Arriving simply in time to tackle rival Gigabyte’s newest basic tower chassis (the C301 Glass), MSI’s $89.99 MAG Forge 112R PC case is available in at a $20 cheaper price, regardless of packing a lot of RGB gloss and providing a roomy inside that may even home an Prolonged ATX (EATX) motherboard in a pinch. A take a look at this case’s dimensions may assist to elucidate precisely how MSI is ready to undercut its rival on value, and our testing reveals whether or not these cost-saving measures had been worthwhile. TLDR: The Forge is an in a position sufficient case, nevertheless it must fall in value a bit to make sense in immediately’s budget-case market. When you have the dough, go for the Gigabyte; if not, Montech’s Air 903 Max is a worthy price range various.
The Design: Greater on the Inside?
We’re going to step a bit out of order on this event to speak a couple of motherboard-shaped elephant within the room: Why are we calling the MAG Forge 112R an EATX mannequin when MSI itself doesn’t apply that label?
In spite of everything, the motherboard tray is deep sufficient to carry a behemoth 13-inch-deep board, and it even has the additional column of standoff holes on the entrance it could want. Within the under photograph, we labeled the holes wanted for Mini-ITX with an “I,” MicroATX with an “M,” ATX with an “A,” and EATX with an “E.”
Maybe it’s simply that MSI didn’t need to embody all 12 standoffs wanted to totally help the biggest boards, nevertheless it’s additionally true that the entrance of the motherboard tray is drilled to carry two 2.5-inch drives, and boards longer than 11 inches will jut into the house meant for these drives. We’re unsure about MSI’s advertising causes, nevertheless it’s nonetheless an EATX design identical to its Gigabyte rival.
Aside from the apparent aesthetic variations, one of many methods the MAG Forge 112R stands aside from its more-expensive rival is that it’s 2 inches shorter in mounting depth. That ought to make it splendid for placement on smaller desks, and it additionally cuts weight: Even with its tempered-glass facet panel, this extra compact mannequin is available in at a feathery 12.6 kilos.
One other manner MSI saved cash is by nixing the USB 3.2 Kind-C connector, and that presents a small downside for us, in that the majority mainstream circumstances provide you with a minimum of one high-bandwidth entrance panel connector (be it a full-bandwidth Kind-C, the traditional eSATA of a decade in the past, and even the IEEE-1394 headers of a bygone period). You continue to get the pair of USB 3.2 Kind-A (Gen 1) ports required of the worth section, and an LED mode button ideas the presence of a built-in ARGB controller that may elevate the MAG Forge 112R to one thing like a mainstream case.
Our exterior dimension measurements could differ a bit of from MSI’s as a result of ours embody the thumbscrews that maintain the glass facet panel and the expansion-card tab that stands proud the again. MSI differs from its rival as soon as once more by utilizing knockout PCIe slot covers that may’t be screwed again on after being damaged off, as soon as once more tagging the MAG Forge 112R with a budget-level characteristic.
The MAG Forge 112R’s entrance fan mount has screw slots for 3 140mm and three 120mm followers and comes outfitted with the latter in ARGB type. As with the discrepancy in motherboard compatibility, MSI charges its entrance panel as supporting solely two of the bigger 140mm followers despite the fact that we had been in a position to match three of those behind its entrance plastic fascia. We even checked its compatibility with certainly one of our 420mm-format closed-loop coolers and located that front-panel cables that protrude from the highest panel had been solely factor stopping this bigger radiator from becoming. There’s a variety of room up there.
Behind the front-panel connectors are the top-panel mounts for 2 140mm or 120mm followers. Pushing the cables out of the way in which provides you round 12.25 inches of clearance for top-panel radiators, which needs to be sufficient for many 240mm-formation closed-loop coolers however could not match some 280mm-format variations.
Additionally: whereas the top-panel fan mounts clear the highest fringe of the motherboard by 2.2 inches, the 1.25 inches of horizontal offset for 240mm-format coolers drops under half an inch with a 280mm-format half. That, in flip, may make cable routing to the motherboard’s prime edge arduous if you happen to go for the broader radiator format.
The underside panel includes a tab-secured dust-filter sheet over the facility provide’s air inlet, plus two units of 4 holes for the screws that safe an internal 3.5-inch drive cage. That drive cage leaves solely round 32mm of clearance for front-panel radiators by default, and transferring it again 30mm to suit bigger coolers reduces the facility provide house by the identical 30mm.
Talking of mud filters, the entrance panel mesh doubles as a mud filter and an ornamental ingredient that covers the consumption followers. Its safety tabs are folded, so we’d suggest cleansing it with compressed air (or a minimum of a vacuum cleaner and brush) slightly than rinsing it out.
The metal proper facet panel hides a detachable 2.5-inch drive tray, the power-supply tunnel, a twin 3.5-inch drive cage, and a multitude of cables, a lot of which result in the included ARGB controller.
