The first thing I noticed was the shine right through the poly wrapping. I also noticed that the internal case temp was visible right when you opened the box. I don't know what about this was so impressive, maybe it was just that as you open the box it is apparent that it's already functioning...
It comes out of the box well protected and with regular feet installed. An excellent assortment of screws in a handy plastic box. I used the wheels, but the feet are of good quality also. I don't know why they are gold toned when the rest of the case is chrome. I also added the purple handles and screws. (My wife's favorite color. Maybe she won't notice the big "ding" in the bank account.)
Ok let's tour the outside. Keep in mind I put these purple accessories on and they don't come with the case. The first thing that strikes you is the incredible shine. The Plexiglas front is professionally done, meaning the edges have been properly flamed to make the cuts crystal clear. There is a lot of computer manufacturing going on here, either laser cut, laser drilled and/or in combination of auto punched. Everything lines up perfectly.
The side window that comes with this unit is flush with the case too. Not like others that are cut and placed inside with rivets or gaskets. From the outside you can't tell how it is attached; only that it is flush and perfectly matched. What Enermax did was router cut a 2.0 mm recess in the edge of the Plexiglas. The side panel is 2.0 mm aluminum and the window looks like 4 mm. Once in place, a bead of silicone holds it there.
The front is equipped with front access to USB, sound, and FireWire. It seems that most front mount accessories currently provide this feature. What I am struggling with is trying to stay away from having 12 USB and 4 firewire ports on the front of my machine. Donít get too excited about the Audigy EX black mounted internal, it voids your Creative Audigy warranty. This is another mod; if youíre interested write me, and I may do a review on it as well.
The back, aside from very tight tolerances, is pretty normal except for the handle on the motherboard tray. It has some small screws holding it in place, one discrepancy from the specs, they put thumbscrews and motherboard tray in the same sentence. I took these out and tapped the holes to 6-32 for my purple thumb screws. (my wife loves purple) The bay covers on the front are painted just as well as the case. The 3 Ĺ bays can be set either flush with the plexi or recessed flush with the VR and temp read out. The 5 ľ can only be mounted flush with the plexi. It comes missing one of each size bay covers. I presume they assume youíll put in at least one of each. This was the last time Iíll build a case with a 3 Ĺ floppy drive. I havenít used it yet and probably never will. On some pictures youíll notice I put the floppy drive in upside down. Donít write and tell me, it's already fixed.
When you get inside you find an easy to place temp sensor you can position any place you want. I suppose you can attach it directly to the underside of your CPU. I put mine up high out of the way to measure the rising hot air inside the case. The black Digital Doc will augment this later.
I thought this case was black. Well it is and it isnít. Having only worked on this thing in my den I hadnít noticed the metallic paint. I walked by the front door with it and a ray of light from outside hit it. I had to take it outside to take a close-up of the beautiful paint job. You can use Turtle Wax on this thing.