About Computer Cases And Portable PC Cases With Handles
One thing is clear: If you buy a large-format PC case, i.e. a Midi/Big Tower or Hybrid, then you will find all the hardware you need in it – regardless of whether you want to install heat exchangers in 3×120/3×140 format or a two or even three-way SLI/Crossfire system. Often it doesn’t even have to be the really big version, because depending on how many larger PC components or radiators you want to accommodate, a spacious PC case classified as a midi tower may be sufficient. Especially with the latest generation of cases, the limits are becoming increasingly blurred, not only in terms of the equipment and the number of mounting locations for the drives, but also in terms of the fan equipment (existing fans/fan slots), which is crucial for cooling. Even high/long water-cooling radiators can be easily installed in the spacious midi models thanks to the generous space available.
If, on the other hand, you have to accommodate your PC in the smallest of spaces, a Big or Midi Tower will certainly not help you. For them, a mini-case has the main advantage that it offers a compact hiding place for the hardware and takes up little space in the home or office. However, it must always be taken into account that the choice of hardware components is clearly limited. If your portable PC case has a handle it is easy to move around between different locations. Portable PC cases with handles usually are built very small and compact, which makes them easy to carry around.
Ultimately, when buying a case, the question is whether the case should be adapted to the desired hardware or the hardware to the necessary case. In this review we check the latter. And it is important to note that just because you use a portable PC case does not mean that you have to compromise with performance.
Test Results: Portable PC Cases With Handles
First: Cooler Master HAF XB EVO
- Great sound insulation
- Good cable management
- Two fans pre-installed
- Not the cheapest solution
Technical Specs of the Cooler Master HAF XB EVO
The HAF XB Evo from Cooler Master differs from ordinary PC cases at first glance. According to the manufacturer, it is supposed to combine the advantages of ordinary hardware enclosures and bench tables.
With the Cooler Master HAF XB Evo, the motherboard is installed horizontally. Unlike some mini or HTPC cases, there is enough space for full-size ATX boards. The case offers two levels. Above the case bottom the drives and the power supply are positioned. Above that is the mounting plate for the mainboard. Towards the top a large perforated plate allows heated air to escape. The side panels are also partially air-permeable. In addition, several fans can be installed, namely 2 x 120/140 mm at the front, 1 x 120 mm or 2 x 80 mm at the rear and 1 x 200 mm at the top. In the scope of delivery are two 120 mm fans, which blow over the mainboard.
The MnC45-approved model comes with a perforated plate on top. Another variant of the HAF XB Evo has a transparent panel in the lid instead, but is currently not available at any dealer.
The Cooler Master HAF XB EVO makes a great portable computer case. Its two fans are already included. The only point of critique is that the handle is ver hard to grip as it is almost non-existent. That’s why the Cooler Master HAX XB EVO is built very compact and easy to carry without a handle. If portability is not the most important point to you when buying a compact case, you should definitely go with the Cooler Master HAF XB EVO. It’s ranking first in our review.
Second: The SilverStone ML08
- Space saving
- Very stable
- Easy transportable
- Good workmanship
- Passive cooling only
- No case fans for better airflow
- No cable management
About the SilverStone ML08
With the SilverStone Milo ML08, one must remotely think of the current top console from Microsoft. Except for the fact that SilverStone did without a piano lacquer finish. The case is made of thinner sheet steel and looks very stable without a built-in component. There are two removable dust filters on each side, which take up a bit more than 1/3 of the side. The front of the case is made of plastic, in the middle there is a sliding cover, behind it there are two USB 3.0 ports and the Power-ON and Reset button. The optional carrying handle is made of hard plastic.
To open the case, three screws on the top and bottom of the backside have to be loosened with a screwdriver. Afterwards you can remove both side parts to the back. Each of the side parts is “L”-shaped. After opening the case, it is possible to install two 2.5″ HDDs, a SFX or SFX-L power supply and a Mini-ITX mainboard on one side. On the other side you can install a graphics card with a maximum length of 10.5 inches. Many will now ask themselves how to install the graphics card and how to connect it to the mainboard. Classically, the graphics card was always installed vertically on the mainboard, here such an installation is not possible. Check out our guides regarding installing graphics cards.
As a planned Steam Machine in self-construction, the case with our used hardware is a great option. Due to the passive cooling of the case, heat gets transported outside very efficient, which made sure that we could not register extreme temperature development inside the case in our test. The cooler is however completely unsuitable for high-end processors, but we see a great use in the multimedia and office area as a replacement for loud stock coolers. The cooling capacity should be completely sufficient here.
As already mentioned, we give the case a very good rating due to the case’s positive development. Due to the high potential for various fields of application, very good workmanship and design, we give a total score of 9.4 out of 10 points, which is enough to claim the second rank.
