While the tool-less latches on the expansion cards aren't accepting of every card; that is the only real complaint I can come up with as to why the Mars VA-2 might be overlooked. As for the rest of the chassis, I can only sit and like what I am seeing here.
The latches for both the optical and hard drive bays are top notch and work so simply. With these spring loaded latches on both sides of the drive bay, there isn't any fumbling around with screws and the fit and placement of the drives are locked in as securely as if you had screwed them into place. As for the looks, well of the three, I like this one the best. With its understated looks and sleekness to it, the Mars can fit into any décor, as long as a few flashes of chrome are acceptable.
For only two fans pushing any air, I will say the open side, extra ventilation in the floor and the open top of the Mars lends to some very reasonable temperatures while I was testing. With only two 120mm fans, the convective flow of air is set in motion as well and had good effect on the results. Removing the top dust filters is going to help as well. Since there aren't any fans installed, what dust are we filtering? If you remove them there is less effort needed to go through the honeycomb mesh and not the fine round holes of the plastic dust filters there now. Speaking of dust filters, I do like that there is a plastic one on the floor as well. You do need to watch for things when cleaning though. You will have the foam pad on there to support the PSU and getting the filter locked in tabs that are now under the power supply and invisible makes it a game of luck as to if it goes back in right.
With everything considered, as I ponder the MSRP of $79, I have to say that GameTiger gets points for ingenuity with me. The expansion card latches are slick and so are all of the ones on the bays. The Thermal Interference Shield is something I have never seen added to a chassis and this simple solution does break up the internal air flow and is what also helps with the reasonable temperatures with only the two fans.
With the looks and ease of assembly and use added in the mix, I think I really did save the best for last. The Mars doesn't force every trick of the trade on you, nor does it really leave you wanting anything that isn't already included in the kit. I think the Mars VA-2 would sell well in the US market at the $79 price I am told they are looking to get.
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