It seems Enermax has really picked up the pace the past year and is delivering quite the assortment of products in getting ready for this year. Not too long ago we took a look at the ED-T60 CPU cooler with its T.B. Vegas fan and multiple lighting schemes which made this cooler attractive and customizable to your own preference. Then we sort of stepped out of the box and went into peripherals with the Briskie wireless keyboard and mouse. From what I thought was essentially a PSU and cooler maker, the Briskie made me look at Enermax with much wider eyes as I took the blinders off to see what they actually have to offer. Now, we again step outside the "norm" and get a chance to look at what Enermax is now bringing forth in chassis design.
This new chassis takes cues from other chassis we have seen already, but still has enough of its own accents to make this new chassis a case that will have no issue standing taller than most of its competition. The "big tower" as Enermax labels it, should really be called a huge tower chassis. In the design quest for this chassis, the main idea was to allow any motherboard up to and including HPTX, or the form factor made specifically for the SR-2 from EVGA, and with the SR-3 in the works, even if you missed out on the original, you now have a chassis worthy of housing its predecessor.
I won't be installing an SR-2, but rather my E-ATX Gigabyte board, and I hope to be able to show that this case will of course handle a $1000 motherboard, but it can also be a great chassis for the usual user while offering a ton of room for other things such as water cooling and all of its components without even blinking.
For those who don't follow press releases closely, today we are going to be getting up close and personal with the Fulmo GT from Enermax. Now I am not entirely sure where the naming stems from, but I do know there are two versions of the GT and even a Fulmo Advanced mid tower chassis. All three look very similar in styling, but the size, included fans and of course the names set this trio apart. I think out of all of the Fulmo named cases we are going to be looking at the cream of the crop from Enermax. At this point I ask you to get comfortable and excuse the lack of an SR-2 motherboard as Enermax and I bring you the Fulmo GT ECA1092AG big tower chassis.
Specifications, Availability and Pricing
The all black steel chassis adds quite a bit of mesh to cover the front, top and the left side opening in that panel. ABS plastic is used in black to act as the frame for the top and front bezel and is accented with a pair of silver stripes that run along the top and down the sides of the front of the Fulmo GT. The rest of the exterior has the front I/O consisting of USB 2.0, USB 3.0, e-SATA, audio, fan control and lighting control of the LEDs in the five included fans. At the bottom there are huge, chunky, rubber feet to keep this monstrously sized chassis firmly in place. For those who may want to slide this chassis around a bit, there is also a full set of lockable casters to replace the feet and offer just such ability in the Fulmo GT.
On the interior there is a lot going on. In the front you have room for four 5.25" devices, and directly under this room for 2.5" and 3.5" drives, ten in total using plastic trays that slide in and out of the rack assembly. The motherboard tray is laid out and designed for an HPTX motherboard, but still offers wire management options for smaller boards. The chassis is designed to allow an additional five fans into the chassis to cool the massive amounts of hardware that can be contained within. The motherboard tray has all the wire management holes you can ever want, a plethora of tie points and dual CPU cooler back plate access holes. This leaves the rear of the chassis which offers ten expansion slots for running multiple GPU systems. On top of the provided cooling installed into the Fulmo GT, it is also water cooling friendly supporting a 420mm radiator in the top and also has grommets in the rear for external cooling above the Velcro strap used to secure the PSU during travel. With the size and heft of this chassis, I don't see you carrying this too far, but with the optional casters installed, I can see this rolling around over long distances. The strap will then help keep it from bouncing around.
I am pleased to be able to say, for such a new release, looking around, I found nine locations to purchase the Fulmo GT. Pricing sways from the lowest listing of $209.99 at Newegg.com all the way up to $273.16 at another e-tailer, but of course I try to find the best overall deal and with the Enermax Fulmo GT Newegg.com has not only the cheapest base pricing, but also the best total cost deal once shipping is included. Considering the $150 Xclio Touch 787 we just looked at, and is sold as a super tower, which should compete with a "big tower" in my mind, so let's get down to it and see where the $60 is applied, and if it is worth it to have this chassis even if an EVGA SR-2 or SR-3 system isn't in your near future. Hopefully by the time I am done you will see that you can't really ask for much more than what the Fulmo GT brings to the table at this price!
A stormy scene on the high seas is the backdrop for the bright red logo and name, the view of the chassis at the left, and the name Fulmo GT with a lightning bolt at the bottom right of this panel.
This side starts with the name of the chassis and sort of gives us a secretive look at the front and top of the chassis inside. At the bottom, there is a designation to which of the three versions are inside, and the potential inclusion of a power supply.
Fulmo GT tops the back and you first get an image inside of the chassis superimposed over a close up of the mesh used in this chassis. At the bottom there are eight images covering features like the hard drive dock, removable top, casters, lighting and much more.
The last side is used to house a specifications list that shows the differences between the ECA1092A we are looking at and the lesser equipped ECA1092B.
This large chassis will make even the most seasoned delivery guy wish he had the day off when this gets moved around. For all the surprise drops and almost made it there's, Enermax stepped up the inner packaging. While using high density foam to better protect and support the Fulmo GT, even the plastic liner is thicker than usual and shows they make sure the product will arrive in perfect shape as mine did.
The Enermax Fulmo GT Big Tower Chassis
The front of the chassis is a towering mass of steel mesh covering the top as it rounds down into the removable bay covers. Once passed those, the mesh gets switched to some with a honeycomb support molded into the mesh with an Enermax logo pasted to the bottom of the Fulmo GT.
The top of the chassis starts off with the front I/O panel with a hard drive dock just behind it. Then to match the façade of the chassis the same honeycomb supported mesh is used on the removable cover behind the dock.
Moving in closer to the front I/O you can now see that it includes an e-SATA, four USB 3.0 or backwards compatible to USB 2.0 ports and the pair of audio jacks. On the right side of the dock there is a fan speed controller, a lighting control button, the activity LEDS and the power and reset buttons.
Grabbing this cover and sliding it back reveals a hidden area that is roughly 27mm deep. While you may not fit a radiator in here, it does give room for fans to be placed in here, hidden from the outside, but not taking up room internally.
The left side of the chassis is taken up with a large mesh insert. This insert will house up to four 180mm fans. Enermax chose to ship two 180mm Vegas fans here from the factory.
Aside from the rear I/O area, ten expansion slots, 140mm exhaust fan, and the bottom mounted PSU, there is still the seven holes for wiring or tubing and room for an additional fan at the very top. This panel can be removed so that the chassis can utilize a top mounted PSU, allowing for more than one PSU.
The right side of the chassis is pretty plain and is only broken up by the CPU socket area that has been punched out for a fan. One thing I see that is strange, this case is built for a dual socket board, but offers cooling for only one of them here - strange!
Under the Fulmo GT, there is a one piece dust filter that runs two-thirds the length of the chassis and is surround by large chunk feet to support the chassis. If installing the casters, the rear feet will need to be removed to install them.
Inside the Enermax Fulmo GT Big Tower Chassis
Inside the door is a pair of 180mm Vegas fans with blue LEDs. Typically these fans have a 3-pin for power and a switch attached for lighting. For use in the case, the switch is replaced with a 2-pin lead that connects to a header inside the chassis.
Our first look in the chassis shows the pair of access holes cut in the tray, the hardware box strapped to the bottom half of it, and the wires are neatly secured in the PSU strap at the bottom for transit. So far I am appreciating the attention to detail from Enermax.
The 5.25" drive bays have tool-less latches with a slide lock and pins that hold your drives and devices in place on this side. On the other side of the four bays, screws need to be used for securing things there.
Ten thick plastic drive trays are used below the optical drive to store your hard drives. Each tray is compatible for both 3.5" and 2.5" drives and has rubber grommets for anti-vibration measures. In front of these, there is another 180mm blue LED fan to cool them.
The motherboard tray offers mounting from mini-ITX all the way up to HPTX, and offers sixteen holes to manage wires and seven tie points in various locations. The case comes ready to install an HPTX board, but is also clearly denoted for all other form factors, too.
Here is where all the fans are speed and light controlled. The part on the left is the fan controller that is to control the speed and has 3-pin connections open for the door fans still. Same is said for the part on the right that uses the 2-pin connection to control the lighting features.
The 230mm fan that Enermax ships in the roof of the chassis just requires the 3-pin to be powered; there isn't any LED capability in this fan. Attaching it to the controller will still allow for speed control.
And I just thought I would show the included 140mm fan in the rear of the Fulmo GT. It is also a 3-pin fan, has no LEDs, but has a really ugly wire I am going to hide under my motherboard.
All of the connections I mentioned in the front I/O are all in this bundle, even a pair of native USB 3.0 connections to utilize all four ports on the I/O. For those that don't have two, or even one 20-pin header, there is an included adapter with this chassis.
Behind the tray you can see that the thick bundle of wiring from the factory has no issues fitting here, and with a minimum of 30mm of room here, any and all wiring will be no issue to route back here and hide them.
Accessories and Documentation
The white hardware box that was strapped to the motherboard tray is packed full of goodies to look at; let me break them into manageable chunks, so we can discuss.
There are four large casters to go under the chassis if you wish to, and each wheel has a lock on it as well. There is a pair of wire bundling straps with the Enermax logo, the internal USB 3.0 to external USB 3.0 adapter that can also run with USB 2.0 ports. The paperwork included with the chassis is very basic. While it does show how everything comes apart, or how it is to be used, there isn't a whole lot of detail to be found. In defense of Enermax, I don't think they had new guys in mind when designing a chassis around a board like the SR-2.
