F430 Mid Tower - Exterior
We begin our piece by taking a look at the single ATX enclosure in the roundup. The case is designed with a race car at the heart. Our test model comes in with a fiery candy apple red exterior, but it is also available in orange and black. A quick glance is all it takes to note that the paint on this baby is more in lines with what you would see on a performance automobile than a computer case. Even from this angle you can see the glossy finish and the nice reflection toward the base.
The front bezel is plastic and includes the same paint job as the rest of the enclosure. Being a mid tower design it has the standard four optical bay openings and also includes two 3.5" openings as well. Toward the bottom you will see some openings that allow for air to move from the lower front portion of the case, which is exactly as it should be.
To keep up the concept of a race car, the power button even has a label of "START ENGINE". To make things even more entertaining, this power button emits an engine-inspired roar when you punch it. For those who may find this annoying, you can adjust the volume to silence the beast.
As with any decent enclosure design, the F430 includes a nice selection of external ports that are located on the left side as you are looking at the box. This I/O panel includes headphone and microphone jacks, a single IEEE1394 Firewire port and four USB ports. Many manufacturers are now using a 4-port USB design and this is a very nice addition. I have had to add hubs from time to time because I ran out of USB ports. This not only adds an extra pair of USB connections, it also keeps them easily accessible close to the front bezel.
The side panel has no windows like so many offerings today, but it is still more than a flat piece of metal. There is a single ventilation hole that is mounted on an extruding curved piece of the side plate. This gives a little flowing pattern to the side and is very easy on the eyes. Also of note is the fact that the raised portion housing the ventilation hole allows added ventilation from a lower position. We'll take a little better look at this feature when we pop the side panel off. The two black tabs you see toward the rear of the panel are the means of opening the case, so it is also appealing to those looking for a tool-free concept.
Above is the inside of the side panel. There are two areas that allow for incoming airflow and both are filtered. You will also note that one of those ports allows you to move a plastic shroud for better positioning of the ventilation over the processor.
Moving to the back of the enclosure shows a pretty standard layout. The opening for the power supply is completely industry standard so you will have no issues with your favorite PSU. You can also see that while there are no screws installed to keep the side panel secured, you can install them yourself if you so desire. During testing, I never had any issues with the plastic clips, but if you're just not comfortable with that you can add two screws.
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