Case modding is something that comes along with overclocking. In the quest for every last drop of CPU or GPU performance, we spend hours looking for ways to improve our situation without spending a lot of money in the process. I have seen a ton of mods, from the mundane to totally extreme, completely custom chassis designs and concepts. Chassis manufacturers would be silly not to look at what the mod community is doing with cases that hit the shelves and make it into "tinkering hands". I'm sure a few of us out there wish there was some way we were able to design or even add input into a design, or tweaking a not so bad concept into a real gamers chassis.
This chassis is a collaborative effort to a mod expert from across the pond. Scythe sought the knowledge of renowned case mode guru, Benjamin "benny" Franz from Germany. I'm not quite sure of the exact proposal here; if "benny" made the design, or just looked at it and "endorsed it" in the manner of a Fatal1ty type branding. I will get to the bottom of it as I go through the chassis and have a better look at things and just how well they all play together.
Today we are looking at the FenrisWolf Mid Tower chassis from Scythe. To my knowledge, this is the only chassis currently available from Scythe. As such, and the fact that it has been given the thumbs up from a well known mod maker, I would assume this chassis should bring good things, inside and out. Let's get a better look at the FenrisWolf and see just what it has in store.
Specifications, Availability and Pricing
This chassis is made of solid, thick, 100% all aluminum, except for the much thinner door panels. They are a fair bit thinner than the rest of the main body and drive rack. The FenrisWolf is black throughout, with accents on the outside in contrasting, brushed aluminum. The majority of the front panel is covered in a "screen" mesh that acts as a dust filter while also cleaning up the exterior looks. This mid tower is roomy inside and as you will see, it can be packed with goods and still be clean and tidy.
Air flow inside this chassis is limited in my opinion. Scythe includes two 120mm Slipstream fans in 25mm thickness. Looking at their website for reference, I found it is listed with only 40 CFM per fan. While keeping things silent at near 10 dBA levels, they don't offer much cooling ability to the interior spacing of the FenrisWolf. I am a fan of silence, but at what expense? I am eager to get this built so I can have a look at the CPU temps and see what things look like, even at idle.
Current availability is set to only seven e-tailers. Prices range from $110 all the way up to $198 USD, depending on where you buy. Most stores are in the lower end of this spectrum and are reasonably priced compared to Scythes own MSRP of the highest e-tailers $198 pricing. At near $200 this chassis better pack quite a punch. Since most buyers look for the best deal, I bet you pay near the $110 pricing, and the expectations aren't as high either. Let's get down to it and have a look at just what is there.
Scythe uses an all white background to display the purple and grey wolf on the left, and it makes for a nice contrasting backing for the case image at the bottom right. At the bottom left corner is the first indication of the 'designed in Germany, by "benny"' concept.
Scythe uses this panel to display useful website information for contact and support. In the bottom left corner, again is a Benjamin Franz logo.
We get our first look inside the FenrisWolf as Scythe shows the major features within. The specifications are listed in six languages at the bottom.
One the last side panel, the wolf's neck and ear are visible as the image from the front wraps around. Here we see both the rear and the front with the door open.
Scythe caps both ends of the chassis in Styrofoam and lines the case with a thick plastic inner liner that is taped, very securely, closed.
The Scythe FenrisWolf Mid Tower Case
Looking at the front, I was greeted with an all aluminum door panel with an exposed edge shining in exposed aluminum. In the center is a mesh not unlike a screen you find in your windows. Near the top Scythe places a black and aluminum accented logo.
This front panel opens to expose the drive bays and the power and reset buttons, and the power and HDD activity LED's. Under the front controls there are six bays, one of which can be used for a 3.5" floppy drive. Under those is a 120mm fan in a cage. This cage is also covered in another layer of the screen mesh.
On the side, things would have been really plain. The bold accent of the lowercase "b" at the bottom left is to signify Benny's approval, and I can only assume this is his "brand logo". The reverse of the chassis is the same, minus the "logo" of course.
The rear of the chassis exposes the top mounted positioning of the PSU in this chassis. Moving down the thick rear panel, there is the rear I/O panel hole flanked by the second 120mm fan. Continuing on down, there are seven vented expansion slots, and next to those are holes to pass water tubing through.
Hidden near the front, on top of the chassis, is this front I/O access panel. I ran into my first issue here. I had to prop the door of the panel for this image with a trimmed down zip tie. The door on this panel will not stay in the open position. It's good for keeping the dust out, but sort of a pain to plug in a device if another isn't already holding the door open.
Inside The Scythe FenrisWolf Mid Tower Case
The doors are considerably thinner than the rest of the chassis, and come off easily once the two thumb screws are removed. The latching of this panel is done with one tab at the top and bottom, with a full front side tab that lines up in the front. Scythe backs this panel with thin strips of rubber at the top and bottom to keep it from rattling against the body of the chassis.
With the doors out of view, you get some idea of how roomy this mid tower really is. The simplified front drive rack allows you to configure drives in any way you desire. The motherboard tray is well laid out and has notations to show where to place the risers for each type of motherboard. Both the case wiring and hardware boxes are securely fastened so nothing will move or cause damage during its voyage.
