GameTiger Triple Case Roundup Review

Waco - 2012-08-17 18:32:55 in Cases
Category: Cases
Reviewed by: Waco   
Reviewed on: November 1, 2012
Price: $59, $79, $99

Introduction:

Today we have something special for your reading pleasure: a triple-case roundup from GameTiger. GameTiger Corporation was founded last year (that's 2011 for the math-impaired) with the mission to deliver innovative top-class cases for gamers and enthusiasts all over the world. GameTiger is a relative newcomer to the world of gaming-oriented cases and it looks to be poised to deliver feature-packed cases at low price points. It remains to be seen whether or not GameTiger can deliver upon its promises, especially in today's ultra-competitive market where you can pick from hundreds of cases at nearly any price point imaginable.

GameTiger sent a fairly well-rounded lineup for me to review. At the lower end of the price spectrum at $59 MSRP we have the Mage Mi-3. Splitting the mix is the Tiger As-19 at $79 MSRP. Kicking it up another notch at $99 MSRP we have the T-Rex Fr-16. Spread from the extremely affordable $60 price point up to the more lavish $100 price point, GameTiger has cases squarely in the middle of most consumer price targets. GameTiger aims to "excite your passion" with its interesting lineup of value-driven cases, so continue reading to see if it'll excite your passion or incite your rage.

 

Closer Look:

The packaging for each of the cases is fairly similar but I'll go over each one in turn (from least expensive to most expensive). The Mage Mi-3 comes in a pretty standard two-color printed box with one of those glorious colors being the bare cardboard package. The front side of the box shows a nice isometric view of the front of the case along with a list of the product highlights. For the Mage Mi-3 the box boasts about the mesh design, superior quality, USB 2.0 interface, coated interior, built-in cooling fan, and the integrated cable management. I'm a bit skeptical of the reasoning behind bragging about the USB 2.0 ports, but hey, six bullets look better than five right?

Spinning the box around to the left reveals a list of specifications in what I believe to be Russian. Continuing around the box to the back side we see a repeat of the front of the box but again with the text in Russian. Interestingly enough, the GameTiger slogan of "Excite your passion" is still in English. Moving on to the last side reveals the specifications table in English along with a list of what fans are included for cooling and how many you can add if you choose to do so. It appears that you can install a total of eight fans within the case, but given its small stature I have the feeling you'll be limited by space rather than fan mounts.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Moving on to the middle-child of this roundup we have the Tiger As-19. The packaging here is essentially identical to the Mage Mi-3 with the exception of the features listed on the front panel. The Tiger As-19 appears to have both USB 2.0 and USB 3.0 interfaces included standard in addition to the features listed on the Mage Mi-3. Interestingly enough "superior quality" is missing from the list but I'll chalk that up to marketing not wanting seven bullets versus the implication that it is not of high quality. I have no doubts that the Tiger As-19 will be of similar or better quality than its less expensive brother. Moving around to the sides of the box the similarities are obvious. Two sides are dedicated to Russian language and two of them for English. The specifications table lists that the Tiger As-19 comes with two cooling fans by default and a total of four can be installed if you have some extras laying around.

 

 

 

The T-Rex Fr-16 continues the packaging trend with the only real difference being the name, picture, and the fact that it has a list of eight features on the front of the box. The main two features that stand out are the built-in HDD docking station and the built-in fan controller. The Tiger As-19 also has a fan controller but for some reason this is not noted on the packaging. Based on the image on the side of the box this case looks to be taking its design cues from the Cooler Master HAF series. The right side and rear panel again detail the same things in Russian that exist on the opposing English sides (well, I assume they say the same things, I can't read them to confirm that). The specifications table reveals that you get a total of three factory-equipped fans with the T-Rex Fr-16 and you can add up to four more for a total of seven 120mm fans. The four optional fans are all located on the side panel so be warned that you probably cannot run a tall tower cooler in combination with a fully-loaded fan configuration.

 

 

 

Looking at all of the boxes together it's easy to see that the T-Rex Fr-16 and Tiger As-19 dwarf their little sibling the Mage Mi-3. None of these cases are particularly large, which only highlights the small stature (both width and height) of the Mage Mi-3. Keep reading to find out more about each case!

