Articles: Cases/PSU
 

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GMC H-80

Next goes the H-80 model from GMC whose system cases have already pleased us with original design solutions before.

 

You can tell a GMC system case right away by the generous amount of glossy plastic at the front, by numerous covers, and lots of vent grids (whether true or dummy, we don’t know). All of this makes this model similar to the GMC AVC-K2 as well as to the GMC R-4 Bulldozer. It has a very fanciful and memorable appearance indeed.

The most exciting things can be seen at the top of the front panel. Here, surrounded by Power and Reset buttons, a small display resides. It has replaced the two traditional LED indicators and also reports information from a thermal couple. Below it, there is a generous set of connectors: four USB ports, two audio connectors, and one eSATA. There is also a place for a FireWire connector, but the connector itself is missing.

The front panels of the optical drive bays have decorative covers, which are a popular solution. What is unusual, there is a similar cover for an external 3.5-inch bay.

There is another cover at the very bottom of the front panel. It covers the dust filter of the fan located in front of the HDD rack.

The excrescence at the back of the top panel seems to hide a 120mm fan under a metallic mesh filter.

The back panel has a standard design. There is a bottom PSU bay that allows installing the PSU in two positions, a 120mm fan in its usual place, and two rubberized openings for the pipes of a liquid cooling system.

The system case stands on four rather tall feet made from some soft rubber-like material.

A large 250mm fan is attached to the inside of the side panel. It is covered by a dust filter and can be replaced with as many as four 120mm fans.

The interior design is classic. GMC seems to see no need for changes other than the bottom position of the power supply. As opposed to the above-discussed models, the bottom section of the drives rack can be removed although there is no reason for doing that in a system case where HDDs are installed perpendicularly. Perhaps this simplifies the fastening of the front-panel fan and makes it easier to access it?

The chassis is 0.7mm steel while the large flat elements like the side panels are made from 0.5mm steel, a high-rigidity grade. This helped lower the manufacturing cost and weight of the product while keeping its rigidity acceptable.

The bottom panel resembles the above-described Cooler Master as it has the same pads for the power supply to stand on, the same PSU bay, and even the same place for an additional fan (but like the rest of the fan seats in this system case, it supports 120mm models only). A nice difference is that there is a mesh on the PSU vent grid.

The back panel is ordinary: reusable brackets and screws for fastening expansion cards.

And here is the top-panel fan. While the back-panel fan is powered by the mainboard, the rest of the system fans are connected directly to the power supply. All of them have a max speed of 1200 RPM, except for the 250mm model which rotates at 500 RPM.

The front panel and the drives rack don’t show anything extraordinary, either. This case seems to have the same chassis as the GMC AVC-K2.

HDDs are installed by means of rails that should be familiar to anyone who has dealt with midrange system cases. Similar rails are used for optical drives, too.

We like that the accessories lie neatly in a box that can be placed into the system case as a small 5-inch device.

What we don’t like is that the space for hiding cables in is too narrow. You can only put any cables there if no cable goes above another. This is the price for the larger interior: the distance between the mainboard and the left panel is 18 centimeters instead of a standard 17. Well, we’d prefer to have the extra centimeter here, between the right panel and the mainboard’s mounting plate.

 

The biggest surprise about this system case is that HDDs go into their bays with the connectors facing the right panel. As a result, the whole assembly process is about struggling with the cables because you have to hide a whole heap of them near the HDD connectors. Fortunately, we have a rather short graphics card. If its length were close to 275 millimeters (the maximum length supported by this chassis), we’d have even more problems. Our recommendations about this system case is that you should prefer SATA cables with L-shaped connectors and power supplies with not very thick and, preferably, detachable cables.

 

The assembled system case has some highlighting of the front panel. The side panel is almost opaque due to the dust filter.

 
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