Release roundup: Cases, cases, and more cases—and a cooler update

This week’s release roundup is all about cases and cooling. We have announcements from BitFenix, Lian Li, NZXT, Raidmax, and Scythe.

  • BitFenix announces Shinobi/Colossus Window USB 3.0 upgrades. No new cases here, just upgrades to BitFenix’s existing Shinobi, Shinobi Windows, and Colossus Window. From now on, all three of those enclosures will feature two USB 3.0 ports in addition to a pair of USB 2.0 ports. You can check out our review of the Shinobi Window here.
  • Lian Li expands data storage chassis with the PC-Q12 & PC-Q18. Both of these Lian Li cases are intended as Mini-ITX storage hubs, but they’re quite different, physically speaking. The PC-Q12 measures only 3.5" x 14.4" x 8.2", lacks room for a discrete graphics card, and is cooled by a single 80-mm fan. It can, however, accommodate four 2.5" hard drives, and Lian Li ships it with a 300W 80 Plus-certified power supply. Meanwhile, the PC-Q18 is a larger 7.8" x 11.4" x 14.4" enclosure with a more conventional cube-shaped design. It has a 5.25" front optical drive bay, four hot-swappable 3.5" bays, and a bottom bay that can hold either two 3.5" drives or three 2.5" drives. It also sports two 140-mm fans and, unlike its little brother, has room for discrete graphics. Both cases have the same price tag: $159.
  • NZXT announces Phantom 410 Special Edition. We covered the original Phantom 410 in one of our earlier roundups, so you might already be familiar with it. NZXT says it has whipped up four new variants of the enclosure with different paint jobs: "Black with Orange Trim, Black with White Trim, White with Blue Trim, and a surprise Gunmetal black edition with a gunmetal interior and exterior matte finish." See the photo below. All four new models should be available this month for $89.99.

  • Raidmax announces new chassis incorporating luxurious car themes – Raptor. No, I’m not making up the "luxurious car themes" part. The Raidmax Raptor may only have a passing resemblance to a sports car, but for $99.99, it doesn’t sound like too bad a deal. It has a modular hard-drive cage, fan speed and LED fan controls on the front panel, "pre-routed cable management," and room for graphics cards as long as 16.9" (if you can find any that size). I’m not too crazy about those wedge-like things at the front, though.

  • Scythe Grand Kama Cross goes Rev. B. Scythe says its Grand Kama Cross cooler has gained support for Intel’s LGA2011 socket, a change that apparently warranted the "Rev. B" label. (The firm says the new cooler "comes with reliable quality and performance for the same price as prior version," but I’m not too sure what that means.) In any case, the cooler has the same v-shaped fin arrangement and 140-mm PWM fan as the original, and it supports most sockets in addition to LGA2011. The original model seems to sell for just under $40, so I’d expect the Rev. B to go for about the same.

That PC-Q12 enclosure does look rather handsome. I think it’d make an elegant small-form-factor PC, provided the user doesn’t mind being stuck with integrated graphics… or spending $159 for a tiny case and matching PSU.

Comments closed
    • kamikaziechameleon
    • 8 years ago

    The NZXT is a really impressive case to behold in person. Looks weird in photos though.

      • integer
      • 8 years ago

      I like the case in pictures. Lots of fan placeholders (based on the [url=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XTY4fD6cHss<]Newegg video[/url<]). Does it get too loud?

    • Jakubgt
    • 8 years ago

    Not quite sure if 40$+ is enough to justify these massive air coolers. For a few dollars more, one may go with a nice water cooling setup. Find some killer rebates and you might just break even.

      • tay
      • 8 years ago

      Water coolers are too unreliable. No go for 99% of users.

        • Airmantharp
        • 8 years ago

        There are a lot of Corsair Hydro users that will disagree with you.

      • Lazier_Said
      • 8 years ago

      Considering the reasonable power envelopes of the past few generations of CPUs, water cooling is even less justified than extreme air is.

