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KitGuru Annual Awards 2012


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.

While we all love the idea of an individually style chassis, hand-built by experts, the reality is that most people won't spend much more than £100 on a case. KitGuru has picked the realistic winners for 2012.

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.

The original Cosmos is still a firm favourite, but the updated version is a game changer: It just oozes quality. BitFenix has done a great job getting to the Shinobi XL from its initial Colossus. Antec shows it still has game with the 302 - which is very affordable.

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  • callum orr

    Great read. although it wouyld have been good to have a couple more categorys on the mainboard section, as there wasnt really a z77 winner at £200 price point? which is exactly what im looking into at the moment.
    just thought i would also let you know of typo on the best of the rest page as you have written ‘Winning in 2103’.
    great article though.

  • Joanne

    That was really useful to help me shortlist parts for a new system build. Thank you!

  • Kirk

    Some great products in this list, I have decided to get the corsair H80i and the seasonic 520W power supply next pay day.

  • Nico

    Interesting to see some of these, I missed quite a few of the reviews this year, with so many updates on Kitguru it can be hard to keep track.

    Good work, very interesting reading.

  • Neil

    I am surprised to see Corsair getting so many awards, their H coolers aren’t all that good. Noctua NH D14 is better than them all.

  • Xtreme

    I would argue against OCZ, their fail rate is bad, I wouldn’t award them anything.

  • HWExpert

    @Xtreme – thats not right. only sandforce 2281 issues, and they plagued everyone from Corsair to Patriot who used the same controller. OCZ just sold more so they are highlighted more.

    Vector is a different controller. well earned IMO.

  • Kim Kan

    Was looking at the 302 and this has made my mind up. Wish they also did cheaper graphics cards cos I don’t want to spend more than £100.