Four ATX Cases For High-Capacity Water Cooling, Reviewed

Big radiators need lots of space that most enclosures simply weren't designed to offer. We're using Swiftech’s latest triple-fan cooler to test the fitment and performance in four cases supposedly set up to accommodate high-end water cooling setups.

CPU water cooling has been around since the early days of Tom’s Hardware. But enclosures specifically designed to hold large liquid cooling systems have always been scarce. And while the availability of mid-sized mainstream systems like Corsair's H100 pushes case manufacturers to at least support dual-fan radiators in their enthusiast-oriented models, high-end cooling support remains a rare feature, even in the highest-end chassis. Fortunately, the few solutions that do exist are fairly good.

If you missed our walk-through of these four enclosures last week, and you want a closer look inside each case before continuing, check out In Pictures: Four ATX Cases Perfect For High-Capacity Water Cooling.

  Aerocool Strike-X ST Azza Hurrican 2000 Cooler Master Cosmos II NZXT Switch 810
Dimensions
Height25.2"21.9"27.9"23.9"
Width9.3"10.2"12.2"9.2"
Depth27.9"23.9"26.2"23.7"
Space Above
Motherboard
3.2"2.3"1.8"3.2"
Card Length16.8"13.6"**15.5"13.7"
Weight32.0 pounds24.5 pounds47.4 pounds31.4 pounds
Cooling
Front Fans
(alternatives)
1 x 200 mm
(2 x 140/120 mm)
2 x 120 mm
(None)
1 x 200 mm
(1 x 140 mm)
1 x 140 mm
(2 x 140/120 mm)
Rear Fans
(alternatives)
1 x 140 mm
(1 x 120 mm)
1 x 120 mm
(None)
1 x 140 mm
(1 x 120 mm)
1 x 140 mm
(1 x 120 mm)
Top Fans
(alternatives)
1 x 200 mm (2 x 200 mm, 3 x 140/120 mm)2 x 230 mm
(1 x 120 mm)
1 x 120 mm (1 x 200 mm, 2 x 140 mm, 3 x 120 mm)1 x 140 mm
(3 x 140/120 mm)
Left Side
(alternatives)
None (1 x 180 mm,
9 x 120 mm)
2 x 230 mm
(None)
2 x 120 mm
(4 x 120 mm)
None
Right Side
(alternatives)
None
(1 x 120/92 mm)
1 x 120 mm
(None)
NoneNone
Drive Bays
5.25" ExternalFourFourThreeFour
3.5" ExternalNone1 x AdapterNoneNone
3.5" InternalTenSixThirteenSix +One***
2.5" InternalTen*2x AdapterEleven*Seven*
Card SlotsTenSevenTenNine
Price £190--
£323£150
*shared on 3.5" tray **Without cables to backplane ***On 5.25" backplane


Cooler Master tops the list in features, price, and weight, while Azza targets mid-budget enthusiasts with a mid-sized solution. Between those two pricing extremes, NZXT and Aerocool attempt to offer the best value with nine- and 10-slot designs. Today, we find out how well each case fits our parts and performs.

Before we move on to our installation notes, let’s take a quick look at the cooling system that made all of this testing possible.

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  • CyberAngel
    Why not to put the radiator on the other side of the case totally outside of the case and not blocking any exhaust or intake fans beats me in amazement each time I see a review or look at an instruction manual.
  • Blackjack Davy
    Does anyone know where to to buy these Swiftech kits in the UK? There doesn't seem to be a singel retailer that has any in stock for months now. Looks I'll have to to import one and pay hefty import duty and taxes.