By the way, if you do install an HDD on the bottom panel, your choice of PSUs will be limited to models with a length of 21 centimeters or shorter.
The back-panel brackets are meshed and fastened with thumbscrews. That’s handy but you have to use a screwdriver for the first time anyway because the thumbscrews are very tightly fastened at the factory to prevent them from getting lost during transportation.
As we’ve said above, the front rack is solid, without individual baskets. Its larger section contains 3.5-inch bays. The smaller section consists of only three 5.25-inch bays.
Trying to install our optical drive into the top bay, we faced an unusual problem. The back of the drive pressed against the fan while its front panel was still sticking out by about 5 millimeters although our drive is not very large, only 180 millimeters. We hadn’t expected to feel a lack of space in this system case, really. Of course, you can install your drive into a lower bay or buy a shorter model (most of today’s optical drives are 170 millimeters long), yet that was quite an unpleasant surprise.
The DF-85 can accommodate nine HDDs. You can enable hot swapping for four of them if you use the included mechanisms which are fastened to the back of the HDD bays. That’s a cheap, simple and rather handy solution, but it prevents you from securing your HDDs with screws.
The DF-85 offers a really handy way of hiding cables out of sight. There are a lot of openings leading to the hidden compartment and you will find cable ties in there. Most importantly, the compartment is large, about 2 centimeters wide, so you won’t have problems laying even thick cables in there. The thickest bunches of cables can be tucked away behind the drive bays. There is a generous amount of free space there.
When we were assembling our test configuration in this system case, we realized that it was not very long, actually. The distance from the back panel to the drive bays is 312 millimeters, but the sticking-out drives leave only 300 millimeters for the graphics card, and you may want to have some 15 millimeters more for the HDD connectors. If you use the hot-swap adapters, the expansion cards will only have 265 millimeters to settle in.
You get a lot of space for your CPU cooler, though. Instead of a standard 170 millimeters, this system case can accommodate CPU coolers as tall as 180 millimeters. And if you decide to install the radiator of a liquid cooling system above the mainboard by fastening it to the top panel, you will have as many as 75 millimeters, not counting in the 25 millimeters occupied by the system fans. The only thing you have to remember is that the fan seats here only support 140mm fans standing next to each other (a radiator for two 120mm fans can be fastened outside, on the back panel of the system case, though).
Another thing you should take into account is that an extension cord for the 12V CPU power connector is not included into the box. So, if your power supply has a short CPU cable, you may have to stretch it out along the shortest route, i.e. inside the chassis, rather than behind the mainboard’s mounting plate.
The interior of the assembled DF-85 is neat and has a lot of free space. This system case is obviously designed for more advanced configurations than ours.
The fan highlighting is red and matches the overall exterior design perfectly. It can only be turned off by replacing the fans, but we guess most users are going to like it.