Here's the spec:
Dimension (W / H / D)
5.25" Drive Bay
3.5" Drive Bay
2.5" SATA HDD Drive Bay
Appearance: Aluminium & Polymer, Case body: Steel Alloy
240 x 207.4 x 401.4mm
3.3 kg / 7.3 lb
4 (internal, converted from two 3.5" bays)
USB 3.0 x 1 (internal), USB 2.0 x 2, Mic x 1, Audio x 1
Front 120x25mm, HDD 120x25mm (optional), side 80x15mm
Standard ATX PS2
VGA card length: 343.0 mm, CPU cooler height: 65.0 mm
As you can see on the right we have 1 USB 3.0 ports along with the reset button, power button and the power & activity LED's. For many people the buttons are a big deal, me being one of them. They can either have too much or too little travel before clicking or be too wobbly or something. These buttons have a good amount of travel, maybe not enough for it too be perfect but overall I couldn't complain.
As shown in both the photo's on the right, the intakes for the front 120mm fan are all around the aluminium face plate. You will also notice that the front fascia is removable without the hassle of attached cables. I can't fault the front panel in any way really but remember aluminium stains easily(top right).
A few things I like about the front section are: starting with the 5.25" bay cover, the aluminium isn't just a plate but it is actually curved around the edges for a smoother finish on the front. This is essentially much harder to do than just punch out a rectangle and stick it to a plastic bay cover but it gives that final touch that compliments the rest of the front fascia nicely.
Finally we have the fact that the audio jacks and USB 2.0 jacks are modular. This is not a special feature by any stretch of the imagination but in an ITX build, one unnecessary cable could be the difference between perfection and disaster. If the system is going to be for a HTPC and doesn't need front panel audio, this is a great way to remove unwanted extra cables.
The next thing I liked was the fact that it was so easy to remove the I/O sections from the rest of the chassis. Granted the right side was a little hard than the left but they were both still relatively easy to remove with just a single clip on the inside of the case. Why is this important to me? well when building your system, nothing is more annoying than cables all over the place. Especially in an ITX.
The internal cooling designs for us were both love and hate at the same time. While we loved the simplicity of adding the second 120mm fan, the 80mm part was disastrous. Say goodbye to any 25mm standard thickness 80mm fan, this only fits around 22/23mm thick fans. Heart-wrenchingly close. Would 3mm extra thickness have hurt anything? not to mention the s**t fan.
The last few Points I want to make is that the case will fit 34.3cm GPU's and so if you were to fit a powerful graphics card, SFX PSU's just don't cut it. Making the ATX power supply a welcomed feature for this case. To add to this if you were to put your power supply fan down, you could do what many other cases have done and use a top down cooler without a fan, using the PSU fan to exhaust the hot air.
Ventilation is actually quite good in this system and ties in quite nicely with the graphics card size capabilities and the full size PSU mount. I could see a pretty powerful system being put in here and running somewhat cool, maybe...
It does however not feature any form of filtering so stock up on compressed air.
The system fits 65mm high cpu coolers, the Noctua NH-L12 is 66.
I will leave it up to you to decide whether you want to take the risk to fit a high performing heatsink in here that can be fanless using just the fan from the power supply when mounted fan down.
Storage is also on the good side with 3 bays and 2 adaptors for 2.5" drives. The full 5.25" bay also gives you a number of options you wouldn't have been able to have with a slimline or slot loading drive bay. My only gripe with this section is I really do feel that the storage good have actually been improved to fit more in, even if they were to put some sort of extra mounting options in the 5.25" section.
The limitation with the side fan, the overall low-ish cooler height and the next to no water cooling potential lead me to feel like it was almost like 2 completely different people designed different parts of the system. One the one half the case features exactly what the customer wants, but on the other half it falls just short from the finish line to put it simply.
I think, had the case been almost exactly 2mm bigger in every dimension, I think I could have happily seen myself using this as my personal case for in it I see huge potential, It's just not ready yet.
But then I look at the price. While price does not change anything about the case itself, it does change the way you look at things. You see most the faults you find in this case, you find in other ITX cases that are 3 to 4 times the price. What this means for the verdict is that although it wont change the rating we give this case, the value of it far exceeds what we would have given it with a single glance. All in all, this case has its good points and it has its bad points, but for the price you cant go wrong and so this case just wins the Bronze award for its 15/20 total.