The Enermax CS-688AL-01 Case Review
Specifications and Features
This content was originally featured on Amdmb.com and has been converted to PC Perspective's website. Some color changes and flaws may appear.This all aluminum case is one of the lightest cases on the market today weighing only 2.25kg. The case body is 1.0 mm in thickness while the removable front bezel is 1.2 mm in thickness. The case and power supply can support ATX and Pentium 4 motherboards. The case dimensions are 466d x 200w x 420h mm. Only the left side panel is removable, the top and right side panel are riveted to the frame, but more on this later.
There are four 5.25” drive bays and two 3.5" drive bays with an additional 3.5" bay hidden. The case comes equipped with two 80 mm case fans, one intake and one exhaust. The front bezel houses two USB ports, one IEEE 1394 port and Audio ports for the user’s convenience.
Below is a photo from Enermax that clearly labels and shows most of the items mentioned above; because of the glare emitted by the case we were limited in what we could get good photos of.
Please note the wiring harness that connects the front mounted ports to an expansion card bracket. A second harness connects to this from the outside of the case and plugs into the various ports on the ATX panel. This eliminates a lot of clutter with only one cable running through the bottom of the case and this is the first time I’ve seen a fully color coded ATX panel as well.
The 80 mm fans that this case is equipped with are unfortunately Sleeve Bearing fans and we immediately replaced them with two 50 CFM Adda ball bearing units I got from www.phamcomputer.com. You would think that the manufacturers of high end cases would install good fans!! Guess again, none of them do, all use inexpensive Sleeve Bearing fans. The quality of the fans is not a place they should be cutting corners.
OK, let’s get back to our Super Blue case. We removed the six thumbscrews from the front of the bezel to expose the frame. You’ve got to be careful here as the LED wiring is attached to the bezel. The power button and the reset button located near the LED wiring are made of aluminum, a nice quality touch.
The drive bay covers are attached to the frame of the case with screws and are not part of the bezel, at this point you should know which of the bays you intend on using. Remove the bay covers for those bays but hold on to the screws, you’ll need them. Below the bay covers is the one hidden 3.5” bay and the intake fan grill that’s just begging to be modified.
Here is where I ran into my first little problem, along with the case, there were drive rails similar to those that come with Enlight cases that attach to the drive and you then just slide it into the bay and it locks into position. Instead of supplying eight rails, Enermax supplies only four, remember the right side of the case is not removable.
It seems, in their wisdom, Enermax decided that they could save some money with only one drive rail per bay and then have us use screws on the right hand side. Believe it or not it works quite well, remember the screws you saved from the removal of the bay covers, well now you use one of them per bay to screw the drive rail to the frame. Even though it works well, I don’t like it!!!! They would have been better off just using drive rails.
This photo shows the inside of the case, please excuse the glare, it’s almost impossible to avoid because of the shiny surface.
There are three things of interest to be noted here. The first is the support bar, it is held into place with one screw, and so removing it to install your motherboard is simple.
The second is the 3.5" drive cage, this is removable as well and necessary to install any 3.5" drives you may have including your hard drive. It’s attached to the frame by two screws and locks on to the 5.25" cage by a couple of tabs similar to a great majority of cases on the market.
The third is the expansion slot bracket that includes the ATX IO plate. This is also removable (held in by screws on the back of the case). Some motherboards may require this item to be removed for installation. I went ahead and removed it anyway, it made installation of the motherboard that much simpler.
This photo is of Scot’s fully loaded computer. He does have a fixation with the color Blue though; check out the Blue Looming and the CPUFX Blue Ramsinks on the Video card and just about any other chip that gets warm. But, I do think his cabling needs work to take full advantage of the cooling characteristics of this beautiful case.