The NZXT NOCTIS 450 is a mixture of engineering and modern art; sharing an internal frame that we have come a custom to find with the more familiar S340 and H440 in addition adding to that mix a completely different outer shell design theme. The NOCTIS 450 is like imagining a Phantom and a H440 metamorphosing together into a completely different mixture of look and style, but still keeping that similar inner engineering that we have come to enjoy with NZXT sharing of innovations of Custom Computer Case Modders around the Globe.
Most of the cases that I have seen and reviewed this year have usually been what I personally refer to as cookie cutter cases. Meaning that most are generally all alike in build placement and engineering except for one or two exceptions that make that particular case unique, but the Silverstone FT04 is a case that defies this rule of case making. The Silverstone FT04 still has to follow the usual JEDEC Rules for conformity to the E-ATX form factor but past that is where it all changes to pure uniqueness. This Silverstone case defies most of the usual configuration standards and sets itself apart as being a “Case all its own”.
Now with the In Win 707 Gaming Black case we now see has a more conventional style and high build quality that is reminiscent of the older days both in construction and constraints that were there before and here now. The $139.00 price tag of the current In Win 707 Black Gaming case would have been $179.00 or more back in 2009 but times have changed and the case makers are doing their level best to keep cost down but sacrificing build quality is not in this one except for the plastic ODD door in the front. The rest is heavy duty steel, great paint, features and flexibility to make a huge server case or a minimalist gamer case. There is room for an extremely fat double CPU Server motherboard or an E-ATX or ATX regular sized motherboard.
While Fractal Design is a relative newcomer to the computer case industry it has been a phenomenal success. With help from master Modders and Case designers from Fractal themselves they have achieved a popularity status that most case companies that have been around much longer have lusted over from their inception.
The Z11 NEO is what the Greek word “NEO” suggest. It’s “a new or revived form of” the earlier generations of the Zalman Z11 series of case that have been very popular for quite some time. While the Z11 has been around for a while the Z11 is a much better improved updated and redesigned NEO looks better and gives more with a price that in earlier days would have cost a builder three times what this case costs now. What really sets off the Zalman Z11 series is the puff out serviceable gills on the sides that make it look like a stealth fighter bomber or a high dollar Lambo theme case. The case has a cockpit like window on the side that makes it even more appealing in a man vs. machine sort of way. The Z11 NEO in big letters on the side harkens some back to the days of the older Zalman LQ-1000 Z machine series that made it look serious on anyone’s work space. The branding lets onlookers know that your computer is something different than the average everyday work a day business machine. Having the Z11 NEO is an Artistic statement as much as a very well built case, so let’s take a look at what the NEO brings out in the new and revived version of the Zalman Z11.
In the simplest terms, an Aegis is a shield of protection to the heart of the warrior that wears this protective armor. This is a very fitting picture of the theme of this case from BitFenix. The BitFenix brand made mini computing a cool and universal way of life for many builder’s taking advantage of the newer smaller and magnificent new M-ITX and Micro ATX computers that have the same relative power of its bigger ATX counterparts with the BitFenix Prodigy Line of machines. In a way they invented the way to put together full custom looped water cooled Monster and stuffed it nicely into a small chassis that not only worked great but looked even better. So many flavors and mods have been commercially developed for that little chassis that could and now the people at BitFenix are at it again with the BitFenix Aegis Micro-ATX computer case.
Even, now I am almost sure that there are a few Antec 900 user’s out there reading this review on the internet right now. It has been Newegg.com’s Most Sold computer case ever in history and has been on the number one spot of the Electronics’ Billboard Charts of production cases since its inception almost a full decade ago. Now 9 years have passed and sure there have been lot of Antec cases since then but nothing to rate or to make history like the Antec 900, but Antec has a new Economy case called the Antec P70. I really don’t think that this case is going to make history like its grandfather but he is quite a case of it’s own.
Okay lets stop accentuating the negatives, because there are some good parts as well. For the compromises you do make you get a nice looking case that has a really nice mirrored finish emblem two fully autonomous USB 3.0 Ports and some small amount of foam on the inside of the panels to keep them from vibrating to the heartbeat of your hard drives for $50.00. The engineering is really neat as the whole top panel can be completely removed to easily build inside. Don’t worry, there are no mention of the 10 screws that hold the top cover on, in the manual, but if you are fortunate enough to have read this review or you figured out on your own why they used Phillips head screws to hold the top panel instead of rivets, then you can remove them quickly and effortlessly and replace the top back on after the build is completed.
The SilverStone Kublai KL05B-W edition is the sport model of the two similar cases. This one has a very nice thin tall window to show just the right amount of glamour of your motherboard and cooling without showing too much. I find it a welcomed change to some of the other full paneled windowed versions that show every bad wiring mistake or give the appearance of TMI. “Too much Information”. The SilverStone Kublai has a taller stance than most with a plastic top cover made to house the Radiator or fans depending on your building needs. This mostly gives room on the top side of the motherboard for any size radiator you might have including a nice fat radiator. The tall thin look of the Kublai is just an illusion because it still gives plenty of room for that large air cooling solution that you may have been thinking of.
Just think. A large clear windowed panel with an all black sprayed interior, drive mounting that is very well thought out, semi tool-less designs and a special place for that AIO or all in one 240 X 120mm hydro cooler. They even offer the gamer an indirect intake air cooling from the side gills to keep the front nice clean and less noisy and you get that “Monster Corsair Obsidian” look on the front end with the faux brushed aluminum anodized look of a plastic front end. No one will know but you and it beats the other cases that are in this price range by a country mile. Would you believe it? Well truthfully I am slightly skeptical too, but I really am rooting for Corsair’s newest 100R Carbide Series Case to make a true believer out of me, but we will see as the Review continues on. So let’s see if this nice looking “Econ-o-Box” can stand up to a gaming setup and how will it fit the needs? Will it be a viable alternative and a budget saver to use the Corsair Carbide Series 100R or do we need to look further into the higher priced Cases?
Aug 03, 2015 0