Raidmax Quantum Reviewairman - March 23, 2010
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I always enjoy seeing the inside of a case that is painted. It shows that the manufacturer took the extra step and money to make in my mind, a finished product. The drive bay holders run from the top to the bottom as one piece. The large bundle of wires hang from the top of the case, and unfortunately stand out visually due to the contrast they create on the black paint job on the inside of the case. With the right side panel off, the case is quite open and will assist me in routing the cables. Aside from the motherboard tray and the drive holders, that's about it as far as inside surfaces go.
The motherboard tray does not have a heatsink mount access hole, which I repeatedly moan about because of how simple it is for manufacturers to implement one and how convenient they are for the user. Not having an access hole will require the user to completely remove the motherboard to change or upgrade their heatsink that uses a direct bolt-on method, which is a large part of the coolers on the market today. Anyway, the tool-less system can be seen in more detail here. The expansion slots also use a tool-less system, which snap into place and hold the PCI brackets securely. Unfortunately, these will not work well on graphics cards with large coolers and is why they usually end up getting removed and replaced with a traditional screw, which will be seen in the picture of the computer assembled.
The tool-less system works on both sides, which allows for a mounting that is a little more snug. Similar tool-less systems involve a slider on only one side of the device, and would usually cause it to wiggle on the opposite side. I don't expect to see that happen with this case. On the right side of the case, there is a structural rail that runs from the front to the back, and is in the way of one of the tool-less clamps at the bottom, so there is one missing there.
The top 120mm fans can be clearly seen from the inside of the case, and what looks like the underside of the plastic on the top of the case. By this, I mean that they slightly are recessed into the top. A sticker with the case serial number is loosely stuck onto the top of the case, which I removed shortly after taking this picture because I didn't want it to fall on anything later on or get sucked into a fan. Looking closer at the drive bays, there are other components inside where the hard drives will be housed. These "blocks" as I'll call them, house three 3.5" hard drives and have a 120mm blue LED fan attached to each. Unlocking the three tool-less clamps on either side of a "block" will allow it to be removed. With the front of the case removed, these will simply slide out the front without any hassle. They will do the same towards the inside of the case, but this would not be possible without removing the graphics card or the power supply due to their size. This is what I mentioned earlier - although removing the front of the case is not the easiest, it may be easier to perform some than disassembling of the computer itself, just to remove a hard drive.
Installing a hard drive is pretty simple. The hard drive is loaded into the rear of the block, and screwed in from both sides. Due to the design construction to the drive holders, a magnetic screwdriver may make life easier during installation. This is because of the inability to hold the screw with a finger while placing it in position. This is a little more clear in the picture of the hard drive block by itself. Each hard drive block may then be reinstalled the same way that it was removed - sliding it in through either the front or from the inside of the case, and fastening the three tool-less clamps down on either side will lock it into position.
Due to the way that the fans are positioned directly in front of each hard drive and the lack of restriction around it, I expect to see low temperatures reading from the hard drive once the case is on the testing bench. Some cases put front intake fans on cases for what seems like just show, and it's nice to see a little more "function" to the "form" in this case. As far as the actual tool-less clamps are concerned, they are easy to operate. To unlock one, the clamp slides away from the front of the case, which will unlock it and cause it to swing freely. To remove the actual clamp itself, the small metal tab on the outside of it can be depressed and the whole mechanism will slide out. Those who want a traditional screw method altogether may remove all of the clamps relatively easily. The hard drive holders, as well as the regular optical drives, may also be secured using screws. I like the fact that Raidmax has given users the choice here.
Getting the hardware installed into the case was a little difficult since the case is indeed a mid-tower. There was enough room for the GTX260, but room for little else. The GTX 260 is a 10.5" card, so the larger cards today will not fit. The wiring wasn't too difficult, but since each fan had its own 4-pin Molex with auxiliary output, I had to daisy-chain them together and ended up with a lot of Molex headers floating around. However, this makes the case less proprietary and allows swapping out different fans and using the stock ones for something else without any additional work. Everything else worked out and no cable was too short to route them in a way that was more appealing and less obstructive to airflow. Once turned on, the blue LED corners add a good looking accent, and the blue LED fans behind the mesh drive bay covers added a nice glow. Too bad that I only had a white optical drive, and it stands out hideously like a sore thumb. The case itself operates nearly silently, and shouldn't cause anyone to develop a headache.
I try to be as honest as I can in my reviews, and here comes an honest part. When I first opened up the box that the case came in, and saw that some of the drive bay covers had fallen out, I was a little discouraged. I was even more discouraged when I discovered a strip of masking tape running from the top of the front panel to the bottom in order to hold them in place, due to how easily they fall out. Upon reaching the point where I had to remove the front panel, I became frustrated with how difficult to remove it was. Six screws later, let alone several hard to reach ones, I discover that the wiring wasn't even complete, or wasn't done well enough that a wire had become completely disconnected from somewhere.
Raidmax has improved the construction of their cases and turn out better products. I remember from their earlier years, their affordability subtracted from their rigidity. I can recall being able to make the rear of a Raidmax case flex significantly just by poking at it, which doesn't happen here luckily. I measured the material's thickness at 0.66mm, which isn't bad, but isn't necessarily great for a $70 case. One thing that surprised me about this case, and still baffles me, is that at one point when I went to remove the side panel (after already replacing it once or twice), I found that the case did not want to release it. I looked on the inside of the case through the front (luckily I had the front panel off), and discovered that all four of the metal tabs at the top of the side panel had been curled downwards somehow. Again, I cannot explain this phenomenon, as I have never had this happen to me in the hundreds or probably thousands of times I've replaced and removed a side panel from a case. I had to reach in through the front and straighten these tabs out so that I could remove the panel. This may be related to the 0.66mm steel they've used, as it took very little effort to bend them back into position.
A picture of what this looked like and the bare disconnected wire are shown below, as well as a picture of what happens to the drive bay covers when the front panel was dropped from about 18". I saw the destruction, and decided to take a picture. I've concluded that the main force holding these drives bays in place is the compressive forces they exert outward on one another. If you take one out, pretty much all of the ones in the middle will fall out. It's almost as if they made the front panel about 2mm too wide, or the drive bay covers about 2mm too short. I can literally use my breath to dislodge these things.