SuperPower Mustiff MX-31
The SuperPower Mustiff MX31 is one more cubic- or rather brick-shaped system case. It is too long for a true cube.
The exterior design of the Mustiff MX31 is somewhat ambiguous. The plastic front panel painted like polished aluminum must have been intended as a way to create a noble appearance but it doesn’t look very good. Simple silvery plastic would be better. The round protrusions in the corners are not neat, either. SuperPower’s products are known as low-quality ones, and this system case provides a few examples. On the other hand, the Mustiff MX31 looks better than many other entry-level system cases. And it is cheap indeed.
The large Power button in the center of the front panel catches the eye immediately.
I/O connectors can be found at the front part of the left side panel: a couple of USB ports and two audio connectors. The USB ports are placed far from each other.
Both side panels have large vent grids. Like the Silverstone Sugo, this system case seems to be designed for rather advanced components.
The case stands on nice rubber feet.
The back panel resembles the previous cube but there is only one expansion slot bracket, which means you cannot use a dual-slot graphics card here. So, we had to replace the dual-slot card with a single-slot Radeon HD 4850. There is also no power supply at the top part of the back panel. You can only see a seat for an 80mm fan and a power connector there.
Like in the IW-BM648, the power supply lies along the front panel and the mainboard is behind it. It is a standard ATX unit, 140 millimeters long, which explains the dimensions of the system case. The benefits of this solution are obvious. The user can install any standard power supply (save for high-wattage models that are longer than standard). We used this opportunity and replaced the default power supply with our quiet Enermax MODU82+ EMD625AWT. The downside is clear, too. Whatever the position of the fan in the power supply, there will always be panels in front of it, blocking the flow of air. The PSU is going to have a higher temperature than in an ordinary case and some of the hot air it exhausts will linger inside the system case.
The power cord leading from the back panel to the power supply’s connector has two plugs, so you can connect a PSU with any type of the power plug. This care about the user is nice but one of the connectors will be unused.
There are three drive bays in this system case. One of them supports slim optical drives and we guess the manufacturer should have made the case just a little bit taller to allow installing full-size 5.25-inch devices. It is good that a SATA adapter is included into the kit, though.
A small rack for a single 3.5-inch drive is located at the back panel below the fan seat. A place for an external 3.5-inch drive is between the optical drive bay and the power supply but we decided to install a second hard disk in there. We just couldn’t help testing the system case with two 3.5-inch HDDs.
The assembly process wasn’t trivial. There is enough room for a large cooler but installing a mainboard with cooler is a problem. The photo above shows that our mainboard with a Scythe Shuriken just barely fits into the system case. You won’t be able to install the mainboard first and then the power supply as the mainboard would get in the power supply’s way. So, if you’ve got a larger cooler than ours, you will have to fasten it to the mainboard already installed in the case. That is, your choice will be limited to coolers that are fastened with latches.
Laying out the cables was an expectedly serious problem with this power supply. Even with our modular PSU we had too many cables for this system case. Purchasing a new power supply for the Mustiff MX-31, you should consider products with shorter and thinner cables, without extra sleeves, unless you want to have problems even fitting them to the side of the PSU and over the drives as we did.
Installing the graphics card was even more of a trouble. There is enough space for any single-slot card but it was difficult to install it into the mainboard’s PCI Express slot and into the mounting bracket’s fastener simultaneously as the power cord was getting in the way. Take note that the long card partially blocks the power supply’s output vent grid, so both are going to have harsher thermal conditions than usual.
Anyway, we assembled our test configuration and ended up with a rather advanced computer in a compact (and cheap) case.