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Pros: - The case is very big with many cable routing possibilities (and many CM - that is, cable management.. just occurred to me that we're talking CM which is also Cooler Master - holes).
- As suggested, and as can be seen with pictures, it is very modular.
- For someone like me who is generally:
a) too lazy to improve ability of cable management (I don't have too many components and I don't need multiple video cards or even one large video card).
b) horrible at the cable management (see a).
I can still have the cables in a much nicer arrangement than other cases.
- It is sturdy, well built (inside and out with one minor thing, see cons) and it is hard to move itself (which of course makes it harder to knock over although in Southern California I know very well an earthquake could do that but it could also do that with the rest of the house... and the computers would be the least of my worries). The hard to move can be a problem in some ways (obviously it is only a problem in the rare times I need to move it) but overall I prefer it the way it is.
- The thumb screws that secure the sides of the case, can stay in the holes (of the sides themselves) while you have it left aside (...) while installing cards, moving cables, ...).
Cons: Most of these are minor I admit and I certainly would buy this case again (whether I might try another case or not - absolutely - but I like this case and this is the first case I can truthfully state that... and I've had a lot of cases over the years):
- The thumb screws for the case sides can be stubborn. Specifically, I have (more often than not) have tightened one (or all) and for each one I have to loosen it, straighten it and then tighten it again. This is more than I remember with other cases (even those with thumb screws).
- The sides can appear to be bent and/or seem to not properly close the case (this could partly be one of the personal preferences I refer to in other thoughts: how the side window protrudes out a bit and is not just a flat side... I actually like the look but it at least has thrown me off (but so has the other side)). This could possibly seem more so when you consider the first con (the appearance as well as the fact the thumb screws are not going in straight, can throw you off if you aren't aware or you're like me and doing this stuff at 3am or thereabouts).
- As at least one other person noted: the standoffs are very stubborn. I actually thought I had them in the case properly tightened and had to at some point (because they weren't tightened after all) unscrew the motherboard (only to find out they weren't tightened when the screw stayed attached to the standoff but the standoff actually came out of the case (so I had someone carefully balance the motherboard so that I could unscrew the screw from the standoff)). Then I did exactly as one of the other reviewers suggested (actually I had done this with some of them already but this one seemed to be OK hence not using it with this one): use plyers (British spelling: I mean pliers).
- It is very big. Yes this is a pro and a con. It takes a lot of space. But it offers great expandability so that is also good.
- The side (with the window) doesn't come with a fan. However, at CM's website you can buy this and it is fairly cheap ($20 or thereabouts). Comes with the fan unlike one of the reviewers suggest (at the CM website I mean). Or that's what I was told by a CM staff member who checked.
- The only flaw (or, if you're into computer security and also like puns, which very much fits me: hole) that bothers me - and not terribly so but enough to point out - is that they have no covers for the cable routing holes at the bottom (this is not a problem for the top of the cases because they supply a cover for the top; I've not looked into the possibility that that same cover could maybe - again, pardon the pun, close this hole). And at some point you will stop stacking and there you have the holes so you have potential for more dust to enter. Probably not a huge issue in that it is not simply a hole but rather a hole with rubber grommets.... but it is still something that might want to be considered (and I raised the issue with them, for what it is worth
Other Thoughts: There is a review here that suggests that the Sickleflow fans will not work for hard drives. I noticed this but I decided to take up the issue with CM and here is what they told me as a general rule (and so indeed it worked):
When you buy a case the manufacturer (including but not limited to CM) expects that you have different uses and so they supply the screws that fit the holes for the case in question. This means that you should use the proper screws (which are conveniently not marked...) - which is to say, case supplied screws - for the case including (in the example) the Sickleflow fans. So yes they do work (as a related point: the screws will work at the top of the case where the fan slots are available... although they are a bit tight). I also wrote about (on review of that fan) how you need to thread the holes on that fan first and that would help here too.
Another general rule: if you have kittens like I do, and in particular, a kitten that loves to steal things from you, be certain to either keep the room closed (with the kittens OUT of the room!) or to keep track of the items that come with the case (and everything else in your build or realistically everything in general!). Yes, I failed here and while I caught some of it I'm uncertain if I caught all of it (the accessories of the case and the motherboard - ASUS sabertooth z97mark 1 has many, many accessories... well, I don't know what I should or should not have).
There is one thing that also is lacking on this case that occurred to me now: lack of a manual of any kind. There is a sheet of paper showing how you can stack the modules together but that was about it.
