Date Joined: 10/18/07
Pros: - small (about the size of a standard ATX power supply - see pics compared to modified Brix and standard OEM PSU)
- quiet (even under load, when paired with an aftermarket CPU cooler)
- CPU, memory, storage, wifi/BT upgradeable
- supports up to a Ryzen 7, 4750G (if you can find one on the gray market)
- supports up to 64GB of 3200Mhz DDR4
- supports 2x m.2 PCIe 3.0 x4 slots (used WD Black NVMe PCIe 3.0x4, Windows installed in less than 5 mins from USB 3.0 stick)
- supports 2x SATA III ports
- supports WIFI/BT via m.2 slot
- supports aftermarket CPU cooler up to 46mm (Noctua NH-L9a-AM4 is probably best solution)
- has two 4pin PWM Fan ports on the motherboard
- has 3 USB 3.0, 1x USB C, and 2x USB 2.0 (via optional cable)
- supports up to three monitors via VGA, Displayport 1.2, and HDMI
- Supports 4K UHD on Displayport and HDMI
WOAH! It is a such a powerful package in a small case. It’s quiet, doesn’t generate a lot of heat, plays games like you would expect with the Vega 11 GPU on the 3400G. USB 3.0 and SSD speeds are great – I didn’t officially test them, but based that assessment on how little I have to wait to complete disk or USB media operations. With the L9a cooler, USB optional cable, memory, and the WD SSD, I spent about $520 + tax. For that, I got a machine that met all my needs – it’s quiet, 4 cores, 8 threads, Vega 11 graphics, plays Minecraft, Diablo 2, No Man’s Sky, plays MP3s, surfs the web, scans and prints documents, plays/streams movies in high def (and 4K if you have a 4K screen), can attach up to 3 monitors with:
- VGA (1920x1200@60hz)
- Display Port (1.2 4Kx2K@60hz)
- HDMI (4Kx2K@60hz)
- support 4K UHD with HDMI and Displayport
...runs VMware, reads external media and hard drives, charges devices, and has Wifi/BT. Unlike Brix or NUCs, I can change out the processor in the future, up to Ryzen 7, 4750G (8 cores, 16 threads, 65w, Vega 8 (comparable to a 1050) ), I can upgrade to 64GB of 3200mhz RAM, I can add up to 2x m.2 NVMe (maybe non-NVMe too, didn’t test that) SSD drives, and up to 2x SATA III drives for a total of 4x storage ports – this is the perfect non-external GPU solution you could buy for the needs I outlined above. You might be able to add an external graphics card by using a m.2 wifi to external graphics card module, external power, and maybe up to a 1650 Nvidia, (PCIe 3.0 x1 max transfer rate), but I’ve not seen that done on this box (seen it done on the BRIXs, but it’s possible). This was well worth the money and will be happy to use this as my daily personal machine. Granted, a laptop could have provided a more portable experience, but I don’t need portability, and a laptop’s cooling solution is either non-existent or too loud, has limited expansion (compared to the X300), and has a bigger foot print because of the keyboard and monitor. The X300 fits all my needs from placement and size, to sound levels, heat (or lack of heat) generation, and usability. I would definitely buy another one of these should I find another use for one in the future.
Cons: - had problems getting the slot 2 m.2 and wifi module screws to go in. Took me 20 minutes. Slot 1, m.2, had no issues. Not marking off for this, I'm not a novice, but never had this problem before, BUT THEY DID EVENTUALLY FIT
- USB 2.0 cable/port doesn't come with the unit, have to buy separately - you should get this especially if you expect to plug in lots of devices. I am using KVM USB 2.0 and external sound solution on the USB 2.0 ports, an external drive dock, a USB 3.0 powered hub, and charging my cell on the USB C port, so needed the extra USB 2.0 ports).
- WIFI/BT module was the AC-3168 (ASRock states that the unit comes with either the AC-3168 or AX-200 Wifi/BT modules. Wished I had gotten the AX-200 option or went with the X300 (non-W) model and purchased my own wifi/BT module. Not marking off for this, it was on their website, so I knew I could end up with AC-3168
Overall Review: # Intro:
Needed a machine that surfs the Internet, streams shows or movies, can listen to music, play old games like Diablo 2, Starcraft, GOG games, Minecraft, or some newer titles like No Mans Sky and does it all quietly. Will be replacing Gigabyte Brix BxI7-5775 who’s OEM blower fan at 5/6000 RPM, is getting louder and louder (sounds like a vacuum cleaner). Lastly, wanted something I can upgrade over time to improve performance.
I looked at the ASRock A300, 310, and 110 series DeskMinis, and was so close to pulling the trigger on getting one for over a year, and then coward out at the last minute for fear of wife aggro on spending more money on a small machine (I used the excuse of electricity savings and wear and tear savings when I bought the Brix). Got a bee in my bonnet again and started looking at the A300 – I’m an Intel guy, but built my wife an x570 with Ryzen 5, 3400G last year and it’s been phenomenal, it’s whisper quiet, and cool.
