The first thing you notice about the Black Pearl is its size. Simply put, this thing is BIG. It is capable of handling just about anything that you can throw at it and still have room for future upgrades. This enclosure stands just a shade over two feet tall and has enough space to be used in server applications. Of course, this also makes it an excellent size for the hardcore gamer and enthusiast alike.
The case is made from aluminum, so weight will be minimized. This can be a good thing when you need to lug your system to that weekend LAN party for an all-out fragfest. The black coloring is well done with the finish being somewhere about in the middle of the "flat" and "gloss" zones. This gives it a good look without as many fingerprint issues, so the paint is a good compromise between shiny and dull.
The front of the Black Pearl shows immediately that it is prepared to handle the load. The top two optical drive bays have hinged covers to hide off-color drives and there are an additional four bays below that. This gives a truly staggering amount of flexibility for your system. There is also an externally accessible floppy drive bay for those who still make use of this form of data storage.
Below this is a LCD display area that shows fan speed and internal temperature. This temperature is taken from an attached thermal probe, which can be mounted nearly anywhere inside the system. You can set it up to monitor internal case temperatures, or mount it to your processor or graphics board(s) to keep track of those areas.
Like most manufacturers today, Tagan has helped make things easy to get to with there external I/O ports. These are mounted on the top of the enclosure just behind the front bezel. Included are a pair of USB ports, a Firewire IEEE1394, and two audio ports that give access to microphone and headset capabilities. Nothing out of the ordinary here, but I think we are at a point in design where we feel like something is missing if this feature isn't included.
Moving to the side shows us a plain black panel so we think that there won't be any windows or anything. While this isn't necessarily a wrong thought, it isn't as cut and dried as that. You see, the Black Pearl is backward in design and this side panel is not the primary access point to your system.
The back of the enclosure is set up to have the power supply mounted at the bottom. Everything else is pretty standard with the exception of being just the opposite of what we are accustomed to. Some might glance at the image above and think the case is upside down, but I can assure you it is not. The motherboard mounts on the opposite side so everything is adjusted for this new mounting method.
As noted in the introduction, this enclosure has a "WCR" moniker attached to it. This stands for "Water Cooling Ready" and shown above is one reason why it makes this claim. At the back side of the top panel you will see a pair of circular covers that can be removed to allow for plastic tubing. Those who have played around with water cooling and an external reservoir will appreciate this feature since it means there is no need for modifying the case to allow for the tubing to pass.