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?

titleWhen it comes to interesting or creative designs for PC cases, Silverstone is one of only a few manufactures that come to mind. They are known for making stylish cases but they have also gone off the beaten path with designs like their Raven and Fortress cases where they have designed the motherboards rear I/O panel to vent out of the top of the case for improved airflow. When they introduced their Fortress FT03, they weren't replacing the previous model, instead bringing out a smaller model to sell along with it. It’s been out for some time but when Silverstone asked us what we wanted to take a look at it, it was still at the top of our list. Of course with all of this time waiting, we have high expectations. Let’s find out where it stands.

titleAt our last LAN we gave away a couple Cooler Master Storm Trooper cases and I was extremely impressed with them. Of course right now white is all the rage, so it wasn’t a surprise that Cooler Master introduced a white version as well. This time they called it the Stryker, I’m sure that a white and black Storm branded Trooper made a few lawyers a little uncomfortable, so the name change when going white wasn’t a shock. No matter the name, I was excited to dig in and put the Stryker to the test.

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.

 

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