So, I started looking at the A300W (wanted the wireless for the Bluetooth, the non-“W” model is the same, just doesn’t come with the wireless, but you can add that later). While I was looking, I accidentally stumbled across the X300 series. I went with this and a Ryzen 5, 3400G, 1TB WD Black NVMe m.2 PCIe 3.0x4 drive, and 16GB of 3200Mhz GSkill ram and purchased the USB 2.0 optional cable (which I highly recommend doing if you have a decent amount of peripherals to connect)
Nothing special to report about unboxing – it’s packaged, it comes out, well protected. The X300W model does not come with the wifi preinstalled, you have to install it yourself which should not be a big deal. I wish I had gone with the non-W model for the X300 as mine came with the AC-3168 wifi/bt module. The lottery also offers a AX-200 model which is faster. I could have just got the X300 model and bought my own Wifi/bt module later.
Somebody likened the unit to a standard ATX power supply in terms of size. They aren’t lying. It really is that way. It’s bigger than the lower end Intel NUCs and Gigabyte Brix machines, but not by that much. I also read that these ASrock models don’t have an actual chipset, so all connections lead to the processor. That’s not bad considering you have 3 USB 3.0 ports, 1x USB 3.1 port, (optional) 2x USB 2.0 ports, onboard GPU, 2x SATA III ports, 2x m.2 PCIe 3.0 x4 SSD ports, and a m.2 wifi module port, and even looks like it supports a COM/serial port if you can buy the cable (it has a punch out on the case for it).
# Building/Assembling/First Impressions:
I’ve got fairly big hands, but surprisingly, I didn’t feel cramped. The motherboard slides out on rails and removes from the case to work on it. The motherboard itself is attached to the tray by 4x regular sized (like case) screws. They are easy to access and remove. One M.2 slot (slot1) and the M.2 wifi slot are situated on the top of the motherboard, easily accessible. Unfortunately, slot 2 M.2 is located on the bottom of the motherboard, so to access it, you will have to remove the motherboard from the tray to install it. I would recommend putting your primary hard drive on the second slot (underneath the motherboard). This way, in the future, if you add another one, you can add it to the easily accessible one on top of the board without having to remove the motherboard off of the MB tray.
The X300, comes with the standard fan mounting brackets on each side, and a heat sink and small fan. I never gave the small fan a chance. It looked like a slight upgrade from a motherboard chipset cooling heatsink and fan. I went with the Noctua NH-L9a-AM4 cooler which comes in at about 36mm with 92x14mm fan (46mm is the max CPU cooler height for the X300, so a 25mm thick fan wont fit). I don’t know why, but I had trouble with the m.2 screws and it took me 20 minutes to get the m.2 installed underneath the motherboard (slot2) and the wifi module m.2 on top. The top m.2 slot1 screw went right in with no issues.
The BIOS is simple, but has some customizations for overclocking the CPU and RAM (minor adjustments).
Ran Furmark at 1280x720 default settings for 5 mins. Hit about 55* C at the hottest during the test with the L9a cooler. Using HWInfo64 though, it said the motherboard temp was over 105* C. I don’t know if that’s accurate or not, but has me a little concerned for longevity or any weak soldering points that might come undone under sustained hot temps. Will want to keep an eye on that.
For testing the processor cores, I used Prime95, disabled the AVX2 feature in the Small FFT test. I ran the test for about 10 minutes. With the L9a cooler, I never did hear the fan (it sits under my desk on the floor, standing up right). Temps hit about 84*C at it’s hottest, and then all of a sudden cooled down to 78*C and stayed there for the duration of the test. As soon as I cancelled the test, it immediately cooled down to 47*C, and final idle temps are around 37*C.
Pros: - small (not the smallest), retractable
- fast (or fast enough)
- price when purchased in multiple pack deal
Cons: - no LED/status light to let you know it's plugged in and working - WAH! :) Not deducting egg for this since it's still a great price
Overall Review: I use these for handing out to people when they want a video, some pictures, etc. If I don't get it back, I'm out a few bucks. I started using ADATA back in the early 2000s when I bought an external USB 40GB HDD from them (looked like a green tank). They had the best price. Never had a problem with the unit. Since then, I haven't done much with them, but lately, the Newegg pricing on USB Flash Drive multipacks have been too good to pass up and so I stock up on them (I lose them, I give them away, etc). Price/Performance is perfect for what I use them for (mainly transferring some files between machines or giving it to someone and not caring if I get it back or not). I keep buying them. My son and I love them.
Pros: - speeds are on par with other vendor offerings, but price is cheaper with WDC
Overall Review: It's an SSD. It's not impressive, maybe because I've other SSDs from other manufacturers, so I'm used to and accustomed to m.2 SSD speeds already, but there's nothing wrong with it. You can download their SSD software from WDC directly to help monitor/manage the SSD. It's a good choice, I have no regrets for this. I use other SSD 2.5" selections from WDC and other vendors as well as M.2 selections from other vendors. This is as good as they are.
Pros: - nice looking
- low latency
- XMP (usable on AMD x570 board)
- GSkill customer service
Overall Review: I've used GSkill memory starting with an old Core 2 Quad build. I only ever had one problem with GSkill and it was because the board would not support dual sided memory. Gskill sent me a prepaid label and I sent the memory in and they swapped it for single sided. They didn't charge me any extra. So I liked their support and customer service. The looks of the memory isn't bad either.
