Group Test: Which Are The Best Cases On The Market? (Part 1) - Corsair Graphite 600T Steel Silver Case, Xigmatek Elysium Windowed Case

11/29/2012 11:06:17 AM


Price: $232

Manufacturer: Corsair


Description: Corsair Graphite 600T Steel Silver Case

Corsair's 600T is a cracking-looking case. With sculpted lines and ridged panels that look almost aerodynamic, this is a chassis that should appeal to most PC enthusiasts. The case is spacious enough to accommodate almost any PC build, but as a midi tower rather than a full tower model, it is far more compact than giants like the Cooler Master Cosmos II or the Xigmatek Elysium. Removing the side panels, we find a contemporary layout with a bottom-mounted PSU tray and plenty of roof-mounted cooling. Moving to the front of the case, we find with six hard drive caddies that also hold SSDs and there's space for four 5.25" devices. Each of the drive bays is tool-free in nature, allowing you to easily snap new drives in or out. We'd have preferred the HDD bays to be a little less flimsy, but this is unlikely to cause any problems for DIY system builders.

As standard, there are three fans included - a 200 mm fan in the roof, a 200 mm fan at the front and a 120 mm fan at the rear. The top fan can be replaced with two 120 mm fans if you prefer, and there's just enough space to squeeze in a slimline 240 mm radiator as well. Corsair's H100 sealed unit comes instantly to mind, but there would be enough space for a custom loop as well. Two grommets at the back of the case also allow you to externally mount a radiator if you prefer.

Moving back to the case's exterior, we find plenty of connectivity. Four USB 2.0 ports are joined by a single USB 3.0 port and a FireWire port, as well as the two obligatory jacks for your microphone and headphones. The large circular dial on the roof allows you to control each of the three fans. Both the top and front grills can be popped off for easy cleaning, though the dust filtration is minimal - the holes are too large for this function.

Even on minimum speed we would not describe the 600T as very quiet. It's by no means alarmingly loud, but the case would not be suitable for those seeking to build an ultra-quiet computer. Fortunately, its cooling prowess is significantly better, with the 600T putting in a great showing for CPU and motherboard temperatures and a reasonably showing for the GPU as well.

The finish of this edition of the 600T is a striking steel silver paint job. Most silver1 cases are quite bright and look like brushed aluminium but the Lustre of this case is a lot darker. As its name suggests, it far more closely resembles brushed steel.

It will therefore be a little disappointing for those expecting it to be made of metal that this case is clad in all-plastic panels. Although the quality of the plastic is very high, when compared to an all-metal case like the Silverstone FT03, it can't help but feel less pleasing from a tactile point of view.

There is no doubting the 600T is a great case, and this steel silver edition adds a unique-looking product to Corsair's line-up. It may seem expensive for a steel and plastic chassis, but the build quality, cooling and features make it well worth the money.

Xigmatek Elysium Windowed Case


Price: $222.5

Manufacturer: Xigmatek


Description: Xigmatek Elysium Windowed Case

The Xigmatek Elysium is a truly gigantic case. Those tempted to purchase it just for its handsome, industrial looks would do well to measure the area around their desk before taking the plunge. Those with sufficient space, however, will be rewarded with one of the most flexible and accommodating chassis on the market today, all for a surprisingly affordable price.

Dominating the front of the case are 12 5.25" bays, six of which are taken up with two 4-in-3 hard drive modules. Each bay has a quick-release catch for easy installation, and the hard drive modules slide out easily enough for drive installation. Each hard drive is screwed in through rubber grommets to reduce vibrations, although there's no native SSD support. Each of the 4-i n-3 modules also has a 120 mm fan, which serve as the case's sole intakes. These are illuminated by a white LED.

Moving up to the top of the case you will find the case's connectivity. There are two USB 2.0 ports, two USB 3.0 ports, two audio jacks and an eSATA port. There is also a handy HDD/SSD dock that allows you to plug in any internal drive to transfer data without needing to open the case. Adjacent to the connectivity panel is a large power button and a small reset switch.

As well as the two aforementioned 120 mm intakes there's also a 140 mm rear exhaust fan and a large 200 mm side exhaust fan. Each of these fans also has white LEDs as standard. There's no built-in fan controller within the case, but there are two Molex to fan adaptors, each of which can be used to power six fans. These will be of most use to those using water cooling setups - a demographic this case is clearly designed to predominantly cater for.

It's one of the few cases to accommodate a triple 140 mm radiator, either in the roof or on the floor. You cannot accommodate two of these huge radiators at the same time, however, as the PSU has to go either in the top or at the bottom. Fortunately, there is ample space for additional radiators elsewhere -others can be accommodated in the front drive bay area or mounted to the 140 mm rear exhaust.

The case's vast motherboard tray has no fewer than 12 cut-outs for tidy cables, and there's plenty of space between the off side-panel and the motherboard tray to hide unsightly leads. Even extended ATX motherboards like the EVGA SR2 can be accommodated with ease, and there are ten cut-outs for expansion cards, making the case ideal for a quad SLI or CrossFire setup.

The Elysium weighs in at over 1 5 kg fully unladen, so we were pleased to find four casters supplied as standard. These will greatly ease moving the system in and out if you perform regular upgrades, though the feet need removing in order to accommodate them.

Although this won't be a case for everyone, it is by far the best case on the market priced at under $240 for water cooling enthusiasts.


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