Due to the fact that we have tested the cooler again and independently of the case, we can give a total score of 9.5 out of 10 points. For a really inexpensive cooler with a quiet operation for multimedia and office, we give our price-performance.
Third: Cooler Master MasterCase MC500Mt
- Side part made of tempered glass
- Including two 140mm fans
- Much space for powerful hardware
- Including fan controller
- Relatively heavy
About the MasterCase MC500MT
Cooler Master complements its MasterCase series with another feature-rich and attractive case: The MasterCase MC500MT. The renowned manufacturer is now taking this even further and presenting a modern midi tower with a modular design, extensive configuration options and a side panel made of tempered glass. Behind the bevelled front of the MasterCase MC500MT is a mesh front that ensures optimum airflow. In addition, there is an extensive I/O panel with a modern USB 3.1 type C slot. The red accents on the outside of the case and the red mainboard tray provide variety in the otherwise completely black case.
Even though Cooler Master has worked hard on the naming scheme, you shouldn’t be fooled: The two new MasterCase models are based directly on their predecessors. So Cooler Master has not developed new cases, but has updated and improved (quite successful) models. We have taken this opportunity to compare MasterCase MC600P and MasterCase MC500M directly with each other in a double test.
With their very similar internal structure, they also offer very similar usage possibilities in principle. The most striking difference is the up to three additional 2.5-inch drive slots of the MasterCase MC600P. For this purpose, the air openings in the lid and the front are adapted differently. Otherwise, both cases offer plenty of space and adequate cooling options for a powerful gaming system. Both cases can also rely on the cooling capacity of three pre-installed 140 mm fans ex works. In order to exhaust the cooling potential, you have to remove the plastic front and only use the mesh front, though. Fan control is only available for the MasterCase MC500M. Even though it only offers two control levels, it can be used to adjust the cooling capacity and volume. Another clear bonus of the more expensive model is the USB 3.1 type C connection.
Apart from these manageable functional differences, it is mainly the appearance and price that make the difference. Those who like it more discreet will find the MasterCase MC600P more attractive. The MasterCase MC500M also has a straightforward but more striking design. Whether you find the hidden (and protected) connections and buttons of the MasterCase MC600P or the directly visible and usable I/O panel of the MasterCase MC500M more practical is also a matter of taste. But without a doubt, the new illuminated RGB cover over the power supply unit is particularly striking on the top model. It should be acknowledged that Cooler Master does not simply use RGB fans or RGB strips, but actually uses a real RGB illuminated panel with a very unique and unspent look. The only lightly tinted glass side panel also makes it look its best.
Cooler Master, the somewhat better equipment and more spectacular lighting of the MasterCase MC500M has its price with a surcharge of around 40 Dollar. More importantly, however, the prices of the new models have been adjusted. Above all, the entry-level price is more attractive with the MasterCase MC600P. While we still had to criticize the price of around 150 Dollar for the MasterCase Pro 6, the 130 Dollar for the MasterCase MC600P seem more appropriate, also in view of the current market situation. For example, a Fractal Design Define R6 with glass side panel costs a similar amount. The Define R6 pretty much takes the topic of modularity to the extreme. In comparison, it also nominally offers more cooling options. However, the lid radiator has more space in the higher Cooler Master cases. And Cooler Master also has the edge when it comes to drive slots – at least when you include optional drive cages and carriers. But as a silent case, the Define R6 is clearly ahead. This also applies to another flexible competitor model, namely the be quiet! Dark Base 700.
All in all, Cooler Master has seized the opportunity and carefully developed the models of the MasterCase “2.0” series. Thanks to the FreeForm design, the manufacturer is able to offer two cases based on a basic model, which differ significantly both optically and in some cases functionally. We can’t identify a clear favourite – here, the taste of the individual buyer may decide. We see the MasterCase MC500MT a tad better.
Fourth: BitFenix Prodigy M
- Removable front
- Steel and tempered glass
- Modern design
About the BitFenix Prodigy M
As the Prodigy M is very similar to its predecessor, we will only go into the external differences of the design and do not give a detailed description. One of the first differences is that the left side panel no longer has a mesh surface. We will explain why this is so later when we talk about the interior. On the back, there are further changes to be seen.
The fan has moved downwards and the recess for the mainboard connectors is now on edge. The number of expansion slots also increases from two to five. Since the power supply has been moved to the front inside, there is a power connector under the mainboard cutout. Optically as well as in terms of processing, the BitFenix Prody M, like its predecessor, looks very attractive and leaves a good impression.
Installation & Interior
The side panels can be removed again by simply screwing the thumbscrews and expose the inside of the case. In addition to the connections for the front panel, the right case wall also accommodates mounting options for two SSDs. The hard drive tray can be removed by loosening the screws and offers space for two hard drives or three SSDs, which are secured with screws. The airflow in Prodigy M is directed from top to bottom.
