Sunday, August 22, 2010

Birthday Build – A Case for Cases

We have officially begun the Birthday Build. 

I did a long and arduous search for the perfect computer chassis.  Unfortunately, I found out that there isn’t one.  There are only cases that meet some needs, but are weak in other areas.

My list of needs/wants

  • Support Water Cooling well
  • Support New larger XL-ATX motherboards
  • Cable Management
  • Lots of Bays
  • Blingable

What I came up with was the Cooler Master HAF X

The only down side to this case is that it is very industrial looking.  So, it’s more difficult to pimp out this rig.  Notice the side casing has a huge fan on it where you would normally have plexiglass.  That will be something to work on when we get to the bling stage.  The fan is excellent if you going for a completely air cooled system.  And, if you are only water cooling the CPU, this is an excellent addition for keeping the video cards cool with a possibly reduced air flow caused by radiator implementations.  But, if you are going %100 water cooled, you don’t need or want that fan.  Which takes us back to the “no perfect case” problem.  But, as you will see as we build this thing out, the overall feature set of this case is phenomenal.

Looking inside you can see just how spacious the case is.  Notice the bundle of blue and red wires coming through.  That is a great indicator of the cable management features of this case.  There is a recess behind the grommets.  The majority of the cable runs can be hidden behind the plate.  This does two things.  #1: It keeps the cables out of the air flow.  This is very important for high end systems that produce a lot of heat.  #2: It makes the system look really clean when you are going for a good looking system.  Since we are going for both 1 and 2, this case is a great choice.

The case has support for USB-3 and eSATA to the front console.  It has two hot swap bays.  Device cables are very accessible even after installation.  All these things add up to one killer case.

Taylor’s major contribution to this decision is that she really digs the fan that you see on edge at the bottom right of this picture.  It’s the clear plastic piece. To give some sense of the size of the case, that fan is humongous 230mm (9”).  When you turn the case on, it glows red and/or can be set to flash.  BLING!

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