Case In Point: Searching For the Perfect Mid-Tower - HotHardware

Case In Point: Searching For the Perfect Mid-Tower

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Right now, my production PC is humming along under my desk. It’s built into a massive Antec P193 case, which is built like a tank. It’s relatively quiet, especially since I removed the 200mm side fan. As a hardware reviewer, my lab testing seems to revolve around large cases. I’ve got several test systems built into three Coolermaster Cosmos 1000s and a Cosmos 1000S. Moving these systems around takes some care, since it would be easy to throw out a back; dropping one on your foot would be no joy, either.

I also have four other systems that are occasionally used for product testing, but mostly used as game systems. Most Friday nights, four to six people troop into the basement lab and play LAN games. Those systems are not typically bleeding, edge, but they’re still capable PCs. CPUs range from a Core 2 Quad Q9650 to a Core i7 920 and a Core i7 860. Graphics cards include Radeon HD 4890s in two systems and a BFG GeForce 275 GTX OC in one system. So these aren’t low end by any means, even though they’re not quite cutting edge.

As I’ve built these systems in the past year, I’ve moved away from big tower cases to more reasonably sized mid-tower chassis. What follows are my observations and experiences with four mid-tower cases, from three different manufacturers. Note that these are not reviews in the hard sense of the word. Rather, I’m going to discuss my experiences building systems in these cases, and how they fared in our weekly multiplayer gaming sessions.

The four midtower cases running in the lab are:

  • Cooler Master Sileo 500. This is Cooler Master’s stab at building a quiet PC case.

  • CM Scout. “CM Storm” is Cooler Master’s “edgy” brand for gamers and LAN party enthusiasts.

  • NZXT Panzerbox. NZXT’s designs are often interesting and flawed. The Panzerbox is less flawed than most.

  • Antec Two Hundred. Antec’s latest gaming chassis, and it’s built for gamers on a budget.

Let’s consider them one at a time...

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is there a such thing as a perfect midtower? there are very few that I would even choose to work with now that I have used full tower cases. I do see your point about moving them around though. If I had that many systems it would be a pain. I wish I had the tools and enough skill to build my own aluminum case from the ground up. that would be no easy feat.

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I do have a problem with the sileo 500. It has no side panel cooling. I was going to get the Coolmaster storm scout but after reading how small the interior is, I decide to pass on it and look for other cases that fits my taste.

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I decided to go with a full tower case, the Cooler Master HAF 932, for my first build, mostly because of the greater amount of room inside. Having more space to maneuver is a good thing when you aren't experienced.

But midtower cases are all I've used on the PC side, and mostly on hte Mac side too (the PowerCenter I loved for years and years was a beige box). I did take a look at the Storm Scout, and am glad I didn't go with it after reading Lloyd's article; the disadvantages are something tht didn't show up in the reviews and which would have made things difficult for me. Nice looking case, though.

My choices were narrowed down because I am an absolute hater of case lighting and a disliker of transparent side panels. Ahy? Are you going to be sitting and staring at your PC's guts, are you going to watch the flashing lights, or are you going to be staring into the monitor while the computer sits under your desk? That having been said, though, I was thinking of getting that LED light that spelled out mesages-- until I found you can't program it on the fly, you have to take it out and hook it up to program messages into it. Oh well.

Sadly, I deleted my case shopping list when I humped the Cooler Master home. But I remember looking at its little brother, the HAF 922; also the Antec 900 and the Thermaltake Element G, after being assured that those Colorshift fans could be set to "off."

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Sadly, I deleted my case shopping list when I humped the Cooler Master home. But I remember looking at its little brother, the HAF 922; also the Antec 900 and the Thermaltake Element G, after being assured that those Colorshift fans could be set to "off."


If there  anything like my Storm sniper its got a built in light and fan control on one switch and I got to say I love my case!

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The first PC i ever built was in an Antec mid tower case.

My Current PC is in a Thermal Take element S. And I love it!

It was very easy to work in. Plenty of space, very good wire management. See the pics in my profile.

Very Quiet. I hardly even notice it's there and it doesn't even put out a lot of heat like my last system. My last system was a foot warmer lol

It does seem to move a significant amount of air looking at how much dust gets collected at the front!! Seriously, it's pretty ridiculous. Never seen dust collect so fast lol Could just be the new apt tho.

I've worked in full towers before too. Yea they're nice and room... but they are SO big. They just don't seem right. They are too big and bulky and seem ugly to me. Even mid towers are pretty big when you go and compare them to the typical desktop coming from hp/acer/etc.

The Element S is a bit wider than a typical Mid Tower tho. And like I already say, it was great to work inside of it :-) I <3 My Case. Fell in love with it the first time I saw it here on HH. And loved it even more when I got it!

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