Enermax CS-528 Series Case
We'll start off with the 528 Series just because the number comes first.
When you first pull this case out of the shipping crate, you're met with a lot of silver coloring. From a glance, you think back to the horror stories of the smudges and fingerprints that haunt this type of case, but there will be little to worry about in this case. Once you actually lay hands on the outside you'll understand why. The painted surfaces of the exterior are coated with an acrylic finish with a light texture instead of the brushed finish that is well liked by some. Myself, I like to keep things looking clean so this is a nicer finish to work with and it's a breeze to clean.
From a purely aesthetic vantage point, the front looks to be pretty plain with the exception of the blue eyeball that sits in the front cover. To check this out a little more closely, we'll have to open up the front panel.
What we have is a small LED bulb that is fitted into the bottom two 5.25" drive bay panels. The blue effect from the exterior is accomplished by a textured diffuser (similar to the diffusers used in a fluorescent light) that has been mounted into the front panel. This gives off a healthy glow that makes the front portion of the enclosure stand out a bit.
And while this is a pretty cool effect, it does manage to make the bottom two drive bays inaccessible for additional optical devices. You can remove the LED to gain access to the lower two drive bays, but then you lose the lighting effects. You'll have to make your own decision as to whether this fits into your current PC plans or not.
Also noted on the front panel is a single 3.5" external drive bay to handle the floppy drive. It is good to see that this is still used in modern cases. Some have begun eliminating this bay, but I have still found that a bootable floppy is the best way to Flash a BIOS and to troubleshoot a system that is having fits.
As we travel downward to the bottom of the front bezel, we'll see that we have what is starting to become a standard in case designs; namely USB 2.0 ports and mic/headphone jacks. There is also a cutout for a Firewire port, but the actual connector is an option since many motherboards are still not natively supporting this standard.
Moving along to the side of the case shows a very large window with a center mounted 80mm fan. It comes complete with a grill guard and is the only fan that comes standard in the enclosure. And while this might seem to be a slight in the design, it makes sense when you consider some points:
- 80mm fans are cheap
- Most system builders have a surplus sitting around anyway
- The fans of choice are dependant on desired sound output
So while it might look to be a way to trim production costs, it isn't really a big problem for a majority of us who are accustomed to building our own systems.
It should also be noted that the window sits very firmly in the side panel. This will help greatly in getting a solid airflow plan working inside the case since there won't be an excessive amount of air seeping in from the sides of the window.
Checking out the back of the unit shows pretty much what we would expect to find. You'll have a standard ATX back panel in place, but it can be easily removed for those motherboards with a different port layout. There are a total of seven peripheral cutouts that are set up to handle modern mainboards. Also of note is that the sot panel covers are the type that simply clip into the slot without having to use tools. This can make it a bit easier to remove when it comes time to start installing your goodies.
And though we haven't begun our discussion on cooling yet, you'll want to go ahead and notice that there are mounting holes for two 80mm fans. This should help out a lot when we start setting up our system.