AZZA Solano 1000
We used some of the largest parts around to test how well the AZZA Solano 1000 could handle them. The graphics card that we used is a whopping 11.5 inches long, and had no problems fitting into the case. In fact, there was actually room for a larger workstation card, which is a bonus to any of you who do a lot of rendering and design work. The power supply was a snug fit, seeing as how it is longer than most standard power supplies, and didn’t leave us with much room for the cables to be plugged in. If you have a regular sized PSU, this should not pose a problem.
However, despite the fact that most of our components fit, our CoolIT Systems Freezone Elite did not fit as intended. Or rather, it fit just fine but blocked the installation of the side panel because of the positioning of the 230mm side intake fan. Seeing as how this unit sticks out as far as many tower style processor heatsinks, make sure that you are going to have enough room to get the side panel back on when deciding on which heatsink to use. This would also prohibit the use of an internally mounted radiator for you water cooling fans out there.
Mounting the hard drives was fairly straight forward. We removed the four thumbscrews from each side of the drive rack, and slid out the HDD cage. Drives are then installed via screws that are provided in the accessories package. Be careful when sliding the cage back into the rack, even with the cage positioned correctly according to the “this end up” printed on the top, the cages can be a bit tricky to get re-secured. We had to remove the cage about four times to finally get the cage into the exact position needed for the thumbscrews to correctly fit, without having to torque them in.
Installation of a DVD drive is not the most user friendly design we’ve encountered either. To remove one of the 5.25 inch bay shields, you must first remove the front bezel completely. Once removed, we found that each of the shields is held in place by tabs that lock them into place, and there are also holes provided to screw them down as well. After removing the shield, replace the front bezel, and install your devise. Instead of thumbscrews though, there are additional screws provided to secure your drive into place, which we feel detracts from the look presented by the HDD cages.
Despite the fact that we would have loved to have tested the cooling potential of the Solano 1000, we could not get the side panel back on due to lack of another method of cooling the processor available at the time. But since we are briefly speaking of the cooling system, we feel that it should also be noted that the power connectors for all five of the included fans only have dual-sided molex connectors. We would have like to have seen three or four pin connectors available to allow the motherboard to control the speed of our fans.