Smooth Creations LanShark
The Fins: Exterior
Now, having a background in design and taken my fair share of many art courses in my day, I can appreciate fine quality workmanship and talent when I see it, regardless of the subject material. This case is really top notch work; the detailing is excellent, the airbrush work is clear with no bleeding or careless edges, and they’ve done a fine job of preventing any overspray. Overspray on a clear acrylic case is not a good thing, it looks bad and it’s a pain in the butt to clean. The finish on the exterior is actually not exclusively airbrushed, they have used a candy dye for the large solid blue (water) areas on the inside of the case. This does give a sharp contrast to the softer edges of the airbrush work on the outside. I did scratch (with a fingernail, mind you) the airbrushed areas, and I can verify that it is scratch-resistant. It looks like some clearcoat may have been applied to protect the surfaces. The finish on the case is exceptional, with a real depth that is visible. The artwork is featured on both side panels of the case, with similar but reversed images displayed on the left and right sides.
At the rear of the case we see a top-mounted power supply and custom-cut venting slots. The only unusual thing here is the rear I/O shield doesn’t fully match the motherboard, and I’m not quite sure why. It has extra holes where there are no LAN ports, for example. This isn’t really a big deal, but it’s just a bit of a head-scratcher. The bottom of the case does feature rubber feet, so no worries about scraping your case along the floor if you move it around between LAN parties.
Being a micro case, the LanShark is not very big, but it is fully featured with all the accoutrements you’d need and expect in a solid gaming rig. The front of the case features a single 5.25" drive bay (with an optical drive already installed) and no external 3.5" bays. The on/off button is a beautiful chrome housing and depresses very nicely with a solid "click". There is no Reset switch, however, which is a bit odd. I know I use a reset button on occasion when I get the rare lock-up. The front of the LanShark features 2 – 120mm intake fans which will improve airflow through the case. The top front fan intakes into the CoolIT Pure radiator (more on that in a few minutes), and the lower front fan intakes directly across the graphics card where it’s most needed.
There is one issue here with these intake fans worth noting: they have no fan guards. While I understand the aesthetic considerations of the custom "SC" carved into the acrylic (and I do appreciate the consistency of style here), you can have a serious problem if you happen to accidentally get your finger into one of those fan intakes. Of paramount consideration in design is that form follows function, and style should never trump safety. I do think that a cutout of modder’s mesh, painted blue and mounted to the inside of the case and in front of the fan, could easily solve this issue though. It would look good, wouldn’t impede airflow, and would avoid any mishaps that could occur as well. So just a note to Smooth Creations: something to consider there.
For any of you who have possibly ventured into the realm of case modding, or perhaps are somewhat experienced with machining will know that fabricating a custom clear plexi case is no easy feat. It is fraught with such small tolerances, ensuring everything has a perfect fit. There is no room for error because everything shows on a clear case, you simply cannot hide any mistakes. Smooth Creations has done a superb job on this front, the bevelled edges meet absolutely perfectly; no gaps, no overlaps, no rough edges or burrs on the finish. Simply sublime.
Let’s open this shark and see what’s inside….