Closer Look:

Slipping the Mage Mi-3 out of its box was actually a bit of a challenge. The foam end caps are very tight on the case itself and the whole assembly fits snuggly into the box. After a bit of tugging and a little swearing the case popped free. The case comes wrapped in a plastic bag to avoid damage from moisture and dust on its way to you and the end caps themselves are quite sturdy. Even the most determined delivery man would have trouble damaging this case without resorting to stabbing through the box. My first thought after pulling the case out of the packaging was that it must either be made of aluminum or very thin steel; this is no heavyweight and it's obvious at first touch. Let's hope that its thin sheet steel doesn't make it too flimsy for real use.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The sides of the Mage Mi-3 are quite plain with the exception of the left side panel. There are mounting holes for dual 120mm cooling fans but given how narrow this case is you won't be using them unless you have a relatively short CPU cooler. The side panels are otherwise featureless and flat with nary a bump to ease wire management. They are thankfully held on with thumb screws versus the usual Phillips-head case screws typically seen on a case of this price range. The front panel is entirely covered with mesh and 5.25" bay covers (also made of mesh). The top of the case continues the same mesh theme. Overall the look is very classy and simple, which is something I tend to prefer on my personal machines. Style-wise this case may not scream "fast" or "wild" but it looks fully capable of keeping your components cool without grating on your eyes.

 

 

 

The front panel wraps around to the top I/O plate. This plate has no writing on it whatsoever but if you've ever touched a computer before the buttons and ports are pretty self-explanatory. Three USB 2.0 ports, headphone/microphone ports, and a reset and power button grace the aluminum I/O plate. A small silver and black GameTiger logo highlights the front of the case and it matches well with the overall look of understated class. Overall I don't see a $59 price on this case yet. The exterior, at least in terms of looks and overall finish, appears to be much higher-end than the price would suggest.

 

 

 

Behind the top I/O panel is a continuation of the same mesh that garners the front panel. The fit and finish here is quite good and the mesh itself is surprisingly sturdy. At the rear of the case the mesh wraps around nicely to form a rounded edge for a more seamless look. This kind of attention to detail makes me smile as sometimes even large companies miss out on tying a whole design together with little things like this. Moving further around to the rear of the case you can see the rear 120mm red cooling fan poking out through the fan grill along with the rear water cooling tube cutouts. There is an unexplained hole below the 120mm fan opening that is mentioned nowhere in the manual or the product description. Perhaps this rear panel is used on other cases with a USB 3.0 pass-through?

 

 

The bottom of the case reveals a set of four plastic feet. They can be positioned in one of 16 discrete positions with a simple twist of the wrist and stay in place firmly enough that they shouldn't move of their own accord. On a case this narrow it is nice to see such feet since they will add a certain measure of stability to the overall build that would otherwise be missing. The bottom of the case also boasts mounting locations for dual 120mm fans although the second mounting location will be blocked by your PSU. Still – you can mount a 120mm intake fan at the bottom of the case as long as your power supply is not overly long.

 

 

 

Overall I'm impressed with the initial appearance along with the fit and finish of this eminently affordable case. Move on to the next page to see if the insides can live up to the level of quality that the exterior implies!

Closer Look:

My first thought upon opening up the side panels of the Mage Mi-3 was "wow that's a lot of 5.25" bays!" There are nine individual 5.25" bays here for your use that span the entire front panel of the chassis. Interestingly enough the interior of this case is also painted rather well, which is always nice to see, especially on less expensive cases. The motherboard cutouts are large and all cut panels are rolled over so that no sharp edges are exposed. One thing to take note here though – there is absolutely zero room to hide cables behind the motherboard tray. The side panels are not bumped out at all and there's roughly 2-3 mm of room between the panel and the tray itself. Wiring this case will be a challenge.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A closer look at the front bays reveals that all nine of the 5.25" bays are completely tool-less if you plan on installing 5.25" devices only. As you'll see later some tools are needed to install 3.5" devices into the 5.25" bays. The tool-less mechanisms themselves are quite simple to use and feel like they will hold your bay devices in place quite sturdily. Both sides of the front bays have these clips that should keep your devices from being wiggle-prone like some single-sided tool-less clips allow for. A simple twist unlocks the clip and another twist in the opposite direction re-locks it. The very bottom bay is a bit hard to get to because the bottom edge of the case gets in the way a little bit, but with a smidge of determination it will bend to your will.

 

 

 

Thankfully GameTiger has kept all wires and buttons confined to the top I/O plate. This allows the front panel itself to be removed entirely when working with the front bays. A quick pull at the bottom of the front panel releases it from the chassis and allows for easy access to the front drive bays. All of the nine bays except the very top bay are initially covered by steel panels with no ventilation holes. Interestingly enough these panels are not the usual that you see on a budget case – they can each be removed and reinstalled with a pair of case screws. I left them in place for testing but for best airflow most people will probably want to remove them entirely. The bay covers themselves are mesh with a bit of filtering foam attached to each. Dust won't be making it through the front panel even if you load it up with fans.

 

 

Moving along to the rear of the case you can see the included 120mm red exhaust fan. It does not have any LEDs to light it up but the red color is a nice touch for any red-oriented build and matches the front tool-less mechanisms exactly. There is one bone of contention here though: the top panel fan mounts. To install fans to the top panel you are required to remove the top panel of the case. This wouldn't normally be a bad thing but on this case you must remove a pair of screws that are all but inaccessible even when the case is empty. I tried to pull the top panel off but only succeeded in stripping the two screws closest to the motherboard tray. Perhaps GameTiger installs these screws before riveting the case together; I don't know, but you won't be getting them out without a fight even in a totally empty case. If you have hardware mounted already there's no chance to get to them at all. It is likely you won't have room to install interior fans to the top of this relatively small chassis anyway but it was something that left me a bit puzzled. Moving on to the rear of the case you can see the removable expansion slot panels that again are able to be reattached with a case screw. Normally on such inexpensive cases these panels just break away leaving a sharp edge and an empty hole. The unexplained hole next to the fan is easy to see here; perhaps you could route fan power cables through this if you had externally mounted water cooling parts?

 

 

The Mage Mi-3 comes with a hefty box full of accessories. Since the entire front of the case is dominated by 5.25" bays GameTiger has included four 5.25" to 3.5" adapters for HDDs and 3.5" peripherals. Unfortunately there is no provision included for installing 2.5" drives of any sort. There is a replacement mesh panel for 3.5" external devices along with an 80mm/92mm/120mm fan mount (which doubles as another 5.25" to 3.5" adapter) for the front bays as well. A quartet of plastic clips are also included for cable routing along the edge of the motherboard tray.

 

Installing the OCC test parts in this relatively tiny case was a bit more of a challenge than larger cases. Cable routing options are limited especially with the open nature of the nine 5.25" bays. After a bit of finagling the parts eased themselves into place and aside from the slight mess of cables near the bottom of the case it wasn't a total headache. One issue with the lack of 2.5" mounting options was that I was forced to let gravity hold my SSD in place at the bottom of the case. If this was a permanent build I would use double-sided foam tape or mount the SSD with a single screw in one of the 5.25" bays. Long graphics cards will block the use of a bay or two (depending on the GPU cooler height), but this is fairly common in cases of this design style. Overall not too bad for a $59 case! Once powered up the power button lights up around the edge in a nice blue tone and the reset button glows a muted red with HDD access. Classy, simple, and understated are words that come to mind when looking at the finished product. I like this case!

