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MSI Interceptor Series Stealth Gaming Case IN-602

 

 

MSI Stealth

Introducing the MSI Stealth Gaming Case

If you’re willing to cough up the money for a decent Gaming rig, there are a lot of interesting PC Cases  to consider. Companies like SilverStone, Thermaltake, and Lian Li are happy to sell you more experimental and exotic cases once you get past $150 or so, but what if you want something a little spicier without breaking the bank? At $99 surprisingly enough MSI has you covered with their new covert bomber inspired case, the Interceptor Series Stealth. There are a lot of good (or at least interesting) ideas at work in the Stealth, but how well do they pan out?

From the outside the Stealth actually has many stealth bomber characteristics , starting with its unique rubberized  front bezel it provides a sleek, yet subtle feel. The dimensions are a little unusual. This is a surprisingly deep case given that it still classified as a Mid-Tower Case, and one you wouldn’t expect to be able to fit a full length Video card in. But appearances can be deceiving, and when you pop it open you’ll see it’s anything but typical.

 

Interceptor Stealth Specifications:

Model
Stealth (Model Number: IN-602)

Form Factor
ATX Mid Tower

Color / Type
Black (Steel)

Front Bezel Material
Shock Resistant Finish (Rubberized)

Motherboard SupportATX / MicroATX

3 X 5.25″ Drive

4 X 3.5″ Internal

7 X Expansion Slots

USB 2.0 / 3.0
2 / 2 (Front Panel) / 1 Powered USB 2.0

HD/97 Audio
Yes (Front Panel)

Included Fans
2 (120mm Rear; Front LED)

Optional Fans
Up to FOUR (4) 120mm additional fans

Dimensions (Chassis)
205(W) x 460(L) x 430(H) MM

Weight
11.2 lbs / 5.1kg

Warranty
3 Years

 

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First, I’m a huge fan of the aesthetic. Its military look really ads to the gamer feel. I also like the discreet row of I/O and buttons at the top of the case.  The way the grille is recessed into the bezel is particularly pleasing, and this is a design cue that extends to the top of the enclosure. Note that both the front panel and the top grill are removable to allow the user to clean the fan filters as well as mount additional fans.

I do think this is the first time I’ve ever been unhappy to see a side intake fan vent, though I probably wouldn’t be as bothered by it if MSI had included 2 additional fans. Because of how nice the case looks otherwise, that vent breaks up the style a bit. It’s a sacrifice for practicality’s sake but aesthetically it’s a little disappointing.

When you get to the back of the Stealth you’ll see MSI opted for blue accents for the fan blades and the ventilated expansion slot covers. I actually really like the design. This new case is really something MSI seems to have invested time and resources into developing, it, good job guys.  I’m ultimately a bigger fan of the VGA Stabilizer, as this is the first time I have ever heard of a case designed to secure the graphics cards in place.   Lets take a look inside.

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Opening up the Stealth reveals a thoughtful interior that takes a lot of cues from Corsair while improving a bit on their design. MSI includes drive cages with four drive sleds. Each sled is designed to support both 3.5” HDD as well as 2.5” making them very useful for those wanting to use SSD HDD. Above the HDD bays, you will see something you don’t normally see , yet I am glad someone finally did it. MSI calls it their VGA stabilizer system. Its been 8 years since I was the lead R&D for ABS (Newegg) and I still remember one of the biggest issues many of my team members had run into was shipping a fully loaded SLI config, as it would cause severe damage to the motherboards. The weight of the monster Graphics cards where just too much for the PCIe slots and up until now, there was no solution.

Testing Mythology:

For testing ATX cases, we use the following standardized testbed in stock and overclocked configurations to get a feel for how well the case handles heat and noise.

 

Motherboard

MSI x79ma-GD45

Processor

Intel Core i7 3930K using Coolit Eco2 liquid cooling system

Graphics Card
MSI Twin Frozer GTX560

Memory
3x2GB Mushkin DDR3-1600 Radio active edition modules

Drives

Mushkin 120GB Chronos SSD Drive
MSI 5.25″ 24X DVDRW Drive

CPU Cooler
Intel Stock cooler

Power Supply
Diablotek UL 775w Power Supply was going to use an engeneering sample 1250W but thought it wasn’t a good time for testing it.

 

Noise and Thermal Testing

The MSI Stealth Case is capable of producing a fairly wide “wind tunnel” effect that channels air through both the CPU fan and the GPU’s intake fan, I felt like it had a pretty good shot at unseating some of our other big winners in this price bracket. For previous cases that included fan controllers, I’ve included the results that I felt were the most balanced between noise and thermal performance.

Thermal Performance:

The lower the temperature the better

image

Noise Level Test:

image

Unfortunately, MSI Stealth is not the quietest case but remains very competitive with cases in price ranges well over its own price range.  As for the thermals, We couldn’t ask for any better. The air flow design was very well though out and the additional space behind the motherboard clearly helps keep the chipset temps down. I know we didn’t include the temps but using our thermal gun we where surprised that the stealth kept the motherboard cooler than average cases.

Conclusion:

The MSI Stealth case design itself is beyond stellar and leaves little to be desired. It’s a little pricy at $129.99 (Update: Pricing $99.99 SWEET SPOT) from MSI, sure, but that’s the price you pay for getting a healthy amount of expansion and flexibility in a mid tower format. In exchange you do get that expansion and flexibility, all in what I think is an extremely attractive package with a smart aesthetic that feels at worst frugal rather than cheap. Build quality is excellent, with a lot of attention paid to the little details. It’s easy to assemble, it looks good, what more can you ask for?

If you want the best case you can get for under $149.99, as it ships, I’d probably suggest going with the MSI Stealth. Which is why everyone here at Inside Industry news is proud to present the MSI Stealth with the 2012 Editor’s Choice Award .

Pros:

– Sleak clean design

– Rubberized finish

– VGA Stabilizer (Rocks)

– Unique HDD Trays

– Plenty of room and great airflow

– Plenty of cable management room

Cons:

– None

Recommendation:

Next time make a side window to show off the interior.

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