When we look at the overall effectiveness of an enclosure, we need to take a bit deeper look than just physical beauty. Though this case certainly has a lot to offer as far as good looks are concerned, the ability to keep our high-powered rigs cool is also of vital importance.
To give you a quick understanding of how the cooling works in this case, I'll discuss the factory setup. As noted earlier, the large blower installed on the back of the case sucks air in from the rear. From there, it forces the air straight downward to where a majority of boards have the processor socket located. This will give the HSF more direct airflow to work with. Right next to the blower is a small 60mm fan that blows air back out to the rear. This will give the entire processor cooling process a circular flow to work with. While not quite as effective as a conventional case design with a huge amount of airflow, it did manage to perform at a level that was acceptable, but not noteworthy.
Also of note is that the side-mounted fan actually blows outward instead of sucking in more airflow. With the large blower cramming a large amount of airflow directly downward, there just needed to be some more exhaust at work. This manages to perform in that function, but it does tend to give a backwards airflow than is normally expected through a case.
Finally, the front fan that sits behind the HDD does not have an external access to fresh air. It will simply be recirculating the existing air within the case. Though not the best of cooling layouts, it did manage to handle the stresses of a system without hacking up a hairball, but I would want to take a hard look before I threw a hardcore overclocked monster in there.
When it comes right down to it, we would all like to have a machine that you would be proud to have seen in public. But honestly, not all of us have the time to be able to perform these case modifications on our own. Not only that, but a large number of folks just don't have the skills necessary to pull off this type of a project.
It is reasons like these that cause companies like Sky Hawk to deliver a product like what we have seen here today. We have seen a case that goes above and beyond the call of duty to give you enough raw good looks to turn heads when you hit up that next LAN party. It also has a large number of features that really make you start to take notice.
But all is not cream and honey with this case as the cooling scenario pointed out. While it does manage to give workable results, it is still not up to par of what it could be. With a little more work in this area, we would have a truly remarkable case to say the least.
And, of course, we must also look at pricing. Considering that pre-modded Lian Li cases are going in at prices well in excess US$200-250, the retail price of US$85 is a welcome breath of fresh air. Of course, this is the price without window or PSU. But considering that the retail price with window is still only US$100, this case is really not out of range for a lot of gamers to take advantage of.
Bottom line... If you're in the market for a case that is already modified to the extreme and don't have a lot of money burning a hole in your pocket, then take a long look at this Sky Hawk enclosure. It offers some outstanding mods and a price that is hard to refuse. Just be careful in the cooling area.
Very reasonable price
Striking good looks
No direct air for front fan
Airflow is backwards
PSU mounts upside down
Rating - 8/10