Laying the chassis on its back, we can see there is some nicely sized, round, plastic feet that have rubber pads on the bottom. This should keep any damage away from your desktop. I am surprised to not see a top exhaust fan though.
The back side gives access to the other side of the drive racks and all the screws are easily used. There is a rather large gap to the tray to allow for a lot of room to access SATA ports and such on the board. The tray itself is solid and offers very little in the idea of wire management, and no CPU access hole.
The wiring from the front I/O is plenty long enough to get where they need to be and still offers a bit of slack so you may route it cleanly. There is an e-SATA, USB 2.0, and HD / AC97 audio connections. In a ribbon cable style run, there are the power, reset, power LED, HDD activity LED and case speaker connections.
Inside of the drive rack, each slot is lined with a strip of rubber to isolate whatever drive you install. At the bottom is a three bay cover that has a 120mm Slipstream installed. This can be moved to any position, and the other bay covers adjusted to fit the plan. Everything in the front for the covers uses thumb screws for fast simple swapping or removal.
Looking inside of the rear of the Wolf, there is a shelf of sorts punched out of the tray that helps to hold the PSU in place; again, there is isolation material on this to keep the chassis silent from squeaks. Both 120mm fans have this same 3-pin power connection and I found no adapters included, so be sure you have the extra motherboard headers for these, or that you have the appropriate adapters to go to a 12V, 4-pin Molex connection.
Accessories and Documentation
The included instruction manual and checklist is very comprehensive. The entire book is written multilingual, so it makes for a slightly smaller book. The images are perfect and very descriptive by themselves, but if you get stuck, the text walkthrough clears up any questions.
The hardware boxes that were strapped inside the drive rack are here. There are two separated packages, and to be honest I'm not quite sure what is in the second flatter box.
Inside of the smaller box to the left is all the hardware needed to get the components mounted inside the FenrisWolf. All hardware is separated and clearly labeled so there should be no confusion as to which screws get used for what component.
It took a look into the manual for me to figure out exactly what this is. When I looked I had a "facepalm moment", as this turns out to be the HDD adapter for mounting them into a 5.25" bay.
Here is the basic idea of how it works. I will show it assembled in the build in a bit.
The Build and Finished Product
I have the board, CPU, memory and GPU installed, and I had to open up the front to continue the build. Here you can see the fan housed inside of the cover for the bottom 3 bays. Since I have my optical drive at the top, I figured I'd put the HDD at the bottom and see if the fan cover will still fit. Speaking of which, here is the fully assembled adapter mounted to my hard drive. Three thumb screws on either side secure it into the bays, and yes the fan and cover do fit installed in front of the drive adapter.
The PSU I chose is not modular, in fact it has quite a bit of wiring. I was able to hide a lot of the extras, and was still able to come up with some pretty unimpeded management of the wires. Everything seemed smooth and lined up as I assembled the build. If you look at the bottom left, the drive adapter does protrude into the chassis a bit with the fan in front, but makes no difference, as there is plenty of room for it to do so.
The rear view of the chassis fills out nicely once parts are installed, leaving a clean place to start the rats nest of wires usually hidden behind a PC.
One last look inside before I close up shop and add some power to the Scythe. Next to the drives is plenty of room to hide and tie back any wiring. I was able to hide most of mine above the optical drive, so I didn't need much of this space.
Once power was added I had to open the door to push the power button. With fans speeding up as the PC boots, there is the blue glow of the power LED to let you know it's on. As if my 9800GTX's fan spooling up 'till the drivers kicked in wasn't sign enough. Although, now that I think about it, I never did hear the case fans, so it is a good thing for those with silent cooling.
I had to open her up to drop in my CD for testing to see how things go inside the Scythe once the images are done, so I snapped another image.
Once the door is closed back up, there is no visible lighting to be seen, and once my video card drivers kicked in, it left the chassis very quiet indeed. This case would be perfect for the living room or bedroom as there is little noise and no annoying flashy LED's drowning the room in light.
I'm really torn with the FenrisWolf chassis from Scythe. The material choice is nice, the silence is also nice and the chassis, in my opinion, is a real looker. All black brushed aluminum, with bright "silvery" accents is a clean and sophisticated style. But in the end, nothing about the chassis screams "mod" and that is a bit disappointing to me.
The interior is pretty much tool-less to assemble, with maybe the assistance of a screwdriver for the motherboard and drive installations. Nothing really new here, many companies are doing this. An all aluminum chassis build is also nice, but still not special. The fans included may be silent, but only offer a combined 81 CFM of airflow.
Speaking of which, temperatures inside my build did show a slight increase in even my idle temps. Since I do all my builds in my basement, ambient is relatively the same day to day, and I did see a three degree rise in idle temps and five degrees warmer at stock settings once loaded. I've said it before, there is give and take for silence, and in this case it takes for the temperature to give you the silence.
The real issue I have is that the "b" is more of a "Fatal1ty branding" than a design I would be proud to sign my name to. For the asking price of around $110 USD if you shop smart, it isn't a bad case to start with, but I feel you will end up swapping parts and doing some mods of your own to finish the build off right. In the most basic idea of it all, for just over a Benjamin, you can have a Benjamin, Franz that is! The FenrisWolf was a nice experience, but nothing I would write home about as far as case mods go.
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