Case Conundrum: Affordable Midtowers Compared

Article Index

Test Results, Conclusion

Our testbed was a Core i7-2700K on an Intel DP67BG2 motherboard with 8GB of RAM and an AMD Radeon 6870. Systems were benchmarked by waiting 15 minutes after boot and after 30 minutes of running Prime 95 in stress test mode. Cases were tested using their default fan configurations.

The idle results are all fairly close, but the load figures don't paint the Corsair Vengeance C70 in a very favorable light. The Rosewill's less-than-cutting edge performance is easier to justify since it's the cheapest case in this roundup by a fair margin.

Unfortunately, the only data I can present on noise levels is subjective -- my sound level meter isn't sensitive enough to pick up noise below 50dB, and all these cases were well below that threshold. The Antec P280 was the quietest case we tested, though the Fractal R4 was only slightly louder. The Vengeance C70 was noiser than either of these two, which makes sense -- it lacks the drive door or pre-installed foam padding that dampen sound in the other two chassis. The Rosewill was slightly louder than the Corsair.

None of these cases are loud, however, by any reasonable definition of the term. If you sit several feet from the back of your case, you may not notice the difference. If, however, your goal is to build the quietest system you can afford, you'll want to look at the Fractal R4 or the Antec P280.

The Corsair C70 is a well built case with some nice features, but it didn't fare very well in our round-up. We've seen a number of excellent chassis from the company, from the Carbide 400R and 500R that we reviewed last year, to the 700 and 800D I reviewed a few years back, but the C70 isn't quite in the same league. The C70 is a high-quality case, that will serve its users well, but there are some more enticing options for similar or less money.

Corsair Vengeance C70

The Rosewill R5 wins a nod as a budget product with up-market features. True, you can save more money by going with something in the "Plain beige box" variety, but the R5 does a decent job of boxing above its weight class and pay grade. The fan controller is a nice touch if you like tweaking system volume by hand.  If you need a nice case with some high-end features on a budget, we can recommend it.

Rosewill R5

Personally, if I had to pick between the Fractal R4 and the P280, I'm not sure which I'd choose. I like the P280's drive door, finish, and weight, but I also like the Fractal's 7+1 PCI port design, the 140mm fans, and the fact that the I/O ports are on top (and out of the way). I prefer positive pressure designs to negative ones too, so I'd ultimately end up tinkering with the Antec P280's build before I used it. Which you pick comes down to brand and style preferences, I think. Either is a worthy choice.

Antec P280
Fractal Design R4

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