To start installing any components, you’ll have to remove both sets of screws for the top panel (two rear thumb screws, two front screws).
Now the best place to start would be the hard discs, that’ll require you to remove the hard disc cage.
You then have to screw the screw and grommet combination into the drive holes, and then slot the hard disc into the cage. This takes seconds to do, but isn’t as fast or as easy as other tool-less designs that I’ve used. However, this method does allow for vibration reduction which I’ve yet to see implemented successfully on a tool-less drive bay.
For those who like to waltz along to LAN parties, or just carry their PC around a lot, you can secure the hard discs in place with another screw which negates the vibration mounts.
The 5.25” bays were next, and all you have to do is undo the screw holding the cage in place, remove the bay cover and slot your drive into place. Using the four provided screws, you can have the drive fastened and in place within a few minutes. Replacing the cage is easy, and with a little adjustment the front of your DVD drive will sit flush with the C32 facia.
Motherboard and add-in cards
Next up was the motherboard. This isn’t a massive undertaking and once you’ve popped in your model-specific blanking plate, the motherboard installation is a simple case of lining up the mounting holes and fastening the supplied screws.
Now its time for the add-in cards. These will require you to remove one of the PCI blanking plates at the rear which are held in place with thumbscrews. These are easily removed and the thumbscrew is reused for holding your add-in card in place. This allows for quick, tool-less access, although there are faster alternatives.
8800 Ultra to fit into the case, but it will conflict with the fans. In fact, even with an AGP x1950PRO there was a conflict as the power is supplied by twin molex’s which are sited at the back. When your power supply is plugged into it, there isn’t enough room for both them and the fan behind. Instead, you have to shunt up the lower fan so that there is nothing in the way. This lowers the cooling potential on the GPU section of your motherboard, but if that’s an issue, you can get the optional 14cm fan module for the top panel.
The power supply was next on the check list, and is again easy to install. All you do is remove the four thumbscrews that hold the shroud in place on the back of the case. Now screw this to your power supply, and slot it back into the case and put the four thumbscrews back in.
Connecting up all of the power supply plugs to the motherboard and other devices was easy to do and there is plenty of space for all of the wiring. However, there isn’t anywhere hidden (i.e. behind the drive bays etc.) where you can put surplus cables. This means that even the tidiest DIYer will have visible wires, so it’s a good idea to get a modular power supply.
In order to provide a comparative review of the thermal design of this case, I’ll be using the same test setup as the NZXT Apollo (3.2Ghz Northwood, Sapphire X1950Pro and 1GB of RAM). However, the huge cooler that is mounted on the board, a Noctua NH-U12 no less, is too high for the case. Not to be put off, I simply removed the plate in the top panel designed for the additional fan module. Now the offending top heatpipes poked out of the case, but it fitted.
While the Noctua cooler is far from ordinary in its height, it goes to show that you should be careful about which heatsink you choose. In order to allow sufficient airflow over the top of the heatsink, I wouldn’t use anything over 13cm high.
If you want to use this case in a rack environment, then you’ll need to install the two handles which go either side of the facia and require three screws to be fully secure.
The handles themselves stand out from the rest of the black coloured case due to their contrast, and are big enough for you to easily get your fingers around.