After that, you fix your 3.5-inch hard disks in their bays with four screws each and insert the bays into the chassis.
Installing a 2.5-inch disk is rather easy, too, but you have to work more with your screwdriver. First you unfasten six screws on the back panel that secure the T-shaped piece consisting of a mainboard mounting plate and a back panel with fans. Then you take that thing out of the chassis.
After that, you fix your 2.5-inch disk with two prongs from the face panel of the chassis and fasten it with screws on the other side (that's the reason for all this trouble: it is impossible to reach to the screws with a screwdriver otherwise). To finish the procedure, just put the T-shaped piece back and secure it with screws.
Installing an optical drive involves taking the face panel off, but that’s the only inconvenience.
The power supply unit is preinstalled inside the chassis. Having a wattage rating of 120 watts, it doesn’t take much space inside, but its low wattage may turn out to be insufficient for configurations with a discrete graphics card (you can install a low-profile one into this system case by means of a riser card). The PSU seems to be a high-quality product, though. It has first-class KZH series capacitors from United Chemi-Con at its output.
Overall, the ES34169 is quite easy to assemble a computer system in, except for the time-consuming installation of a 2.5-inch disk as described above.
One more note: the card-reader’s cable may turn out to be too short to reach to the mainboard’s USB headers. This was the case with our mainboard, for example. So you may want to check out beforehand that your mainboard’s onboard USB ports are not at its back panel.
We also could not connect the front-panel USB ports of the system case because our memory module with tall heatsink blocked the way. This problem wouldn’t exist if we used a normal memory module, though.
The HDD bays and the integrated PSU are cooled with two 70x70x15mm fans from Young Lin Tech that have a rated speed of 3000 RPM (which agrees with our measurements that produced a result of 3050 RPM).
Unfortunately, the fans can be easily heard as soon as you turn the system case on. The ES34169 is far from quiet. We wouldn’t even call its comfortable. We guess the noise factor is going to be the main obstacle on the product’s way to market success. A home file-server that makes itself heard from an adjacent room is not what a customer wants, especially for a price comparable to that of a modest full-size system case.
When assembled, the ES34169 looks even more impressive than right out of the box. And we guess it would look even better if we had a mainboard supporting all of its front-panel buttons and indicators.
One thing must be noted here: when the system was shut down but not disconnected from the mains, the LED indicators of the hot swap bays would blink once every 15 seconds.
- Compact size
- Integrated card-reader
- Easy to assemble thanks to an internal PSU already connected to the 3.5-inch disk bays
- Allows building a high-capacity disk subsystem with hot swap feature
- Allows installing a low-profile expansion card via a riser card
- Dual-layered design of the panels with good ventilation
- Robust and simple chassis design
- Card-reader’s cable may be too short for some mainboards
- Noisy fans
- High price