Joined on 12/30/03
High Quality, Great Value
Pros: This case is very durable while still retaining a sense of finesse in comparison to the competition. This isn't your standard cheap case. Corsair put a lot of thought into the design of this product. This case is highly expandable while cutting down on the overall girth through its efficient use of space. There's enough clearance around all edges for even the largest of motherboards. It also features a center grommet to help align your motherboard. It's little things like these that makes the difference! The cable management is excellent and provides numerous options for tucking away unsightly cables. The front panel USB 3.0 just adds to the fit and finish of this excellent product.
Cons: There are only two minor issues I have with this product, but they are so minor that they don't really take away from the pros of the product. First, the case requires drive connectors to face the back instead of the front. Servicing a drive, will require removing both side panels. This is minor inconvenience since changing a drive is infrequent. Besides, the panels use thumb screws which doesn't require breaking out the screw driver. Second, the product has documentation, but is incomplete. It's merely a blowup diagram of the case. I went through a trial and error process to install a 2.5" drive in one of the caddies, which could have been prevented with some better documentation. It was simple, but not quite as intuitive as you would expect.
Overall Review: INSTALLING A 2.5" DRIVE Although the drive caddies can support 2.5" drives, I have had difficulty getting them installed. The drives must mount on the top right of the caddy where the four holes appear at the bottom. You must line them up with the drive holes, but unfortunately the caddy pin on the top right prevents this. I couldn't find any clues for solving this problem in either the documentation or online. The solution is surprisingly simple, but counter-intuitive. Use the tip of a small screwdriver push out the pin from the rubber grommet from the outside in. The pin should pop out. It's really easy to lose small parts like this. To save it for later, simply snap the thicker end into a free hole on the caddy's opposite side. It will be a little lose, but it won't fall out.
Good overall case
Pros: Excellent cable management, easy access, decent build quality
Cons: There's no documentation included with the packaging. Given the large size of this case, you'd expect some more clearance around the motherboard. My 6 slot motherboard was a tight fit. Also, unlike other cases, you have to use standoff screws, which doesn't provide as much support as built in standoffs. There's flexibility in mounting the drives, but sometimes it requires giving up some expandability. Installing more than two 2.5" drives requires another caddy or using the 2.5" drive cage located next to the power supply. It's difficult to get SATA power to this cage and the rear lower 3.5" cage, if you're cable isn't long enough. The solution is to remove the middle cage, and mount the drive on top of the lower cage.
Overall Review: The plastic tabs that are used to pull out the middle cage, are riveted in place. It so happens that these rivets line up with the 2.5" cage holes. Had they used standard screws, you could mount the 2.5" cage by repurposing the screw holes. You'd be out two drive bays instead of six.
Best value for the money
Pros: When you're going X79/LGA 2011, it is hard to choose the more expensive. The performance level on this product is very high and with mild overclocking, you'll get some amazing performance.
Cons: The processor is locked so you can't overclock it as high as the other models. It's not really a con considering that it runs circles around similarly priced models.
Overall Review: Make sure you update your BIOS on your motherboard or you won't be able to take full advantage of this processor. Do it as soon as you power on your machine for the first time.
Great cooling, best one other there
Pros: Very high quality, great cooling, small overall size, pliable hoses, low profile and no vertical stress on motherboard. I've seen other coolers and they are monsters in comparison. I was worried that they would warp the motherboard if your board is mounted vertically.
Cons: There's really no cons. It's a bit tricky to install this cooler. I would strongly recommend watching the installation video available online. The hardest part is actually mounting the cooler on the processor. I would do several practice runs without applying the CPU grease until you perfected it.
Overall Review: This is the best value for the money for an X79 board. There are cheaper and more expensive ones, but this is a better overall value. It is well made and takes up less room in the motherboard. Read the specs and make sure it will fit the fan area.
Back plate didn't fit and support was slow
Pros: Small, nice looking, loaded with features overall good design. Easy to install and the BIOS was self-explanatory. The best performance you can get in a microATX form factor.
Cons: I would have kept this board, but the IO panel didn't fit the back of the case. It was ever slightly trapezoidal in shape that would require shaving the IO opening in the back of the case. I tried to contact support via email and they responded well after I sent the board back to newegg. They told me to contact NewEgg for support. It appears other folks have had the same issue with the IO panel.
Overall Review: I would strongly encourage buying a full sized X79 ATX motherboard instead of the microATX form factor. There are more compatible components such as coolers and power supplies and you'll get a better overall value and more expandability. It isn't worth going small for X79 at least not now.