Raidmax Vampire Case Reviewir_cow -
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Raidmax Vampire Closer Look:
Removing the side panels wasn't Raidmax's best design. Similar to the Fractal Design ARC XL, it is very unintuitive. Each panel is removed by a thumb screw on top and bottom, and once removed, the panel slides out. That is, it does in a perfect world. This time around, instead of having handles, you either have to use your palm and push the panel off or pull the top corner out, then use that as a makeshift handle. A simple solution would be to add a handles or a notch, and maybe a revision will come around at some point. Inside you can see seven 3.5" bays along with five 5.25" bays using a tool-less design. The chassis itself is fairly large and in fact is able to house motherboards all way the up to SSI EEB specification, which is something not many companies think about including. That being said, you can imagine the space available for the PCI expansion slots with 13" (330mm) to contain the larger video cards on the market.
Each hard drive bay is made of hard plastic and mounts standard 3.5" drives along with SSDs. Unlike the 5.25" bays and many other full size chassis, this is where the tool-less design stops. Each drive most be screwed in and all the necessary parts are included. Tool-less designs generally are a nice gesture, but when a chassis does not include it or chooses only to partly use this feature, it's not particularly upsetting, but it's worth noting only part of the chassis is tool-less. The bays themselves are standard enough; you push both sides together and pull. In doing so the plastic bay slides right out, while installing is simply doing it in reverse. The tool-less feature for each 5.25" bay is alright at best. This time around Raidmax has made its own design, which is more like a slider. Once the drive is in place and you push forwards on the slider in the middle, the pins push out and lock into the drive's screw holes. It works alright, but nothing amazing.
Here I am going to talk about some nitpicks and flaws I found in this chassis. It's unusual for me to point so many things out at one given time, but I felt it's necessary for the consumer to know what they are buying for $130. Starting from left to left - first is the loud rear fan. I'm not sure if it was just a defect or the standard cheap fan. Next up are fan mounts for the window. I've seen many different variations of methods for mounting fans, but these are something to be concerned about. Each corner is a square, which is not the best design choice and I think this can lead to cracking the plastic as pressure is applied. The ideal solution would have rubber mounts and maybe this will also be in a revision down the road.
If you are worried about wire management, Raidmax has you covered. The back has roughly an inch of space to work with, which is great considering not everyone has a modular power supply and the wires have to go somewhere. This is a common complaint I have with chassis, but this is a redeeming feature in a chassis that isn't looking very good. In the end, I was able to push all the wires in the back without any real troubles.
The top allows for installation of either two 120 or 140mm fans as explained before. It also allows for installation of radiators for water cooling support, like the Corsair H100i pictured below. Installing it was easy enough and cleared the VRM heat sinks just fine. However, using a 280mm radiator may cause problems, as it was already a tight squeeze once everything is installed and a few reports on the Web state the H110 (280mm) will not fit. I cannot confirm this, but because of the squeeze already mentioned, I'm not surprised. It is indeed a large chassis, but a lot of it is not modular, so most if not all options for advanced water cooling are not possible without modding.
Finally, the computer is assembled and you can see how everything fits in the chassis. It, however, has run into a few snags along the way. Mainly the 8-pin CPU cable has no opening behind the motherboad tray to route the cable around the back into the top left corner. This forced me to place it under the video card and route it up that way since the cable wasn't long enough to go around. It's possible with an extension cable or a different power supply you can make it around, or come through the center above the CPU cooler; but it wasn't an option for me. In any case, this is unacceptable for this tier of chassis. It's a full tower and not very cheap, so I can't see why Raidmax didn't think to punch another hole out for the cable to go around the back and come out right where the connector should be. Otherwise it was roomy enough to put my hand in while assembling and the spacing in the back was great for hiding the unused cables.