In terms of CPU temperatures, removing the front mounted drive cage makes no difference, as the CPU delta T value remains consistent regardless of the drive cage's position. Increasing the fan speeds, however, drops the delta T from a toasty 58°C to 53°C, again revealing the importance of exhausting hot air from the CPU hotspot. This result is not quite as good a result as the Utgard and is 6°C behind the Antec One with its twin exhaust fans, but it's reasonable nonetheless and still somewhat better than the Corsair Carbide 200R.
Click to enlarge - The case's design makes it relatively easy to hide cables
The drive cage makes a bigger difference to the GPU. However, at the lowest fan speed setting, removing it only lowers the delta T from 53°C to 52°C, suggesting that even with the clear path the air has through the meshed front, airflow at this speed is too low to change much. Likewise, increasing the fans to maximum with the drive cage in place again produces a delta T of 52°C, meaning the cage significantly obstructs airflow. With the cage removed and the fans on full speed, however, the delta T drops a further 6°C to 46°C, a much more respectable result that is leagues ahead of the Corsair Carbide 200R and not far behind the Antec One either.
Given the GPU and CPU temperature differences between the two fan speeds, there appears to be a fair amount of room to find a good compromise between noise and performance with the case's variable speed fan controller. This can only be a good thing, as at the loudest and fastest setting the noise of the fans, while not hard to live with, does become much more noticeable.
Click to enlarge - We tested the case both with the drive cage in (left) and removed (right)
For cooling performance alone, the Antec One still appears to be king of the hill when it comes to budget cases. However, the Midgard II still performs decently in this area and has a lot more room to upgrade its cooling too, although a few mm of extra height in the roof area would go a long way for water-coolers. It may cost £10 more than the Antec, but the overall design and build quality is better in the Xigmatek case, and you'll also net yourself more SSD support, a fan controller, a removable drive cage and a hot swap bay, and thus the latter case emerges as the better chassis overall.
It's a similar story to that spun by Corsair's Carbide 200R, except in this example the Midgard II delivers well enough in the cooling arena whereas the Corsair case sadly does not. Even though the two case's have a near identical cooling arrangement, the solid front panel blocking the the 200R's intake fan and the inability to adjust its fan speeds count against it. Ultimately then, those with a bit more cash to hand will find numerous better cases, but Xigmatek has cut very few corners in producing the Midgard II, and it is thus a fantastic and well-balanced option for those on a budget.