Inside the Case Part I

The removable front panel/door assembly is secured with a pair of sturdy clips on either side (which held up well during use), and there is a SATA power connector attached at the bottom to provide juice for the lighting system. 

We see that the optical drive cover is held in place with a clip on either side. I must note here that these clips nearly broke off as the drive cover was removed. They don't seem to be designed to hold up to repeated use (nor should they necessarily be). If you intend to install an optical drive with your build, that cover likely won’t ever be used – or seen – again (forever lost in the sea of spare parts).

Additionally, for optical drive installation there is a rather old-school metal punch-out on the frame, though this is designed to be reattached with two screws if desired.

Tonight we're going to break metal with our bare hands…like it's 1999.

The optical drive lines up smoothly and feels solid after installation. The internal 5.25" mount is very shallow, but this did not pose any issue.

Looking at the top of the enclosure we see a mesh cover which is just about 240mm wide. (Hmm…)

This cover lifts off easily after sliding the latch, and sure enough, beneath we see dual 120mm fan mounts! This case should easily support 240mm radiators, and we’ll check this out during the build. Looking around to the back, we see that the doors are secured with two thumbscrews each, and attention was paid to this small detail as well.

The screws are actually nicely constructed from steel and plastic – not just the typical (and easily stripped) metal thumbscrews found on most cases – and they work smoothly. I would always prefer a latch of some kind, at least for the access door, but in this price range I was not expecting it.

Side Panel I/O
The side panels are nicely constructed and feel fairly rigid, as they are reinforced due to the addition of the white plastic trim running through each of them. The front lighting system is carried over to both sides with light bars concealed within this trim on each door. Unfortunately, in removing the side panels I ran into a design choice that might be controversial. The side panel I/O on this enclosure contains not just the USB 3.0 and HD Audio, but has the typical front panel switch connections as well.

The power and reset buttons, as well as power and hard drive LED’s, are on this side panel together.

This wouldn’t be much of an issue if this case didn’t employ an inverted motherboard design. As it is, the side panel that must be removed to access anything inside is connected with an assortment of wires to your motherboard. There is adequate length to the I/O cables to allow the door to be placed flat next to the case, and you will just need adequate workspace to get to your system’s internals. Note: When building with mini-ITX the side I/O is less of an issue since the I/O headers on the board will be much closer to the bottom of the case with the smaller form factor, as this inverted design positions the headers near the top of the case with a micro-ATX board.

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