Enermax Uber Chakra ATX Full Tower

Makaveli - 2007-03-14 19:56:52 in Cases
Category: Cases
Reviewed by: Makaveli   
Reviewed on: April 18, 2007
Enermax
Enermax
Price: $129.99 USD

Introduction:

Bigger is better, right? Being stuck with a small case isn’t going to be enjoyed when you want to upgrade, add to, or cool down your components. I have four 5.25” bay devices, three hard drives, and one floppy drive; a small case just won’t cut it. Enermax has just released a big full-tower case called the “Uber Chakra”. Will this case have enough space, provide optimal cooling, and visually please the eyes? Let’s take a look. 

Most people think power supplies when they hear the name “Enermax”. Not only do they produce top of the line power supplies, they also manufacture high quality cases, CPU coolers, and other peripherals. Enermax continues to provide some of the most high-quality and affordable solutions to the computer hardware market. 

Closer Look:

The box that arrived at my doorstep was much bigger than I anticipated. It wasn’t light, but it wasn’t too heavy either. The box was a little beat up, but not to the point where something inside could be damaged. All of the panels on the box display the specifications and features of the case. 

 

 


Upon opening the box, I noticed how sleek the front looks, but the whole front wasn’t visible due to the huge Styrofoam blocks on either side of the case. The case is covered with a huge plastic bag, which had a little piece of paper taped to it that displays how to remove the side panel from the case. 

 

Closer Look:


The Case:

When I first took out the case from the box and removed it from the plastic, I was speechless. I was looking at the side of the case and I saw the biggest fan that I have ever seen in a computer case. I later found out that it is a 250mm (25cm) fan! The huge Enermax logo on the side isn’t too cool to me, but it’s not too bad.


The other side of the case is aluminum. Feeling around the case, I noticed that both sides and the silver columns in the front are aluminum and the rest of the case is steel.


The back shows you that you’ll be able to use 7 PCI devices with this case.  I also like how Enermax gives you a place to put an optional exhaust fan.  It looks as if they don’t include a fan to go there, but we won’t know until we open the case up. Once the side is off, you’ll see the steel frame that is going to hold your motherboard and house all of your components.   

 


The front of the case shows five 5.25” slots and two 3.5” bays; all are plastic mesh. Below the bays is a neat shape containing the Chakra logo. The silver columns are brushed aluminum and the rest of the front panel is very sturdy plastic. When you remove the front panel, you’ll see the steel frame of the case and a tool-less 120mm fan on the bottom.   

 


The tool-less 120mm fan pops out with ease and once it’s out, you’ll notice the fan filter on the steel frame.   

 


The top of the case houses the e-SATA, audio, microphone, and USB ports, as well as the reset and power switches. As you can see, mine is a little scratched up and has some air bubbles.  I think the scuff marks on the top look cool because it gives the case kind of a ‘tough’ look. 

Closer Look:


Working Components:

When I first opened the case to look inside, I looked to see if it had a removable motherboard tray – it didn’t.  I have never used one so I don’t know how helpful it is to have. I also love how the hidden drive bay is facing towards you when you look in, because I hate reaching around to put hard drives into their bays. You can fit up to 6 hard drives in this hard drive rack. 

 


The white box in the hard drive rack contains the instructions, rails for your bay devices, and a bag of screws and motherboard standoffs.

 


The instructions are very brief and would be a nightmare for a first time builder, because there are no instructions for how and where to place the motherboard standoffs. They don’t even show you how to install the power supply.


The PCI slots on the left side of the case have a cool locking device. Basically, you pull up and out to release the lock, so that you can install or uninstall your PCI cards. The picture on the left shows the device in lock mode.

 


The 5.25” & 3.5” drive bays aren’t anything too special. I love the rails that run across the case, because you can hide wires behind them with ease. 


The next thing that caught my eye, were the cables that are being held together by a cable tie, that goes through a plastic loop glued to the top of the case. I cut the cable tie because I want to try to do some cable management and having your cables dangle in the middle of the case isn’t a good start. 


The cables are connected to the front panel’s USB ports, audio ports, as well as the power and reset switches. 


The side panel door comes off by unscrewing the big thumbscrews on the outside of the case and then pulling the panel towards the front of the case.


The fan is very cool in the sense that you can change the direction of its airflow, simply by flipping a switch and also, that you can turn the blue LEDs in the fan on or off.  The picture on the left displays the switch that users can have the fan blowing out of the case, into the case, or not blowing at all. 

 


The last thing I want to show you are the feet of the case. You can turn the feet 90 or 45 degrees outwards to improve the stability of the case.

 

Installation:

Installation was a jiff. The first thing I did, was to install the standoffs, take out the included I/O plate and install my motherboard with its prescribed I/O plate.

 


Next, I installed my video card and PCI cards.


After my motherboard was all set, I installed the power supply.  You simply screw the included plate onto the power supply, then the plate onto the case.


The last thing to do, is to install your hard drives and other bay devices. This was very easy, because you take the rails and snap them into the screw holes on the drive. After they are snapped on, just slide them into the bay where you want them.

 


I did attempt some cable management, but it was really hard as there is no clearance behind the motherboard to hide cables. I also installed a red 120mm fan as an exhaust. Below is a view of the case completely installed and lit up, with the blue LED fan and another shot without it.

 

Specifications:



Model Number ECA5001
Type ATX Big Tower Case
Dimensions D550 x W216 x H552mm
Material SECC 0.8mm
Drive Bays 5.25" - 5 (exposed
3.5"   - 8 (2 exposed + 6 hidden
M/B EEB, CEB, TEB, ATX, Micro ATX
Power Mini Redundant, PS2
Front I/O 1 x e-SATA, 2 x USB 2.0, Hi Definition Audio in/out
Cooling Front - 12cm Blue LED Fan
Rear  - 12/9/8 cm x 1 (optional)
Side Panel - 25cm fan (650rpm, 17 db(A), 90cfm)
Expansion Slots 7


Features:

Testing:

Test System:

 

I’m going to be testing motherboard temperature, CPU temperature and case temperature in the Enermax Uber Chakra and my old SilverStone TJ-06. Both cases were tested in my basement, which is relatively cool.  I also tested the Uber Chakra with the 25cm fan blowing into the case. My hard drive is in a cooler, so the temperature didn’t change by swapping cases. Lower temperature is better in all tests.



During the swap, I reseated my CPU heatsink and applied some more thermal compound.




As you can see, the 25cm fan blowing onto the components helped the temperature of the case, motherboard, and CPU decrease.

Conclusion:

At first, I wasn’t too sure if I liked the looks of the case, but that changed after about a week of using the Enermax Uber Chakra. The side panel still doesn't sit perfectly with me. It’s a very big case and fits my needs perfectly.  I was very impressed by the 25cm (250mm) fan and control the user has on the fan.  I’ve never had a fan that I can control which direction it blows air by the flick of a switch. I’m also very glad that the user is allowed to turn off the bright blue LEDs on the fan, because I know so many people that hate LEDs at night. The layout of this case is exactly the way I like my cases to be.
Overall, I couldn’t be happier with this case. Enermax can add this case to their high quality product line-up, because it provides optimal airflow, tons of space and cools down the components being used. If you decide to purchase this case, there is no doubt that you will surely be satisfied.
 

 

Pros:



Cons: