The case will accomodate any size expansion cards with room for extra. It’s truly towering, however no support mechanisms are provided for longer cards.
All of the drive bays are tool free. In fact, just about everything in this case is tool free; with exception of mounting motherboard stand-offs, and 2.5″ drives are screwed into the drive carriers.
Installing and Testing:
This is where the chasis really starts to shine. I have built a machine so quickly, and easily such as this one. The massive space you are working with, and the solid engineering of all of the components is really exceptional. The panels, bays, everything; is quite rigid. There is no flex, no play, no “is it all the way in” in this case. The included hardware kit provided with this case has every type of screw imaginable. They also come in individually resealable zip lock bags, with screw number identified and matchable to the install guide. Locating the preferred screw for any section of the build was quick and pain free. There was not a single bad tap on this hardware, every screw fit with surgical precision. I really have not had that happen to me before; even with higher end cases.
For stand off’s, they included an odd accessory. It looked like a philips head thumb screw at first, but had a hex cut out on the inner side. At first, I believed this was a packaging mistake. Upon glancing at the manual for motherboard installation I realized this was included to tighten the stand offs. This is a low cost alternative to throwing in a socket driver, or anticipating the builder has one. And it’s brilliant! It was again a testamant to the thoughtfullness of the completed package. There are included motherboard screws, in black; they are not thumb screws. This surprised me as everything else is tool free.
I’ll make a confession. I’m a messy case innard guy. I’ve never cared for the window on cases as my cases are typically a hot mess of cables dangling or a knot somewhere under the CPU cooler held together with a twist tie. I do this as I often make changes, and don’t often walk around with side cutters to cut zip ties. This case has forever changed my cable management ways. The rubber pass through mounting holes surrounding the mobo tray, allow you to pass all of the mess to the outer side of the motherboard tray, and back through where it belongs connected. For me, this results in the absolute cleanest installation I have ever done. Hell, it looks better than a lot of the guys that take it seriously. This completely un-restricts airflow so the big lumbering fans can work effectively, and it looks cool.
5.25″ Optical? No sweat! Remove the faceplace with your thumbnail easily, push in the drive locking mechanism, slide the drive in. Reverse those steps to complete, and you have a brilliant white faceplate (included) installed atop your optical and locked in place in under 20 seconds. I’ve never mounted a drive so quickly. The 3.5″, not as easily done. The carrier has four pins mounted in rubberized gaskets. I had difficulty getting the first drive mounted in one of these carriers as the pins are a bit snug, and can be removed so it’s semi non intuitive. A quick glance at the installation guide telling me I was doing it correctly gave me the confidence to force them in, and after the learning curve they went easier. There is also a removable 3.5″ bay that is a hot pluggable design should you go that route. I loved the fact that the drive bays could be completely removed should you want to, and they have an integrated fan with an adjustable angle to push hot air upward. If you plan to run all six drives, buy an additional 140mm fan for the bottom drive carrier.
They included zip ties, but only the most anal of installers will even need them. The cable management ports on the motherboard tray more than allow for clean routing of all cables in the machine. There are zip tie mounts on either side of the tray allowing for an ultra clean installation should you go that route.
VGA/Accessory cards are all individual release slots. All slots are secured by thumb screws. Nothing too fancy, just a classy black mesh on white case mount.
The installed front panel IO is fairly standard, noting it supports USB2 or 3. What was not standard, was the fact it has a good old fashioned reset switch. Oh how I miss these. In addition there is an additional button, with difficult to decipher use. Thankfully it was on when I powered up the machine and a lightbulb went off. Literally, there are lights in the back of the machine to facilitate plugging in your cables. This is actually INCREDIBLY useful in my office environment, and would be even more so in an industrial environment. I have only ever seen this on rackmount hardware, and it’s fantastic.
PDU for fans. I tend to look at this as an all or nothing type machine, including the fan block to link up to 8 fans works. An integrated fan controller would have been nice for a machine in this price range to ratchet down the idle noise, and it’s largely the only thing I can find missing on this machine.