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Pros: Simple clean design has plenty of attitude without being overly obnoxious.
Easy front panel removal with no connecting wires.
Red LED rear fan included.
Fair price for the build quality.
Cons: The case is slightly short and narrow, so a full 160mm tower fan will have issues fitting into the case. And normal full size 120mm case fans will not nicely fit on either the top or front (outside) fan positions.
Complete removal of the power supply necessary to clean the plastic mesh filter for air intake at the bottom of the case. (It just snaps in via plastic tabs that point down.)
Provided tool free drive locks seem very cheap and flimsy. (I tried them but ended up not using them.)
Other Thoughts: There is very little gap at the top of the case and full size case fans will not fit in that location. A similar issue goes for the front fan position. I ended up attaching my fan inside the case between the HD cage and the inside wall. The gap for the nuts to fit was small since they aligned with the HD cage edge, but it was only slightly difficult to acheive with some needle nose pliers to hold the nuts.
The front to back drive cage has plenty of room to install drives before too many cables or other parts are installed.
The plastic tabs holding the metal meshes covering the drive bays in are too stiff and will tend to break instead of bending properly. Care must be taken to prevent breaking them off entirely.
The case comes with a brass 'post' that fits in the middle center motherboard screw hole. You can not replace this with a stand off as the height is wrong for it. All other screws fit into the case directly, no stand offs required as the case is built for direct screw-in.
I chose this case because of the more conservative design with minimal molded plastic parts sticking out. Drive bays and front audio/USB connectors easily accessable with no other extraneous covers or connectors up front.
Also the case had minimal 'windows' and cooling vents. I don't overclock or go overboard with cooling fans, so this was a good compromise in ventilation and design for me.
Pros: Low profile and low noise. Installation was simple on a stock AMD AM3 socket. Using just the provided locking bar, no removal of the motherboard from the case was needed.
Current temp range has been 44-50c and the fan has remained fairly quiet unlike the stock fan I replaced. (~2700rpm)
Cons: The base of the heatsink is not completely flat and filling in the gap between the rounded side edges of the heat pipes and the heatsink can take extra thermal compound. (Even if not strictly necessary)
Latching the lock bar down can be slightly fiddly, the lock mechanism is seperate from the bar itself and only stays on due to pressure when engaged. But once locked the connection is secure and has minimal 'play' to it which is comparable to the stock heatsink.
Other Thoughts: I used this to replace a stock heat sink for a Phenom X4 965, which was sounding like a jet engine at high temps. (No overclocking) Now it's down to roughly case fan levels of noise.
I used the entire tube of provided thermal paste, which was easier to work with than other more expensive compounds I've tried before. (Gelid, Antec Diamond, etc.) I used a plastic card to spread it to a thin layer similar to the thermal mats that come with the stock heat sinks to ensure complete coverage over the heatpipe gaps.
The heatsink orients with the pipes up/down due to the locking bar orientation through the base in my AMD system. You can use the lock notches to orient where the pipes will be in your system. (Thumb lock goes next to the bend of the heat pipes.)
I had to connect the fan power wire before installing as the overhang of the fins makes post install connection too difficult without removing the motherboard from my case. But the power cord was plenty long that this was not a problem during install.
I never removed the fan from the heatsink during the install process.
I recommend a dry fit before installing with paste.
The heatsink overhangs the closest DIMM sockets in my board, but there is enough room a low profile heatspreader on the memory should still fit, but tall ones simply will not.
I do not have a recent Intel system so I can't authoritively comment on install for those, but just looking at the provided hardware was a bit confusing with the instructions not showing obviously how the retainer was secured to the board. And I don't think the provided plastic posts would do the trick, as they looked more like support points.
Display Name: Philip L.
Date Joined: 09/24/02
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