A good cabinet or chassis is important when building your PC since it’s going to house all your components, ensuring they connect to each other easily. Just like the other components, the price ranges from extremely low to exorbitant levels. Many factors come into play when picking the right cabinet for yourself such as build quality, front I/O parts, cable management, transparent side panel, liquid cooling support, etc. It’s difficult to include all the necessary features in low-end cabinets but we are seeing more mid-range mid-tower cabinets supporting premium features and even good build quality. With RGB lighting and tempered glass side panels becoming the fad lately, companies are trying to push these features onto cabinets in the `6k price bracket. More cabinets are dropping support for optical drives, which further makes room for better cooling support. Apart from what we’ve seen in the country, the international market is witnessing the introduction of wooden parts on the exterior. We weren’t able to test too many PC cabinets launched this year, but among the ones that have arrived in our test labs, here are the ones that will give you the best cooling performance out of the box.
2017 Zero1 Award Winner: Cooler Master MasterCase H500P
The two 200mm RGB fans on the H500P along with the additional 140mm exhaust fan on the rear were able to keep the system running steady at a nice and cool temperature. If you plan on relying only on an air cooling system, there is a lot of room for airflow inside the H500P. The front panel has an acrylic cover with vents for the sides to allow air inside. It would be interesting to test whether using a mesh front panel would drastically cool down the interiors. In our stress testing, the CPU managed to touch 59 degrees Celsius while the GPU reached a maximum temperature of 64 degrees. Performance aside, the build quality is questionable on such an expensive cabinet, especially on the plastic top and front panel. They are really flimsy and it’s easy for them to accidentally come off with next to no effort at all. The metal used by the fan mounting brackets on the top and front panel are thin enough to bend with your hands. Keeping these problems aside, the cabinet does a good enough job to win itself a Zero1 award.
Runner-up and Best Buy: Zebronics Premier ZEB-916B
It’s wonderful to see affordable cabinets displaying airflow similar to expensive ones. Since our primary cabinet testing is done on cabinets in their factory-shipped setting, higher number of stock fans are always an advantage. This becomes pocket-friendly for consumers, since otherwise they would have to buy after-market fans. The ZEB-916B is a basic cabinet and doesn’t really include premium features nor is it generous with support for liquid cooling. When we started off the stress testing, we found the CPU running at about 70 degrees Celsius while the GPU touched a maximum temperature of 65 degrees. Although the temperatures on load were high, the idle temperatures were the lowest in this cabinet, resulting in a lower temperature delta. Already proving its cooling performance, the low price of the ZEB-916B allows the cabinet to take away the Best Buy award.