Cooler Master CSX Stacker 830 Red Flame Edition Reviewccokeman - March 18, 2009
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When you pull the side panel off, the first thing you see is the fan panel located over the motherboard area. The motherboard tray conveniently pulls straight out the back of the chassis. The drive rails are only partially tool less on this chassis, and take up the top six drive bays. The bottom three bays are used for the removable hard drive cage, giving you a total of nine possible drive bays. The fan panel rotates on two pivots and locks into place via two plastic clips molded into the panel. You open the fan panel by depressing the locking clips and the door slides open. This panel is removable by releasing the locking pins on the left side of the door; this is done by rotating the lever and pushing it downward to release the tension on the locating pin, then the pin slides out. Panel removal complete!
The fan panel will hold four 120mm fans, and has provisions to be able to handle a rotary style fan assembly that may available from Cooler Master. If this option is available, it does say not to use it in a case with video cards 12 inches in length. When installed, the fan panel is definitely not designed for those of us who use tower style coolers for cooling our CPUs. Once my motherboard was installed, I ran into clearance issues with the Noctua heatsink that was used on this build. The panel would not close, so it was removed altogether.
Once inside the chassis, there is a box that holds one part of the accessories while the other is held in the HDD drive carriage. The motherboard tray includes a single 120mm fan configured to pull air out of the chassis. Along the top of the chassis there are plenty of ventilation holes to allow heat to rise and escape, or allow cold air intake if you mount the PSU so that it pulls outside air into the chassis to cool it off. There is a single fan holder attached at the top right under the main vent hole in the outer casing. The front panel wiring comes directly out of the shared I/O front panels. All of the connectivity comes from a single assembly.
The front panel connections include four USB 2.0, one IEEE1394 FireWire, The sound and microphone headers can be configured for both analog and HD configurations. Also included are the normal assortment that includes the Power and Reset switches and Power LED. The leads were long enough to reach all but the onboard sound connection without going over the motherboard. With an aftermarket sound card this would not be an issue. The tool less mounting system for the 5.25" bays was very simple to operate - just slide the drive into place and push the mechanism forward to lock the drive into place.
The hard drive cage is secured in the bottom three bays of the Stacker 830 by screws, instead of employing any tool less methods. The sides screw to the drive rails which in turn connect via studs to the main cage assembly. These studs are inserted into silicone grommets to dampen vibration and reduce noise from the hard drives. Cooling of the hard drives, as well as driving cool air into the Stacker 830, is a single fan attached to the drive cage. The fan is held in place with a tool less mounting method that employs a push pin to lock the fan on to the drive cage. The airflow through the cage is highly restrictive, but the area can be opened up substantially by removing the slats for a straight shot through the bay assembly.
The fan used in the front and rear are low noise/CFM fans meant to move air and not create any noise. The part number on the rear of the LED front fan A12025-12CB-5BN-L1 shows this fan to be rated at 1200 RPM, and pushing roughly 43CFM at 22db-a. The only real drawback to this fan is that it looks so out of place on the bright red chassis.
The removable motherboard tray is a big plus on this chassis. When pulling it, out I noticed the rails were not just stamped aluminum, but were covered with an additional plastic rail to help get rid of the "beer can" sound so familiar with aluminum chassis. The tray has an insert so you know where to mount your motherboard standoffs if you need help with this. The rear of the tray uses a 120mm fan to exhaust air out the rear of the chassis. There are seven expansion slots, each with a thumb screw for easy installation. The tray locks into place with two clips and a latch. The rear has two insulating strips to again reduce vibration.
Another feature of this chassis is the door swing, which can be easily modified just by swapping the door pins from one side of the door to the other. The top pin is spring loaded to keep the door pins in their sockets. Just slide the pins out by releasing the catch, swap, and you are done. Both sides have magnets installed to keep the door closed - so no extra work or tools are needed to do this.
For accessories, Cooler Master includes pretty much all the things you will need to accommodate your build. The two accessory boxes contain an air duct, additional fan holder, brackets, screw kit, LEDs, floppy drive or flash card drive bay inserts, wheels and more.
With all the parts broken down, installing the hardware into the Cooler Master CSX Red Flame Edition RC 830 chassis was a breeze. Mounting the motherboard to the tray was done with some worry, because of the many stories you hear about tall heatsinks not being able to squeeze through the rear opening. Fully loaded, the MSI X58 Platinum and Noctua NH-U12P SE 1366 slid right in with room to spare. Strap in the rest of the goodies and you are ready to show off this work of art.
What else could you say about a last look all built up but to show the money shot!