      Pretty much anything with a 120mm fan is good enough.

        • internetsandman
        • 8 years ago

        “Good enough” is an incredibly subjective term

        While good enough for you might be keeping the processor for overheating, to me, it’s operating in near silence while allowing a healthy level of overclocking, and if I’m building a cheaper system, silence is still of utmost importance to me. Personally, I’m also a bit paranoid about hanging a big hunk of metal off of a motherboard. A cheap enclosed loop looks cleaner and performs better than most air solutions, and while it might not be as cheap, the lower noise levels are certainly worth the higher cost in my mind.

        Like I said, what’s good enough for one person may not be good enough for another, so the justification is completely up to the system builder (or recipient) to decide

          • Lazier_Said
          • 8 years ago

          Lower noise levels?

          For high end VGA cards, yes.

          For the CPU which was the point of this discussion, not at all.

          A radiator has a fan too. And a pump.

          Unless you do something stupid, like bump the voltage 20% in pursuit of 4% higher clocks, or buy a non entry level AMD chip, 120mm air is adequate, inaudible cooling.

          That’s good enough.

          • xeridea
          • 8 years ago

          I only have a 90mm fan on mine (good sized pure copper), I run like 10C above ambient under full load, minimum fan speed, completely silent (unless you stick your head inside the case). Right now its 34C and it needs dusted off. Never goes above 41C, how is that not cool enough for 99% of users?

          Water coolers are huge, bulky, and still make noise, even on low speed you still got that pump, and the radiator has got to be a pain in the rear to mount or stick outside of case. The all in one setups with radiator attached are stupid, for the giant size, why not just get a quality air cooler that is smaller, quieter, cheaper, and more efficient? Radiators are for cars, and extreme overclockers, not the vast majority.

    • Bensam123
    • 8 years ago

    Raidmax: Your case looks retarded.

    Lian-Li: You still have a lot to learn about your market. Who is going to make a file server with 2.5″ drives? I guess if you want a really fast array of really expensive drives, but then you still need at least one slot for a full height PCI-E raid card (onboard raid wouldn’t cut it).

    The PC-Q18 is almost there though. If you’re building a file server out of a tiny enclosure you aren’t going to put a full length video card in there. People who want a full length video card, probably wont be stuffing their PC to the gills with hard drives (a small gaming computer). Even if you look at a HTPC that could easily take on the role of a file server too, it doesn’t need a massive full length video card.

    There are two specific segments and you’re mix and matching them. 🙁

    Oh, and your pictures suck. Extreme closeups of USB jacks and thumb screws when all I want to see is the layout of your case from different directions is stupid. Even after looking through all 44 photos I still don’t know how all the pieces fit into the Q18. Go look at Neweggs case photos, they know how to take them. -_-

      • Lazier_Said
      • 8 years ago

      I’ve noticed that too, the drive cages grow to fill the available volume of the box without any regard for the segment the case is in.

      Resulting in gaming cases containing 4-6 empty bays which serve no purpose beyond blocking the intake fan.

        • Bensam123
        • 8 years ago

        …or a storage case with a giant gaping maw below the drive bays… :O

    • UberGerbil
    • 8 years ago

    The original Kama Cross did quite well for a top-down cooler in [url=http://www.xbitlabs.com/articles/coolers/display/scythe-grand-kama-cross.html<]the tests at Xbitlabs[/url<]; hopefully this revision has ironed out some of the small issues they identified (mostly to do with the fan),

    • destroy.all.monsters
    • 8 years ago

    That Raidmax case is just horrific. Not sure which “luxury cars” they’re trying to look like. Looks more to me like a Tonka truck knocked up some poor well designed case (Sliverstone for example) and they forgot to have an abortion.

    On the other hand it might be something for the Transformers set. At least if it had been painted like Bumblebee I would have gotten a laugh out of it instead of looking for eyebleach.

      • crabjokeman
      • 8 years ago

      It reminds me of an 80’s hatchback with black stripes (forget the technical term) on the rear window.