Aside those: I really like the tinted window. I also like how it somewhat protrudes out rather than being flat (as I noted, however, this can give the look and feel that the case sides are not properly placed. However, I have had this same problem on the other side of the case so it probably is less the protruding window and more perception - or lack thereof - on my part.. but it does seem that the sides - or the case in general - has some stubborn properties). I don't consider these pros or cons (you either like the tinted window and how it protrudes out/is not flat, or you don't. That's a look and if you don't like the look of a case and it matters to you, then rating it badly for that is ludicrous. Constructive criticism is great but criticism itself is unhelpful to others. Alternatively, you could try rating your decision or preferences as you bought the case and there ARE pictures!).
Another look I find appealing: the case really has an industrial grade look to it. If you're into computer history (or indeed were part of) and you have a longing (or nostalgia of some kind) for it, then you might see this. I somehow think it is the (is it honeycomb?) mesh grids but for whatever reason, it just reminds me of the much older days. The eye of the beholder, I suppose.
Pros: It does the job it is designed to do. The airflow was what I needed. Dropped my hard drive temperatures down quite a bit (although I cannot remember exactly how many degrees it was sufficient). For what its worth, right now it is:
21.9 C (71.5 F) in this room and my three hard drives temperatures are as follows:
$ hddtemp /dev/sd[a-c]
/dev/sda: WDC WD10EADS-00M2B0: 26°C
/dev/sdb: WDC WD20EARX-00PASB0: 27°C
/dev/sdc: WDC WD20EZRX-00D8PB0: 27°C
and before the fans (new build including case) the temperatures was somewhere in the 30s (low to mid, I think, probably closer to mid). That was with the hard drives not close to each other (for the same reason as they are now: temperature).
Cons: The only con is something that other fans are like too. It would be unfair, also, to deduct an egg (even though I'm quite hungry...) over this con. This con is:
Molex connector. I'd rather not have to use a molex cable, and I could (I seem to remember these exist and might even have some) use an adapter but truthfully it isn't that big of a deal, especially with a CM/modular PSU.
Other Thoughts: The inconvenience is hardly an issue at all but it should be noted either way, for those who have initial trouble with screwing the screws through the holes into the case when installing it:
The fan holes are not threaded as sold. So what you should do is place the fan on a table or desk (or any solid, flat surface) and screw one of the screws (that comes with the fan) into the hole. By doing this you're threading the hole and then when you go to tighten (as in when installing the fan) the screw, it will actually screw in properly and easily. I believe threading is the proper term but apologies if not (I don't like nuts, bolts and the like although I am arguably nuts).
You can do this on both sides of the fan but you could also do it for only the side that will have screws in it. Of course you should do this for the four holes on each side of the fan (or the side you intend to use, if not both). I did both just because it felt right (that is more a quirk of mine, I guess you could say).
This review is from: Insten 1044560 2X USB to Dual PS/2 Adapter
Pros: - It works.
- I didn't even notice (when I bought it) that it includes 2 as the price seemed fair enough, for my needs, for one. I actually thought it was a mistake (either I accidentally ordered two or that Newegg made a mistake; they were in the same package but each in its own small bag). I only need one but I like having spares of things (like all the other cable types I have).
- What else is there? It is an adapter; it either works or it doesn't and it does (admittedly I only tested one but...)
Cons: No cons but I admit I wish it was only keyboard (seeing as how the mouse portion is dangling loose). I suspect that this is actually a PRO for most people but I don't consider it a CON either (it is just something I personally don't need and feature rich is generally a good thing, I think. I'm just picky). But it works and that is what I needed. As noted above, an adapter either works or it doesn't and this one does so no complaints.
Other Thoughts: Some time last week I was at my local server (no graphical user interface as no server needs a GUI and I heavily use the command line and very efficiently anyway), typing a command (after successfully typing a command moments before) and in the middle of it the input stopped (remotely sending output to the console showed up, although I didn't check that instantly). I suspected it was not the keyboard but instead that the keyboard ps/2 port died (the first time I had experienced or heard of that, but it is in fact the case). Checking another ps/2 keyboard confirmed that the keyboard was not it (unless I "stupidly" - and quite possibly, but not this time - kept a dead keyboard*). The next day (it was a long week) I decided to confirm my suspicion for sure: my USB version of the old IBM Model-M keyboard (made by the corporation that has rights to it) worked fine. So I knew all I needed was a ps/2 to usb adapter or a usb keyboard (and I'm very picky with keyboards; no windows key, no multimedia keys and buckling spring) and this was far less expensive.
*I still have a very dead ~528MB (whatever that old barrier was; cannot truthfully recall) hard drive and I still have a very dead ~2.5GB drive, both of which have collected dust for more years than the teens of today. I won't get rid of them because of the historical and sentimental values (besides, they were very expensive back then, compared to today's hard drives!). Similar is I tend to keep other computer hardware even if it is long dead or no longer useful to me. None of this matters for anything other than the issue which is: my PS/2 keyboard port died and it was not the keyboard (and hence my needing to rule out dead keyboards).
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