Assembly and Installation – Part 1
Since the Danger Den Black Series Tower 21 case comes completely disassembled, we are consolidating the internal/external overview of the case and installation portions of our review. During the assembly process, we will outline some of the key features of the case and discuss some of the case’s benefits and issues at the same time. Here’s the hardware list of what we installed in the Black Series Tower 21 for the review:
- Motherboard: Gigabyte X58A-UD3R LGA 1366
- Processor: Intel i7-920 LGA 1366
- Graphics: MSI GTX 460 1GB x 2 (SLI)
- CPU watercooling: Coolit Systems ECO A.L.C. (Note: I didn’t have a Danger Den watercooling setup available or I definitely would have used one during this review. They make high performance watercooling systems that are some of the best in the business.)
- Memory: Crucial 6GB Ballistix (3x2GB) DDR3-1600
- SSD: Western Digital 128GB SiliconEdge Blue SATA
- Power supply: Corsair 750W
- Optical bay: Lite-On DVD Burner
We layed out all the parts and accessories to ensure we had everything we needed to build the Black Series Tower 21. Every acrylic piece is wrapped to ensure nothing gets scratched or damaged. We’ll pull away the wrapping at different stages of the build and used the provided gloves to ensure none of the acrylic got our fingerprints on them. The entire case is put together using screws and nuts so there will be a lot of manual labor involved during the initial build of this case.
The first step in the build process is to attach the left and right side panels to the front panel of the case. This involves six screws and six nuts, but Danger Den included silver ones instead of black. I would have liked the screws and nuts to make the design of the case better. You can also see Danger Den only made room for one optical bay, which is a bit disappointing because this form factor looks like it could have accommodated at least two optical bays.
Here’s what the case looks like after attaching the side panels to the front panel. Notice we left on most of the wrapping around each panel to ensure we didn’t scratch anything during the build process.
We moved on to the back panel where we had to attach this bracket above for the hard drive bay. The hard drive bay can hold up to three 3.5″ devices. Danger Den didn’t include any mounting brackets for 2.5″ solid state drives, which has become a standard piece of hardware for enthusiasts and high-end users.
The next item to install was the PCI and I/O bracket to the back panel. We used nine screws to attach the bracket to the acrylic back panel. I’m not sure why they chose to go with an external bracket versus building the I/O backplate and PCI slots into the acrylic on the back panel itself. It seems to me that the dimensions of those components wouldn’t change much.
Before we can attach the back panel to the overall chassis, we had to install a small mounting bracket at the top of the case for the power supply. Putting the PSU at the top of the case is a bit “old school” in my opinion and they didn’t include any exhaust holes at the top of the case for the heat generated by the PSU. In fact, there are no blowholes or fans of any kind on the top panel of the Black Series 21.
After attaching the PSU bracket, we used six screws and six bolts to attach the back panel to finish the basic frame of the case. I also removed some of the wrapping because I wouldn’t have access to it after I installed the back panel. The clear and black acrylic looks fantastic together and very classy.
I moved on to attached the top and bottom panels of the chassis using 12 screws and 12 bolts. Both panels are identical, but the bottom panel has four holes to mount the rubber case feet using four screws. Both of these panels are very shiny, but don’t have any mounting holes for any case fans. I think they chose beauty over functionality when they decided against adding these features to the Black Series Tower 21.
Here’s a quick shot of the top panel. You’ll notice there are no mounting holes for exhaust fans, which is highly desired when you have lots of expensive hardware that exhaust a fair amount of heat.
I moved on to the interior of the case and secured all nine motherboard standoffs to the chassis. This case supports all modern ATX form factors except E-ATX.
I attached this small mounting bracket to the top of the case, which will allow us to install one 5.25″ optical device.
Here’s a close-up of how Danger Den created a unique system to that uses screws and nuts to attach everything to the case. These small holes in the acrylic fit small nuts so they don’t turn when you use screws to attach the front and side panels. This is a very functional design so you don’t have to use a set of pliers or other hardware to hold the nut in place when you are securing the screws.