If you like, you can attach two 120 mm fans to the lid. To do this, the dust filter has to be removed from the outside by flipping a small slide and the fans are mounted with screws in the designated places. At the bottom, either two 120 mm fans – one of which is already pre-installed – or alternatively a 200 or 230 mm fan can be attached to improve the cooling performance. However, if you think the temperatures inside are cool enough, you can dispense with fans on the floor and install two additional hard drives there. A magnetic heat shield can be attached to the underside of the Prodigy M so that they don’t get the waste heat from the power supply. The power supply is now located behind the front on the bottom and is installed upright so that the side with the power supply connection faces the bottom.
This approach underlines BitFenix’s concept of discharging the warm air downwards out of the case. The mainboard fits on the pins of the mainboard tray. CPU coolers can thus be installed up to a height of 160 mm. Thanks to the additional expansion slots, graphics cards can be installed in SLI or CrossFireX operation and are supported up to a maximum length of 320 mm. In order to install the optical drive, four pins must be pressed in inside, allowing the front to be removed. Then the placeholders are removed and the drive can be inserted and screwed in. Last but not least, we’ll take a look at the back. This accommodates a pre-installed 120 mm fan, which can alternatively be replaced by a 140 mm fan. It’s astonishing what powerful hardware finds room in this small case.
BitFenix has done everything right, and with the Prodigy M it opens up a larger target group, because with the Micro-ATX standard more powerful hardware can be installed. Design, workmanship and the price are to be emphasized positively. Thanks to its carrying handles, the case is also perfectly suited for LAN parties, as it can be taken along quite comfortably. The BitFenix Prodigy M is available at Amazon.
Fifth: The Corsair GRAPHITE 760T
- Side panels open as doors
- very well equipped I/O panel
- Beautiful design
- Dust filters easy to clean
- No decoupling of the power supply unit
- Not the cheapest solution
About the Corsair GRAPHITE 760T
Mid-range model at a premium price – this is how the Graphite Series 760T may appear at first glance. But you get closer to the point if you concentrate less on the usual series order and more on the case itself. Then the Full-Tower can collect so many plus points that the sales price becomes much more comprehensible.
Especially in comparison to the Obsidian Series, where the same design has been recycled for all models from Mini-ITX to HPTX, the fresh look of the Full-Tower catches the eye. With the panoramic window, the case also offers an unusual treat in this form. It is also remarkable that the side panels are designed as doors that can be opened and closed in a flash. Because Corsair manufactures the side panels entirely from plastic, however, torsional rigidity and robustness suffer.
Inside the Graphite Series 760T there is plenty of room for high-end hardware. There is also no shortage of drive slots – especially if two more HDD/SSD cages are retrofitted. But the modular cages also ensure that the interior can be flexibly adapted to different needs. For example, it is also possible to mount a 280 or 240 mm radiator behind the front. Considering that a 360 or 280 mm radiator can be mounted under the lid and a single radiator can be mounted on the rear wall and on the bottom, the housing is ideally suited as a basis for a water-cooled system. But it also cuts a fine figure when air-cooled. A particularly positive feature is that Corsair has finally installed a fan control. It is two-stage and allows a significant reduction of the noise level with only a moderate decrease in cooling capacity.
Typical for Corsair, the latest model of the Graphites Series is also a user-friendly housing. Uncomplicated installation, cable management and the easy-to-clean dust filters simplify hardware installation and maintenance of the full-tower. However, a dust filter for the floor fan space is missing.
The direct competitor is the Obsidian Series 750D. With its no-frills design, the aluminum front and the deep black paint, it looks either more boring or significantly more serious than the Graphite Series 760T, depending on your taste. Otherwise, the specifications of both models are suspiciously similar. A closer look at the interior makes it clear that they are largely identical. Obsidian Series 750D and Graphite Series 760T are practically design variants of one and the same case. There are only small differences in the equipment, such as the fan control of the Graphite Series 760T.
The Graphites Series 760T attracts attention – and thanks to the huge window, also into the case interior. With luxurious space, high user-friendliness and the considerable cooling options, the full tower really comes into its own in practice. Don’t be fooled by it just ranking on the fifth place, as that is only because portability and mobility is limited with this case. Technically though, it is a great case that we can definitely recommend to people who don’t care that much about the portability of a PC.
We hope our review helps you to find the best option for you. We limited the models of portable PC cases with handles (some models do not have real handles) in order to go in-depth in our test without creating information overload. If you have any questions regarding portable PC cases with or without handles or any other hardware or software problem, please don’t hesitate to contact us via the contact form. We would love to help you out.