titleOne of the best parts about CES is that we get the chance to catch up with companies like Cooler Master and take a peek at what they are toying around with behind the scenes. This year they had an interesting case that at the time they called a LAN case. This struck a tone for me because of a fundamental issue I had with the case being for LAN use, its size, and I let them know it. Over 10 months later the HAF XB is sitting here in the office, with an improved design and a more appropriate focus. The HAF XB is considered a case / test bench. Those of you who like to tweak and play with your builds may have just perked up. The HAF XB is a completely new form factor for Cooler Master; considering their past win’s this should be interesting. Maybe even game changing?

title2Today we are taking a look at one of In Win's more recent offerings, the Mana 136. Not too long ago we had the opportunity to check out their Dragon Rider full tower case and came away pretty impressed. This time around the case is white. We have seen white being used from just about every manufacture, Is it a passing fad or is it hear to stay. Since most manufactures now offer at least one case in white, it is safe to say the demand must be sufficient. On the other hand, that means it is hard to stand out in a crowded marketplace. Today we are going to take a look at the Mana 136 White and see if In Win has produced a product to capture the attention of today's consumer. 

 

titleMy first computer chassis was the Cooler Master Cosmos, a behemoth I lugged proudly from home to LAN party and back again. Large, full towers are what first come to my mind when I think of Cooler Master cases, despite transplanting my LAN rig into the Cooler Master Scout, which coincidently is used as an HTPC when I’m home. Cooler Master has offered the Elite 100 as a mini ITX HTPC solution, but its thin, vertical form factor prevents it from dual-serving as a LAN rig. Can the Elite 120 Advanced meet both needs?

titleJust over three years ago Cooler Master introduced their Storm product line with the Storm Sniper, soon after they introduced the Storm Scout. In those three years there has been one other case that I have seen more of around at different LAN partys. The combination of its built in handles, support for full ATX motherboards, and blacked out styling have made the Scout a huge success. After three years Cooler Master has decided to introduce a new version of the Scout. Considering the original’s success, this is an important launch. I really hope that they still manage to keep what made the original great while giving it a fresh look.

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When word came in that the Dragon Rider by In Win was en-route, I was curious. This case looks to be basically a modified version of their Maelstrom offering. In Win certainly works to produce a unique look, sometimes to the point where it can be considered a fault. I was curious would their aggressive and unique styling fit my fancy while remaining functional? More importantly is how is it going to stand against rising competition and rising quality in the case market. I jumped into our review of the In Win Dragon Rider a little skeptical, but excited to see what they have to offer. Let’s hope In Win’s gaming focused model impresses, they are going to need it in today’s case market. 

titleFinding innovation and creativity in the case market today seems to get harder and harder as time goes by. It’s not that everything has been done, more that coming up with new and innovative ideas is getting tougher for all of the manufactures. We are starting to see more and more cases that look alike. A while back Raidmax sent over a case they wanted me to take a look at, something different they had been working on. Today I will be taking a look at the final version of that same case, the Agusta. With a few new ideas and a style that no other case has, it’s most likely for everyone, but I have a feeling we will see a few around at LAN’s in the future.

titleWe recently had a chance to take a look at the MSI Ravager case, a case that is marketed towards people who want something a little flashing. Today we are going to look at another offering from MSI called the Barricade. This time around the Barricade has more subtle styling for those who may not be looking for a case for your youngest cousin or baby brother. It has been interesting to see MSI branch out a bit into different areas such as cases and SSDs. It should be interesting to see how this case compares to the previous one and how it stands on its own.

titleWhen it comes to Mini ITX cases for use in portable LAN builds the selection leaves a lot to be desired. After taking a look at the Asus P8Z77-I Deluxe I realized how Mini ITX has even more possibility’s now than back a few years ago when I was pushing it before. With that potential you are going to need a case to pack everything in and it will hopefully be easy to carry to LANs. This is where Lian Li is coming in with the PC-TU200. Its small form factor design and carrying handle have all the potential to be a perfect LAN case, of course if you can’t fit your cutting edge rig inside, it won’t matter. Let’s take a closer look and see what you can do with it.

titleAbout two years ago I reviewed Gelid Solution's 12PL case fan, an article I encourage you to read, not only because it will answer that 'what's so special about a fan' question on your mind, but also because its an early review of mine and you can find plenty to poke fun at. Bottom line, the fan was attractive, quiet, and effective. I was quite a fan of the company, often plugging the review when people would ask for case fan recommendations. Gelid has come a long way since then, now equipped with a healthy catalog of products to choose from. Today we'll be putting Swiss-managed company's first chassis, the DarkForce, to our tests.

titleIt seems every time you turn around, a new case has hit the market. This is actually a good thing as it means with a little bit of looking you should be able to find one to suit your needs and tastes. MSI is a well-known brand in the graphics and mainboard market, but certainly isn’t my first thought when it comes to cases. We have seen one other offering from MSI this year in terms of a budget case – the Raptor. It reviewed fairly well, which makes us a bit curious as to what a mid-level offering will bring.

