GMC H-80 Case Review

jlqrb - 2010-02-25 23:59:12 in Cases
Category: Cases
Reviewed by: jlqrb   
Reviewed on: March 15, 2010
Price: TBD

Introduction:

When one hears GMC, they usually think of the automobile manufacturer General Motors Corporation. But that is a different company and no, they did not branch out into the computer chassis market. Instead, GMC is a Korean based company and they have been hard at work designing cases and over the last year, they have managed to release a few unique products to the market. The GMC case we are going to be looking at today is the new H-80. This case comes with some slick features such as red LED fans, a front panel display and has a clean, black design. On top of these, the case comes with more features that will aid in the function and setup of the case, but the best way to see what the H-80 offers is by using it, so let's get this review started.

Closer Look:

The H-80 comes packaged in a large red and black box. The front of the packaging is nicely done, with the top peeling back to reveal the case name, an image of the H-80 below the name and icons and specifications below that. The back of the packaging has a few more pictures of the case, but this portion's main purpose is to inform potential buyers of the features that are utilized by the case and how they work. Each side of the H-80 packaging has an image of the case, with one side being dedicated to the features and the other to the specifications.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The H-80 comes wrapped in a plastic layer with two Styrofoam inserts on each side, for protection. One of the inserts arrived cracked, but luckily there was no visible damage to the case. The accessories that are included with the case come packaged in one of the open 5.25" drive bays in the case and comes packaged in a neatly organized plastic container. The accessories found in this container are tool-less installation rails, installation screws, speaker cable, zip ties and a 4-pin power extender. There is also a user manual and an extra fan filter cover with the accessories, but these are found taped to the container and not within it.

 

 

With the case out of the packaging, let's move on and start our closer look.

Closer Look:

The GMC H-80 is a mid-sized steel/plastic chassis that comes with a nice clean outer design. The front bezel is all plastic and instead of using a removable bay covers, the H-80  uses ones that stay connected to the bezel and are pushed down by the opening drive. With this design the DVD drive will be hidden behind the front bezel, which depending on your preference, can help the look of the case. Turning the case around you see the steel all black rear panel. This panel has a two-way bottom-mounted power supply area, which can accommodate an ATX power supply with the fan either facing up or down. Above the PSU installation area you have seven expansion slots, two water-cooling tube holes, a rear 120mm exhaust fan and the rear I/O port area. Each side of the case has a different look to it and these looks are part of the functions. The side with the fan has a large square area that will hold either one large 250mm case fan (which is included) or up to 4 optional 80mm fans. The whole square area has a large dual-layer dust filter in it that is easily removed for cleaning. The dual-layering makes the filter feel very thick, which should make it more effective at keeping dust out of the case. This side also has two rectangular vents that look nice and will aid in the air-flow as well. The other side panel is plain for the most part, but it does have a section that is elevated out a bit from the rest of the panel. This will create more room for cable management, which will help the cables you store behind the motherboard tray and still be able to put the side panel back on.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The control panel on the H-80 is found at the top of the front bezel and has a very nice and spacious layout. The power and rest switches are large, easily accessible and work very well. These switches are found above the I/O ports and each has a icon to display the function, the power switch has a red power icon and there is a white R on the the reset switch. Between the two buttons is a rectangular display screen that has the power light, HDD activity light and a temperature display. Below the display screen is the front panel I/O ports, which have four USB ports, one E-SATA port and audio ports. Everything on the front panel is controlled by cables that enter the case through the the top drive bay and connect to either your motherboard headers or power cable from your power supply. The only cable that doesn't connect to anything is the sensor for the temperature reading on the front screen, as this cable is instead placed near a location that you want to get readings for, such as the CPU or chipset.

 

 

As stated before, the front bezel does not have removable bay covers and instead uses permanent ones that are pushed open or closed by the drive behind them. This gives the front panel a uniform look, that wont be changed regardless of what is in the internal bay. Below the bays is a front intake access area that also works the same way and this area has a 120mm intake fan behind it that can be accessed by lifting up the front cover. This will allow you to clean the fan filter without having to remove the entire front bezel. When it does come time to remove it though, for installation of drives or to take the fan out, it is extremely easy and all you need to do is pull up from the bottom of the bezel.

