The ATX Mid-Tower has always been a favorite of PC builders, which is no surprise considering its 'sweet-spot' size. It can be transported with relative ease, while still managing to hold a respectable amount of very high-end hardware.
You can generally expect to see around four times as many mid-towers available as any other form factor at major online retailers. With so many options available, competition is fierce, meaning that there are a number of excellent choices out there.
For a long time, one of my favourite mid-towers has been the Silverstone Kublai KL05, a mid-range case that offers quite a lot at just $75. Hoping to better that option with a more gaming-oriented case, Silverstone released the Raven X (RVX01) late last year with an $80 price tag.
Overall, the RVX01 was a solid offering, despite a few annoying flaws such as the awkward cable management and mediocre CPU and PSU support. At the time, we noted that the Corsair Graphite 230T was a more capable alternative that wasn’t just smaller, but could also handle larger hardware with better cable management.
Speaking of the Graphite 230T, it's another case geared towards gamers, and is quite good - however, its more traditional 'boxy' design is a bit on the drab side.
Corsair has, however, recently announced another $80 Mid-Tower that has gamers squarely in its sights, and is by no means drab. Dubbed the Spec-Alpha, this is a case that we very much expect to be a dominant force for a few reasons.
Corsair's Spec-Alpha Is Edgy
Like the Silverstone Raven X, the Spec-Alpha is a super-aggressive looking case and, like the Raven X, the bold angular styling certainly won’t appeal to everyone. Nevertheless, it has to be said that while I wasn’t really a big fan of the Raven X aesthetics, the Spec-Alpha's design really appeals to the gamer/kid in me.
The dimensions of the Spec-Alpha are fairly typical for a mid-tower, measuring 474mm tall, 518mm deep and 220mm wide - giving it a 54L capacity. Those are similar dimensions to the Raven X, which features a 52L capacity, though the Silverstone case wastes quite a lot of that on its oversized plastic panels. The most crucial differentiating dimension here is the width, the Spec-Alpha is 15mm wider than the Raven X, and that will make a big difference when it comes to not just the CPU cooler height support, but also to cable management.
Despite being slightly smaller, the Raven X weighs the same 5.7kgs as the new Spec-Alpha, likely down to all that extra plastic used. Still this makes the Spec-Alpha a relatively light mid-tower, particularly given that it only uses steel and plastics.
For review we have the very flashy white and red color scheme - which, I must say I am really loving. Before the case arrived, I honestly didn’t think that I would. Initially, I was hoping for the black and grey design, but I'm now quite happy with the more flamboyant white and red.
Finally, there is also a black and red case which should appeal to a lot of people. When it comes to PC builds, it seems red and black themes are the new rage.
From the front, the Spec-Alpha can only be described as unique. There are clear indications here that the Spec-Alpha borrows many of its design cues from the highly anticipated and yet to be released Bulldog. The edgy angular façade is intriguing to look at, and the two tone colour scheme adds to the excitement.
Accurately describing how this case looks isn’t easy, so I will let the pictures do most of the talking. As you can see, the left side features a solid panel, though even this is far from boring, featuring a double angled surface. Opposite it is a large ventilated section featuring a black honeycomb grille surrounded by a red bezel.
Again, there are more crazy angles seen here and the mesh panel also features a second insert that is stepped further back into the façade. Here you will find a neat little front I/O panel offering a pair of USB 3.0 ports, two audio jacks, storage activity light, power and reset buttons along with a nifty little fan speed controller.
From the right side we find a solid white door panel which has been given a nice white paint job that almost has a hint of pearl in it. A large section of the door has been pressed out to provide additional room inside for routing cables behind the motherboard tray. Even from this angle, the Spec-Alpha looks impressive, with the front and top red highlights and those aggressive angular feet at the bottom, which we will discuss in more detail shortly.
The opposite side of the case is where all the showing off takes place as the pressed section of this door features a nice large Perspex window. Apart from the addition of a case window, the Spec-Alpha looks quite different from this side as the red highlights aren’t as visible, adding to the case's exciting and unique design.
Up top we find a similar look to that of the front, with the black mesh and red bezel to the right, and the angled solid white panel to the left. Even from above, the Spec-Alpha looks great, and I particularly like the subtle look of the red spider web type design under the honeycomb grill.
Around the back the Spec-Alpha has been painted black and we find seven expansion slots along with a PSU bracket at the bottom - which I know all of you will be pleased about. There is a 120mm fan grille adjacent to the I/O panel cut-out and two one-inch rubber grommets for mounting external liquid-cooling gear.
Underneath, the Spec-Alpha looks pretty standard for the most part. There is a removable dust filter covering the bottom fan grill and this will help keep the PSU dust free. The real highlight here are those four tall feet, the front feet in particular really help emphasise the aggressive design of the Spec-Alpha and as you will see in the photos they look pretty special.
While the exterior design of the Corsair Spec-Alpha certainly won’t appeal to everyone (it's far too outlandish for that) I have to admit to really liking it.