 

Closer Look:

Moving on to the middle child of the group, the Tiger As-19, you can see that it is packed in a very similar manner to the Mage Mi-3. This is not a bad thing by any means but be prepared to wrestle with the box to get the case to slide out. The foam end caps arrived in one piece wrapped securely around each end of the chassis itself. The same clear plastic bag protects the case from dirt and dust on its journey to your doorstep. Right away after taking the case out of the box you can see the big bold letters with "TIGER" written on the side of the case; this is not the understated design seen on the Mage Mi-3.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Free of its packaging the Tiger As-19 finally reveals itself. The left side panel is mostly covered by mesh with the front edge covered in a red plastic panel with "TIGER" written in large white letters. The panel itself is of decent quality and looks quite nice but personally I'd rather have seen more mesh versus a loud and bright declaration of the model name on the side. The rear side panel is quite the opposite and features nothing except an indentation to make the panel easier to slide off. Both panels are attached via thumb screws. The front panel is a mix of mesh and plastic. Near the bottom is a bumped-out portion with blue "fangs" or "claws" that protrude from the front of the case by a few centimeters. I have a vague feeling these will light up, but more on that later. The rear of the case is fairly standard-fare with a 120mm exhaust fan (again in red), water cooling tubing holes, and some plastic sticking out near the expansion slots that suggest a tool-less mechanism inside.

 

 

 

Interestingly enough, even though the box doesn't list a fan controller anywhere on the features list GameTiger does include one on the Tiger As-19. The large knob is dark chrome plated along with the power and reset buttons. The knob itself actually feels quite nice with a fair amount of resistance as you turn it. It does have a defined maximum that stops the knob from spinning and at the opposite end actually "clicks" off. I have the feeling this will turn off the attached fans entirely, which may be useful for those looking for absolute silence in a low-power build. The top I/O panel features dual USB 2.0 ports, a single USB 3.0 port, and microphone/headphone outputs. Adorning the very front edge of the case is what appears to be the HDD activity light. Moving to the top of the case itself there is a large mesh panel that looks to be perfect for dual 120mm fans. Let's hope that this case is somewhat easier to install top fans in than the Mage Mi-3!

 

 

Moving along to the side of the case you can see the large insert plastered with the large "TIGER" text. To be perfectly honest I really don't like this addition as it doesn't add much to the case, but I can see how some may find it attractive. If you decide to light your case up internally this panel won't actually light up (as it is backed by the steel side panel) but there are a few holes that will light up. Moving along to the bottom of the front panel you can see the Tiger As-19's "claws" in transparent blue plastic. I have a sneaking feeling these may light up in bright blue when powered. I'm not sure why GameTiger chose to mix blue and red on a build but it does seem to clash a bit. The front panel construction is quite robust and will stand up to the occasional accidental (or not?) kick without damage.

 

 

 

Overall the Tiger As-19 isn't the most attractive case I've ever seen but I don't know if I can call it ugly. I personally wouldn't choose it over the understated and clean looks of the Mage Mi-3 but different strokes for different folks, right? Move on to the next page to see if the internals can keep up with the image that the exterior projects!

Closer Look:

Opening up the Tiger As-19 for the first time revealed something I didn't expect. There is a large red plastic partition mounted between the CPU portion of the case and the expansion card area. Presumably this is designed to keep the heat from GPUs away from the CPU but I have the feeling most tower-style coolers will interfere with the installation of this partition. Otherwise the interior layout is quite clean with a large CPU back plate cutout in the motherboard tray, tool-less clips for both the 5.25" and 3.5" bays, and tool-less clips for the PCIe expansion slots. I'm wary of the design on these clips as dual-slot video cards tend to interfere with their operation but they are incredibly convenient when they do work.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Moving in closer you can get a better look at the CPU / GPU area partition. As I said before this will likely conflict with many larger CPU coolers but on a stock system or one with a low-profile heatsink it may very well work to reduce CPU temperatures slightly at the expense of elevated GPU temperatures. The rear 120mm exhaust fan is also decked out in red garb as is pretty much every piece of plastic on the case internals. Installing top exhaust fans on this case also requires a bit of skill but at least it is doable with some dexterous hands. The tool-less clips for the rear expansion slots are easy to operate and lock in place firmly with single-slot cards. Dual slot cards are more of a challenge but I'll go into more detail on that in a bit.

 

 

The front 5.25" and 3.5" tool-less clips are, in a word, awesome. They are spring-loaded and operate with a simple push of the lever to raise/lower the internal pins. Once again we see these locking mechanisms on both sides of the 5.25" and 3.5" bays, which is always a welcome feature missing even on some of the more expensive cases I've seen. Nobody likes wobbly Blu-Ray drives and having to use a screw on one side defeats the whole point of the tool-less mechanisms in the first place. Well done GameTiger! Even though there is no provision for mounting fans at the bottom of the case there is a large mesh filter to keep dust and anything else that may be floating around on your floor out of your PSU and the bottom of the case. Those that prefer a negatively pressurized case (more exhaust than intake) will appreciate this as it will keep the internals of the case much more clean in the long run.

