RAIDMAX Orion Case ReviewBluePanda - October 25, 2012
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The thumb screws on the side panels are plastic thumb screws which made me smile a little less, but I was really just happy to see thumb screws rather than simply case screws. I don't have to find my screw driver just yet! You can still see them in the pictures – I threaded them back in to avoid misplacing them. With the side panels off we finally get that vibrant blue we've, or at last I've, been looking forward to. It's quite blue and it seems like there is a lot more of it than there really is. Only the motherboard tray is actually painted this blue color. If I were to mod a case I'd likely paint the entire frame (mostly because it would be easiest) but just the tray is quite interesting as well. It looks really nice at first glance, and really overall. The back side of the motherboard tray is where your smile might turn upside down again. Unfortunately, all these pass-throughs that look like routing for great cable management are just a mirage. There's little room back here. The fact that the side panel bows out a bit isn't enough to route all your cables this way. Cram as you like – but I promise they won't all fit. Just stick with routing your 24-pin, 4/8-pin and video card connectors on the front side. You can cram what you want through to the back to smash into the drive bays for a cleaner look – but as you will see later – this lack of room on the back side really limits the neatness of a cable system. However, I will give Raidmax props again for including some Velcro ties in place to route the front I/O panel items discreetly, but look a little closer and you'll notice the cables are routed over two of the grommet holes to the backside – cables through here are not fun.
The external drive bay holders are quite nifty. A simple switch from open to close and your drive is held in place. You get two different positions to lock it in, so depending on length and hole placement you are good to go. There are three – one for each slot, the picture shows only two as I pulled one away to play with it. The HDD bays below are another fun story. The trays pull out easily and flex nicely to add a drive but still require that caveman screw to hold things in place. I joke for fun, but in seriousness, I'm always disappointed when I have to go dig out screws for things. The fewer the screws I need, while maintaining a sound build, the happier I am. Anyway, they are neat little trays that clip in and out so once you put them in place – they will stay unless you choose otherwise.
Looking at the HDD bays again, you can see that it's really two stacks of drives here; three on the bottom and two above that. Your two SSDs will have to be caged up in the smaller cage (with four annoying screws to remove – unless you noticed the four holes cutout in the drive bay trays!) – these HDD bays allow a lot for you to decide. First you choose, SSD or HDD and then three drive bays or five. The top two drive bays are easily removed by pressing up on the small lever and pulling forward. The two drives slide out allowing you to use some really long video cards or just increase air flow if you are like me and only tend to have one or two drives in your build. It does pull all the way out and if you take out that short SSD cage that no one likes anyway – you can mount the two drives in parallel, one right next to the other! I ran out of time to mount it up this way for you, but it doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out how this would work out. You still get your extra room up top and all five drives in the case as well. Good thinking!
I'm impressed with the number of fans included in this $100 case. Usually with that cost-effective chassis comes a cut somewhere – for the Orion it wasn't the fans. Earlier you saw the 120mm LED fan in the front of the case; well, there are two more on the back of the case as well – one in the rear (120mm black fan) and another up top (also a 120mm black fan). They all seem reasonably quiet, even with them cranked up on the fan controller. They'd certainly be easy to replace with whatever suits your fancy – but they seem to be quite nice fans to start. What will count is how well it cools, and with three fans in this little guy, I think it's safe to bet that this will cool well. Let's hope I don't have to eat my words in testing!
Looking at the bottom of the case you can see the four risers/feet that pull the case up off the floor. It adds to the airflow for your PSU and with the added dust filter helps you keep your rig clean too. You can also see the four screws that hold the smaller SSD cage poking through the bottom of the case. I really never liked these little additions and if I were really to use this case I'd probably take it out permanently. However, if I were to use it, I'd probably try to run the screws the other way. It's quite a tight fit in there already…Plus if you were to add an SSD later in your build, who wants to take their video card and possibly CPU cooler out to do that? Not me…
The fun part is always seeing what bonus goodies come with the case; sometimes things are a little more fun just because of the silly things that are included. The Orion comes with a neat little plastic zipper bag that can be opened and resealed again and again. It makes a nice place to store all the extra screws and that manual you may need later down the road. Not all of you have the container full of miscellaneous screws to put your things together – so knowing where the ones you got are is a good start. Anyway, the bag is neat…But there are some neat things inside it as well. There are a few plastic cable nubs that allow you to help route cables inside the case, a couple Velcro wraps to tie up that unsightly mess in your case, and the necessary screws to get everything in its proper place.
Getting things in this case wasn't too bad. Usually cases of this size and/or price seem to have multiple faults along the way that make every step of getting it together a complete and utter pain – not this one. Looking at it all together it looks like a bit of a tight fit but it really does all fit. Cable management took a little more effort than usual perhaps, but that's true of any case that you can't really fit much behind the motherboard. The blue mobo tray really accents any cables hanging about and encourages a little nudge here and there to make it look a bit better. The easy-to-move HDD cage made it easy to gain a little extra handling room in getting things to fit and since I didn't have to screw it back in place it wasn't one of those "crap" moments when I was done building and realized I needed to put it back in. Overall the build went pretty smooth – all I could ask for is a little more room on the back side of the mobo tray. Do note that the CPU cooler OCC uses barely fits in this case. If you're planning on using a tower cooler be sure to get some measurements on it before trying to cram everything into the case!