Joined on 05/03/02
Well-built, great-looking case
Pros: - Plenty of room for my components. I got a standard ATX power supply (Antec EA-380D), a relatively short video card (MSI N640GT-MD2GD3), and a MicroATX motherboard (MSI H77MA-G43), and I had more than enough space for everything. - Looks great. The brushed front fits in well with the rest of my components. - Relatively shallow; I only have about 15" of depth in my entertainment center, and this fits with some room for airflow. - Blue power light is dim enough to not distract during movies. - Includes two fans. Not the highest quality, but decent. - Built-in fan speed control switch in front is convenient. - Easy wiring of front inputs/buttons/switches. - Good internal airflow (with some modification; see below). - Sound-dampening material on top seems to be mostly for show, but I'm sure it helps a bit. - Hard drive location ensures good airflow; I only needed one, so I removed the second cage to improve flow even more. - Good array of connectors to use on front if that fits your needs, but I never use them, and the flap flips up to keep the face clean (unlike many Silverstones).
Cons: - The included dust filters can negatively affect airflow quite a bit. Thankfully, each fan has a 2-screen combo, so I simply took one screen per fan out. Airflow was much improved while retaining some dust protection. - Can't install slim optical drive with full ATX motherboard and can't install a full-sized optical drive ever. I opted to skip an optical drive entirely since I haven't used a disc in years. - Expensive. This unit was on sale when I got it, and even though the build quality is great, I still feel like I paid too much. Would like to see it get down to around $110-120 after shipping - Height of the unit limits what CPU cooler you can use (125mm with side fan, 95mm with top fan).
Overall Review: This was my first HTPC, but I've built several PCs over the years, so I'm fairly familiar with cases, and this one didn't disappoint. The threads of all the screws and screw holes were clean, there was no rattling after I got everything back together, all the internal pieces had appropriate clearance, the fan closest to the power supply had a cover, all rivets were firm, etc. Some of the reviews on Newegg and elsewhere noted a lack of airflow, so when I got the case, I also purchased a couple 120mm PWM fans and replaced one of the included 120mm fans in addition to removing part of the dust filter screens. I now have the one original fan running on Low and the other two PWMs controlled by the motherboard, and my phone says it averages around 37dB measured from about a foot in front of the case. We can hear the fans from the couch (12-14ft away) when the room is silent, but it's just a hum, and we never notice them when we're watching/listening to media. As with all computer cases, a bit of cable management goes a long way. I'm just using the retail heatsink/fan combo with my Core i3-3220, and I'm seeing CPU temps of 30°C or slightly below at idle with peaks around 40°C during fairly high activity (applying 70+ Windows Updates in a row). It usually hovers around 33-35°C when streaming/decoding HD video for a few hours. GPU temps are similar. I'm very happy that I got this case and ignored some of the negative reviews online. A lot of the cons in other reviews I see around could have been prevented with more attention to the measurements of the case and components. With some very basic modifications to the fan screens, the addition of one more fan, and good cable management, this keeps my system very cool while staying relatively quiet and looking great on my entertainment center.
Second Faulty Unit
Pros: Runs cool (when it runs), looks nice, good connection selection.
Cons: My original unit worked great until it failed in just less than a year, and Macally (to their credit) did accept it and send me a replacement. Unfortunately, the replacement unit (which appeared to be new in box) is exhibiting the same behavior as the one I sent in: failing to be recognized on any of my computers/devices. I thought this surely couldn't be the case, so I tested various combinations of hard drives and enclosures, but it was confirmed: the only time any drives failed was when they were put in this enclosure. I double- and triple-checked all my connections, but never could get any of the drives to work.
Overall Review: I've contacted the RMA department to see if I can get another unit, but I'm not paying shipping on this one, and if they refuse, I wouldn't be heartbroken: I've already ordered another enclosure that costs half as much and has better reviews, so this would just be an extra. I was a stalwart Macally fan for 7-8 years and still have several of their enclosures, but I've read online that their quality has taken a dive recently, and my last couple products seem to confirm that. I will be looking elsewhere for hard drive enclosures from now on.
Great enclosure, but for less than a year
Pros: I purchased this enclosure to run for few hours at a time, sometimes with less than optimal airflow. When set up vertically (with the included stand), it fulfilled my needs perfectly. The aluminum dissipates heat well enough to keep everything running smoothly, and it looks good as well.
Cons: Under normal use (started it up about once a week), this enclosure failed in less than a year. Any drive placed in it will power up, but not be recognized when connected via USB on Windows 7, Mac OS 10.6, or my WDTV device.
Overall Review: I have dispatched an email to Macally to see if they will replace the unit since it failed in less than a year under normal use. Will adjust my rating based on their response.