Difference Between Hydra 1, 2 and 3 Cases

For those who have been reading our blogs about the best PC chassis for 8 GPUs, you probably know that I am a stickler when it comes to protecting (or showcasing) my expensive hardware and equipment.

When it comes to computer cases, most don't pay attention to its features or presentation. Having a well-made chassis for graphics cards actually helps you achieve better throughput efficiency by avoiding mishaps. And, if you lust after a PC that exudes style, make sure you start with a chassis that is mod-friendly.

So without wasting any more time, let's start our comparison between the Hydra 1, 2 and 3 to see which one is the better option for 8 GPU computing, and PC gaming.

On paper, all three cases appear to be GPU optimized cases, but we all know how things look on paper. I made the comparison, and I am now reporting my findings to you.

The Differences Between the Models

  • The Hydra 1 does not waste space on optical drives. It is also stackable and capable of housing two power supplies for better power distribution/efficiency.
  • The Hydra 1 is an open-air chassis design while Hydra 2 and 3 are closed cabinet design. Open-air gives you quick access as a bench/test bed while closed case gives you better heat control.
  • The Hydra 2 is 6U server case which is better for vertical stacking while the Hydra 3 is a full depth server case which is better for horizontal rack mounting.
  • The Hydra 2 offers better active airflow with its balanced case fan size and placement which push and pull air with an equal amount of force. The Hydra 3 is better at creating negative pressure with bigger exhaust-to-intake fans that pull hot air away from the GPUs.
  • The Hydra 3 is better suited for high-density server racks while the Hydra 2 can be easily stacked with or without server rack rails.
  • The Hydra 3 with its full depth chassis design is better suited for number-crunching applications such as Deep Learning or AI workload that requires larger, dual CPU server.

The Similarities of Hydra 1, 2 and 3

  • All Hydra cases are optimized for 8 GPUs, allowing you to condense several older legacy styled cases down to just one.
  • All Hydra cases are built for outstanding rigidity and durability, using industrial quality galvanized steel. You don't need to worry about misalignments or flexings that plague open frame racks.
  • Both Hydra 1 and 2 are capable of being vertically stacked and housing two power supplies for better power distribution/efficiency.
  • Both Hydra 2 and 3 offer outstanding heat control using positive pressure, active airflow management. You don't need to worry about unwanted air leaks that plague open frame racks.
  • Both Hydra 2 and 3 include GPU mounting bracket that can be switched from 8 to 6 mounting hole patterns for additional space when using 6 GPU.
  • Both Hydra 2 and 3 are compatible with industry standard 19-inch wide server racks and rails.

Comparison Chart

Open-Air Mid Tower

Hydra 1 

6U Server Rack Mount

Hydra 2

4U Server Rack Mount 

Hydra 3

Case Type Mid Tower 6U Server 4U Server
Dimension (mm) 635x400x305 500x270x430 650x178x430
Number of GPU 8 8 or 6 8 or 6
Additional Space for 6 GPU
Better for Heat Control
Rack Mountable
Redundant PSU
Better for Test Bed
Fan Mounts 3x120mm 6x120mm 3x120mm, 4x80mm
Recommended Application PC Gaming, Test Bench, Number Crunching Number Crunching, Deep Learning, AI Number Crunching, Deep Learning, AI

Bottom Line:

If you just want to know what I think: the Hydra 2 is probably the better bet than Hydra 1 or 3 in terms of their price to value ratios. If your choice is between Hydra 2 and Hydra 3, I would recommend you go with the Hydra 2 for GPU number crunching machines. But if you are a PC gamer, well the choice is clear: Hydra 1 with its bold looks.

Think of the cost of Hydra 2 and 3 in terms of how much money you will save by not having downtime and by having higher resell value out of your equipment. Their excellent thermal management helps your GPUs run cooler so you can worry less about power consumption, noise and heat, and focus more on the money-making aspect of your business.

For number crunching machines, the features and the quality of the Hydra 2 is my choice for the overall winner of this versus article. For PC enthusiasts, the quick access test bench feature of Hydra 1 should be your first choice.

For users looking for a custom built chassis for 6 or 8 GPU, you may want to take a look at our affordable Hydra series of computer cases, which have excellent build features and component quality for a reasonable and competitive price.

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