It’s been two and a half years since I last built a new PC. At the time I speculated that, having beefed up quite a bit on the components, I could get three years out of it. Turns out I was half-right – it’s still in service now and would easily make it to the three-year mark, but it’ll probably blow right past that. It handled Deus Ex: Human Revolution and a couple of other newer games this year without too much trouble, and handles the demands I put on it for work just fine as well.
Still, I’m in a position to be able to upgrade and can conceivably play the “graduation/Christmas present to myself” card right now, so here we are. The first shipment showed up in the mail over the weekend, with the remainder on its way in tomorrow. So here are a few pictures of the case to start.
A look at the front and left panel of the case. I picked this one because it’s one of the few cases left in the world that doesn’t look like a UFO just landed. No multicolored lights, no weird designs. Just solid black with straight edges. It’s also lighter than I expected, too – much more so than the Antec Sonata 550 I used in 2009. The Sonata itself was also pretty understated – solid colors, nothing flashy – but it’s also not big enough on the inside for the newer full-sized graphics cards.
The right panel and rear. Not a huge fan of the window in the side of the case, but it’s not that big of a deal. Notice the latches on the top of the panel. The case uses a latching system to keep the panels on, rather than screws. That makes it a lot easier to get in for maintenance. On the rear are a couple holes for water cooling systems, a hole in the top-left for running USB 3.0 cables out of (in case you can’t plug some front-panel USB 3.0 ports directly in on the board), and the power supply is mounted at the bottom for better control over the heat.
Here’s the case with the panel pulled off. There is an insane amount of room in here, so everything will go in comfortably. There is a generous-sized cutout for backplates in case someone plans to install a heftier heatsink-fan over the CPU, along with a number of circular rubber cutouts used for threading cabling out of the way of airflow. (In other words, the cable from the hard drive to the motherboard would disappear behind the panel and pop up in the cutout closest to where it would go on the board.)
A closeup on the cutouts. Some of them will only be available when you use smaller motherboards (notice the posts sticking up in the middle, that’s where the board would be mounted), but there are still plenty to go around for the larger varieties.
A closeup on the 3.5″ drive bays. Each tray is flexible and snaps around the drive, then slides and locks into the bay. Between this and the latches on the outside, Corsair did a really nice job of making most builds with this case a screwless effort. Having said that, for 2.5″ drives, particularly solid state drives, there are a couple of screw holes that you must use to secure them. The top cage can be relocated in case you need the extra clearance for a really long expansion card.
The front and top panels. The front panel flips down to reveal a reset switch, firewire, two USB 2.0 ports, headphone and microphone jacks, and two USB 3.0 ports. The cabling behind the USB 3.0 ports is long enough to go out the back of the case (through that hole in the upper-left) to be plugged into the rear USB 3.0 ports on the motherboards in the event that the board doesn’t have a lead you can plug directly into. The top panel slides back to reveal SATA connectivity. You can either plug a 2.5″ drive in, or the notch on the left side pushes down to support a 3.5″ drive as well. This may come in handy as a dock.
More to come tomorrow.