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

Article Index

Performance Summary & Conclusion

It’s always tough to rank products in roundups like these, especially when each one has merit, as is the case with each of the products we reviewed here. Truly, depending on your taste and needs, you could purchase any one of these cases and be satisfied in our opinion. Individual preferences aside, however, some pros of each similarly outweigh some cons.

The NZXT Source 220 is a flat-out steal at $54.99; its performance is certainly good enough (though slightly underwhelming compared to the rest of our field), its construction is solid, and the subdued, stealthy aesthetic is perfect if that’s what you’re looking for. Still, as components in your rig come and go, a case is one of those things that you tend to hang onto the longest. Unless you’re really on a tight budget, you might want to pass on the Source 220 and spend a few extra bucks on a chassis with some more features.  That said, you also might want to carve out more of that budget on higher-end components and save on a chassis.  Your call.


The Thermaltake Chaser MK-I is flashy, with that coat of space marine armor the company’s cases are sometimes known for. Though it’s the most expensive case in our roundup at $169.99, the Chaser MK-I delivered the second-best scores in our tests and boasts a terrific array of details and extra features--such as its plethora of USB and eSATA ports, fan and light controls, and a hard drive dock on the top panel--that make it almost irresistible.

 


 

However, it’s hard to argue with results, which is why the Antec Eleven Hundred is one of our favorites. The case clearly outperformed the rest of the field, despite having just two fans; with a full complement of fans it will offer even more impressive results. At $129.95, its cost is also right in the middle of the pack.

Further, although we were put off a bit by a couple of poorly-constructed details, the Eleven Hundred is a solid chassis overall, especially as it pertains to the drive bays. It has just enough pop with its blue LEDs, huge clear side panel, and grill design to be attractive, and it’s certainly not over-the-top enough to be ostentatious.

In a field of cases that all had plenty to like and little to dislike, the Eleven Hundred stood out due to its performance and well thought out overall design.

 


 

We have to knock the Corsair Carbide 400R down a peg for the sole reason that the Corsair 500R is also included in our roundup. The 400R is wonderfully designed, with plenty of features and a number of details that indicate the level of attention and care the manufacturer paid to its design and construction. The negatives on this case are minimal and few, although its thermal performance among the other cases in our roundup was merely average.

Though not by any means ugly, the 400R is somewhat plain-looking, especially next to the Corsair Carbide 500R. Blessed with all the excellent qualities of the 400R, the 500R also boasts a killer paint job and better looks, slightly better possible fan configurations (which would likely enhance performance), and more fan controls. The 400R’s $99.99 price tag is a great deal, but $139.99 is worth the money for the 500R if you want those extras. Due to its good looks, strong performance, great build quality, and excellent feature set, we're giving the Corsair Carbide 500R our Editor's Choice award.



  • Good Performance
  • Expandability
  • Overall design quality
    •  

     

    • Not the best performer of the bunch.


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