In an era when the desktop is dying as a mainstream product, it makes sense to focus more on the enthusiasts, and that’s exactly what manufacturers are doing. CES 2013 launches showed cases with better water cooling support – internal, as external liquid cooling mounts are a thing of the past now.
Over the course of the year, we saw that plenty of new cases were designed to be mod friendly, allowing a user to replace some parts of the case or completely remove them. They did this in various ways, but primarily, they used screws instead of rivets wherever possible.
Also, when we said most new cases are primed for liquid cooling, we didn’t mean that their air cooling aspect hasn’t been worked on. After all, liquid cooling does actually require air to dissipate heat from the radiators. Keeping that in mind, most newer cases have been designed with a meshed area somewhere on them to improve airflow. What is good to see is the inclusion of dust filters on even the cheapest cases so you no longer need to buy expensive ones to keep your components dust free and easy to clean. Another feature that is now seen on small cases, such as mini towers, is space to mount full length graphics cards. This is an advantage if you’re building a powerful HTPC or a mini-ITX based gaming rig and installing a long and powerful graphics card. A gripe that we had with many cases in the past.
Corsair Obsidian 900D
Yes, it’s unjust to other cases especially to midtowers that the 900D wins the Zero 1 award, but it is indeed the best performer and no other case comes close. Being one of the largest computer cases we’ve ever tested, the Obsidian 900D can only be compared to its biggest rival - the Cooler Master Cosmos II which also happens to be the only other case of this size available in the market. Not only does the 900D performs well, but it’s full of extremely useful features. The amount of space inside it is what makes for an excellent home for high-end components. However absurd or impractical it may sound in the Indian market, the 900D can easily accommodate a
full size 480mm radiator at the top, another 480mm at the bottom on one side, a 240mm on the other side at the bottom as well, a 140mm radiator at the rear and finally, a 360mm radiator at the front; you can go nuts with the 900D while building a liquid cooled rig. It’s the only case we tested that could take in two PSU’s simultaneously. With these features and many more unlisted ones here, the Corsair Obsidian 900D is a case of choice for extreme system builders. Read our review of the Corsair 900D here.
Winner: Corsair Obsidian 900D
Cooler Master HAF 912
If not for the Corsair Obsidian 900D, the Cooler Master HAF 912 would have won the Zero 1 award. That would’ve been something considering the HAF 912 sells at about a fifth of the price of the 900D and it won the best performer award in our comparison test this year. The HAF 912 follows in the footsteps of its costlier siblings from the HAF line of cases and so, it maintained a cool temperature inside during testing and is a very feature rich case for its price. At about 5.5K, the Cooler Master HAF 912 is the best performing case that you can go for with a great build quality.
Cooler Master HAF 912
NZXT Phantom 820
The NZXT Phantom 820 is not your regular run-ofthe- mill chassis. It has a futuristic design element to it and we especially liked its gunmetal grey colour scheme. The case is very well built and has a raised steel stand to let air in through the bottom. This was the only case that we tested this year to come with an elaborate lighting system and boy it made the case look cool. The Phantom 820 also has lights at the rear of the case near the I/O shield to let you see the ports at the back in the dark which we found quite brilliant. A well rounded full tower case to go for enthusiast builds.
NZXT Phantom 820