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

Case In Point: Searching For the Perfect Mid-Tower

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Sileo 500
The Sileo 500 is a partially aluminum case, built on the same rough design as a number of the Cooler Master Centurion-style cases. In addition to being lighter, the case offers foam padding on the case side, bottom and top panels to muffle the internal noise. The external panels are brushed aluminum, while the chassis skeleton is steel.

Except for the use of brushed aluminum and the oddball power button, there’s little to distinguish this case visually from similar Cooler Master designs, like the Centurion 534. The power button is cleverly disguised as a transparent vertical strip at the bottom of the front bezel, which also serves as the power-on LED. It’s always entertaining to watch someone who’s never used the system hunt for the power button the first time.

The interior of the case is roomy enough to accept full size ATX motherboards and long graphics cards; the BFG 275 GTX OC currently lives inside the case, and it would likely accept the slightly longer Radeon HD 5870.

As for being a quiet case: this is really a standard case with additional eggcrate foam lining the interior. So it’s a little quieter, but if Cooler Master had stuck with steel case panels instead of aluminum, the case might have been even quieter. But this is no “silent” case by any means.

When the Sileo 500 first arrived, it was priced at nearly $100 US, which is too much. But you can now find it for as little as $50, which makes it a relative bargain.

CM Storm Scout
Cooler Master’s latest brand, CM Storm, is meant to appeal to hard core gamers. CM Storm offers two cases, the Scout and the Sniper. The CM Storm Scout is slightly smaller and lower priced than the Sniper; you can typically find it for around $90.

I actually like the look of the case, and the top mounted handles are actually sturdy, useful and don’t cut into your hands. On the other hand, I’m not a big fan of transparent side panels, but the interior red light does set things off nicely. The good news is that the interior lighting can actually be disabled from a button on the top angled bezel.

All controls and ports are easily accessible from that top angled bezel. The reset button is small and slightly recessed, so it’s difficult to accidentally press – which is a good thing. The case is set up to route wiring behind the motherboard tray. The interior is painted flat black, which is both good and bad. It’s good, because the case looks good through that side panel. It’s bad, because you really need a good light to work inside the case; there’s no contrast inside the all-black interior.

The real downside of this case, though, is that it’s slightly too small. Full size ATX boards barely fit, and if the board has backwards facing SATA ports – something increasingly common – then attaching SATA connectors is a chore. And if you have a board slightly larger than a full-size ATX board, you’re out of luck, as I found out when I discovered that the Asus Rampage II Extreme can’t physically fit inside the case. Also, the main compartment is barely deep enough to accommodate a 10.5-inch graphics card – which means the ever-so-slightly larger Radeon HD 5870 won’t fit.

Still, it’s an easy case to move around, and it’s combination of low key color scheme and interesting lines make this an attractive case, if somewhat pricey. But this case would be so much better if it were two inches deeper and one inch wider.

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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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