While having very little to do with day-to-day performance in many situations, there's a definite feel-good factor to getting the right case.
Also, if you decide to upgrade or clock the nuts off your rig, then additional space and clean airflow will certainly make a difference.
KitGuru has pushed hard on acoustic testing and this is something very dear to our hearts: A case may look stunning and perform well, but if we become conscious of its noise output – then it's not going to get far in the KitGuru Lab.
Without doubt, if money was absolutely no object, then the Lian-Li PC X-2000FN is absolutely stunning, without flaw and convinced us to write 10 pages of detailed analysis. It scored a perfect 10. But the price tag of £400 can't be ignored and very few people can afford such luxury. On that basis, we've decided to be much more realistic with regards to pricing for our ATX choice for 2012.
Very stiff competition has produced a winner in each of 3 price bands.
For those on a strict budget, the Antec Three Hundred Two has a great many things in its favour – especially the £46 price tag. If you want to build a new rig into a sensible chassis – on a budget – then this is our choice for 2012.
On the other hand, if we put functionality to the fore, then the BitFenix Shinobi XL edges out the competition by offering superb upgradeability at just over £100. Don't let the price fool you, it has space for multiple 360mm radiators and the top of the case has 4 USB 3 ports and a supercharger. It's not metal, which will stand against it with some system builders, but we suggest you read the review carefully before choosing anything else.
When it comes to an overall winner however, there can be only one choice this year for us. The Cooler Master Cosmos II, which we love. This case is fully loaded and scored a jaw dropping 9.5 out of 10 when we reviewed it back in January 2012.