Enermax Fulmo GT ReviewBluePanda - May 6, 2012
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Opening up the case, I decided you needed to see the super neat fans included on the side panel. The fan bodies are all black and have thin built-in fan guards to keep from having your finger caught. The blades themselves are very aesthetically pleasing and I wish I could have gotten you a closer picture; but one half of the blade is clear black while the other is shiny metallic clear. They are just really neat. They light up blue in different patterns (like I hinted before, video ahead!).
Taking the panel away, you can see right in the case. Without something else for size reference, this doesn’t really look any different from your typical mid-tower or average case. I assure you, though, it’s a big case – once I get my ATX motherboard in, you will see. There are a total of ten drive bays for HDDs and SSDs. With such a tall case and so much room, I expected fewer drive bays and maybe one or two more external bays for some serious water cooling and other front panel features, but that is not present. You can also see the front I/O panel cabling pre-routed and underneath the PSU strap. A nifty little control board for the fans is located at the upper right, behind the external drive bays – we’ll get a closer look in a bit.
Looking behind the motherboard tray, you can get a better look at all the grommet holes for routing cables. There are 12 total here, at pretty much every level you need them. There are plenty of holes to route some zip ties to hold up cables and a decent amount of room behind your CPU to deal with awkward heat sink mounting systems. There isn’t quite the depth of space I was expecting back here, but there is enough room to get cables going where they need to be.
A closer look at the edge behind the back panel, you can see about how much room you’ve got. The panels uses the old school sliding mechanism, so keep that in mind when you are try to wiggle every last inch of cable routing in. You can see the Velcro from the PSU support here – if you want to take it out completely, you’d have to do so from this side.
There is, however, a good deal of space over by the HDD cage. You can hide a bunch of your cables here; there is a lot of extra space. Just be careful you don’t get them tangled up in that front fan on the left.
Although there are only four external drive bays, the tool-less mounting system is pretty neat. The little slider slides left to release the clips and then the clips flip open to mount the drive. Once you get the drive lined up, you just press it closed; no need for the extra hassle to put screws in. However, you can still pull the clips off to mount drives with screws if you desire.
Looking closer at the ten 3.5” drive bays, it seems as if there are even more than that. To be honest, I was a bit disappointed with this drive system. The mounts are difficult to pull out and just as difficult to put back into place. The tolerances seem too tight for the design and have shown up as a failed system. The drive mounts themselves are hard plastic with little flex to get a drive in. You still need to use screws to hold them in place – yet as tight as they are, you almost don’t need to. Overall, I’m not pleased with the way this mechanism functions.
Next, I put the case down on its side so I could show you the fan at the top from the inside. It’s a nice big fan and I’m really looking forward to seeing just how low the temps in this case are going to be. The back fan comes included and should help the flow of air. You can see a bit of the control board just to the right of the fans – take a look at the next picture up close.
The fan control board is pretty simple. You’ll need to plug in a Molex connector here – so make sure you leave one that will reach up there. The left plugs are for the fan power connectors and the right ones are for the LED connectors. The fans on the panel and up front have two different plugs and they are labeled as to where they go. This will allow you to change or turn off the LED pattern completely and control the speed of the fans independently.
Taking the top off, you can see where you might be able to mount a couple more fans underneath. The mesh doesn’t seem like it would let a lot of air flow in or out of the case here, but I guess we’ll have to let the numbers be the judge on air flow. It is not as easy to take this panel on and off as you might think – be careful to slide it the right direction and not to bend the end piece too much. If you aren’t sure, the included quick start guide gives some details. It doesn’t help a ton, but you should get the gist.
The front of the panel comes off without problem. You might want to punch out the old school metal flaps from the drive bays to gain a little extra airflow. I’m surprised to see these in such a “new” case. There seems to be a lot of dense mesh in the front panel here, which cuts down on as much airflow as the front might have perceived. I still have confidence in the ability for this thing to move air though. Big cases generally do well with air flow and having two massive fans on the side panel, it will happen.
The most interesting task of this case was perhaps putting on the wheels. Not only was the case super tall to start, the thought of putting on wheels to make it almost two inches taller just made me laugh. It turns out it didn’t really add that much height. You need to take the existing feet off before you put the wheels on, so the height difference is really a wash (which is probably good for the center of mass and moment of inertia this chassis produces).
The rear feet come off with two screws each and reveal several mounting holes underneath. This allows for about three different locations to mount the rear wheels; just make sure you pick the same on both sides. I chose to mount mine furthest back and screwed them down tight. As I later found, screwing them down tight also prevents you from moving the PSU strap altogether. I ended up loosening the wheels just to get my PSU mounted – it was really a pain. To be honest, you don’t need the PSU strap, so I’d probably just do away with it anyway. Overall, the wheels made moving this thing around a lot easier, even if it meant my cat could move it with only two locking wheels.
If nothing else, the Fermo GT comes with quite the array of goodies to get things working: a few zip ties, six or so bags of sorted screws (making it easier to figure out what is for what), a USB 3.0 plug converter in case your motherboard is lacking an internal header, a couple of fan/Molex connectors, and even a motherboard speaker. A couple of Enermax-branded Velcro-type cable binders are also included. It is definitely a variety of items.
Now it is time for my favorite part of all case reviews – putting the hardware in and finding out where the strong are separated from the weak. Even with my ATX board in there and Noctua cooler, the case seems to make everything look small, so you can see why some of the pictures may have not been the greatest. With everything installed, there is still a TON of space left over here; almost enough room to mount a second ATX board and run two simultaneously. Cable routing was pretty easy, it looks clean for the most part. The strange USB 3.0 adaptor really looks strange hanging off the back of the case. The only way it would route was up through the top, out the back water holes and to the back I/O panel. Don’t bother trying to take it out the bottom where it is already pre-routed for the board – you won’t have enough length. The fan controller board was also a little odd and looked a bit tacky. It seems like this could be hidden better or perhaps at the bottom so the side fans can still be plugged in without screaming “look at me!”. Not a difficult case to build in, but it is a somewhat awkward build setup to work with.
With the side panel on and powered up, it is a pretty neat looking case. The fan LED patterns are definitely neat to play with, but in a dark room, all you see is the flashing after a while. It’s nice that you can turn them off completely or turn them to just stay on. The multiple stream of LEDs look neat compared to most fans that only have four. I really like the fans, so it’s a plus that Enermax sells them on their site too – even if you don’t like the case, you can get the awesome fans.
With the system running, the case looks alright. The wheels look a little funny and I’m not sure I’d want to have them on after looking at this last shot, but it sure makes it a lot easier to move around. I’m not completely sold by the looks of the case, as I had mentioned I didn’t like a bit of it. It is an interesting concept, but I’m not sure of its practicality in the long run. A few changes and this case could go far.
I apologize for the quality of video below. I simply wanted to show you the different fan patterns. You can leave them on any of the given patterns or you can have it cycle through all of them. They do tend to get out of sync after any length of time, but I think it adds to the overall look. I thought it was well worth showing, even if the setting and quality isn’t all that great.