This memory, is not only 3200Mhz (over clocked) but also has decent latency timings. I bought it for a Ryzen 5 3400G x570 motherboard. I was able to load the XMP timings on the motherboard and it hit the rated speed without issue.
Pros: - Integrated Vega 11 graphics - this is why I bought this processor
- 4 cores, 8 threads (replacing a light use i7-4770K)
- GOOD on board graphics performance for light and even medium duty graphics (better than other chip manufacturer onboard solutions)
- The stock cooler does a decent job keeping the processor cool (this one comes with the wraith spire) or at least better than other chip manufacturers. If you need more, buy something more.
Cons: - Being new to AMD, did not find documentation or notations that clearly states that the Ryzen 5 3400G is NOT a 3rd Gen Ryzen. It is, in fact, a 2nd Gen Ryzen with graphics. I'm not knocking of eggs for my ignorance or for it not being clearly/easily defined.
- the stock cooler, I think, goes up to 3000 RPMs - that can bring some noise, but for a light duty to medium duty system in a well ventilated case, I don't think this will become a problem)
Overall Review: I am building a system for someone who surfs the internet, pays bills, watches videos/movies, listens to music, plays OLD games (like Unreal Tournament), edits pictures, makes videos (with Pinnacle Studio). That's really it. I decided to upgrade since Win 7 is nearing end of support, and although on that system, I could use 10, the components were years old and generations behind. By moving to this system, I am able to save equipment, heat, power by eliminating the add-on sound card I was using, the add on graphics card I was using (GTX 470) and use the onboard graphics and sound. This will save heat and electricity in the long run and should be plenty fine for what the system is being used for.
So far, happy with it and would buy this again.
Pros: - Like the RGB options, even though I'll probably look at the lights for 5 mins, and then never again
- like the fan headers - plenty to go around
- like the BIOS configuration and customization options
- like FanXpert 4 software
- like that it supports 1st through 3rd Gen Ryzen, and 1st through 2nd Gen Ryzen's with graphics
- The board has a setting, DOCP - enabling this allows you to use the XMP profile on the QVL memory to achieve memory OC timings easily without having to manually set everything. This wasn't intuitive in the instructions anywhere, so maybe it's common sense for most everyone else. This being my first AMD build since Athlon X2, it wasn't to me.
Cons: - don't care for the new tiny fan the x570 requires on the southbridge, but everyone has that, so not ASUS' fault necessarily, so not deducting eggs for that. I had one on an old Nvidia E* branded board back when SLI was a brand new thing. When the fan went out - GRIND CITY - hated that I had to replace that fan every year or so. Hopefully these fans are better now.
Overall Review: I've been an ASUS customer (not fanboy) since 1994 with my first ASUS 486 motherboard. Had both IDE and SCSI on the board. Pretty cool. Even handled upgrading my 486 DX2-66 to 486 DX4-100 mod chip. With rare exceptions, their products are just about top notch. I've used other brands like M*, G*, E*, and I* boards. They are good too, but when it comes to best features, best quality, best driver support, fan controls, fan headers, ASUS has always delivered.
I was intending to buy an X570 to pair with a 3400G Zen +, or 3000 series Zen 2, and for future support/expansion/changes in processors, I decided to go with the X570 instead of an x470. Be aware, as you may already be so informed as I was not, 2200G, 2400G, 3400G, etc - are NOT Zen 2 or really 3rd gen Ryzen processors. The 2x00G is considered a Ryzen 1st gen with graphics, and the 3x00G processor is considered a 2nd gen Ryzen with graphics. I kept looking for 3rd Gen Ryzen with graphics which does not exist yet. Once I figured that out, setting up the mobo, memory, etc became much easier...
As far as any changes I would make to the board, not sure that this change could be made, but I don't care for the RAID software. It looks like they are using a Marvel RAID in the x570 which I had previously using in an add-on card. What I hate about it is that to install the Raid software (in Windows anyways) requires installing Apache for you to use the RAID software (like a local website). At least with Intel onboard RAID solutions, you don't need a Website/Apache install to make it work (don't like leaving extra ports open). I know I can mitigate the ports/apache concern, I just hate having to deal with that for an out of the box solution. I'm NOT deducting eggs for that though.
Would I buy it again? Yeah, I would. It's still a great board.
My setup I am building to replace a light use i7-4770K, 16GB RAM, GTX 470, with just this board, Ryzen 5 3400G, and 16GB of 3200 memory (Ryzen's like fast memory).
For easy memory overclocking, enable DOCP and then select the memory XMP config in the BIOS (if using OC memory that has XMP). I didn't know what DOCP was on an AMD board, no real instructions suggesting I use that, and I found it through trial and error. Not taking eggs off for that either.
Pros: - Powerful
Cons: - it's a con I didn't buy these sooner!
