Release Date: 10/15/2014
Colors: Red, Green, Blue
While diving into my first PC case purchase I put myself on a budget. Sure, all those $200+ cases are nice and fancy but do I really need 12 HDD bays? I wanted style more than expansive bays and slots and this case caught my eye in the store. It looks like Dead Space armor for one, and it’s green. It also has two 120mm fans that light up green and give off a nice glow. It’s sleek, lightweight, and seemed to have plenty of ventilation.
When I unpacked the box the case came with a bag of screws, motherboard mounts, converter rails, and lousy instructions. Yes, this case is kind of a figure it out yourself as the instructions only tell you about the drive bays and a couple cables, that’s it. It’s a useless 3-page manual with poor illustrations and I threw it away after about 5 minutes of scanning it over. The case has toolless access with two sets of finger screws which were nice. Once I popped the panels off I was greeted by a bundle of cables and green. Thankfully the motherboard mounts are already installed for you so you can just get going with installing and not waste time.
The case includes two USB 3.0 ports on the top as well as an audio and mic jack. There’s also a power and reset switch and a red and green LED. On top, there’s a hot-swap bay for a 2.5″ drive which was a nice surprise. Once I installed my motherboard, and PSU, and started connecting cables I noticed a big problem. The front fan’s cable is really short and doesn’t really reach out unless you have a full-size motherboard. I have to just connect it to the motherboard and forgo the 3-pin connector. The rear fan was long enough thankfully and there were no issues there. Connecting the front panel header cables was easy enough, however, there are no positive and negative clearly indicated. There’s just a small arrow on the plastic of the back of the pin and that is positive. It didn’t say anything in the instructions and I just had to guess. I didn’t connect the 2.5″ bay drive to the motherboard so those cables were tucked away.
After the cables were connected I installed the GPU and it’s really cramped in here with a full-size 10.5″ card. I installed an Nvidia GTX 1070 Founder’s Edition and the huge bundle of cables had to sit behind the GPU. If you don’t have a modular PSU there are going to be space issues and you will need to get creative with your cable management. After the GPU was installed I popped in a 2.5″ HDD and 3.5″ HDD with ease. The drive trays slide out and then you snap in the 3.5″ drive with no screws needed. The 2.5″ drive sat on the floor of the tray and was screwed in from the bottom. It would have been nice to keep everything toolless with adapters for smaller drives.
I then went about and installed three 120mm fans with two on the top and one on the bottom next to the PSU. I used three Antec TrueQuiet fans and they went on with ease. Optionally you can install a 240mm radiator on top for liquid cooling. I need to mention at this point that cable management got easier with this case once I started and knew where everything was going to lie. I did have to get a tad creative and tuck cables away at the bottom on the backside but the case comes with velcro tie-offs which helped and there were plenty of areas to tie things down on.
My biggest complaint is that the three front bays are 5.25″ only with no adapters. I had to take my fan controller back to the store because I thought I could stick a 3.5″ controller in there. This is seriously disappointing that these bays aren’t compatible with adapters. Sadly, you can’t even access the front without opening the front panel which is a tad annoying, but you can get used to it. Once everything was connected and tied down I closed it up and the case looks beautiful turned on. I choose green fans and with the GTX 1070 lighting up green, it was a perfect color scheme. The case fans were quiet and I didn’t really notice them much. It was much quieter than my Alienware X51-R2 which was very loud at high RPMs.
Overall, this was a great PC building experience and I’m happy with this tower. It’s not the roomiest or the greatest for cable management, but it works and gives a satisfying end result. I just with the bays was compatible with different sizes and the front bays were more easily accessible. The front fan is also impossible to connect to a motherboard unless you have a full ATX motherboard.
Update: (4-22-18) After spilling soda on top of this case and having the reset switch go out on me I decided to update the case to something new. My final thoughts on this case after upgrading the Alienware parts out and installing full-size hardware, I have to say, it’s very cramped and hard to manage. The 5.25″ bays and that whole column on the right just cramp up this case big time. There are also not enough slots to stick cables through and it became crowded and hard to manage. I also don’t like the small see-through window as it restricts any lighting in the case with everything closed off. I also don’t really like the cheap feeling power and reset buttons and there aren’t enough USB ports up front. I quickly outgrew this case, but it is good for beginner PC builders on a budget.