The ARGB controller helps round 23 lighting modes throughout as much as six units. Holding the highest panel’s mode button for a few seconds permits it to change to a hub mode, by which it accepts enter from one other controller (such because the motherboard). Among the cable mess comes from the inclusion of a passthrough pigtail on the ARGB sign wire of each ARGB fan.
The MAG Forge 112R’s set up package is available in a plastic bag tied to the decrease tray of the three.5-inch/2.5-inch drive cage. The default cage location leaves solely 206mm of house for an influence provide and cables, however customers who need to maximize house for each a front-panel radiator and a super-long energy provide have the choice of eradicating the drive cage completely.
Constructing With the MAG Forge 112R
The MAG Forge 112R doesn’t embody the vertical graphics card brackets of its more-expensive rival, and its set up package is extra fundamental total. It contains solely 4 motherboard standoffs, for one factor, and those that care to scroll as much as the photograph with all of the writing on it’s going to discover that solely six of the 9 ATX standoffs are factory-installed. Builders who would like to benefit from the motherboard tray’s help for EATX boards with 12 standoffs will most likely need to know that these are a quarter-inch deep and 6-32 thread (each Imperial sizes).
Additionally above is a three-fan/4-pin PWM splitter for the entrance followers, which works despite the fact that the followers are solely 3-pin non-PWM fashions. Velocity management depends as a substitute on the power of most motherboards to regulate fan voltage.
The 2 slot covers within the set up package above are for filling the gaps left from putting in and eradicating a graphics card, as proven under. The unique breakaway slot covers can’t be reinstalled as soon as eliminated. We additionally observed that the cardboard bracket cowl slides open solely 0.8 inch, which can make it tough for some playing cards to be put in, and that the cardboard screw holes are unthreaded, which implies that customers who want the safety of screws must power the tapered finish of their 6-32 screws into an untapped gap within the backplane. The metal sheet is comfortable sufficient to provide technique to the screw threads, however you received’t need to add and take away the screw many occasions.
Entrance-panel header cables embody HD Audio for the headphone and microphone jacks, a front-panel LED/button group that features the onerous drive exercise LED and reset swap which might be lacking from sure competing fashions, and a USB 3.0 front-panel header that’s USB 3.2 Gen 1 compliant. The cables for the ARGB controller embody one SATA connector for a power-supply connection and a 3-pin ARGB for motherboard attachment.
That is how our full ATX motherboard matches, leaving loads of room for boards which might be far deeper than our commonplace ATX tester.
And, as cheaply because the case is made, MSI’s MAG Forge 112R positive seems to be nice when holding our construct. with the included followers all fired up.
Testing the MSI MAG Forge 112R
This is a rundown of the usual check components that we utilized in our pattern construct for benchmarking. (We used our commonplace ATX board, on this case.)
Our charts reveal one utterly common case, the wood-faced Fractal Design North, with a 4-degree CPU temperature benefit over the MAG Forge 112R. We tried once more and acquired even worse outcomes (by 1 diploma C) than the proven values, assumed rounding favored the primary check, and left the unique worth within the chart. As for the opposite rivals, a minimum of Gigabyte’s C301 Glass beat the Forge by fewer levels.
Our motherboard’s voltage-regulator temperature suffered with the check board mounted within the MAG Forge 112R, although solely by a single diploma versus the C301 Glass.
Just a few levels is hardly a giant end result when it comes to graphics-card temperature, nevertheless it seems to be unhealthy when it’s charted like that. The rival C301 Glass completed fifth out of six, however a minimum of that case stays inside 1 diploma of the third- and fourth-place circumstances.
In case you had been anticipating the case with the best temperatures to have the bottom noise measurements, we hate to burst your bubble. That is additionally the chart that the majority clearly signifies why getting comparable outcomes required the Montech Air 903 Max to be examined twice. (See that evaluate for the nuances round that successful price range case’s fan noise and examined speeds.)
Verdict: Look ahead to a MAG on Sale
Now, the Gigabyte C301 Glass and the Forge are removed from the one comparable circumstances available on the market, for course. However the $20 value distinction between the merchandise of those rival manufacturers masks a distinction of greater than $20 in options, and that’s earlier than we think about that the Gigabyte case we examined was white: Gigabyte prices an additional $10 for that shade. Black-to-black, the distinction between the MAG Forge 112R and black model of the C301 Glass drops to solely $10.
But, within the Montech talked about above, we’ve not too long ago examined a case that is $10 cheaper than even the MAG Forge 112R. Just like the MSI and Gigabyte circumstances, it comes outfitted with 4 followers and an ARGB controller. Just like the Gigabyte mannequin, it additionally features a USB 3.2 Kind-C port. It even provides a PWM fan hub to its ARGB controller board and comes within the white end that Gigabyte prices further for. And that’s why we have now to chop the MAG Forge 112R brief: It is fitted out like an under-$80 price range gaming case, nevertheless it involves the U.S. with a roughly $20 surcharge. Had it been priced at $70 once we examined it, the MAG Forge 112R may have been a properly positioned price range gaming case. As it’s now, it wants a value minimize. We’ll see if the market agrees and complies.