Overall Review: Bought a pair of these for my son's i7-7700K system. He was using a CM Hyper 212LED Turbo. The CM fans that came with it were loud whenever he was pumping out some Blender or some major CPU using process. Normally I wouldn't care, but his machine sits in my office and the noise is annoying when the fans are going full bore...
Enter the Noctua NF-P12 redux. First, cool (get it cool) looking fans. I like the new color scheme - never cared much for their other stock color (no offense, I guess I'm a bit vain). Anyways, my son researched these and found for static pressure replacements, these make a good fan to have.
He installed them. I told him to turn the fan up so we could see how loud it is. He said "It already is". I could not even hear them. I asked him to double check - maybe the fans are off/broken. Nope, they were turning. His normal idle temps before were at about 50* C and now run about 40* C, and at load, he was at 80* C and now runs about 70* C at load. We did not make any other changes to the setup. Definitely a WELL WORTH IT upgrade! [by the way, I don't work for Noctua, CM, or anyone in the hardware business]. So good in fact, I think I will buy some for my 8700K and we might look into some Noctuas for our cases. If those case ones go well, or not, you can be sure I'll write a review about them as well.
Pros: - Crucial
- Price point per GB
Cons: - none
Overall Review: Crucial is one of my go-to brands for affordability, quality, and good performance. I've used their 2.5 inch SSDs and their M.2 SSDs (non-NVMe). It's hard to review an SSD unless you are actually hitting it up for performance metrics to compare against reported specs (which I am not doing). I plug it in, turn it on, install the OS. Did it go faster than a standard HDD? Then I'm good to go. Never had a DOA from Crucial, never had problems with a Crucial device.
Is Crucial the TOP of the TOP of the TOP of performers, maybe not, but when the top performers is a few percent higher, what are you really getting out of it? 1-2 seconds faster? Please don't misunderstand, I'm NOT comparing Crucial SSDs to anyone else, what I'm saying is that if there were something better (and I used two other brands of SSDs) the performance to price value doesn't justify the higher costs of competitors. It comes down to marketing (in my opinion).
So, why buy then Crucial then? Because while for entry level or simple builds I may not care about performance (and the Crucial performs just fine), I DO care about quality and longevity, and I can get that kind of trust from Crucial and will continue to buy their stuff (SSD's at least). And because I'm a realist - even the best hardware from name brands 'could' fail, so you should have a backup of essentials anyways...
Bottom line, I like the item, like their stuff, and would buy it again...
Pros: - support for 8 additional fans.
- Supports 3 and 4 pin fans
- Supports PWM fans
- comes with double sided tape to mount it
Overall Review: You need to supply power via SATA power cable. It has a 4 pin connector you plug into a fan port (most likely, your motherboard). Ideally, you would use your CPU fan port, it's almost always PWM compatible. Some reports suggests some motherboards claim other headers support PWM but not necessarily so, whereas the CPU one should always support it.
Pros: - you can install a 2.5" SSD or laptop HDD and a 3.5" HDD at the same time if you have the SATA ports to support it of course. Only uses one SATA power connector.
- installs in single bay
Cons: - I have an old model that actually has a flap door on both the 2.5 and 3.5 entry. This newer model doesn't seem to have it which will increase the likelyhood of dust entering the unit, but canned air can manage that to some degree.
Pros: - seems like good quality
Overall Review: I used it on an old ASUS Rampage Formula (X48 chipset) motherboard to go from the motherboard USB 2.0 header to a USB 3.0 cable to the front panel USB 3.0 port on my case.
Pros: 1m long, feels good in terms of quality, cheaper than other brands, but I've used SANS Digital stuff before
Overall Review: I am using this for a LSI/Avago 9202-16e SFF-8644 to a SFF-8088 to SFF-8087 adapter and then onto drives with a SFF-8087 to SATA cable. It's not specific to any Sans Digital case or equipment. Should work with any application of SFF-8644 to SFF-8088 installation.
Pros: - IcyDock - I like their stuff, most of the time
- 5 bays, no trays required
- Blue led integrated power on/off switch for each of the 5 days - allows you to turn off drives not in use, enable ones you wish to have running, and lets you know if they are being used (accessed or not through blinking of the blue led)
- the 80mm fan can be replaced with either a 2pin or 3pin fan, 80mm
- no keys needed to lock the drives - which is a pro for me
- temperature is well maintained with the 120mm fan I addeed with 80mm to 120mm adapter
- supports SATA III (or 6.0Gbps SATA), and SATA II, I.
- only needs 3x SATA power connectors to power it
Cons: - the unit's sides to not accommodate computer case bays that have support fins in the bay. Other IcyDock bays have indentations to accommodate these types of bays/fins but because of the 5 bays, it probably has no room to make it happen on this unit
- the bay doors feel flimsy and I do have concerns they might break
- the on/off LED buttons are difficult to operate depending on your case and the size of your hands/length of your finger nails. Kind of annoying, but since it does what I wanted it to, no eggs off for that.
