22nd January 2008

Cooler Master Stacker 830 SE Case w/ Real Power Pro 1000w SLI – Review (Page 3 / Mounting Hardware & Conclusion)

posted by Doomzilla in Hardware, Power Supplies/Cases, Reviews Subpage |

Though the power supply does need screws to be mounted, much of the rest of the case is completely tool-less. The side panels are held in place by solid plastic brackets that snap it into place. The optical drives are held in place by sliding pressure brackets along side the drive once it is aligned in the case. By the way, inserting an optical drive has never been easier. On the front of the case you open the main door which is held shut by a magnet. Then you open up two small silver brackets that run up the entire length of the front of the case and cover the sides of the 5.25″ bays. Then you just pop out one of the mesh faceplates, slide in your drive, slide the pressure brackets tight, and close front brackets. It took me about 30 seconds to do the entire process and most of that was just trying to make sure the front of the DVD drive was flush with the front of the case.

case front closeup hard drive cage closeup hard drive cage out

Adding a hard drive was slightly more complicated, but the extra hassle is well worth it. The Stacker 830 comes with a hard drive cage which holds 4 hard drives in the space of three 5.25″ bays. This drive cage can be placed anywhere in the case as long as you have three 5.25″ bays clear that are next to each other. The drive cage is held in place by screws, but I have a feeling that the pressure brackets could be used if you didnt need the added security of the screws. Anyways, you undo a few screws and slide the cage out. It has two separate mounting plates which connect to the main part of the cage through rubber grommets. This makes sure that the vibrations of the drives are deadened and does not cause the rest of your case to make noise from amplified vibrations. You just add in whatever drives you want, reattach the mounting plates and slide the entire cage back into the case.

mobo tray half mobo tray out power supply back

Now, we get to the most convenient part of the case’s design. The removable motherboard tray. This isn’t the first case I’ve used with a removable tray, but this one is by far the most solid and convenient. The hole in the back of the case that the tray slides out through is large enough that you probably won’t have to remove most larger aftermarket CPU coolers. The tray is held in place by a well designed locking mechanism which allows you to switch open and just slide the tray out. Along the sides of the tray are two plastic guides for the rails so the tray slides out smoothly and doesn’t make that terrible metal-on-metal screech that plagues many other removable tray setups. You have to screw in the standoffs/risers into the motherboard tray’s mounting holes yourself. This adds great flexibility to only add the mounting holes that you want. I currently only have a mATX motherboard, so I decided to only add the necessary holes to mount that motherboard. Obviously, I will add more later when I upgrade to a full ATX motherboard.

To fully test the functionality of the case, I installed the following components:

- Abit Fatal1ty F-I90HD mATX Motherboard
- Intel Core 2 Duo E4500 CPU
- Crucial 2GB (2x1GB) DDR2
- 250GB Hitachi SATA Hard Drive
- Generic IDE Combo Optical Drive

motherboard installed

Right now I am in the process of ordering a new video card, so unfortunately that was left out of the test. Mounting the motherboard and CPU couldn’t have been easier due to the removable tray. The DVD drive went in smoothly without a hitch. The hard drive took a little more time than I had anticipated due to the fact that I had to pull out the entire cage and then try to put it back in. A note of advice to anyone that is lucky enough to get one of these cases, remove the motherboard tray while trying to work on the hard drive cage. The board gets in the way a bit and makes it much harder to maneuver your hands in the case. Once everything was mounted, connecting the power cables was incredibly easy since they are long enough to reach anywhere in the case. I can’t remember the last time it was so easy to build a full PC. Any add-on cards I want to install later will be a simple task with the included thumb screws for all the mounting brackets. A nice feature that I did not even think about until I was all done installing the components and organizing the cables is that never once did I cut myself or hurt my arms on the case. All of the edges are either rounded or have at least been machined so that they offer very little risk to injuring yourself on them.

The two 120mm fans provided and the fan in the power supply make almost no sound at all. The only way I know that the PC is on is by the glow of the blue LEDs that are mounted on the front 120mm fan.

Pros:

  • Tool-less, Easy to assemble and maintain
  • Allows configuration options for even the most diehard enthusiast
  • 1000W PSU with connectors for everything
  • Ample room for liquid cooling
  • Great air flow/ventilation
  • All aluminum design

Cons:

  • Metal mesh does not help with sound proofing
  • Front door does not stay open
  • PSU is not modular
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