Mid-Tower Round-Up: Antec, Corsair, NZXT, Thermaltake

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Test System and Thermal Tests

Test System:  Our test system consisted of a Gigabyte G1.Sniper2 motherboard with a Core i7-2600K (3.4GHz) processor, 2x4GB Kingston HyperX DDR3-1600 (@1333), ZOTAC GeForce GTX 260, WD 150GB Raptor HDD, and Windows Home Premium x64.

We used Gigabyte’s built-in system monitoring software, EasyTune6, to record CPU and system temperatures (in Celsius) at idle and then again at full load after running Prime 95 for a set amount of time. We averaged the temperatures of the motherboard sensors (there were four detected by the software) to achieve a single number in each category.

Thermal Test
CPU and Motherboard Temps at Idle and Under Load

For the most part, our cases provided fairly stable, competitive results. At idle, the CPU temperatures were closely clustered; although the Antec Eleven Hundred and Thermaltake Chaser MK-I were both 24 degrees while every case was 26. When under load, the Antec case was still the coolest at 39 degrees, and the Corsair Carbide 400R, 500R, and NZXT Source 220 heated up the same amount--16 degrees (from 26 to 42 degrees). The Thermaltake case was still a degree cooler, but it’s worth noting that it did heat up the most (17 degrees) from idle to load.

The results of the motherboard temperature tests were striking, in that Antec was the clear winner. The case kept the motherboard at 28/30.25 degrees idle/load. In fact, under load, it kept the system as cool as the Source 220 did at idle. The Chaser MK-I came in second with temperatures of 28.5/31.5. The Corsair cases and the NZXT created a tight third-place cluster, all scoring within almost a degree of one another both at idle and under load.

It’s impressive that the Eleven Hundred posted all the best temperature readings given that it only has two fans onboard, although one of those fans is a beefy 200mm.

It’s worth noting that all of our cases performed well in our tests and also that they’re all just begging for more fans. We tested each as configured, but bear in mind that you can add plenty of additional fans and/or water cooling systems if you so desire.

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