GameTiger Triple Case Roundup ReviewWaco - November 1, 2012
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Cracking open the T-Rex Fr-16 reveals yet another painted interior with red accents from the tool-less 5.25" bays, tool-less 3.5" mounts, and tool-less expansion card slots. The motherboard tray has a large cutout for CPU backplate access and also includes grommeted holes for cable management. The large cutout near the bottom for the PSU cables isn't grommeted but I don't find it terribly annoying since the cables from the PSU itself will fill this opening anyway. The backside of the motherboard tray has a fair amount of space between it and where the side panel will sit, especially when combined with the bumped-out side panel. Several small cutouts for the attachment of zip ties should also ease your cable management woes.
Once again we see tool-less mechanisms to hold in your 5.25" bay devices and surprisingly enough they are not included on the back side of the case with the T-Rex Fr-16. The clips included here feel a bit cheaper than the ones included in the Tiger As-19, so I was a bit surprised when I realized they were only mounted on a single side. That said, the clips operate quite easily by sliding a lock to the open position and simply lifting up the mounting arm. You will need to secure any drives mounted here with screws on the reverse side to avoid any play or wobbliness.
Where the T-Rex Fr-16 lacks in 5.25" mounts it makes up for it with the 3.5" mounting system. These bays are exceedingly easy to use being just flexible enough to mount drives easily but not so flexible that they feel like they won't hold securely. 2.5" devices will find a home on any of the mounting brackets since holes are pre-drilled to securely mount your fancy new SSDs. If you need more room for longer-than-average GPUs (or simply don't need all of the 3.5" bays) you can remove the drive bays in any combination you choose. The upper bay holds two drives and the lower holds three, but both can be mounted in the top position by themselves, the bottom position by themselves, or together as shown below. Most users will likely want to install the dual-drive mount to the bottom position to maximize airflow without compromising on ease of access.
The rear expansion slots are outfitted with tool-less mechanisms of a different style than the Tiger As-19. The T-Rex Fr-16 has individual swing-arms that securely hold each expansion card. This different design is much more compatible with various card designs and I ran into no issues with it clamping down on any of the cards I had on-hand. The rear exhaust fan is the same model seen in both the Mage Mi-3 and the Tiger As-19. Its red blades match quite nicely with all of the other red accoutrements within the case and should look great within a red-themed build.
The T-Rex Fr-16 comes stock with the front I/O cables all bundled together and run through the top grommet in the motherboard tray. Most users will probably reroute these for best appearances but thankfully GameTiger has bundled them together on the back side to keep them tidy even if you reroute. There is one issue here though – the wiring for the front panel is not detachable and requires removal if you want to remove the front panel entirely. This won't be a problem for most users as bay devices are usually installed once and not moved often but it is quite annoying to have a perfect cable management job messed up by what should be a quick and simple operation. Each bay cover is outfitted with dust-blocking mesh to slow down the buildup of dust inside your rig.
In order to use the built-in SATA dock you have to wire it up yourself – no SATA cable is included with the case so be sure to order one if you don't have any laying around. The board accepts Molex power (not SATA) and has an extra 3-pin fan connection to vary the speed of a single additional fan should you decide to install one. The drive bay itself has no rails to center drives so a bit of care is required to avoid jamming the drive onto the SATA power and data connections. 3.5" drives don't cause terribly much trouble but 2.5" drives are a bit hard to get lined up properly. Even being more difficult it still isn't something I'd call "hard" to do; you just need to be careful. Rubber isolation strips sit below the drive to minimize vibration and noise.
The bundle for the T-Rex Fr-16 is quite minimal but since the case is mostly tool-less there isn't much needed. There is an 8-pin/4-pin 12v extension to make sure your CPU power plug will reach behind the motherboard tray. This is a nice touch since many cases fail to include anything to ensure this cable will reach. Along with the 12v adapter/extension is a slew of screws and zip ties to ease installation. The manual is about as useful as most – a good reference if you're totally lost but probably not worth looking at if you're mechanically inclined.
Building the OCC test rig into the T-Rex Fr-16 was a pleasure. The copious room behind the motherboard tray along with the well-designed drive bays almost took all of the effort out of putting together a clean build. Of the three this case is by far the easiest to work with and offers quite a bit of room, even if you've got a non-modular PSU with a huge mass of cables attached to it. Once powered up the front and top glow with a nice muted red from the included LED fans and the power and HDD activity lights actually light up through the glossy plastic on the front panel. They are blue LEDs but since they glow through the tinted plastic they aren't blindingly bright. Overall I can't say there are any serious faults with the case and the styling has grown on me a bit!