WCUK Starter Cavalier Mesh 120 - Hard To Justify

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A case with water cooling for less than $90

All-in-one liquid coolers are all the rage at the moment, although the potential difficulty of installing them, or not knowing whether your case is compatible, are issues that many less technical enthusiasts are still trying to overcome. We reached a point some time ago where models such as Corsair's H80 could perform better than high-end air coolers, but cost a lot less than a custom water-cooling kit. There's plenty on offer too, with prices ranging from $60 to over $151, making it harder to justify opting for a custom CPU water-cooling loop

WCUK starter cavalier mesh 120

This presents a challenge for water-cooling etailers; although the big-spending enthusiast will stop at nothing to achieve the looks and performance they desire, those with less money will undoubtedly look at the new all-in-one coolers. However, one etailer, Water cooling UK, is muscling in on the all-in-one cooler market by offering sealed units from Corsair already mounted in various cases.

These sit alongside cases with custom water-cooling gear pre-installed and, at the last count, Water cooling UK had over 30 ready-made case and cooler combos from which to choose. They range from the $90,66 WCUK Starter Cavalier Mesh 120 that we're reviewing here, all the way up to Corsair's Obsidian 880D with separate pumps, water blocks and radiators.

The Cavalier Mesh 120 uses Corsair's H60 cooler with a single 120mm fan installed as an intake at the rear of the case. Meanwhile, the case itself is a Trendsonic Cavalier an ATX-sized case that usually retails for around $30. Thankfully, its build quality isn't terrible, and it doesn't look too cheap and tacky either, although it's devoid of features you'd typically expect, such as USB 3, fan control and cable-routing holes. However, when you consider that you're getting the case and pre-installed cooler for less than the price of a Corsair H80 on its own, it seemingly isn't bad value if you can live without modern creature comforts.

It's a small case too, measuring just 18cm wide and 40cm high. Despite this, though, there's plenty of room for the longest graphics cards, as there are no 3.5in drive cages in this area, although there are three 3.5in bays elsewhere, one of which can also be used to house a 2.5in SSD. Meanwhile, there's an additional 120mm fan at the front, and the front panel offers four USB 2 ports plus the usual mini-jacks.

It's a small case too, measuring just 18cm wide and 40cm high

Most of the drive bays feature tool-free fittings, but that's it as far as extra features are concerned. Building a tidy system will prove quite tricky; the severe lack of decent-sized cable-routing holes means that you'll have to tuck spare cables into the drive cage. We also spotted a potentially crippling flaw with the cooling. Both the rear and front fans were acting as intakes, meaning that the system would be relying purely on the graphics card to vent hot air from the case.


We fired up our usual case benchmarks - Prime 95 and Unigine’s Heaven graphics test to load the CPU and graphics card, and waited for the temperatures to rise. They certainly did, and the graphics card in particular struggled severely, reaching a delta T of 69°C with the absolute temperature (the temperature reported by the software before we subtract the ambient temperature) being over90°C.This is one of the worst results we’ve recorded. The CPU wasn’t quite as bad, however, mainly because the Corsair H60 was drawing in cool air through its radiator. It recorded a peak delta T of 58°C - still far from spectacular and way off the pace of some of the budget cases we looked at in Issue 113, despite only using air coolers.

We then decided to see what happened if we switched the rear fan to an exhaust, providing some relief to the graphics card by helping to dispose of the hot air inside the case. This resulted in the GPU delta T falling a remarkable 18°C from 69°C to 51 °C. The CPU delta T rose as a result, but only by 2°C. While the thermal results were a bit of a disaster, the case proved to be quiet for the most part, although that isn't really any compensation for the poor graphics card, which was close to cooking itself, with its fan ramping up to noisy levels during our benchmarks.

The WCUK Starter Cavalier Mesh 120 is in dire need of more fans and an overhaul of its cooling arrangement


Relying on your graphics card and/or PSU to exhaust hot air from your case is always a recipe for disaster, even with a low-end system. While we see better results from Corsair's all-in-one liquid coolers with the fans acting as intakes, we only recommend this setup if you have at least one case fan acting as an exhaust. Not doing so results in the situation we have here; the hot air builds up and the graphics card simply can't expel the heat fast enough. The situation is exacerbated by the fact that there's no roof fan or even a vent.

The WCUK Starter Cavalier Mesh 120 is in dire need of more fans and an overhaul of its cooling arrangement. As it stands, it probably performs worse than if it contained a cheap tower air cooler with the case fans in the usual intake and exhaust configuration. Even when we switched the rear fan, this still meant that it was worse than many budget air-cooled cases we've seen.

While the Starter Cavalier Mesh 120 might have a temptingly cheap price, you'll actually get better results using a Xigmatek's Midgard II and an Arctic Freezer 7 Pro, and you'll gain many useful features in the process too. If you want to take your first, easy step into liquid cooling, you'll be better off buying one of WCUK's pricier bundles instead.


§  Price: $89

§  SKU number: WC-CAS-885

In Detail

§  Dimensions (mm): 180 x 430 x 405(WxDxH)

§  Material: Steel, plastic

§  Available colors: Black

§  Weight: 4.8kg

§  Front panel: Power, reset, 4xUSB2,stereo, mic

§  Drive bays: 3x external 5.25in drive bays, 3 x internal, 3.5in drive bays, 1 x internal 3.5in drive bay, 1 x internal 2.5in bay

§  Form actor(s): ATX, micro-ATX, mini-ITX

§  Cooling: 1 x 120mm front mount (fan supplied), 1 x 120mm rear fan mount (fan supplied), 1 x 120mmside fan mount (no fan supplied)

§  CPU cooler clearance: (CPU cooler already installed)

§  Maximum graphics card length: 350mm


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