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Zhongta Review Roundup

Zhongta Review Roundup

Zhongta Review Roundup

Finding the Best Mid-Tower Computer Cases

It’s been more than a year since our last big case roundup focused on full-tower cases. At that time, chassis manufacturers were not idle either. The USB 3.0 specification finally has internal connectors, new competitors have entered the mid-tower market, and prices for larger cases have steadily dropped. We rounded up 7 of the newest and most exciting mid-tower cases, all priced between $100 and $160, and put two of our most experienced case reviewers in charge of separating the average case from the great . crops. We will spare no effort, spare no effort in metaphors. Yes, we are working on this case.

Antec one thousand one

Go a long way, but not all the way

In a strange twist, Antec A fully functional case has been delivered but lacks some of the company’s main design elements. Take the case’s built-in fan controller — or not.We’re used to flipping switches to control all the fans inside the Antec case independently, but after connecting the Molex to the circuit board provided in the case in case — first annoyance — we were unhappy to find that this switch only turns on and off the blue LED for the top 20cm fan. You cannot physically adjust the speed of this fan or the 12cm fan on the rear of the case.

The Antec advantage: In addition to six hard drives (using rails), two 2.5-inch SSDs, and three 5.25-inch devices. There’s plenty of room to tuck an XL-ATX, microATX, Mini-ITX, or standard ATX motherboard into the case, and we especially like all the cable management tricks Antec has built into the case: four rubber bezel holes for cable management (or water cooling tubes), a large hole in the motherboard tray for easy installation of an aftermarket CPU cooler, and an inch wide space between the tray and the case side panel for more cable management.

It’s a pain to hook up a “fan controller” that just turns the top fan’s LEDs on and off.

We like the way the front panel of the case pops out without a ton of wires hanging behind it, like the case’s two USB 2.0 ports and two USB 3.0 ports (true headers; not pass-through). All in all, fitting the system into the 1100 was a breeze, though those with larger water cooling might want to steer clear. This case offers a lot of potential; not perfect, but not a headache either.

$100, www.antec.com

Silverstone Timzin TJ04-E

keep it simple, stupid

Silverstone’s TJ04-E A modern take on the classic ATX mid-tower. It doesn’t even have the weird motherboard orientation. That’s not to say it’s boring.

TJ04-E is a stainless steel case with matte black inside and outside. Its brushed aluminum front panel has beveled edges and contains four 5.25-inch drive bays. The case comes with three 12cm fans: the intake fan in the right panel, the top and rear exhaust fans, and there is room for additional fans on the top, sides, and bottom of the case. The TJ04-E has plenty of drive space: a small cage for six 2.5-inch drives, a pull-out cage for eight 3.5-inch drives, and the lower area for 2.5 or 3.5-inch drives. To help manage cables, Silverstone offers two 4-in-1 SATA power cable extenders.

The drives screw directly into the bays (upside down!), and the case comes with two heatsinks that attach directly to the sides of the drives to keep them cool. The SSD cage can also fit directly into the HDD cage – this is necessary if you have a long PSU.

The motherboard tray supports ATX, microATX, and Mini-ITX boards, and the tray has 9 cutouts for cable routing and 1 cutout for the large CPU backplane. There’s plenty of room behind the tray for cable routing, and there’s even a compartment behind the PSU to hide extra PSU cables.

Every Silverstone case has a quirky feature. Here, it’s the drive cooler.

Build quality is solid, but the side panels pop out easily once the thumbscrews are removed. The only front-panel connectors are two USB 3.0 (with internal headers) and HD Audio, both with long cables. At $160 for a version with a side window, it’s not cheap, but if you want a sophisticated look, great cable management, and a minimalist, elegant aesthetic, the TJ04-E is for you.

$150, www.silverstonetek.com

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Wilbert Wood
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