Starting with the front of the case we can see that there are four externally accessible 5.25" drive bays and two 3.5" drive bays. This should be able to handle all but the most beefy of enthusiast rigs, so there is room for what you have now and more than likely more for upgrades later on down the line as well. One thing that I liked about the design is that all of the outside drive covers have a plastic coating, which gives the cover plate a beveled look. If you don't plan on filling all the bays, it will really offset the looks of the case. Removing the cover plates is as simple as using a cross-tip screwdriver and removing a pair of screws from the inside.
Moving down a little we come to the external 3.5" drive bays. There are two of them to work with so you'll be set in the event that you use both a floppy drive and a ZIP. Though not fond of ZIP drives myself, I do still install a floppy drive in all of my systems. I have found it to be the best means to Flash a BIOS.
Beside the drive bays are the Power and Reset buttons. Directly under the buttons are the HDD activity light and the Power On light. So far there are no big surprises, but that is just about to change.
I have seen some similar mods to this on different enthusiast sites, but this is one of the first that comes already installed for you. What we have is an LCD display that displays time, temperature, Power On/Off states and HDD activity. But not only do we get to see these displays, the entire panel has seven colors that it rotates through. But if you don't happen to like the idea of the color not being constant, you can set it to display in any of the seven colors you choose.
Just below this display is a plethora of additional ports accessible right from the front of your system. From right to left is an IEEE1394 (Firewire) port, a pair of USB ports (USB 2.0 compatible), a microphone jack and a headphone jack. And if you don't happen to want any of these features right away, they can be hidden behind a door that will keep them from view. Remember, one of the main users of a case like this is a gamer taking a rig to a LAN party. Having these connections right up front can be a true blessing under these conditions.
Moving on, we come to the main entry side panel. The unit we received for testing comes with an optional side window. And not only does it come with a side window, but it's not even a plain one either. With a little care, you can have a rig that truly stands out from the crowd at your next LAN event.
What would a window be without a side-mounted fan somewhere on that panel? Rather drab I imagine, but you won't have that problem with the Jupiter case. The optional side panel in question just happens to have a fan mounted dead center in the middle of the window. Even better, it has a fan grill on the outside to help make sure that small objects (fingers, pet hamsters, snakes
) don't get in the way of your operating.
Next in line is the rear portion of the enclosure. It is the same aluminum material that the rest of the case is made of and has all the normal cutouts and port openings to handle the usual array of motherboards available right now. There was, however, one item that was a little strange to me; the PSU mount. If you'll take notice of the screw pattern, it is upside down. While this won't cause any problems during the operation of the power supply, it does tend to render the extra fan on the bottom useless if you happen to have one of these units (like me). After mounting the PSU, the fan is pointing straight at the top of the case, and with little room between it and the ceiling, it does little to no good.
One thing I did like, though, was the use of thumbscrews for both side panels. If you're like many tweakers, you are constantly getting into the internals to change this or add that. The thumbscrews allow you to get in with little bother and take care of business.
Finally, I'd like to point out that though this is an aluminum case, it doesn't have one of the bad features that often go with this breed of enclosure. What I'm talking about here is the constant fingerprints that always appear on the sides of the case! Sky Hawk USA has added a coating to the exterior that still gives it that distinctive aluminum look, but also helps repel those pesky fingerprints. After all, when you go to a LAN with a case that looks like this, people are just gonna get all touchy-feely with it. It is a simple fact of life. Now we have a case that won't require you to always have a bottle of light oil to keep the thing clean.