|Raidmax Blade Mid-Tower Computer Case|
|Reviews - Featured Reviews: Cases|
|Written by Doug Dallam|
|Monday, 03 October 2011|
Page 4 of 5
Detailed Interior Features
Okay, here we go with one reason I had a spastic-case-hissy-fit. Olin (the Executive Editor here at Benchmark Reviews) has told me that most $50.00 cases use screws to secure the front bezels. What? I just hate that. Do you know what this means? Let me spell it for you: It means everytime you want to clean the front fan filter, or swap the front fan, you need to take off both side panels, get your little screw driver out and unscrew the four little screws, all just to clean the filters or to swap the fan. What's more, the screws are not the type that fit into metal threaded backings. They're self tapping, and they tap right into the plastic of the bezel. Wallow them out after repeated screwing, and you just gave your case the "No Bezel Custom Bust-it Modification."I tried mounting the bezel without the screws, and it did mount with the plastic push pins only, but not really securely. You might get away with it though, and you could definitely get away with just two of the four screws.
On the up side, you won't need to clean the front filters because they are mosly nonfunctional. See the filters on the left and right? Well, they don't line up with the front fan. This means most of the air is going directly through the grill, outlined by the white circle, and there is no filter on that grill. Anyway, you can make up your own mind if this bothers you, but keep in mind, it's a $50.00 (or less) case.
Something I just noticed too. See the filters? They are cloth over the steel perforated screen. You could just pull them out and clean the mesh from the outside, since the steel mesh will catch a lot of the dust anyway. Many cases now feature only the steel perforated mesh anyway, and that seems to work sufficiently. That being said, most of the air is going into the front grill and not the mesh anyway, which is still a filter problem.
The next aspect of the Blade makes me want to, well, nothing. It just makes me mad that stuff doesn't work as advertised, or if it does, it's just enough to keep the manufacturer out of court for false advertising. Case in point, the Raidmax tooless mount. You turn the knob (on the other side) and the black center part, shown below, presses against the drive holding it securely in place, while the two male pins on either side go into the screw holes of the drive. The ony problem is that the pins and the center part do not hold the drive securely, at all. In fact, the opposite side isn't secured, and is left to flop around or even fall out. I tried doubling them up, one on each side, and that did help, a little, but I was able to pull the drive out, nevertheless, without too much effort.
It's not just Raidmax, either, and I'm not bashing Raidmax for doing it. It's called competition--you do certain things or you get eaten! It's "market economies" 101, and this is sadly popular marketing. But we do know that some tooless mounts actually work fairly well (for instance, Cooler Master's). But then again, it's a $50.00 case. You make up your own mind if you think the price warrants the marginal utility of the mount. (I've seen this on $150.00 cases also.)
Let's get some measurements. At least this looks pretty good. Almost 11 1/2 inches of space. That should be good enough for the largest cards. Not bad at all. If you need all of your hard drive slots and they're all 3.5", then you'll need to hack off 2" because that's how far the drives protrude into the case (remembering that the drive cage is your traditional back to the motherboard design, and not the better back to the cable panel side design). I assume most people won't have a need to fill every drive bay with 3.5" HDs though, so it's personal choice.
The last thing I want to show you is important for buyers also: cable space, of which there is virtualy none. You get such little space that I couldn't even measure it. I'm guessing that it might be a 1/4" at most, and more like 3/16". So expect to run your power supply cables into the case, and not behind the mother board tray. For sure, you'll be able to get smaller wires around the back, but unless you flex the side panel, you won't get the power supplies' cables back there. Speaking of the motherboard tray, it's acceptably stiff, but with a little flexi-slop on the lower right side (location shown in the last image, bottom right). Yep, you can see here that with the side panel on, you get pretty much no cable routing space. The image below actually looks like there is more space than their really is, too.
That's it for the visual show. Let's move on over to the Final Thoughts and Conclusion sections and see how she sums up.