Let me begin by saying that I have seen several enclosure designs claiming to be tool-free. You'll note I used the term claiming. There is always some place in the transfer of the system where tools are required. That is until I moved my test system into this SilverStone unit.
At no time during the installation were tools needed to complete a task. All fans were installed into a housing assembly and then inserted into the case design. All AGP/PCI cards were inserted easily and then clamped into place with the slider retention system. Add to this the removable motherboard tray and the side panels that are secured by a lever and you can see why I am thrilled with this tool-free design.
Now, tools will be needed if you exceed two optical devices, two hard drives and a floppy drive, but this falls squarely into the realm of what a majority of users have in their own systems.
Now I hadn't mentioned a couple of areas of the installation because I wanted to show you how it works firsthand. We'll begin by looking at the installation of the motherboard.
When you install the mainboard, all you have to do is to lay the board out above these pins. They have just a little give in them allowing them to compress slightly and then expand as they pass the central portion of the hole of your mainboard. Just push down with moderate pressure and you will feel that section of board secure itself onto the pin.
Oh, and in the event you want to remove the board, there is a removal tool attached to the back of the motherboard tray that slips under the mainboard allowing you to gently pry it upward without damage to the board itself. Nice and simple.
The other area not mentioned above is the drive installation process. As I mentioned earlier, this enclosure uses a rail system. There are no tools required to mount the rails to the device, just the lining up of a couple of pins into holes and a little pressure to seat them in place. Once that is finished, just slide the drive into the appropriate bay and let it snap into place. You'll even see above where the two drives are lined up perfectly with each other making for a smooth, clean look after reinstalling the front bezel. Here is a quick shot of the hard drive rail system:
This is the first time I have EVER been able to transfer a complete system without using tools. This is an exceptional example of how to go about creating a true tool-free enclosure. A full compliment of rails for all available drive bays would have been a nice addition, but overall this is a very good package.
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