup from then on. The Obsidian Series 350D that I will be taking a look at today is the first mid tower from the Obsidian Series. With styling from the popular 800D we know it looks great, but the only way to find out where it stands otherwise is to look at it more in depth.

We have been on a Mid Tower kick here lately with case reviews and a few have left us impressed while others leave us scratching our head with odd design choices. One of those cases was the Urban S21 from Thermaltake, a company generally known for good, solid case design. Today Thermaltake is back with another mid tower offering in a slightly higher price range, the A31 Chaser. While the color of the Thunder Edition was enough to catch everyone’s attention at CES, I will be putting the Chaser through a more thorough examination today.

Thermaltake has always been known for their superb case design and quality throughout the years. This time they are back with a Mid Tower offering in the same price range as many leading competitors with the enthusiast additions we have come to expect.  Present are the optimized ventilation, cable management and tool-free bays we all love to see delivered in an aesthetically minimalist package. Will the Urban S21 prove to be a hit or end up as just another option? Joins me as we give it the once over and see if the Urban Mid Tower stacks up.

While most enthusiasts prefer Full Tower cases because of the ample amount of space for things like water-cooling solutions and multiple video card setups, sometimes the sheer size of the cases can be prohibitive as far as portability. Luckily there has always been a healthy market for enthusiast minded Mid Towers. Today we look at the G7 Mid Tower from InWin that promises to offer a great blend of features, performance and quality aimed at DIY enthusiasts. Will it stand tall among quality competition? Let’s find out.

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There are a lot of different sizes of PC cases available today. Some prefer huge rigs where they can pack everything possible into giant chassis, for others space saving designs are more attractive. The German company, Cougar is back with another option for gamers looking to put their components into a new micro-sized case. Enter the Spike which is a Micro ATX form factor light weight case. The Spike is Cougar's smallest case to date.  We are going to see how the features and performance stack up on the Micro sized newcomer. 

titleOne of the biggest down falls to having a smaller form factor case and motherboard has always been lack of room for aftermarket cooling solutions, namely water cooling. Cooler master has released the N series brand of cases, a new line that hopes to tackle the water cooling conundrum that many small form factor users are faced with. The N series is touted as a mainstream computer case aimed at the masses, a simple, cheap solution that will house all of the gaming essentials. And as an enthusiast, it might not be your next rig, but it could very well be a candidate for your next LAN rig or for a budding gamer friend.

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Over the last couple years Cougar has started rising in popularity, due mainly to their case fan lineup.  Recently the German company has expanded their line of PC Cases to new horizons. There are many options for PC enthusiasts that are looking for a new home for their components. The mid tower is one of the most popular form factors, since you have a nice balance between the size and weight of the case. Today we are going to take a look at the Challenger case from Cougar. The case has a pilot theme, which is urging you to flip the missile switch and unleash havoc on your enemies. Let's see how the Challenger stacks up against it's competition. 

titleWe have seen a lot of In-Win products both through our office here at LanOC and as raffle prizes for the LanOC events. With the upcoming LanOC 12.0 we were in the market for a portable solution for our router, one that wasn’t built in haste on a late night in the middle of our last LAN like our current router. Intel had already provided a mini ITX motherboard and a half height network card that needed a home so we started our search there. We came across the BP655 from In Win that fit the bill perfectly. They were kind enough to supply us with a new home for our new router, now join as and see how this case sizes up (pun intended) to the competition.

titleBeing in the LAN scene, mobility is something that is important to most of us. The solution for some is a laptop, for others it is a sling for their tower and dealing with the grunt work that goes into lugging around an entire system. More and more however folks are turning to smaller form factor motherboards that will fit into LAN boxes. Fractal has sent over one of their Mini ITX cases that can perform as a LAN boxe, the Node 304. Let’s take a look and see how it stacks up against the competition.

titleWhen it comes to cases there are two different types. The first is the flashy cases that are meant to grab everyones attention and show off all the cool hardware inside. The second is the sleek professional looking case that is all about style and function. When it comes to Fractal Design I always seem to place them in this second category. They don’t make anything flashy or over the top, but their cases are always functional, cool, spacious, and what I like to call business sexy. Their Define cases have always been a perfect example of this, today we are going to take a look at the Define R4, their lastest version.

titleWe have taken a look at a whole collection of unique case designs in the past with two standing out more than the others. The Silverstone Fortress FT01 and the Silverstone Raven. Both stood out because of their 90 degree rotated motherboard design that works so well for cooling. Although no one else been making cases with the motherboard oriented that way, Silverstone is still working on perfecting the design now with their Raven 3. We loved the previous versions so I have high hopes for the Raven 3. Lets take a look to see what is new and how it performs.

titleA number of Lian Li chassis have made their way through the offices of LanOC. Each time they manage to surprise and impress us with something new or innovative. Today we get to take a look at their new PC-7HX mid tower chassis and see how it compares, not only to their own cases, but also to those of competitors. We expect it to have the same Lian Li quality that we have come to expect, but will this be your next case? Lets find out.

frontIn-Win is well known for their unique design, and has a robust line of towers to choose from. The majority of the line, however, is for ATX and below; until now only two entries, the Maelstrom and the Dragon Rider, were full towers. The company introduced two new cases, one of which is a new E-ATX compatible full tower, the GRone. A quick look at the specifications foreshadows a contender for enthusiast builds, crafted from steel and plenty of room to expand. PC chassis is a flooded market; will the GRone sink?

 

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