Coolermaster ATCS840 Case ReviewZertz - November 20, 2008
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With the front panel off, the impressive spaciness of the ATCS 840 reaches another level. Here's where the accessories seen on the first page came from. Both box are attached so they can't move at all during shipping. The one on top, right below the top fan sits on what can be used as the power supply rail. The panel on the back actually has to be screwed off before the box can be taken out of its prison. Now that those two are out of the way, I can move to the case's hardware. Coolermaster included a nifty sheet with mounting holes for micro ATX, ATX and Extended ATX, all of which are clearly labeled.
Remember that handle on the back of the case pictured a few pages back? Whether you do or not, I can tell you they didn't just stick it there for fun. They made the motherboard tray removable like a few other high end enclosures now feature, which makes motherboard and add in cards installation much easier to accomplish. The tray is easily slid in and out on the rails, thanks to the significant amount of ball bearings. Some grease would help, however it would be way too messy. Heatsink assembly is also made much less of a hassle thanks to the large hole they cut out. So there is no need to take the board out of the case to install a new cooler, saving time and possibly frustration. This makes the whole building experience much more pleasant.
There is enough space to fit a generous number of drives - six 3.5 inch hard drives and five 5.25 inch bays for optical drives, a small water cooling unit, and a fan controller or whatever you wish to use the drive bays for. There's also a spot for the undying floppy disk drive. Tool less designs are another feature case manufacturers like to brag about these days and it's also something computer builders enjoy. No need to search for that screw you dropped on the carpet, simply clip the hardware in and call it a day. Coolermaster is no exception and its implementation is well done and easy to use. Optical drives simply need to be pushed in, lined up with the pins and with the push of a button, the drive is now locked into placed. The button works like a toggle switch, so unlocking it is done by pressing the button once more. Hard drives need to be inserted into the tray at an angle so one side has the pins locked into the screw holes and then bend the other side and force it into place. Both are tightly held into their tray and no unusual vibrations could be heard.
Cable management is something more and more computer enthusiasts care about and definitely not every case is well suited for a good, clean looking job. Due to the length of the enclosure, a modular power supply is almost a necessity, because although there is close to an inch between the tray and the panel, which is totally awesome, it wouldn't be realistic to think you'll be able to squeeze many unused cables there. It's not impossible, but it wouldn't be simple. Of course, for someone using most or all of the leads, this isn't an issue at all. The leads for the front panel connections are plenty long, so they can be neatly routed through the back of the tray and then back up at the bottom of the board where those connectors usually are. As you can see, I used angled SATA connectors which greatly relieve the stress on the headers and generally make routing easier. In order to have a clean route to your SATA optical drives, they will have to use either very long cables or be mounted at the bottom of the cage. I have chosen the latter.
Once every cable I needed was plugged into place and had a rough idea how and where to route them, I got back to the accessory bag and took a few tie wraps out of it. This is what I ended up with. Clearly, it's not quite perfect, but that's what my cable management skills could achieve within a reasonable time frame.
The tour is done, the hardware is in, let's move on to testing.