        • UberGerbil
        • 8 years ago

        [url=http://i13.photobucket.com/albums/a275/strongGUY66/DSCF0450.jpg<]Louvers[/url<]?

          • crabjokeman
          • 8 years ago

          Indeed. Thank you.

    • UberGerbil
    • 8 years ago

    The Q12 would make a fine HTPC case, though it won’t fit in well with conventional AV components (unless you put it on its side, I guess). Quality ITX cases generally seem to cost significantly more than equivalent-quality desktops/towers, especially if you get a decent SFX PSU in the bargain, so the price isn’t out of line.

    • dpaus
    • 8 years ago

    [quote<]NZXT says it has new paint jobs: Black with Orange Trim[/quote<] Oh, [i<]finally[/i<] a computer case for the Harley crowd!! (and if you guys think Apple owners are stupid enough to buy anything with a certain logo on it.....)

      • Thatguy
      • 8 years ago

      Haha as a computer guy and a motorcycle guy I have never drawn that comparison. I should have though because the similarities are striking. Huh.

        • dpaus
        • 8 years ago

        Waddaya ride? I’m on my second Honda Shadow 1100, having put 125,000 kms on my first. I had an ’87 Wide Glide; it burned to the ground (electrical; the mid-80s HDs were notorious for that), but I’m considering another HD in a year or two. I do about 25,000 kms a year: Sturgis last year, Blue Ridge and Tail-o-Dragon the year before that, Cabot Trail this year.

        I’ve been organizer for a few charity rides, and always get a chuckle out of the Harley crowd. We could get an extra $5 per charity shirt just by printing them in orange.

          • Thatguy
          • 8 years ago

          Haha, make it 10 and double up! I’m on a ninja 650r I picked up last season. Only put 4k on it last season cause I had a short commute and nobody close to ride with often. Started on an 83 gs 250 that was actually a bike my mom rode when she was in her 20s, it was a pile. I still loved it though. Then I got an 83 kz550 spectre and put 10k on that old beast. I miss the sound of that old kz they really growled for a stock setup. No Sturgis yet but ill make a trip some day.

          Obligatory keep the shiny side up comment. Ready for the season!

          • ColeLT1
          • 8 years ago

          Honda wave at ya 😛

          2003 RC51 here w/25k miles, 01 F4i before that w/20k miles. Also a 05 GSXR1k (CCS/WERA/NESBA/STT bike), TTR125, and a YZ250 for the track and dirt.

            • dpaus
            • 8 years ago

            I would have loved an RC51! In 2006, I had an opportunity to buy a very lightly-used Valkyrie with a Mustang seat, Hines 3-into-3 pipes, LeatherLyke Cross-Country bags, the full kit, for $12,000. I passed on the deal, and I’m still kicking myself for that today.

            I haven’t been dirtbike riding since my best friend and I took my son out for his 16th birthday. He broke his ankle :-O Got lots of sympathy from the girls, though, so it wasn’t all bad. His mother still hasn’t forgiven me.

      • UberGerbil
      • 8 years ago

      Yeah, back when we were seeing “Ferrari” and “Lamborghini” branded laptops I was always expecting an H-D one to show up. But probably there was a cultural divide:the young engineers at the ODMs in Taiwan/China could see the appeal of the Italian rockets but not the Wisconsin hogs. Or maybe they just couldn’t figure out how to hang ape bars on the back of the screen.

      About 20 years ago at Comdex I happened to run into Harley Davidson’s entire IT department at the time, which consisted of two women. They were total biker chicks, complete with tats (something you didn’t see on women much back then), who also had degrees in CS or some related field. They were building their own custom middleware atop a SQL database to handle parts inventory etc for their dealership network. I have no idea how that turned out.

        • no51
        • 8 years ago

        [quote<]Yeah, back when we were seeing "Ferrari" and "Lamborghini" branded laptops I was always expecting an H-D one to show up[/quote<] I don't think you want hot, heavy and unreliable to be associated with your laptops.

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