Project Danger Den Water Box Plus Case Review (Part 1)
Reviewed by: ccokeman
Reviewed on: August 27, 2007
: Danger Den
: Danger Den
Price: Case $209.95 USD Custom Panels $15.00 USD Total cost $254.95 USD
So you are looking for a case for that next big project you have planned? Well so are we. While trying to make up our minds, several things were thrown out to chew on. Steel, Aluminum or Acrylic? Next, what were we going to do for cooling and how do we want to do it? The more common options for day to day use are water cooling, phase change cooling or just plain ol' high end air cooling. Each type of cooling has its pros and cons. Whatever we decided on had to look good as well as be functional without a whole lot of maintenance, plus give us the ability to really lean on our hardware.
After weighing the options on the case we decided on an acrylic case. The reason for that is it kind of fits our "looks good" requirement. With the wow factor that a well done acrylic cases presents, it was a no brainer. Now seeing that acrylic is the way we want to go, what looks just incredible in an acrylic case? You guessed it! A well designed water cooling system. Throw a little UV dye in the fluid, along with a board with UV reactive components and wiring, and it just looks amazing.
With those decisions made, now we have to look at what to buy and who to buy it from. What we decided to do was to get all of our equipment from one supplier. This way, there will be no mis-matched components and everything should work well as a "system" instead of piecing a system together and hoping for the best. When kicking around our options, we decided on Danger Den as the supplier we would use for this project. They have been at the forefront of the water cooling market for years and offer a full line of products.
While waiting for the package to arrive I noticed the shipping weight on the tracking page; a whopping 38 pounds. I was eager to see where the weight came from. The boxes the case came in were your standard cardboard shipping boxes. The box that contained the two case boxes was beat up pretty bad so I hoped that the case itself would be undamaged. I was relieved once the boxes were opened up and the contents checked for damage.
I was curious how the many parts would be protected during shipping. What the company does is wrap each panel onto the next in the stack to prevent any movement. This eliminates any scratches on the new acrylic. After taking 20 minutes to unwrap the panels we can see just what comes with the case. You may notice some colored panels in the stack of panels; these are custom case parts that will be discussed shortly.
DangerDen provides everything needed to assemble the case from the hex-head cap screws to the power and reset switches. They even supply the tool that is an absolute must for assembly of the case, an Allen wrench or hex key wrench. The colored panels you saw earlier are ones that are available at an extra cost. 15 dollars each will get you the colored panels. We chose the orange and blue panels, as those are our colors. The company also includes the original panels so that if you choose to go back to a completely clear case, you can without any hassle. The etched side panel with our logo on it is another of the options available. Your design can be etched into the case as well for an additional cost. While examining the panels, it appears as though all of the panels are lazer cut.
As you can see this case comes in a bunch of pieces. The phrase "Some assembly required" fits perfectly in this case (pun intended). The company sends a detailed set of instructions to help you along in case you are like me, "Gung Ho man style, no instructions needed". Then I go right back to the instructions and follow along as I should have from the beginning.
I will show a few of the assembly steps to take on the way to completing the build of the case, so follow along while we put it together. The first part of the process is to install the I/O shield using the screws and tool provided.
Once the I/O panel is installed it's time to start working on the assembly part of the project. The first thing I do is install the optical drive mounting brackets to the motherboard tray and prepare it for installlation to the I/O panel. Looking at the drive mounting brackets, you can see the method of attachment. There is a milled slot for the nut to reside in and the capscrew runs through a drilled hole to line up with the nut. Tighten the screw just enough to secure the pieces together until final assembly, when everything is tightened down into place.
The motherboard standoffs are just like those you would use in any other case build. After completing the tasks on the motherboard tray you will attach it to the back case panel using the attaching method illustrated above.
Continuing with the case assembly, I install the case feet on the bottom panel and mount it to the rear panel assembly. The case feet attach with a cap screw threaded directly into the bottom panel of the case. These holes are tapped with the correct thread count and screw size to make sure that there are no issues during assembly. At this point, the whole assembly is a little awkward and needs to be supported while you are working. A crack because of carelessness at this point would be a real bummer and delay our project.
Instead of the clear case sides that come standard, I will be installing the colored panels we specified. The panels will be UV blue once lit up.
Once the side panels are secured you can move on to installing the power and reset switches. These appear to be industrial grade switches that slip through the pre-drilled holes in the case and are held in place with a nut and a rubber O-ring, which provide a cushion as well as functioning like a lock washer. The switches are identical and DangerDen makes sure you know which switch functions as power as well as which one is the reset by etching an "P" or "R" in the case above each switch.
After getting the side panels installed, the assembly is starting to resemble a case now. Seeing how low the optical drive brackets are I decided to test fit the power supply I will use on this build. The power supply fits in and is not as tight a fit as it first seemed. The power supply mounts using the hardware supplied in the kit, allowing for the same fasteners to be used throughout the case.
Only two more panels to go and then we will be ready to start with the installation of our components. The front panel is the one we had etched with our logo. This option is available for an additional fee depending on your design. Installing this panel and the top panel will be the final stages of the case assembly.
We will have to take these last two parts off to install all of the components when it comes time to do the installation, but thats a small price to pay for the benefits of using this case as part of a water cooled system. Now lets take a few views of the completed case to whet our appetite for the next installment of this project.
Now that we have completed the assembly of the case we will move on to the cooling components selected for this case. Since we are using a case called the Water Box Plus, what else is there to use but a water cooling system? The components we have chosen are designed to work as a complete system and function well together rather than a mis-matched set of components that may or may not perform well together. Follow along as we continue with Project Danger Den. Up next,the cooling components(Project Danger Den Part 2), coming soon to a page near you ...