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Best Value Gaming Mid-Tower?
For me, the Corsair Spec-Alpha ticks all the right boxes - it looks great, features excellent build quality inside and out, offers more features than you would expect given the price and is very flexible when it comes to hardware support.
Obviously, looks are subjective, but for a gaming-oriented case I think the Spec-Alpha looks great. It's a bit crazy, a bit out there, but Corsair is able to pull it off with a high level of build quality and what appears to be a highly refined design. As hard as I have tried, the photos simply don't do it justice - the white semi-gloss on the panels look amazing in person, for instance.
Nonetheless, looks are still subjective, so if the Spec-Alpha's appearences don't do it for you, then there are other almost-as-good cases out there. However, if you (like me) approve of the design, then you are in for a treat with what is probably the best gaming mid-tower on the market at the price.
Granted an $80 case isn't a true 'budget' solution, but even so, the Spec-Alpha is about as good as it gets for the money. It boasts of build quality of a premium $200 case, and comes with plenty of features you won't find in other cases in the same price range. Features such as a three step fan controller that supports the three included 120mm fans, two of which feature nice red LEDs.
The large window has been given a slight tint and seems more scratch resistant than those found in cheaper cases. The tool-free drive installation is first class and we love how the drives don't need any custom rails or clips to slot into place. There is excellent compatibility for high-end hardware such as over-sized power supplies, graphics cards and CPU coolers.
Cable management is also on point and the bulge in the case door provides much needed clearance for extra thick cables such as the 24-pin ATX power cable.
Normally, towards the end of a case review I'd have a good number of things I would like to see changed, even on cases I really liked. That said this hasn't been the situation with the Corsair Spec-Alpha and I have failed to come up with something I didn't like about the case or even just something small that I would change.
Really the only thing I can think of would be adding the ability to install both the front 120mm intake fans on the outside of the steel chassis behind the plastic façade. That said, for 99% of setups this isn't really going to be necessary as there is so much room inside the case above the drive cage for mounting the radiator and fans. It would have only been helpful with my dual 240mm radiator build.
With no real criticisms to make, the Corsair Spec-Alpha is quite possibly the best sub-$100 gaming oriented mid-tower on the market right now.
Pros: Impressive looking gaming case, great price given the features and build quality, truly tool-less drive cages, neat and tidy cable management, 3-step fan controller, large tinted case window, three quality 120mm fans included.
Cons: None, it would be unreasonable to ask for more flexible cooling inside a mid-tower.