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Four More Sub-$100 Cases For Your Gaming Build, Reviewed

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Crashman

Polypheme
Former Staff
[citation][nom]jdwii[/nom]Why no love for coolermaster its easily the best Case company out there, i rarely even consider anything else. For just 60$ they offer one heck of a deal.[/citation]
[citation][nom]Tom's Hardware[/nom]Of the 28 companies we invited to participate, 11 responded with cases they thought would give the Tom's Hardware audience the best balance between quality, features, and price. We divided the round-up into three groups based on when each of the samples arrived. [/citation]
 

griptwister

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Oct 7, 2012
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Wow! Looking for a new case! It's time to upgrade my Antec OneHundred windowed. it's too loud with all the fans. and the PSU. Looks like I'll be going with a Zalman MS800 for my next rig! I liked the look of the z11 better at first, but seeing what the MS 800 looks like with a few LEDs, it seems classy and sleek yet not overdone. Great review THW!
 

dalmvern

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[citation][nom]slomo4sho[/nom]Thank you for not doing a slide show for this like the other reviews. Also, still looking forward to a review of the Cooler Master HAF XB.[/citation]

Apparently you were unaware of the slideshow they released last week. What Toms has done with all of these round ups was take the pictures and post them, then once they get done with their battery of tests they post the results and commentary afterward.
 

nd22

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Excellent review! I like to get the best possible performance for the money I spent and it seems that these cases you reviewed are perfect for a mid-end gaming build I am planning to do! How about some exotic cases to review for us Tom? For example I would like to see a review of cooler master haf xb or fractal 304.
 

sincreator

Distinguished
It's about time Zalman sent you guys one of their budget oriented cases. I bought the Zalman Z9+ for $34.99 last year with free shipping from NCIX, and I absolutely love the case. Great quality with a huge amount of features for a case of that price. It has more features than my brothers Antec 900 surprisingly, and it probably should of been $70-80. I'm not complaining though. lol. I have recommended the MS 800 and the Zalman Z9+ to a few friends, depending on their budget. They all loved the cases and were shocked at what they got for the money. I'd love to see more reviews for Zalman's cases on Tom's.
 

Crashman

Polypheme
Former Staff
[citation][nom]ubercake[/nom]Ok. Where are the Tom's models?Inner butt cheek. Side boob. That's what's going to sell cases.[/citation]Sorry, all the models near this location are BBW. I don't believe that would go-over with the majority :p
 

slomo4sho

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I typically ignore any article that starts with "In Pictures"
 

sneidng

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May 29, 2013
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Why not include the Arc Midi R2. Retails for $100 but you can get it on sale for $70 and free shipping. It has excellent cooling support as well.
 

Edgtho446

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May 29, 2013
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Any indication as to what the cases are made out of? Its important to me that they be aluminum; steel rusts here quite readily :/
 

SvRommelvS

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Feb 25, 2013
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The conclusion's final paragraph confused me quite a bit on first reading. I thought the Zalaman’s MS800 won it all and the wrong image was posted.
 

RedJaron

Splendid
Moderator
Tom, honest question: why the insistence on an eighth slot? Yes, some mboards do have the slot on the very bottom that you can make use of. But in reading your reviews on mboards, it seems that most manufactures nerf the lanes going to that slot anyway ( getting only four when the main two slots get eight or even 16 lanes each. ) The mboards that do give extra lanes to the bottom slot are typically high-end fare. The sheer money it takes to go three-way SLI/CrossFire suggests a sub-$100 case is not a huge priority at that point.

I'm guessing that the vast majority of gamers and enthusiasts run two cards or less ( with the majority of those setups single-card. ) I just think an eight slot on a budget case should only be considered a welcome addition, not a requirement.
 

Orlean

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I was looking at the MS800 yesterday very nice case, simplistic looking, plenty of room. I needed something that would accommodate water cooling, was simple looking and sleek and wasn't expensive. I would have got the MS800 until I came across the Arc Midi R2 on sale at NCIX, got it for $67 shipped couldn't beat that.
 

ubercake

Splendid
Moderator


:lol: I guess I'll shut up about it for a while then. Although... A 12-pack may change my perspective?
 

Crashman

Polypheme
Former Staff
[citation][nom]RedJaron[/nom]Tom, honest question: why the insistence on an eighth slot? Yes, some mboards do have the slot on the very bottom that you can make use of. But in reading your reviews on mboards, it seems that most manufactures nerf the lanes going to that slot anyway ( getting only four when the main two slots get eight or even 16 lanes each. ) The mboards that do give extra lanes to the bottom slot are typically high-end fare. The sheer money it takes to go three-way SLI/CrossFire suggests a sub-$100 case is not a huge priority at that point.I'm guessing that the vast majority of gamers and enthusiasts run two cards or less ( with the majority of those setups single-card. ) I just think an eight slot on a budget case should only be considered a welcome addition, not a requirement.[/citation]No insistence, merely suggestion. It's a cheap feature, as is the extra 1" of space needed to mount a radiator internally, and both features are favored primarily by the gaming market. This is a gaming case roundup after all, and as the price gets closer to the $100 limit I start to notice more of the things that make a case a "gaming" design.

Slot configuration really depends more on the chipset than the motherboard manufacturer. If the chipset has enough lanes for 16-8-8, you'll generally find that configuration. If Intel can't cut it for you in the mid-budget market, consider how many more lanes AMD offers :)

 

RedJaron

Splendid
Moderator

Thanks for answering. In reading the conclusion, it seemed to me you were a little harsher on the lack of an eighth slot than I would have been. I can see what you mean though, under $70 you just want a solid case and don't expect frills. Once you start bumping into the $100 mark, such things should be a little more common. At $150, an eighth slot and radiator room should be mandatory.

I will admit, I don't care much for either liquid cooling or the eighth slot ( probably why I don't get why others DO give them more weight. ) I don't plan on doing liquid cooling anytime soon because air serves me just fine for less money. And even if I had the money, I'm not apt to add a second GPU, let alone a third one. I figure by the time it takes for me to save up money for a second GPU ( or am at the point where I can no longer play games at acceptable detail levels, ) I'll be almost two generations behind the current cards. In those situations I spend a little extra for a single newer card that gives me similar performance as two older cards while using less power and no micro-stuttering issues. If I needed multiple cards for compute purposes, obviously I'd do things different.

Granted, I'll admit I'm a bit odd as a "practical enthusiast."
 

Crashman

Polypheme
Former Staff
[citation][nom]buzznut[/nom]???So the BitFenix didn't win because....Looks like the best performer/price, no?[/citation]Did you read below that chart? What do you have against features? Why do you think nobody should have an eighth slot, intake fans, or extra SSD storage? Why would you think that $15 more features for $5 more price is a bad deal?
 

AtariST

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I'd like to propose Tom's stop with the value assessment on this type of article. Value assessments are GREAT when the field is open or spans multiple classes of components (e.g. $650 vs. $1300 vs. $2550 SBM) but it just doesn't make sense when you have already pigeon holed yourself into a tight value limit like this. We already know we are looking at <$100 cases. We don't need to know which is the best value because there is so little difference in price from the start (like $5? who cares??). What we need to know is which one is the best at this price category.

It's simple:
1. Provide value judgements when you span multiple value sectors.

or

2. Provide quality judgements when you define a particular price segment.

Just my 2¢.
 
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