Raidmax Skyline Review

airman - 2009-11-19 10:47:35 in Cases
Category: Cases
Reviewed by: airman   
Reviewed on: December 31, 2009
Price: $79.99

Introduction

When it comes to cases, everyone has heard of the name Raidmax at one point or another. Whether one has been seen at a LAN party or perhaps while building a new PC online, the name has come up at one time or another. Founded in 2000, its headquarters is currently located in California. Raidmax manufactures a range of products, not only computer cases, but CPU coolers and power supplies as well. Raidmax's goal is to consistently offer the best in class PC enclosures and accessories. There has only been one other Raidmax product reviewed on this site, and it was at the beginning of this year. The Raidmax Windstorm earned a fairly good review and I'm anxious to see if Raidmax can prove itself again. The product under the spotlight in this review is the Raidmax Skyline case. It offers a lot of the same features as a lot of other cases today, such as included top and rear exhaust fans and mesh front drive covers. Manufacturers seem to be paying much more attention to airflow today, as they should. As computer power increases, usually the heat they produce does also. The main goal of this review is to test the Skyline's look, feel, ease of use and most importantly how it performs.

 

Closer Look

The Raidmax Skyline is packaged in a glossy cardboard box with a relatively simple graphics scheme. The front and back of the box feature an angled picture of the case. One is lit with blue, and the other is lit with red. The left and the right sides are identical, which present the different varieties of the case available, options, and specifications. It is not clear what is inside the case, as it was marked in no way. I found that the case did not have the noise-reducing foam included, and was of the blue-lit variety.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As far as packaging goes, the case is presented very similarly to most other cases you buy. The case is wrapped in a soft cotton-like bag first, then wrapped with a clear plastic bag, and finally sandwiched between two fitted blocks of soft Styrofoam. I was not worried about any damage the case could have experienced from the shipping process. Inside the box is a clear bag containing the case's accessories. As always, the case comes with a user manual and a bag of screws. Also included are three pairs of tool-less drive holders for the 3.5" hard drives.

 

 

Now that we've taken a look at the way the case is presented and packaged, the next page contains an evaluation of the outside of the case and the features that it offers.

Closer Look

In my opinion, the Raidmax Skyline somewhat reminds me of an earlier generation Alienware case, with curvy styling and integrated vents in several different places, and a two-tone silver and black theme. The front of the case is mostly silver, accented with glossy black plastic around the five external drive bays. A ridged vent is along the bottom, which is a component of the front intake system. A thin, black, vertical line runs between the bottom of the drive bays and the bottom vent and glows blue if power is hooked to it, which gives the user the option to have it on or not. The right side of the case features a window, including an 80mm blue-LED fan in the upper-left hand side. I was a little surprised that only an 80mm fan was used in this case, as I haven't seen any 80mm fans in any recent cases. On the rear of the case, the seven expansion slots can be seen with the tool-less hardware to go with them, as well as the cooling perforations adjacent to the slots. A 120mm exhaust fan is included at the top end of the back. The PSU bracket is housed at the bottom of the case, which seems to be becoming standard these days. Occasionally a case will have a second set of holes on the PSU bracket that allows the power supply to be installed upside-down as well, depending on user preference. A motherboard bracket is included with the case, but I don't understand why. The bracket still has punchouts for two serial ports, one parallel port and an old-school game (joystick/midi) port - it's only going to get thrown away. The right side of the case gives a nice image of the case's paint job, which has a semi-gloss, durable finish that does a good job at resisting fingerprints. Another intake vent can be seen on the side of the front bezel.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The top of the case allows for two 120mm fans, with both included and positioned as exhaust. The ridges continue from the rear and almost to the very front, stopping shy of the front I/O panel. The bottom of the case is relatively plain, with no vents along the bottom or anything else of that nature. The case does have four plastic feet that raise it slightly off the floor, which can help with passive cooling and general airflow around the case.

 

 

The top of the case is where the I/O ports and power/reset buttons are located. A green and a red light lie between the power and reset buttons. The green light shows power, and the red shows hard drive activity. Two USB ports can be found on the I/O panel, as well as audio output and a microphone input between those USB ports. Two torx screws hold a small plastic plate on, which attaches to the top of the case and the front bezel. If the user wants to remove the front bezel, these screws must be removed. A small hex wrench was able to remove these as an alternative, but can easily strip them. It isn't required to remove the front bezel in order to remove the drive bay covers, as they can be pushed out from the inside. This however, requires bending of the drive bay covers and in some cases a little contorting to get it done. The only connection between the case and the front bezel is the power cable for the small blue light towards the bottom. After removing the two screws at the top and removing the small plastic plate, the front bezel can then be popped out by pinching the six expansion tabs and pulling the bezel off.