Overall Review: The unit's 80mm fan can be replaced with any 2pin or 3pin fan you choose. I happened to have a CM high air flow 120mm fan, so I took an old 80mm fan, gutted the fan, motor, wires, and so forth in favor of keeping the structure of the 80mm only, then slapped on a 80mm to 120mm adapter, and then a 120mm fan. You can't direct attach a 120mm fan as it does not have screws to support that. You can't slap on a 80mm to 120mm adapter directly or it will block the power/sata ports (at least, such was the case with my adapter to 120mm, so I used the frame of a 80mm fan > 80mm to 120mm adapter > 120mm fan. The drives, 5400/7200 mix are actually cool to the touch with the 120mm installed while operating.
In the case of adding SATA cables, a 90* angle SATA cable might be preferable to easier installation and less pressure against the cable when pulled or routed through the case.
I would buy it again - and will need to for a project I am working on. I would improve it though by making the on/off buttons more robust and the doors more firm.
Pros: - large, large, and more large! Allows for multiple devices/storage
- includes 3x 230mm Rosewill fans, 1x 140mm Rosewill fan, and a spot for 1x 120 or 140mm fan on the bottom near the PSU
- can swap out fans for multiple smaller options if you prefer
- 6 drive bays internally, 6 externally. If you use drive cages, you can increase the total drive storage to 16 devices (3.5" HDD) and even more 2.5" if that is your pleasure. You can also have SSDs on the very bottom or elsewhere in the case (unattached/unsecured) to add even more storage to the case.
- the drive trays support 2.5 or 3.5" HDD. Each tray has four rubber grommets to help combat drive vibration. The trays are made of metal, unlike some other case offerings from other manufacturers that are plastic who's insert/remove lock tabs tend to break if you give it too much force (due to a tight fit/heavy hard drive)
- The sides and even the top bezels are removable. Helps with installing devices
- USB 3.0, 2.0, audio, eSATA (would rather have had a SD card reader), and dual fan controls for up to three fans per dial (6 total) are on the top/front bezel. The cables for each one of these are pretty long that you can run in through the back and then in through a grommet to keep the inside looking clean. The panel lights, reset sw, power sw cables are not all the same length. some are a little shorter than others, which forced me to take a direct path to the grommet defeating an opportunity for a clean cable run, but, meh, I'll survive.
- The top bezel is like a vent that you can open or close off if you prefer with the flip of a toggle switch, also on the top of the bezel.
- Fits a standard ATX, Enchanced ATX and still has plenty of room.
- Grommet openings in the case motherboard tray, 9 in total, allows for amazing cable management and keeping the inside free and clear for air current to move across the components
- The PSU install port has a little cushioned felt around the opening to help with noise from PSU/PSU fan vibrations
- The 4 included fan cables have cable lengths that actually allow you to plug them in directly without the need for an extension cable like some other manufacturers and the fan cables are all 3pin fan headers (no molex connectors, which I appreciate) - 4 pin, pwm would have been an even nicer touch, but meh, I'll live.
- the tool-less external six drive bays feels flimsy, but it secures the devices in nicely. Despite it being tool-less, it does have holes that will allow you to further secure your devices with screws in a more permanent fashion, if you should choose to.
- The back or underside of the motherboard tray, has some spots where you can tie strap cables (you know, those metal bridge like arches)
- Liquid cooling is definitely an option with the space and configuration.
- lint filters on intake fans to keep larger particles from entering
- the feet on the bottom feel higher than other cases of this offering, giving plenty of room for PSU and bottom of the case fans to breath in air instead of sucking up carpet. Taller or shag carpets might still present a challenge, but standard carpets should be fine
Cons: - the 6 external drive ports have fins (2 on each side, front and back of the pay) to support the device installed. That's nice and all, but some drive cages don't allow for that fin. The fin is small enough that you can't bend it easily (or at all). I ended up having to use a Rotozip grinding pad to take the fins down so I could install my drive cage. My drive cage takes up 3 bays, so I had to grind down 8 fins. If you are installing single devices in the bay (optical drives, single removable drive bays, anything single bay, should work fine.
- the 6 external drive bays are VERY tight. If your device is spec'd a bit on the larger side of the standard size for an external bay (or bays) you will need some elbow grease to get it in. The fins also get in the way in this regard.
- one of the hard drive tray screws was bald - not stripped, just plain bald. Need to find out how to get a single screw replaced
- instructions are lite. If you are buying this case, and have a lot of devices, and cables to manage, it might be difficult for a beginner, but it is a great case to learn on!
Overall Review: The case is huge and perfect for what I needed. I have a home server with external drive enclosures, forcing me to get external SAS cards and multiple cases to expand storage for my current case (which was a very nice full-tower case). I saw several cases with internal and external options, but either price made me say no or manufacturer/reviews made me avoid it like the plague. I also considered some 4U rack options, but they were overly expensive in comparison. Some of the cases I review, actually, almost all of the ones I would want, were 3x the cost of this one and more. I am guilty of buying into marketing schemes and tend to want to buy from big name brands. Not saying Rosewill is not a big name, but it's not my go to, generally speaking. In this case, pun intended, I am glad I purchased it and would purchase it again too. Despite some of the Cons, I'm still giving it 5 eggs. I am able to fit 17 drives into the case. With the included four fans and 1x 140mm fan I added to the bottom (by design) I think thermals will be well controlled. I am using 2x Icydock drive cages to expand the external drive bays to hold an additional 10x 3.5" HDDs. I'm not advocating, selling, or suggesting you buy Icydock or any other brand, but in the hopes of helping you with your project, I'm telling you what I am using so that you can do the same if you'd like. Be careful. Adding all of these devices to one single case can get very heavy. If you're small or not physically inclined, try to build this where it will be installed or allow for two people to help move it. It can exceed 50lbs easily when it's stuffed full. Size is not an issue for me.