The rest of the hardware is what is shown here. There is the riser socket along with the motherboard speaker and two versions of a 12V Molex to 3-pin fan adapters next to the four tie straps. The bags of screws are clearly marked for what they are to be used for during the installation. Just to cover them briefly, there are caster screws, HDD fan screws, motherboard and PSU screws, regular fan screws, and SSD, 3.5" and floppy drive screws, too.
I mentioned the hard drive trays will accept both size drives. Here I have a 2.5" drive mounted with the inner holes at the left. On the right I have a 3.5" drive installed using the special screws and rubber grommets.
The Build and Finished Product
To get a drive into the 5.25" bays you must first remove the bezel to gain access to the clip holding the bay cover in place. If you plan to use one of the lower bays you need to break out the metal supports. With all the wiring in the I/O the bezel, it is free to be removed and set out of the way.
Here is the Fulmo GT with the drive installed. I like that with the front being all mesh, the drive being in the bottom rack doesn't even detract from the sleek looks we saw earlier without the drive in place.
I did test the hard drive docks functionality. Once I removed the dust cover from the connections on the case, I slid the SSD into place with very little effort. Just a gently push will set the drive, and removing it is just as easy.
I know this isn't an SR-2 board, but I wanted to show users what the chassis looks like with even an E-ATX motherboard in place. I didn't rewire the front I/O cluster, but easily could have. Even with all of the main wiring behind the tray there is room to clean up this wiring to add big reservoirs... and look at the room above the board for a radiator!
Since I don't need two PSUs to power this system not much has changed back here. I will say that this is the first chassis I have had in a while I haven't had to force the rear panel in to get the expansion card screws back in - a cue to the structural integrity of this chassis.
Wiring behind the tray doesn't even have to be clean, just route things where you need them to be and sort of flatten them. The room here allowed me to have this mess going on, and the door slid right over it all and closed as if the wiring wasn't even there.
Now we have the Fulmo GT all packaged up and the door is now wired to the control modules inside the chassis. For those who don't like the flood of LEDs, but still admire the chassis, it can look like this while running if you use the switch on the I/O to disable said LEDs.
With power applied to the Fulmo GT the front and left side come to life with an almost inaudible hum and the glow of the blue LEDs in them. These fans also have modes of the way the lighting is presented as well as just being on or off. Either way the Fulmo GT is a terrific looking solution that should play well with anyone's taste in cases.
As I sit here with Deadmou5 playing in the background and I ponder everything I just saw and delivered to you over the past few pages, there isn't really an easy way to say this, so I will just be blunt.
This case is huge, but at the same time sleek, attractive and has huge amounts of space inside whether you own an HPTX motherboard or not. While my system may look a bit funny with the 24-pin routed through the second CPU access hole, personally I don't care. With the lack of a real window, nobody is going to see it but me day to day. What I liked is that with a system such as what I installed, this chassis has room for a 420mm radiator in the roof and that includes thicker ones too. With the removable top making fan installation there very easy, it is left to your imagination the amount of cooling needed, or just where in the vastness of this chassis are you going to install more lighting along with the reservoir and pumps.
On top of being very water cooling ready, Enermax does supply the chassis with a very sufficient amount of airflow to the motherboard. The combination of 140mm, 180mm and 230mm fans do a great job of riding the chassis of built up heat, but also offers great airflow to the expansion cards with the dual 180mm fans blowing through the door panel. As I mentioned, there is a total of ten fans that can be installed inside depending on your choices, taking what is already good air flow and improving upon it. As it was with the cooler I had with the Vegas fan on it, the lighting variations were fun to play around with for about five minutes, and I then found myself leaving it in the full on stage. I do like being able to turn off the LEDs as well as dial in the fan speeds to almost silent levels, and still got respectable results.
At this point I can think of maybe three, possibly four cases made to specifically handle HPTX motherboards, so for those SR-2 owners out there, here is a very viable solution to your needs, and it just happens to be one of the cheapest solutions. For those like me who will likely never own an SR-2 or an SR-3 motherboard, if you have the room and desire for a colossal chassis that will take anything you can throw into it now, and still have room to park a Smart Fortwo inside of it, and has all of the latest bells and whistles we like to see in chassis made today, you are on a winner.
The one thing that keeps pulling me back to reality is the pricing. I know $200 is a lot for some to devote to a chassis, but the $209.99 listing at Newegg.com is worth every penny. When you really sit down and think of what other $200 chassis offer, it's very likely they will all fall short to what the Fulmo GT offers!
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