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Pros: An included 200mm front fan utilizes a majority of the case's front intake design and it is very quiet. The unique mounting of the motherboard places the motherboard and its components directly in the line of the air flow, ensuring that most components can breathe easily. The included 120mm back fan helps to keep the flow going. Two top fan mounts are included in case even more air flow is desired.
The case is designed in a logistic way, allowing easy access for component installation or maintenance. Both of the windowed side panels open so that it is easy to reach and work on either side of the motherboard. The case also comes with a shorter cross-head screwdriver to accommodate for installing the motherboard within the case's height.
There are enough portals open in the motherboard tray and hard drive cages to allow for effective cable routing. A modular power supply will contribute to having a tidy setup in the case.
Though arguably large for a micro ATX case, it does have a clean and somewhat minimal look to it. Both of the included fans are LED lit and contribute to the case's red accent, but are also subtle enough to not overpower a dimmed room. The inclusion of the port covers for the top/front panel connectors was a nice touch and makes the case look even more minimal when they are added.
The inclusion of an SD and microSD card reader on the top/front panel is a welcome addition.
The top panel has a smaller door that can be opened for a quick peek inside. Additionally, the top panel is also vented for even more air flow.
The case can comfortably fit lengthy graphics cards with enough height and length clearance.
Cons: The size of the case is initially surprising. While both shorter in height and length, the difference is not very substantial. Additionally, the motherboard mounting requires the case be as wide as a microATX motherboard. For a microATX case, the footprint size is quite large. Total volume is also large, but upon inspection it appears this is as close to the least volume as the case could be while trying to accommodate for large CPU fans and large graphics cards. The volume does allow for excellent airflow, however.
The side access panels simply set and slide to lock into place and can sometimes be difficult to align well enough to get a correct lock. Additionally, the top panel's plastic frame construction does not lend itself to a flush fit.
The 3.5 drive bays themselves set fine and provide guide-arms to mount hard drives in. However, when cabling the 3.5 drives it was a little cumbersome to connect them as the drives are set so far back to one side. This is complicated if power supply cables are tucked in the same open area behind the drive.
Other Thoughts: A unique aspect of the case is its motherboard mounting which is perpendicular to the case's stance.
The case material is also unique, giving the case a rubber-like feel. Unfortunately, the material lends itself to residual smudges that can be left by hands and fingers that are may not be dry enough. However smudges can be wiped off fairly easily.
It would have been nice to have enough port covers included for the back panel motherboard connectors as an added bonus, but this realistically is not up to the case manufacturer to assume.
The black and red combination is really highlighted by color-matching components.
While the tinted window panels work well to add to the case's design, having a window on each side almost begs that the windows not be tinted as heavily in order to see through and see the components more clearly. This is a case that cable management and minimalism can really be shown off. Conversely, the tint does limit the light emanating from the included fans. Its a tough balance and perhaps DIYPC got it right as it is.
With all of the venting in the case it will be interesting to monitor dust accumulation and where related pain points will be. There are sheets of screendoor-like material attached to the front and top of the case to cover the vents, but it does not appear this material can be removed to facilitate cleaning if necessary.
While there were other types of screws left over after assembling the components, there actually wasn't enough of the same screw type to install the motherboard and all drives. This really is a nit-pick, however.
What led me to this purchase:
As I was researching cases for a new media center/gaming PC, I was hoping to migrate from a mid-tower ATX case down to something a little smaller and thinner. Looking through slim micro ATX cases, there unfortunately really isn't much variety to include enough wattage to power a decent graphics card. So I conceded looking to a standard micro ATX case.
I was filtering based on something that had only one external 5.25 bay, but also had enough room for at least one 3.5 internal and one 2.5 internal, which led me to this case. The unique aspects of the case and styling led me to the purchase.
As a personal bonus the case and motherboard that I purchased (Gigabyte GA-Z97MX-Gaming 5) complimented each other on color scheme.
The graphics card I purchased was 9.5" in length and this case was able to comfortably accommodate.
Pros: * Speedy for 7200 RPM drives.
* Do work well in RAID 0. (but see notes below about other RAID configs)
* Cheap for a fairly snappy RAID 0 solution.
* Sustained 120-125 MB/s writes on large files (ISOs) in 2 drive RAID 0.
* Average 85-90 MB/s writes on smaller files in 2 drive RAID 0.
* Pretty quiet while running.
Cons: * Apparently not recommended for RAID 1, 5, or 10 as other comments allude to. (the drives could easily drop from arrays) WD is looking to push these customers to their (more expensive) RE drives. I feel this is enough to dock one egg.
Other Thoughts: * Without front mounted fan or other cooling, drives seem to hold around 28 degrees C while running.
* As I understand, Windows Experience Index will top out most platter drives with a rating of 5.9 regardless of configuration. Realistically, these drives in a RAID 0 should be getting higher scores than that. But I can't fault WD for a Microsoft thing. Just another reason to not put too much stock in these scores.
Pros: * Fast DDR3 @ 1600, paired with i5.
* CL 7.
* Windows Experience Index rating of 7.6 (stock settings)
* Well priced at time w/ rebate (June '10).
Cons: * Ordered 2 sets of these (total of 8GB), and noticed one of the module's heat spreaders was off-centered from RAM. Looks a little odd in the case with 3 modules all uniformly aligned (teeth), and one slightly off.READ FULL REVIEW