titleWe have had a few different Lian Li chassis come through the LanOC Offices and there hasn’t been a time that we haven’t been impressed with the new and interesting features Lian Li always seems to slip in. When they wanted to ship over their new case “The Hammer” PC 100, we signed up right away. We had seen the case previewed from a few shows prior and this time around Lian Li took a new perspective with its design, I was very interested to see how their changes worked out. Let’s jump in and see what it’s all about!

titleThe topic of cleaning your computer out came up last week on our forums and it got me thinking about how often I really need to clean out my computer. As it turns out it’s not very often anymore. All because of improvements in case design like fan filters. You don’t really see them on low end cases yet but they have been slowly trickling down. At CES this year we had a chance to get our hands on one of Cooler Master’s upcoming chassis, the HAF XM. A mid-range case packed with the features we have come to love from their high end HAF line. Today we are going to dig into the final product and see how it came out.

titleWhen looking at cases for your next build, there are several ways that you can go.  On the high end, you have a plethora of options and can spend hundreds of dollars on one.  Then, there is the middle-of-the-road good quality case.  For a budget build, there are is also a litany of options.  When looking at a budget case there are some sacrifices that you make for the sake of price.  Today we are looking at the MSI Raptor case, a budget case with some interesting options.  Does this case’s unique options make up for the shortcomings of being a budget case, or is this another case you should skip even on a budget build?  Let’s put it through its paces and find out.

titleThe first case that I ever got excited about pre-release was the Cooler Master Cosmos. With a futuristic design packed full of features it was an impressive design. It wasn’t without its problems though and Cooler Master did a good job fixing them the Cosmos S. Of course the industry doesn’t stay still, manufactures have continued to innovate and change. Many of the features of both Cosmos’s are common place now. With competition like the 800D Cooler Master has been working on the new cosmos for a few years now, we even saw a fairly complete prototype almost a year at CES. Today we finally get to take a look at the result of all of that time and work with the Cosmos II.  

titleWhen Thermaltake introduced the BMW designed Level 10 a few years back they got everyone thinking outside of the box. Of course with its price tag of almost 1,000 dollars they are few and far between. They followed it up with their Level 10 GT, a case inspired by the Level 10 but with a much lower price tag.  The Level 10 GT has been a popular case but we haven’t had a chance to take a look at it. When the Level 10 GT Snow Edition was introduced I knew it was time to finally see what the fuss is all about. Today we are going to take a look at one of Thermaltake’s flagship cases, lets dig into it and find out what it’s all about.

titleIn order to break out of the normal mold NZXT took a different route than the other manufactures and paired up with PC Modder/Builder Craig Brugger (craigbru). Together they worked together to design the Phantom. The Phantom quickly became a popular case with both enthusiasts and case modders. Soon after, a white and black version was introduced, starting the trend of different color cases. When one of our members came across an orange and black version I couldn’t help but beg and plead to get one in. Considering the color combination is a Newegg exclusive I was really happy to find out they could get us one. Today we are FINALLY going to take a look at the NXZT Phantom LanOC Style.

titleIt’s been a long time since we covered anything from Antec and frankly it’s been a long time since they have reinvented some of their lineup. When they introduced their P280 recently I was excited to see a little motion from their camp and when they contacted me wondering if we wanted to take a closer look I didn’t hesitate to jump on it. The new P280 is larger than any of the other cases from their P line but with more up to date features I’m excited to see where it stands compared to everything else we have seen recently.

titleI recently took a look at our first Fractal case the Define Mini and I was very impressed. For a new company in the market I was very impressed with both their innovation and simplicity. Even more impressive and important was the price tag! The Define Mini is one of many cases from Fractal and I was very excited when they sent out another case to take a look at. This time a Mini ITX case that is designed to be a home NAS box called the Fractal Array R2. Without an optical drive and with room for lots of hard drives the Array R2 is a good candidate as a case for our event server rebuild.

titleRosewill is a brand name well known for putting out good budget products. They have a new offering called the "Future" that is targeting that budget gaming case market.   This is an extremely competative market with low profit margines, plus we gamers are a funny breed. We'd rather drop our gear into a case that's going to offer us superior performance at the cost of the looks of the case. With all the experience that Rosewill has in the budget case market, they've got a good feel for what the market wants. Will the Rosewill Future hit that mark? Let's find out.


titleChanging standards and new technologies have made it some what hard to find a budget priced case that has all of the features that you want in a case. For some, cooling is an issue, or you have to sacrifice advanced features like USB 3.0. It's a challenge for the manufacturer, too, to get all the features that today's budget builders want in, and keep the price low. Today's case, aptly named Challenger, is from Rosewill. Let's take a look at the specs and see if this one has everything we'd want in a case.

 

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