 

 

 

Spinning around to the rear of the case the welcome addition of reverse-side tool-less clips make their appearance. Another welcome addition: a cable cover that hides all internal cables included by default. This is small enough that it will only hold the included cables with perhaps the addition of a few more small cables, but it creates a very clean rear panel. The front intake fan is pre-wired to the fan controller and there are cables included to attach two more 3-pin fans if you choose to do so. The rear fan is, unfortunately, wired up to a standard Molex plug so you won't be able to control it via the fan controller. There isn't much room on the backside here for wire management so I have the feeling the area next to the 3.5" bays will end up full of cables. This isn't a deal breaker as this is a fairly narrow case and I'd rather have more clearance for CPU coolers than have room for wire management but be restricted on cooler choice.

 

 

The included accessory pack for the Tiger As-19 is quite spartan in comparison with the Mage Mi-3, but because the Tiger doesn't require any adapters to mount hard drives this is somewhat expected. Once again there is no provision to install a 2.5" drive anywhere in the chassis without modification or hackery. This is a bit disappointing but those with SSDs have only recently begun to get native mounts even in high-end cases. Simple gravity, a piece of foam tape, or a single screw in one of the drive bays will have to suffice for 2.5" drive mounting.

 

Building in the Tiger As-19 presented similar difficulties as the Mage Mi-3. It is a bit cramped but the area behind the 3.5" bays does offer a nice pocket for hiding excess cables. The CPU/GPU partition had to be left out as it did indeed push up against the CPU cooler more than I was comfortable with. As you can see the tool-less clips on the rear expansion slots don't lock completely into place when using a dual-slot GPU like the XFX 7970. Any card with a shroud that touches the rear mounting plate will likely face the same issue. The GPU is still held quite firmly in place but since the clips are not locked into place a hard bump could dislodge them and allow your expensive card to be damaged. Other than that the build went without issue and ended up fairly clean considering the lack of cable management options. The "claws" on the front of the case do indeed light up in brilliant blue when powered and they completely drown out the 120mm fan with red LEDs behind them. HDD access glows with a muted red along the top edge of the front panel. The fan controller does allow you to toggle the connected fans off entirely if you choose to do so. Overall the looks aren't to my tastes but everything is well thought-out here.

 

Closer Look:

Last but not least we have the GameTiger flagship: the T-Rex Fr-16. The T-Rex is larger than the other two cases but is also packed just as well. There were no broken parts, no busted packaging, and it was again a pain to remove from the box the first time. The same sturdy foam end caps kept everything intact and a clear plastic bag shields from the trials and tribulations of shipping around the world. Thankfully there is no large "T-REX" logo or anything like that on the side of the case; keep reading to see what this predator has in store!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Finally freed from its packaging the T-Rex Fr-16 stands tall. The left side panel has mounting holes for not one, not two, but four 120mm cooling fans. Due to the width of the case I imagine these will only be useful with a shorter CPU cooler but more options are always better! The rear side panel has a large bumped-out portion to assist with cable management – perhaps GameTiger has outfitted this beast with enough room for some real cable hiding fun! The front panel, at a glance, instantly brings up memories of the venerable Cooler Master HAF series in terms of styling and layout. Mesh dominates the front of the case with the front I/O section integrated into the front panel near the top. The rear of the case is fairly standard-fare with water cooling ports near the top and a 120mm rear exhaust fan. Curiously enough there are plugged openings for VGA and HDMI ports, which make me wonder if GameTiger has something up its sleeve for the future.