As mentioned, the external bays are a challenge to work with drive cages that don't appreciate external bay fins to help guide hold devices and I had to grind them down for my cages to install. Even then, it was a VERY tight fit, scratched up the side of my drive cage, and I had to exert massive force to get them to slide in - like enough force to bow the front of the case frame (not permanent, it returned to it's form) while exerting force to insert. Because the external bays are so exact size feeling, screw holes didn't match up exactly perfect. I had to wiggle and screw to get the drive cages secured. Again, it works, and it's one of the few times I'll be doing this during install, so I'm not knocking off eggs for that. No case is without its own challenges.
If I could change or improve anything on this case, it would be with the external drive bays. Not because there's something wrong with them, but because there was difficulty installing, for me. If you are installing single bay devices, it should be just fine for you. But multi bay devices, like drive cages, seem to be difficult to install. For me, I'd re-engineer the external drive bays for more flexibility in this regard. AGAIN, this is for me. It might be totally find for someone else. For me (here we go again), I'd make the LED and switch wires for the motherboard a tad longer to support clean cable management (most people buying a case like this aren't putting a mATX motherboard in it) so they could have been a bit longer. I'd like 4pin PWM fans installed for better control through higher end motherboards and controller. Ditch providing four tie straps. I don't know anyone who can cable manage with just 4 unless they have a single hdd and a tiny PSU. If you buy a case like this, chances are, you own a healthy supply of your own multi-sized straps. Other than that, I think everything else is perfect! As I said, I'd buy this again.
For such a long winded review and perhaps a bit over the top, I'd like to point out that I don't work for Newegg or Rosewill or anyone that would benefit financially from my review. If you see other reviews I've posted, this is just how I roll :)
Pros: - small, compact, light
- no external power requirements
- uses USB 3.0, mini-Display port to provide 2x USB 3.0, one Gigabit Ethernet port, one HDMI port, and one Display port.
- good throughput (speed over USB 3.0 and Ethernet ports)
Cons: * keep in mind, despite the cons, I didn't mark off an egg for it - I'd still buy this again, and have *
- The units get a bit warm, nothing to write home about though.
- the USB 3.0 ports aren't spaced very far apart, so installing wide USB connectors (like two fat flash drives) will only permit one to be installed without some form of cable extension. If you have slim USB flash drives (most common) or cables (which most cables are thin anyways) then you will be just fine. The space between the 2x USB 3.0 ports is about 1/4". The distance between the inner most USB 3.0 port and the Ethernet port is also about 1/4".
- sometimes, the USB 3.0 ports will hang, not sure why exactly, but happens when using HDMI, Ethernet, and 2 USB 3.0 ports while transferring large amounts of data or large files (like Gigabytes worth of data or in a single file) to a USB flash drive. Unplug one of the two USB 3.0 ports and the HDMI and it's right as rain after reinserting the device I'm trying to copy to.
- The connectors you plug into your device (USB 3.0 and mini display port) are a bit stiff. I don't feel comfortable bending them too hard, so you might need some room to plug in this device and allow the 9 3/4" cables to extend to the device.
Overall Review: ** FYI - the current description for this product on Newegg is confusing, as it shows 3x USB 3.0 ports - that's not true. It's only 2x USB 3.0 port. I am familiar with this item, so I knew what I was buying and didn't mark down an egg for that **
I bought my first one back in June of 2018. This product uses a USB 3.0 type A connector. If you don't know what a type A connector is, just think of the most typical USB 3.0 physical connector you see on a cable, or on your computer's front ports - that's a type A and you probably have it on most computers and laptops. It also uses a mini display port connection, so make sure your device has those two ports (mine is a Microsoft Surface device). I think the port on your device needs to be USB 3.0 to provide sufficient power to the unit and for speed of transfer for all of the ports the device allows. In the case of the Microsoft Surface, you only have one USB 3.0 port and one mini Display port (besides the power port of course), so you kind of need something like this device for expansion.
In exchange for giving up those vital ports, you receive a regular size Display Port, a regular size HDMI port, a Gigabit Ethernet port, and 2 USB 3.0 ports. As far as throughput in the 2x USB 3.0, HDMI, and Ethernet department, I have no complaints, it works just fine. I run a camera, printer, Internet, and external monitor (via HDMI) off of the ports and it runs smoothly, albeit a bit on the warm side. It does not require any drivers to be installed and does not require any external power. The connector wires are a bit stiff and extend out about 9 and 3/4" from the unit. The unit itself is like the size of a slim computer mouse - about 4 3/4" long, by about 3 3/8" deep (not including the cables of course), and about 1" thick in the middle (down to about 3/4" on the outsides of the unit (the top slants downwards from the middle to the sides of the unit) ).
