HotHardware PC Components Gift Guide 2014
Peripherals: Cases, Keyboards And Mice
Cooler Master COSMOS II - $299.99
Some might consider a truly high-end PC case to be "overkill", but for others, overkill is perfect. There's something to be said about a product that offers so much out-of-the-gate, that you know you'll never outgrow it. Cooler Master's COSMOS II is one such product.
If you have a scrawny ATX motherboard, the COSMOS II isn't quite targeting you. Cooler Master doesn't even feel safe calling the case a "full-tower". Instead, it's an "Ultra Tower", one that's able to support massive XL-ATX motherboards, and even server-standard SSI CEB and SSI EEB motherboards. Dual Intel Xeons sound yummy, don't they?
Given its size, the feature set of the COSMOS II probably won't surprise you too much - let's just say four GPUs are no issue whatsoever. Beyond that, it even offers support for a staggering 10 fans, which is fantastic, because some of those can be used to cool your 13 hard drives. And, because you'll have access to so many fans, it seems appropriate that Cooler Master includes a fan controller at the top of the case, alongside six USB ports. Overkill? Probably. But isn't it great?
Corsair Graphite 780T - $179.99
When Corsair unveiled its first case back in 2009, the Obsidian 800D, I'm not sure if anyone realized what kind of powerhouse the company would become in this market. Since that time, the company has consistently released some of the best-looking and most functional cases out there, and that's a tradition that continues with the Graphite 780T.
Corsair says its Graphite 780T offers premium looks, premium space, and premium cooling, but at its price-point of about $180, it doesn't demand a premium price. This full-tower can support motherboards up to XL-ATX in size, has an easy-open door, is optimized for efficient airflow, and supports huge 360mm liquid-cooling radiators. Perhaps one of the coolest features? You can score the 780T not only in black or white, but even yellow, in case you want your PC to really stand out.
Thermaltake Core V71 - $159.99
With its Core series, Thermaltake aims to deliver cases that offer common sense features without fluff. Of course, they also have to look good, and the Core V71 is certainly that. Another full-tower case, the Core V71 supports motherboards up to eATX in size and is optimized for cooling all-around. At the front and top, Thermaltake has installed 3x 200mm blue LED fans, and with the help of the huge number of air holes in those same locations, airflow efficiency.
Thermaltake's Core V71 is all about ease-of-use. All of the storage drive bays and the respective storage can be installed without the need of tools, and the same goal of ease is carried through the rest of the case as well. Wrapping up the package is a large windowed door, allowing you to gawk at your handwork while you do whatever it is you do on your rig.
Corsair Obsidian 350D - $79.99
Some might say that "bigger is better", but when it comes to PCs, sometimes that's not the case at all (no pun, of course). Fortunately, as is the way of technology, our performance parts have become ever faster as they shrink in size .Today, you can build a truly powerful rig in a very modest form-factor, and that's led to an explosion of mini-towers. One of the best of the moment is Corsair's Obsidian 350D - a case that continues the lineage of Corsair's first-ever case, the 800D.
Supporting either mini-ITX or mATX motherboards, the 350D is designed to be both sophisticated and feature-rich. You can opt for a model with a solid door, or one with a window, depending on the look you're going for. Despite being a smaller case, the 350D supports dual-GPU configurations, a 240mm all-in-one liquid cooler, two 3.5-inch hard drives, and two 2.5-inch SSDs. An absolutely stellar offering from Corsair.
Corsair Carbide 200R - $49.99
There's been a lot of talk about higher-end cases here, but we can't ignore the budget ones - especially those that don't feel like budget ones. Take Corsair's Carbide 200R, for example. This attractive case costs a mere $50, but it's packed to the gills with features. It supports up to an ATX-sized motherboard, as well as full-featured single-radiator AIO coolers, like Corsair's H80i. For further cooling ability, you're able to mount two fans on the door. The 200R might be small, but it still supports dual graphics cards, and an impressive 8 fans. It's also easy to install in - the SSDs, hard drives, and optical drives can all be installed without the use of tools.
NZXT Source 210 - $44.99
With its Source series, NZXT strives to deliver as much as possible in a case for those with smaller budgets. That doesn't mean that what we're given is lackluster, though. Nope - not even close. In fact, with regards to the Source 210 in particular, our own Marco Chiappetta owns five of them. The case isn't just easy to work in, it's pretty easy on the eyes, as well. Ultimately, the only part that's "budget" about the Source 210 is its price tag.
Corsair Vengeance M65 - $39.99
Corsair produces a wide-range of products, but that in itself isn't too impressive. What is impressive is the fact that a lot of those products are solid. The company's desire to deliver top-quality products trickles down to its peripherals lineup, and a mouse like the Vengeance M65 is proof of that. Available in white or black, the M65 isn't just attractive, it's extremely capable. High resolutions are no problem with the 8200 DPI sensor, and any game - especially first-person shooters - could be mastered with the help of 8 programmable buttons, and not to mention the dedicated sniper button. Rounding out this mouse's impressive feature set is an adjustable weight system. Without question, this mouse is HOT.
EVGA TORQ X10 - $49.99
Over the years, EVGA has branched its product categories out in interesting ways, usually ways a bit different from the norm. Recently, though, it decided to go back to the basics and tackle one of the most popular product categories going: Gaming mice. Because EVGA is a company that never intends to enter a new product category unless it knows its first product is a winner, there was little doubt that its TORQ X10 would fit that bill. And, it does. It looks fantastic, and is even available in a cool "Carbon" design. It sports an 8200 DPI sensor, nine programmable buttons, an adjustable weight system, and similar to Mad Catz popular R.A.T. series, an adjustable frame to improve comfort. A winner all-around.
Corsair Vengeance K70 - $129.99 and Up
No hardware would be complete without a mention of Corsair's Vengeance K70 mechanical gaming keyboard. For starters, it simply looks fantastic, both with its matte black aesthetic and open-air key design. Taking things up a notch, Corsair recently updated the K70 to integrate CHERRY RGB key switches, which, for a color freak like myself, is an absolute treat. Looks are not all the K70 brings to the table, though; it's also extremely customizable, and includes a wrist rest that's actually worth using. It's also available with any of the four main CHERRY MX switches, so no matter your typing preference, there's a K70 for you.
Cooler Master Storm Quick Fire XT - $89.99 and Up
Despite the company's name implying a certain prowess towards reducing temperatures, Cooler Master, like Corsair, tackles an impressive number of product categories. And, for the most part, most of the products that come out from the company happen to be quite good. You guessed it: One such example is the Storm Quick Fire XT, a mechanical keyboard that focuses first on being a great typists keyboard, but then adds some gaming-centric features for those who'd like them. Featuring red backlighting, the Quick Fire XT features multimedia keys tied to an Fn key, a Windows key lock, and "Turbo mode", the ability to repeat any keypress really quickly. Not much imagination is needed there. Overall, a fantastic keyboard for gamers and those who simply appreciate a really good typing experience.