 

 

The bottom of the case has two ventilation areas. The one closest to the rear of the case is where the power supply will be and the other is for an optional 120mm case fan. An extra fan at the bottom can supply or remove extra air from the case, but with airflow being limited to due to carpet and the case sitting low to the ground it might not really help to have a fan here. To improve the airflow  to the power supply though, the case has four rubber feet that are around an inch in size, that will hold the PSU off the bottom of the case. These feet will help create some room for air to travel though and they will also make the case stand in a more stable and secure manner, so it can't be easily knocked over.


Closer Look:

The GMC H-80's internals are all steel, clean, simple and like the rest of the case, black in color. The first inner portion we are going to look at is the motherboard installation tray. This tray will support different motherboard form factors ranging from Micro ATX, ATX and Full ATX, which will give you a lot of options when considering a motherboard . There are a few cutouts on the tray itself and these holes are used for the purpose of making installation easier and also the help reduce cable clutter. The large square hole is the CPU back-plate access area, which sits directly behind the processor area and smaller rectangular holes that are used for cable management. These holes extend down to the bottom portion of the tray and will allow you to easily route your cables behind the motherboard tray, which will make for a cleaner look inside the case. Also to aid in hiding the cables, there are small anchors throughout the tray that will let you secure the cables to the motherboard tray with zip ties. There seems to be a good amount of room in the case and GMC lists the supplied space at 11.4", which is enough room for most graphics cards on the market, but not all. This will exclude larger cards such as the ATI HD5970, but this is the case with many of the mid-sized chassis, so it is not a real issue.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The front expansion areas all use tool-less rails that are color coded per area of use for installation. There are two open slots for installing 5.25" drive bays and one open slot for a 3.5" floppy drive. There are a few extra installation areas on the top drive bay, but only the three I mentioned have access to the front of the bezel. Below the 5.25" and 3.5" floppy drive bays is a HDD cage that can hold up to five internal 3.5" drives, which also uses tool-less rails for installation. At the back of the case is the bottom mounted PSU area. This area has four rubber stoppers that will elevate the PSU off the bottom of the case to improve airflow. The H-80 has a two-way mounting system that will let you install your PSU with the fan either facing up or down. Above the PSU area are seven expansion slots, which are covered by removable metal covers. This is where expansion graphics and sound cards will go. The back portion of the case also has a rectangular ventilation area, water-cooling access holes, rear I/O hole and a rear exhaust fan. There is also another exhaust fan at the top of the case.

 

 

The H-80 comes with a removable side directed HDD cage that can hold up to five 3.5" drives. To install the hard drives you simply insert a tool-less rail on each side and slide it into the cage. When installed the drives SATA connectors will be at the back of the cage, which will allow the cables to easily be routed to the drive and also help them be less visible. To make installation easier and allow access to the front intake fan, this cage can be removed. To take the cage out, you remove the thumb-screw that is securing it into place and then you push down on the tab at the top and once this is done it slides right out of the chassis.

 

 

The CPU access area on the H-80 is large enough to be able to fit across multiple socket types. From this area you can remove or inset a back-plate for an after-market heatsink without having to remove the motherboard from case. This makes the whole process very easy and its addition has saved me many headaches since cases have started to use this design.

 

 

Looking for info about the included case fans did not yield many results, so let's discuss what we do know. There are four included fans with three of them being 120mm in size and the fourth being a 250mm fan. The 250mm fan is on the side panel, has red LEDs and is a 12v fan with a 0.24 draw. The three 120mm fans come with two being regular black case fans and the third is a red LED fan. The two black models are 12v fans with a 0.18a draw, with one having a three pin header and the other a 4-pin Molex connector. The red LED fan is used to bring in air though the front and is a 12v fan with 0.22a.