 

 

 

The front panel is, unfortunately, clothed in more than a small amount of glossy black plastic. The I/O panel is integrated into the front and includes a USB 3.0 port, three USB 2.0 ports, and headphone and microphone jacks. The power button and reset button are located in the center and are enough out of the way to avoid accidental presses. The top of the case sports a 3.5" / 2.5" SATA docking port flanked by a small dial to control fan speeds along with a blue LED that varies in intensity with fan speeds. It is a bit difficult to see in the picture but there is also a separate HDD activity light for the top docking port. This is a welcome addition since many cases lack an activity light for their external docks entirely. The lower portion of the front panel is covered in more of the familiar mesh we all love and hides a red LED 120mm intake fan.

 

 

 

The left side panel includes mounting points for the common 120mm fan (up to four of them) or a single 200mm fan. Each of the mounting points has rubber grommets to cut down on vibration and fan noise. The backside of the case again hints at a tool-less locking mechanism for the rear expansion slots. If you didn't notice in the above pictures the T-Rex Fr-16 is supported by a pair of extremely sturdy plastic stands. These sit slightly wider than the case itself and elevate the entire chassis off the floor by nearly an inch. This bodes well for airflow even on high-pile carpet. There are two fan filters on the bottom of the case between the two feet. They do not slide out as I am accustomed to but rather require a fair bit of force and some twisting to remove. This will probably limit how often you want to clean them but they are still a welcome addition to keep the internals of your rig clean and dust-free.

 

 

 

The top of the T-Rex Fr-16 houses a 120mm cooling fan behind the external SATA dock. The mesh cover here rises up for access with a simple push on the front of the mesh to unlock it. Lifting the mesh up and out of the way reveals the fan for easy cleaning or replacement. Having the fan mounted externally like this allows for a lot more room on the inside of the chassis itself, which is always appreciated.

 

 

Overall the outside appearance of the T-Rex Fr-16 is fairly aggressive without resorting to bright colors and a lot of lights. I like that it borrows styling cues from the Cooler Master HAF series, although I do not like all of the glossy plastic adorning the front panel. Move on to the next page to find out if the internals can back up the tough appearance of the exterior!

Closer Look:

Cracking open the T-Rex Fr-16 reveals yet another painted interior with red accents from the tool-less 5.25" bays, tool-less 3.5" mounts, and tool-less expansion card slots. The motherboard tray has a large cutout for CPU backplate access and also includes grommeted holes for cable management. The large cutout near the bottom for the PSU cables isn't grommeted but I don't find it terribly annoying since the cables from the PSU itself will fill this opening anyway. The backside of the motherboard tray has a fair amount of space between it and where the side panel will sit, especially when combined with the bumped-out side panel. Several small cutouts for the attachment of zip ties should also ease your cable management woes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Once again we see tool-less mechanisms to hold in your 5.25" bay devices and surprisingly enough they are not included on the back side of the case with the T-Rex Fr-16. The clips included here feel a bit cheaper than the ones included in the Tiger As-19, so I was a bit surprised when I realized they were only mounted on a single side. That said, the clips operate quite easily by sliding a lock to the open position and simply lifting up the mounting arm. You will need to secure any drives mounted here with screws on the reverse side to avoid any play or wobbliness.

 

 

Where the T-Rex Fr-16 lacks in 5.25" mounts it makes up for it with the 3.5" mounting system. These bays are exceedingly easy to use being just flexible enough to mount drives easily but not so flexible that they feel like they won't hold securely. 2.5" devices will find a home on any of the mounting brackets since holes are pre-drilled to securely mount your fancy new SSDs. If you need more room for longer-than-average GPUs (or simply don't need all of the 3.5" bays) you can remove the drive bays in any combination you choose. The upper bay holds two drives and the lower holds three, but both can be mounted in the top position by themselves, the bottom position by themselves, or together as shown below. Most users will likely want to install the dual-drive mount to the bottom position to maximize airflow without compromising on ease of access.

 

 

 

The rear expansion slots are outfitted with tool-less mechanisms of a different style than the Tiger As-19. The T-Rex Fr-16 has individual swing-arms that securely hold each expansion card. This different design is much more compatible with various card designs and I ran into no issues with it clamping down on any of the cards I had on-hand. The rear exhaust fan is the same model seen in both the Mage Mi-3 and the Tiger As-19. Its red blades match quite nicely with all of the other red accoutrements within the case and should look great within a red-themed build.

 

 

The T-Rex Fr-16 comes stock with the front I/O cables all bundled together and run through the top grommet in the motherboard tray. Most users will probably reroute these for best appearances but thankfully GameTiger has bundled them together on the back side to keep them tidy even if you reroute. There is one issue here though – the wiring for the front panel is not detachable and requires removal if you want to remove the front panel entirely. This won't be a problem for most users as bay devices are usually installed once and not moved often but it is quite annoying to have a perfect cable management job messed up by what should be a quick and simple operation. Each bay cover is outfitted with dust-blocking mesh to slow down the buildup of dust inside your rig.

 

 

In order to use the built-in SATA dock you have to wire it up yourself – no SATA cable is included with the case so be sure to order one if you don't have any laying around. The board accepts Molex power (not SATA) and has an extra 3-pin fan connection to vary the speed of a single additional fan should you decide to install one. The drive bay itself has no rails to center drives so a bit of care is required to avoid jamming the drive onto the SATA power and data connections. 3.5" drives don't cause terribly much trouble but 2.5" drives are a bit hard to get lined up properly. Even being more difficult it still isn't something I'd call "hard" to do; you just need to be careful. Rubber isolation strips sit below the drive to minimize vibration and noise.

 

 

The bundle for the T-Rex Fr-16 is quite minimal but since the case is mostly tool-less there isn't much needed. There is an 8-pin/4-pin 12v extension to make sure your CPU power plug will reach behind the motherboard tray. This is a nice touch since many cases fail to include anything to ensure this cable will reach. Along with the 12v adapter/extension is a slew of screws and zip ties to ease installation. The manual is about as useful as most – a good reference if you're totally lost but probably not worth looking at if you're mechanically inclined.

 

Building the OCC test rig into the T-Rex Fr-16 was a pleasure. The copious room behind the motherboard tray along with the well-designed drive bays almost took all of the effort out of putting together a clean build. Of the three this case is by far the easiest to work with and offers quite a bit of room, even if you've got a non-modular PSU with a huge mass of cables attached to it. Once powered up the front and top glow with a nice muted red from the included LED fans and the power and HDD activity lights actually light up through the glossy plastic on the front panel. They are blue LEDs but since they glow through the tinted plastic they aren't blindingly bright. Overall I can't say there are any serious faults with the case and the styling has grown on me a bit!

 

Specifications:

Mage Mi-3

Item Name:
Mage Mi-3
Case Type:
Mid-Tower
Front Material:
Steel Mesh+ Plastic
Body Material
SECC 0.6mm
External Color:
Black
Chassis Color:
Black
Side Panel:
Solid metal with two fan vents
Motherboard Compatibility:
ATX/Micro ATX
Drive Bays 5.25":
9 (External), 1 (Internal)
Drive Bays 3.5":
4 (Internal)
Expanison Slots:
7
I/O Ports:
USB 2.0 x 3, audio and mic(AC97 & HD Audio)
Max Space for PCI Slots:
290mm
Power Supply:
Not included (Bottom PSU mounting system)
Dimensions:
470 x 190 x 447 mm
Net Weight:
6.1kg

 

Tiger As-19

Item Name:
Tiger As-19
Case Type:
Mid-Tower
Front Material:
Steel Mesh+ Plastic
Body Material
SECC 0.6mm
External Color:
Black
Chassis Color:
Black
Side Panel:
Wide meshed panel
Motherboard Compatibility:
ATX/Micro ATX
Drive Bays 5.25":
4 (External), 1 (Internal)
Drive Bays 3.5":
5 (Internal)
Expanison Slots:
7
I/O Ports:
USB 3.0 x 1, USB 2.0 x 2, audio and mic(AC97 & HD Audio)
Max Space for PCI Slots:
300mm
Power Supply:
Not included (Bottom PSU mounting system)
Dimensions:
510 x 190 x 470 mm
Net Weight:
6.7kg

 

T-Rex Fr-16

Item Name:
T-Rex Fr-16
Case Type:
Mid-Tower
Front Material:
Steel Mesh+ Plastic
Body Material
SECC 0.6mm
External Color:
Black
Chassis Color:
Black
Side Panel:
With mesh
Motherboard Compatibility:
ATX/Micro ATX
Drive Bays 5.25":
4 (External), 1 (Internal)
Drive Bays 3.5":
5 (Internal)
Expanison Slots:
7
I/O Ports:
USB 3.0 x 1, USB 2.0 x 3, audio and mic(AC97 & HD Audio)
Max Space for PCI Slots:
305-400mm
Power Supply:
Not included (Bottom PSU mounting system)
Dimensions:
505 x 200 x 510 mm
Net Weight:
8kg

 

 

 

 

All information is courtesy of: http://gametiger.cn/Products.aspx

Testing:

Testing the trio of GameTiger cases required pushing my hardware to heat things up! Testing involved recording temperatures for the CPU, GPU, and chipset during idle and load phases.

Load was simulated by running Prime95’s small FFTs while also running 3Dmark Vantage for one hour. The maximum temperatures were recorded using HW Monitor. It is important to note that each case is tested with its factory setup, including location of fans, unless otherwise noted.

 

 

Testing Setup:

 

Comparison Cases:

 

 

Results:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The results here are pretty consistent between all three of the GameTiger cases. Their smaller size coupled with the relatively good airflow of the stock fans produced some of the lowest CPU load temperatures seen in quite a while! The flagship T-Rex Fr-16 takes the cake on CPU cooling though – the fans being in such close proximity to the CPU cooler really do evacuate heat nicely. Overall none of these cases will overheat your parts even if you have a top-end rig like our test setup. Even the cheapest of the bunch performs admirably!  GPU temperatures are slightly above average for the group but the lower CPU temperatures are a welcome trade in my opinion.

Conclusion:

Just for reference here is a quick shot of each of the cases next to each other for a last-page size and style reference. Keep this in mind as you read through the conclusions!

 

Mage Mi-3

Being the least expensive of the three cases from GameTiger I expected to find some corner cutting and shortcuts to produce a $59 case. I couldn't have been more wrong. While this isn't a case that you can kick and punch without worrying about damaging it, it is more than sturdy enough to stand up to everyday use. Cable management was difficult since there isn't really much room to hide anything but at the same time without a window, as long as the cables are out of the way, there's no real harm to that. Overall the styling is top-notch, the fit and finish is surprisingly good, and the cooling performance is impressive considering only a single fan is included by default. I don't think you'll find another case with as many features as this one for such a low cost – the performance and laid-back styling are exactly what the inexpensive case world has been missing!

 

Pros:

 

Cons:

 

 

Tiger As-19

Being the middle child and excelling is always a tough battle. The GameTiger Tiger As-19 splits the cost between the less expensive Mage Mi-3 and the more expensive T-Rex Fr-16. It does offer a few more features than the Mage Mi-3 with its included fan controller, GPU/GPU partition, and tool-less expansion slots but at the same time it is unfortunately wrapped in what I consider a fairly ugly exterior. If you can ignore the looks then your extra $20 gets you an extra fan along with a slew of useful features that make building a machine a lot less of a headache. Personally I'd pass on this case for the looks alone but if the styling "Excites your passion" then there's really nothing wrong with this case at this price point.

 

Pros:

 

Cons:

 

 

T-Rex Fr-16

The T-Rex Fr-16 is the flagship of the GameTiger lineup and from the list of features to the cooling performance it really shows that it's crammed a lot into the $99 asking price. The fan controller works well and includes hookups for two additional fans. The built-in SATA docking bay functions perfectly and makes drive testing buttery smooth. The cooling performance is simply outstanding and it performs that cooling duty without making much noise at all – bravo GameTiger! The drive bays are removable and reconfigurable to match nearly any requirements even if you want to cram dual Radeon HD 7990s or GTX 690s into this little predator. With the exception of the front panel design (glossy finish and attached wiring) there really are no faults that stick out on this case. Its feature list and performance is unmatched even when compared to more expensive cases. If you're looking for a new case to stomp out your cooling problems then the T-Rex Fr-16 is definitely worth a look!

 

Pros:

 

Cons: