Articles: Cases/PSU
 

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Now it’s time to remove the side panel and have a look inside. By the way, the panel is fastened in an unusual way. There is a long bar going along the top of the case. Its protrusions fit into the grooves in the panel and hold the latter in place. In order to take the side panel off, you must unfasten the spring-loaded thumbscrew on the back panel of the case and move the bar backwards. The panel is released and can be pulled up easily.

The interior of the case is divided into two large isolated compartments. The top compartment accommodates a mainboard and 5-inch devices. The bottom compartment is where hard disks and, behind a partition with holes, the power supply reside. The quality of manufacture is expectedly high but we don’t like the numerous holes in the mainboard’s mounting plate. One of the reasons for that is that the system case supports not only ATX and micro-ATX boards but also elongated E-ATX boards which are usually found in servers. There are no labels or marks of any sort near the holes, so even an experienced system integrator may get confused as to what holes to screw the mounting poles into.

Talking about server mainboards, a plate shown in the photo can be found among the accessories to this system case. It is meant for mounting the cooling system on Intel’s Nocona processors. This may serve as an indication of the date the system case was developed – the Nocona platform was introduced over 3 years ago.

Now let’s check everything out. There is a solid plate separating the case into two individual compartments. There are only two holes in it, the edges of the holes carefully wrapped in plastic. One hole leads to the PSU and is meant for power cables whereas the other hole is for the front part of the case, i.e. for the HDDs.

The implementation of the two-compartment concept might have been better. If the holes were bigger and had a moving cover, you could use a few SCSI cables (if you’ve got such HDDs still) or block the hole almost fully (if you use thin SATA cables).

The next thing worth mentioning is the special aluminum casing near the 120mm fan that is meant to drive the airflow from the CPU directly to the fan.

The position of the casing is adjusted with a thumbscrew within a special slit. It allows fixing the casing either parallel to the mainboard or at an angle to it. The casing is fastened with two screws and you will probably have to remove it. Installing a mainboard is much more difficult otherwise. It is easy to take the casing off but putting it back is not. It is hard to insert the bottom screw as you have to do that almost blindly. Is this casing effective? Perhaps it is going to be helpful for a passive cooler or a weak fan, but we don’t think it will be of any use for a full-featured cooler, especially if the latter is driving the air along the mainboard rather than across it.

The expansion slots are fastened with thumbscrews, too.

We did not like the way that optical drive are supposed to be installed into this system case. The main problem is with the decorative faceplates in the two top 5-inch bays. Installing an optical drive goes like this: you push the third faceplate from above out of the panel, unfasten the two top faceplates (they are secured with screws as opposed to the others), move them down without taking them out of the case, insert your optical drive from the front, fasten the drive with screws, lift and secure the two top faceplates with screws, and finally insert the third faceplate back into its place. All this takes much longer than the standard procedure of installing an optical drive into other system cases.

The bays, save for the two topmost ones, are equipped with a quick fastening system with flexible plastic locks. On the reverse side of each lock there is a prong that fixes the device in its place. On the opposite side of the bay, the device is held by an elastic pad. If this system looks insecure to you, you can also use ordinary screws.

It is unclear why this system could not be extended to the two top bays. The aluminum faceplates look better than plastic but installing or replacing a drive is a real torture.

Owners of floppy drives are not forgotten. You can install your device using the guide in the bottom 5-inch bay.

 
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