 

 

Now that I've looked at the outside of the case, as usual I will take it to the next step and evaluate the inside of the case and the working components included.

Closer Look

 

Removing the side panel reveals the inside of the case, displaying the motherboard tray, the included 120mm exhaust fans, the front 120mm intake fan, tool-less drive bays and PCI slots, and the hard drive cage. The opposite side of the case shows the backside of the tray and the power connectors for the front intake fan and front LED. The tool-less expansion slot mechanisms are pictured below. As I have complained in the past, these kinds of mechanisms are flimsy and are incompatible with any recent video cards that have integrated coolers. I remove them every time and always revert to using a screw instead. The upper end of the rear of the case seems as if it is stock full of 120mm fans, and gives me a good feeling that this case should have decent airflow.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A nice thing about this case is the hard drive cage that swings out for easier access to the drives themselves. Some folks like to turn the drives around backwards so that wires can be hidden. It is possible with this case, but the drives will not lock in place and right-angle connectors may be required as the front intake fan may be in the way. Aside from the standard LED and power/reset button headers, there are three other connectors - USB, audio, and HD audio.

 

 

 

As mentioned earlier, the included fans are three 120mm (top and rear exhaust, front intake) and one 80mm blue-LED side intake fan. They do not have any clear specifications as far as amperage and RPM, but they do take a 12v supply as determined by the 4-pin Molex connectors that they all use - they do not have 3-pin adapters supplied with them. For those concerned about noise, the fans do operate quietly, but I cannot find any information about them on the Raidmax site - it was a little hard to navigate and the Skyline page seems incomplete.

 

 

The components fit well in the case with no restrictions. There was no issue with wire management, as there was a sufficient amount of room behind the hard drive cage. So far this case looks promising, and I'm glad I get to test the case under real world conditions. The next page will discuss the physical specifications of the case as provided by the manufacturer, as well as the case's features.

Specifications

Type
ATX Mid Tower
Color
Black
Case Material
SECC
Motherboard Compatibility
Micro ATX/ATX
Expansion Bays
5 x 5.25", 5 x 3.5" (1 external, 4 internal)
PCI Slots
7
Front Ports
USB / Audio
Cooling System
80mm side, 2x120mm top, 1x120mm rear, 1x120 front
Dimensions
19.50" x 8.00" x 18.50"

 

 

Features

Information courtesy of Raidmax @ http://www.raidmax.com

Testing:

To test the Raidmax Skyline, temperatures will be recorded for the CPU, GPU, chipset, hard drives, and the overall system temperature during load and idle phases. Load will be simulated by Prime95 small FFTs and HD tune for one hour, with maximum temperatures recorded by RealTemp. The GPU load will be the maximum value recorded by Rivatuner after five loops of 3DMark06’s Canyon Flight test. Fan configuration is as provided from the manufacturer, and data collected from other cases will also be as provided by the manufacturer.

Testing Setup:

Comparison Cases:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Raidmax Skyline performed quite well and has left me pleased with the temperatures it supplied. The idle temperatures were in the lower range of the other cases, but climbed to the higher end of temperatures under load. This is probably due to the low amount of airflow that the stock fans provide.

Conclusion

The Raidmax Skyline exceeded my expectations with the way it performed. The idle temps were lower than most of the comparison cases, but began to fall apart compared to the other cases once temperatures increased to load conditions. As I stated on the previous page, this was most likely due to the lower airflow provided by the stock fans. Raidmax's intentions was for this case to be quiet, if not silent. With this being the case, the rise in temperatures is not wholly unexpected. The one thing that I have experienced with my exposure to Raidmax in the past is the cases' construction. They are lightweight, which is good, but rigidity has to be sacrificed. The case is a little flimsy and I would be a little worried to travel with it on a regular basis, as it might be more susceptible to damage. At a retail price of $79.99, the case falls into a price point that puts it just above the low end for gaming cases and offers value with improved cooling over more economical solutions.

 

Pros:

 

Cons: