It’s fairly rare these days that a new company jumps into the case market. We have seen it in recent years from Corsair for example, but for the most part, it is a rare occurrence. Recently XFX announced that they would be joining the case market. On top of their video cards, XFX has sold power supplies, a mouse pad, and even a monitor stand. I’m excited to check out what they put together as their first case.  

Not every case fits every person’s needs, Cooler Master recognized that and set out to make a case that people can adjust to what they need. Say for example that you want to pack your PC full of water cooling gear or an absolute ton of hard drives. The HAF Stacker can handle that and nearly anything else you might want to do. For CES this year a case modder even turned multiple stackers into a life sized monster. Today I’m going to take a look at the HAF Stacker 935 and 915F, the 935 comes with two models giving us a total of three pieces to try out different options.

Silverstone has been involved in the Mini-ITX gaming market for a long time now. Not only have they had a wide variety of case options, but they have also provided short cabled power supplies and more recently they have been the only manufacture with a good SFX power supply for small form factor gaming. On top of all of this, they have been known to really change things up with unique case designs. Their most recent Raven design would have to be considered unique as well. With a look that reminds me of modern day consoles, I suspect that the Raven RVZ01 could be the perfect case for a Steambox build. Let’s see if that is the case.

Once Fractal designs a case they normally go back through and make sure to design similar models that fit the needs of people who need small, medium, and large sized builds. There isn’t anything worse than finding the perfect case for you then finding out that it’s not going to fit your build. We already have taken a good look at the Arc XL from Fractal, so when the Arc Mini R2 came in the similarities were too hard to ignore. If it’s anything like its much larger brother we will most likely love the Arc Mini R2, but of course we have to take a much closer look to find out more about it.

The Mini-ITX market has been growing both in popularity and in options. That means where we used to have one or two motherboard options, nearly every manufacture has multiple options now. Along with that, we now have Mini-ITX focused heatsinks and video cards. Cooler Master is no different with them expanding out their Mini-ITX case lineup beyond the Elite 120 that we reviewed a while back. Today I have the chance to take a look at one of their other options, the Elite 130. It is very similar to the Elite 120, but with a little different styling. Let’s see if the Elite line can still hold its own against the growing competition.

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.

 

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