 

 

Installation in the H-80 was very easy and the cable management system did a decent job of hiding the cables out of the way. There was an issue with the cable management though and this was that the H-80 does not have enough room between the back of the motherboard tray and the side panel. This made it extremely hard to get the panel back on, even with all the cables zip tied down. Other than that though, the case had a good amount of space for all of the installed components and when turned on, the red LED fans and front display added to the appeal of the case. As you can see from the last image, the front bezel and display have some very glossy parts, which can collect finger prints easily.

 

 

Next up, we are going to take a look at the cooling performance of the GMC H-80.

Specifications

Mainboard
ATX, Micro-ATX, Full ATX
Power Supply
ATX (bottom mounted)
Size
200(W) x 480(H) x 495(D) mm
Color
Black
5.25” BAY
3 EA (Ext)
3.5” BAY
5 EA (Int) 1 EA (Ext)
Multiport
USB 2.0 x 4 / E-SATA port / Audio ( HD Audio & AC97)
Cooling System
Front: 120mm LED Fan / Side: 250mm LED Fan (120mm x 4 Fans optional) / Bottom: 120mm Fan optional
Top: 120mm Fan / Rear 120mm fan & water cooling holes
Expansion Slots
7

 

Features:

 

Information courtesy of GMC Innovation and design: http://www.gmc.co.kr/english/programs/read.php?board=PRODUCTS&uid=57&cp=1&field=&keyWord=&nation=&year=&month=&category=11&depth2=25

Testing:

To cool the internal components, the H-80 uses four included case fans that bring in cool air from the front and side of the case and exhaust the hot air at the top and rear. This set-up should ensure that there is plenty of air-flow throughout the case and due to this constant flow of air, the hot internal areas such as the CPU, chipset and GPU should see a reduction in temperature at both idle and load. To read the temperature levels I will be using HWMontior before and after some stress testing and uploading the results into the graphs below, so we can judge the cooling performance to other cases from different companies.

 

 

Testing System:

 

Comparison Cases:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The GMC H-80 was right in line with the other cases in terms of cooling performance.

Conclusion:

For the most part the GMC H-80 is a decent case that has a lot going for it. But it also, unfortunately has some issues that just couldn't be overlooked. First let’s talk about the good aspects of the case. The H-80 is a mid-sized steel chassis that has a unique front bezel and design that give the case a nice look. There are four included case fans that come with the H-80, with two being red LED fans that will add red accents to the case when powered on. All of these included fans really help create a good amount of airflow throughout the case, reducing the system temperature to a very acceptable level that was equal to comparison models. These fans also managed to stay relatively quiet during operation, which was quite nice considering their cooling performance. Each intake fan on the H-80 has its own filter that will prevent dust from entering the case and are easily removed for cleaning. Best of all the though, is that the 250mm fan has a thick double layer filter that will let airflow though, but will stop more dust from entering the case than an average filter. Another nice feature of the H-80 is the large CPU access area. The access hole is large, fitting well with my Asus motherboard and a Gigabyte motherboard I put in for good measure. All of these positive aspects really helped the H-80 a great deal.

Some of the aspects of the case that could use improvement though, are the cable management system and flimsy front bezel. The cable management system utilized by the H-80 is decent at hiding the power supply cables, but this wasn't the issue. The issue came when it was time to close up the side panel that needs to be taken off while routing the cables. With all the cables running along the back of the motherboard tray there just was not enough room between the tray and the side panel to easily close it up, even when using the zip ties, I had to push very hard on the panel to get it on and even after I thought it was in place it popped off a few times. I am sure if you tediously route each cable with great care and take your time you might not run into this issue, but my guess is you still will. The other issue I had with the case dealt mainly with the front bezel, which looked nice, but was prone to finger prints due to it being very glossy and a few specific parts on the bezel felt rather flimsy. The offending parts are the drive bays and the I/O panel, which could have just been secured or designed a little better.

Looking at the case as a whole, the GMC H-80 is more than adequate. It has a good look with a decent amount of functions, but a fair share of issues as well. Ultimately for me, it comes down to what GMC lists the price at. If it is around $75 dollars it could be a real bargain, but if it comes in over $100 dollars it would be overpriced for what you get.

 

Pros:

 

Cons: