Case Conundrum: Affordable Midtowers Compared

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The Contenders

Today we're reviewing a series of mid-tower cases at a variety of affordable price points. These four cases are all marketed towards enthusiasts and ship with what were once considered upscale options, including external water cooling mounts, multiple 120mm fans, screwless installation, removable case vents, and board cutouts for third-party heatsink installation.

That's great news if you're tired of seeing full towers get all the high-end love from case manufacturers, but it makes the prospect of picking a single enclosure a bit daunting. We've rounded up options from Antec, Corsair, Fractal, and Rosewill and we'll start with their spec sheets.
 
A Quartet of Towers
Specifications & Features


 

One of the specs we've included is whether the case is configured for positive or negative air pressure by default. The term refers to the air pressure inside the case relative to the room it resides in.

  • Positive pressure:  More air is drawn into the case than is pushed out of it. Air pressure inside the case is higher than ambient.
     
  • Negative pressure:  More air is pushed out of the case than is drawn into it. Air pressure inside the case is lower than ambient.

Which is better? Depends on who you ask. Almost any case can operate in either configuration, though how effectively they do so will depend on internal geometry and fan placement. Personally, I prefer positive pressure. While both configurations will inevitably gather dust, negative pressure sucks it in from every crevice. With positive pressure, dust can be more easily trapped via fan vents.
 

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