Where the unit become slightly temperamental is when copying large file transfers to a USB 3.0 flash drive (stick). Occasionally, it will freeze up if I have HDMI, Ethernet, and 2x USB 3.0 ports occupied. So, if I unplug the Ethernet and/or HDMI, and/or 1x USB 3.0 device, it will normally proceed fine from there (have to unplug the flash drive, cancel the copy, and then start over). Maybe I should deduct an egg for that, but for what I do, the inconvenience is small and I don't use it that often for copying large file transfers, and despite that fact, I just bought a second one (this one) for a second Microsoft Surface unit.
Final note, it's SIIG - I've used their products from SATA controller cards, to USB cards/adapters, etc. I like their stuff. You might be able to find something cheaper, but at least SIIG is well known enough that I trust there equipment.
Pros: - Supports my Microsoft Surface Pro 4.
- The tripod seems sturdy enough.
Cons: - The alignment of the tablet mount lists off center a bit which is annoying and it looks a little bad and why I marked off one egg.
Overall Review: - I use this for a photobooth business. works okay except for the tablet listing off center a bit. I could probably rig something to pull on the tablet cables to help straighten it out a bit.
Pros: - Spacious inside
- Sturdy. Some (cheaper) cases creak and crack when touching or moving them. Not in this "case"...
- the PSU shroud is cool to hide cables in and keep things looking clean. PSU mounts on the bottom
- decent clearance underneath the case so you can install the PSU fan facing down (with PSU shroud, no point in installing the PSU fan facing up).
- I was missing 3 of the 6 PSU rubber feet for the case, and one of the three popped off. I emailed Phanteks. After providing an invoice, then shipped me out replacement feet at no charge. GOOD customer service, thanks.
- Case accessories include a nice case for all the screws, cable straps, and a 6-port fan hub
- The side of the case that you see the bottom of the motherboard, has cable straps installed and plenty of room to route lots of cables and hide them away
- multiple SSD mounting spots (only one bracket though, you have to order more if you use these)
- the drive cages, 2 cages, 3 drives per cage, are BOTH individually removable.
- the drive cages each support a 120mm fan to pull air through the cages from the front of the case (in addition to the 120/140 mm fan options you have in the front of the case). It doesn't seem like you can install the fans on the HDD cages prior to installing the cages. You have to install them with the cages installed.
- supports 2x 120mm, OR 2x 140mm in front, OR 1x 200mm fan on the front of the case; 2x 120mm fans on the drive cages just inside to assist in pulling air, 2x140mm, 2x120mm, or 1x200mm (with some ingenuity on the screws), 1x 140mm fan on the back, and there are even some fan options for the bottom (which I did not use). No support for fans on the case sides (not that you need them).
- GOOD support for Radiators. The case even comes with a liquid cooling reservoir mount which fits on the drive cages (replacing the 120mm fan options).
- I like the power switch/power LED lighting (white) which surrounds the power switch, and the HDD light, also white.
- Grommets in the motherboard tray allow for easy cable routing for power, SATA, and other peripheral needs
- Removable filters for the fans that can be cleaned and help prevent dust from entering the case.
- 4 external 5.25 bays, 6 internal 3.5 bays, and 4 SSD mounting points leaves PLENTY of options for usage scenarios.
- LARGE opening under the motheboard tray where your CPU installs. Helps to allow heat to move away from that area but also helps when installing CPU coolers with the motherboard installed.
Cons: - The screws seem somewhat fragile. I use a drill on lowest setting to build computers. One of the screws actually broke off under light drill load/speeds/torque. I had to drill it out after.
- not really a con, but kind of annoyance. The door on the front covering the USB 2.0/3.0/audio ports... Kind of pain during installation trying to keep that from getting bumped. I did bump it, lay down the case on it, etc, but it held up, so maybe it's not so bad. Kind of an annoyance when you want to use it. When the case sits on the floor, and you want to use the ports, the door flipped up makes you have to move back from the case or lean over like a contortionist to see the ports to install (wah, poor me I know). I still would not mark off for this.
Overall Review: - I used this case with a ASUS ROG Maximus X Code and a Zalman CNPSx14 cooler, Seasonic SSR-850TR. They fit just fine.
- I was able to remove the top HDD cage of the two so that the front 140mm can push air straight towards the bottom of the CPU cooler and the graphics card.
- 200mm in the front, 140mm in the rear included. I moved the 200mm to the top of the case (it was a rough fit, and the screws BARELY worked, except for one that could not get enough screw to hold on - kept popping out, so I went to Home Depot and bought longer screws to install this on the top). The longer screws were too long, so I had to cut them with sheetmetal cutters and some serious elbow grease.
- If you are using the PSU shroud and facing your PSU fan down to the bottom of the case, make sure you sit this on a hard surface rather than carpet to make sure you have sufficient clearance for the air flow. I get pieces of wood (like the shelves you buy at the hardware store that have that nice veneer finish) and sit cases (or case feet) on those to keep them off of the carpet.
