Wow, never thought I’d wind up having to do such an in-depth review on such a small case, but there it is. At the end of the day, frankly I am left with generally good impressions of this case. For all of its foibles and intricacies, as an advanced system builder, I haven’t had this much fun putting a computer together in a long time: so much to learn, so much to consider, and so much possibility within such a small form factor. True there are some structural rigidity issues to sort out, a CPU cutout that needs to be made functionally useful, and a total lack of cable management to work around, but really none of these hurdles are anything that’s a deal breaker here. Plus the modding potential:
You could easily house a 120mm or 240mm radiator of standard 25-30mm thickness with a single set of fans in this case, possibly two fans if you opted for super slim units like the ones SilverStone just released. a 240mm radiator is ample surface area to cool a CPU and GPU with mild overclocks, which is nothing more than a system like this realistically needs.
If you were feeling so inclined to do a fully watercooled loop in this case, you then also have the opportunity to get creative with the side panels: the mesh openings where the CPU heat sink and GPU are supposed to breathe, suddenly become moot since all you need is the mesh for the radiator and the perforated roof and floor to get air into the rad fans. You could then cut out the areas on the panels that sit in front of your CPU and GPU, cut openings in them and potentially mount some acrylic in its place, allowing you to see all of that beautiful hardware inside.
Even if you decide to stick with just air cooled parts here, recoloring and customizing the case is made a breeze thanks in no small part to the easily removed mesh and front panel LEDs. Simply stop in at your local Radio Shack for some appropriately sized LEDs in the color of your choosing (or purchase them pre-wired online), get some auto body quality spray paint, and go to town.
At the time of this writing, this case can be had for $60 USD at Newegg with an additional rebate for $20 back. At that price, you are hard pressed to find any other case in this form factor that has the accommodations that this one does. True, the price point reflects some of the build quality issues, but again it’s nothing that would keep me from recommending this case to anyone looking to build a sporty-looking ITX system. It will fit damn near anywhere you want it to fit, hold damn near any hardware config you would want in this form factor, and is readily customize-able and doesn’t leave your wallet crying for mercy. Hands down this gets the PureOC Great Hardware award, though it honestly just missed Editor’s Choice!
Azza Z (CSAZ-103)
Big thanks to Azza for sending in the review sample, and as always feel free to discuss this and other PC related topics in our forums. An extra special thanks goes out to a personal friend of mine who allowed me to use his hardware to do a proper review of this case. He’s thoroughly enjoying the build and can’t wait for me to help him do some mods on it!