The bit-tech Awards 2006

Written by Wil Harris

December 29, 2006 | 10:55

Tags: #2006 #awards #company-of-heroes #gears-of-war #oblivion

Companies: #bit-tech


Case of the Year: Cooler Master Stacker 830
Notable mentions: Lian Li 343, Shuttle P2

2006 has been a fairly quiet year when it comes to cases and stock modding possibilities. Back in 2004, you couldn't move for a new release from Lian Li - now those days are few and far between. The craze for aluminium cases has tapered out, and now most manufacturers are spending more time on making steel cases that are acceptably good looking at a cheap price.

The three cases we have here, then, are great examples of the kind of products we'd like to see more of in 2007.

The Shuttle P2 is a great evolution of the P series. It adds edgier design, better interior options and nicer cooling. There are Intel and AMD versions available, and the motherboard isn't half bad either. Shuttle continues to make the best SFF systems on the market, bar none, and we hope they step the game up again next year.

The Lian Li 343 arrived in our labs late on in the year, housing a custom watercooling system for review. The case itself is pretty monster, and is really the spiritual successor to the Borg Cube of yesteryear. It's expensive and there are plenty of optional extras that you also need to invest in, but it's also small enough to house a small person, so you could double up and save costs.

The bit-tech Awards 2006 Case, Cooling The bit-tech Awards 2006 Case, Cooling
The case of the year, however, is undoubtedly the Stacker 830. The Original stacker was not a bad case at all, but the 830 takes the heritage and creates a legend. If you're a 'big case' kind of guy, this is simply the best one around. Aggressive looks, stonking amounts of cooling potential, thumbscrews, motherboard tray, drive mechanisms, this thing has the lot - including spectacular build quality. This is the kind of case we want more of - expensive, good looking, and very well designed indeed. Congratulations to the guys at Cooler Master for delivering 2006's best chassis.

The bit-tech Awards 2006 Case, Cooling

Cooler Master Stacker 830


Cooling of the Year: Zalman CNPS 9500
Notable mentions: Corsair Nautilus 500, Noctua NH U12

With the decrease in processor thermals and the trend away from overclocking in the last year, processor cooling has been oft overlooked in 2006. However, it's actually been a vintage year for kick-ass products that deliver in bucketloads.

Our winner is the Zalman 9500. It's a great little heatsink that we love because a) it's easy to install; b) it has mountings for every type of socket under the sun; c) it cools exceptionally well; and d) it's quiet. Combine that with a thoroughly reasonable price tag and you have a winner.

The bit-tech Awards 2006 Case, Cooling The bit-tech Awards 2006 Case, Cooling
The Nautilus 500 was in the running for the top spot, but was just pipped. It's a great all-in-one watercooling solution that even noobs can pick up and install with ludicrous ease. It's reasonably priced, provides a great base line to work up from, and cools well too. A great example of what a specialist product should be.

Lastly, a mention to the Noctua NH U12, the one heatsink that we've been using for our overclocking. Combine this heatsink, a pair of 120mm fans and a Core 2 processor and you are looking at some serious clock speeds. Nice.

The bit-tech Awards 2006 Case, Cooling

Zalman CNPS 9500

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