- I moved up from an Antec 1100 (version 1) to this. I have a finite high allowance under my desk where this case would go. It was about 1/2 an inch taller than my Antec 1100 and still fits just fine.
- Installing CPU coolers with some motherboards may require you to install the CPU cooler before you install. I had the same issue with my CPU cooler and my Antec 1100 case. With the PSU moved to the bottom, you have less room on top of the motherboard. With special tools and angles to install some coolers, you have no room to get the tools and your hands inside that top corner by the back plate to secure your CPU cooler.
- This is my first Phanteks case, but I would buy it again. GREAT choice for a large tower case.
Pros: - not tall, easy to fit around large CPU coolers
- Corsair customer service (when needed)
Overall Review: - bought for my son's Gigabyte Z270 Ultra Gaming so he can do Blender projects mostly.
Pros: - I like the lighting in the motherboard - looks like something technologically advanced and out of this world.
Cons: - No PCIe x1 port between first x16 slot and CPU
Overall Review: First Gigabyte motherboard ever purchased (bought for my son). We'll see how it goes.
Pros: - Like the gray look, goes well with my ASUS ROG Maximus X Code
- memory tested just fine, no issues
- Lifetime warranty
- Good customer service (when I have used them to swap out incompatible memory)
Overall Review: - Have been using GSkill for years now, no issues.
Pros: - Love the LED features, too bad no one can see it where the case is placed...
- The armor feature is nice for the dumb things you drop while installing it. Sometimes, the armor can get in the way, but it's not bad at all
- the re-enforced PCIe x16 ports are great for big graphics cards.
- The software is great - it's less manual which I don't like - just put in the CD, check the boxes for what you want to install (drivers/software) and away it goes.
- Plenty of Fan Headers for non-liquid cooling options, including a high amp fan header (can be used with non-high amp fans if you wish)
- Plenty of headers for liquid cooling (fans, flow, radiators)
Cons: - the m.2_2 slot has a riser board that you use and it sticks straight up. Kind of annoying, but not marking off for that.
- the m.2_1 slot if used as sata instead of PCIe disables sata port 1
- the m.2_2 slot if used as PCIe instead of SATA, disables SATA ports 5 and 6.
- Because I used NVMe, I could not use Optane without losing two sata ports. On this motherboard, it forced me to use one or the other and I needed all six of my SATA ports to be enabled. I think other motherboards from ASUS and other vendors also suffer from the same drawback. It's a chipset issue I think.
Putting in 1 or 2 screws can be tricky with the armor, but perseverance pays off. A slightly magnetic screw driver with a long shaft would be helpful in this situation.
Overall Review: - I've used ASUS for years. Customer service has been great (for me, when I've needed them).
- This is my first ROG board. I bought it mainly for the stability of the platform for the use of overclocking WHICH-I-NEVER-DO...
- I also bought it for all the FAN headers which most other motherboards seem to lack (before I discovered that they now sell 4 pin PWM Fan hubs (I have a Silverstone 8 port). But even so, I'd still have bought this for reviewers that claimed the voltage and power stability of this motherboard is top notch.
Pros: - Easy setup
- clean looks
- Cooler Master
Cons: - on a i7-7700K, works fine stock speeds. Overclock and this fails. I know it's not a bulky giant cooler, but you'd think with two fans and a large case with multiple inputs in could manage it better. Maybe this is my problem.
Overall Review: - if you are going stock speeds, no overclocking, this will be a great replacement to any stock fans.
Pros: - takes pressure off of the VGA power port when you have tightly wound/bound PSU cables
Cons: - not work an egg, but if cable management and reducing clutter is a goal of yours, the extensions can't make this a bit challenging (because of the bulk of the connector to your PSU cable.
Overall Review: - I used this with a Seasonic SSR-850TR, no issues - should be a universal cable anyways.
Pros: - Perfect Extension, looks nice
Cons: - The cable combs are SUPER fragile. I broke two of them.
Pros: - came with two length cables - a short and a long
Cons: - None (but see below)
Overall Review: - BE CAREFUL of the orientation, as others may have mentioned. If you are using a riser setup, then this will be fine. If you are using this to move a card to another spot in the case, then the configuration of the cable/ports assume you will install this towards the bottom of the motherboard (away from the cpu) and wire the cable towards the top of the motherboard (towards the CPU). Most motherboards numerate their PCIe ports starting at 1 (nearest the processor) and they increment as they move away from. So another way to say this is that if you have 3 PCIe x1, this card assumes you might install it in PCIe x1_3 or pcie x1_2 and install the card somewhere towards PCIe x1_1. That would be fine, however, you can't install any cards TOWARDS the cpu because the motherboard is there. This card wouldn't sit right on the motherboard and latch into the case properly. So, basically, what I am trying to say is that if you are using this to move a card elsewhere in a standared, non-riser case, you may find it difficult based on the orientation of the pins/cable/ports. To make it work, you would have to flip the cable/port, or wrap it around somehow to an open slot on your standard case. Again, if you have a riser setup, should not be an issue. I didn't mark off because this extension was meant for a riser setup. The fact that I tried to use it differently is not the product's fault.