First off I would like to address the plus side of the Enermax Hoplite ST. This chassis looks really good, has a pretty full feature set, and will sell at a really reasonable price once they do hit the US shores. A hot-swap drive dock for storage devices is always a handy feature, and with the dust cover door on it, you aren't left with an ugly hole to stare at. The window on the side is interesting, and the optional fan placement there is strategically placed. I even liked the removable hard drive section to allow for much longer video cards. I really liked that there is a three speed fan control, and the two equipped fans were able to keep things cool inside and not deliver more than a light hum as they work to rid the chassis of heated air. I even dug the handle that makes removing that super tight side panel much easier on the hands. As far as the basics go, on paper, I really like what the Hoplite St is all about.
The reality is though that I think the list of cons way outweighs the pros list for this case. The first issue I ran into was the small cracks or fractures in the clear plastic used on the side panel. Not only will these fractures grow into much larger cracks, but I noticed it right away and it would drive me nuts knowing that was there. Then I ran into the rear fan screws being stripped, and I can see how it happens, but how hard is it to try again? Sending it out like that is just rude. Then when I got inside and found that the stand-off wouldn't line up with the motherboard, and the horrendous looking thumbscrew in the expansion slots that were stripped, all I can say is someone in the factory must have been having a bad day and didn't care.
Add in the fact that the door panels are near impossible to get on or off with one person, and while there is room for some management of the wires, it isn't very well thought out at all. Also once the panels are off the chassis loses most of its rigidity. Not only that, this made it through Quality Control, and on to a reviewers desk to show the world that Enermax will give me something like this, what are they selling to their customers that don't have the soap box that I have?
Even with a realistic price tag, for a chassis that is in perfect condition, the $69.99 MSRP is reasonable, but not for what I got. I am really disappointed in the product I received, in this instance the poop rolled uphill and I bet some people are going to be pulled in the office over this one. I really do wish I had gotten a better sample, because the pricing and feature set makes me want to get behind this design, but the lack of attention to detail in this chassis, I wouldn't pay $20 for this chassis if I knew the damages it has and that I would have to fight at almost every turn and battle anger as I kept finding disappointments, almost to the point of making me toss the idea of doing this review at all.
I thought in the end I would deliver the chassis for what it is and expose the fact that Enermax may need to look at their OEM or their in house workers to see why cases like this are on shelves and for sale. We expect much, much better next time.
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