Introduction, Specifications, and Pricing
Deepcool and their sister company Gamer Storm have kept us pretty busy lately, as they keep adding new products to lineups under both names. While we have seen coolers from both sides, this is the first time we have seen a chassis from either company. There is good reason for this though, as this is Deepcool's entry into the chassis game in any form, under any name. We will say this: for their first time around, Deepcool did pick one of the most successful designs in the market to emulate, so at least we can say they are aware of current trends, and their competition, right out of the gate.
This design is somewhat limited in space, but remember, this is a Micro-ATX chassis, so there is just a bit more room than we are used to in SFF designs. Deepcool has utilized a few tricks of the trade in their new chassis. This design features things like LED illumination, rubberized coating applied to the plastic components, and best of all, even though the inside layout will appear somewhat familiar, we are positive that you have never seen a chassis with the aesthetics that this chassis brings to the table.
With Deepcool's new Steam Castle Micro-ATX chassis, we do find things like a windowed side panel, good ventilation and fan locations, and a horizontally mounted motherboard. This design also still has room for tower-style coolers, and has water cooling potential. The coatings, paint, and chrome and LED accents of this chassis' unusual exterior design offered us three initial impressions. First, we get the Castle bit of the name, as there are turret-like structures on top.
We also get the Steam bit, as it plays to gamers who use Steam anyways, and are already familiar with the "Steam-Punk" association. However, there is also a hidden aspect to this chassis, as it appears to have automotive lines and features. This design may make for a great mod-able case candidate for your next build as well.
As the chart clearly displays, we see this is the Steam Castle, and it is indeed a Micro-ATX or Mini-ITX chassis. The bulk of the frame and components are made of steel that has been painted on both sides, and the rest of the chassis is made from rubber coated ABS plastic. We could go on to describe the exterior of the chassis, but with the introductory image, as well as this one in the chart, styling and form has already been covered fairly well.
Inside of the chassis we find a single 5.25" bay, with a 3.5" rack just below it that will house a single 3.5" storage drive. There is also another storage rack located on the floor of the chassis, which is capable of accepting of 3.5" or 2.5" drives via plastic slide-out trays. The motherboard tray is oriented parallel to the floor of the chassis. The right section of the motherboard tray is removable if you are using a Mini-ITX motherboard, and this will offer a bit more room to hide wiring, or other water cooling components.
Speaking of cooling, the Steam Castle ships with a pair of fans. There is a 200mm fan acting as the intake at the front, as well as a 120mm fan in the rear as exhaust. There is also room at the top of the chassis for a pair of 120mm fans, or even a 240mm radiator or AIO. Limitations in this chassis include a maximum of 160mm in length for the PSU, 200mm of CPU cooler clearance (if you consider that a limitation), and can fill those four video card slots with video cards up to 320mm in length.
After shopping around for the Steam Castle chassis, we found that it comes with one of four letters at the end of its title to denote color. We received the Steam Castle B, or the black version, but there is also R for red, W for white, and Y for yellow; just something to consider when looking at our review. While locations to purchase this chassis are limited, we did find one location showing stock, and it happens to be Newegg.com. At Newegg.com, the price of the Steam Castle in any of the color options is set at $99.99.
While the pricing of this chassis is a bit more than the Prodigy, and more in line with the Prodigy M pricing, we will let you assess its real worth, as this chassis is a whole other creature when it comes to outward appearances. This may very well be a love it or hate it design, but we feel DeepCool is not out of line with their pricing at all really.
The plain brown box with black screen printing applied to it was not handled very well at all during its travels. On the front, we do find a rendering of the front and top of the Steam Castle, as well as the product naming at the top of the box, and their web address at the bottom.
On this side there is a graphic design that shows a triangular high-rise building with splashes of paint, and around the Steam Castle name there are graphics that remind us of "go faster" stripes from racing games.
On the back of the packaging, we find the top and bottom both display what we saw on the front. However, this time the rendering is of the inside layout of this chassis, with nine features being pointed out on both sides.
On the last panel of the box, we find that there may even be a green and a blue version of the chassis released later on, as the color options plainly show. Below that chart, we find the list of specifications. While the list is a bit more condensed than our earlier coverage, it is easier to read on the packaging.
Inside of the box, we find our side panel is covered in a layer of plastic to keep it even more protected than the rest of the chassis is while being wrapped in the thicker plastic liner. Outside of that, we find two dense foam caps used to support and cradle the chassis. Considering how badly damaged the box appeared, we were pleasantly surprised to see our Steam Castle B had arrived in great shape.
DeepCool Steam Castle B Micro-ATX Chassis
As we get our first look at the front of this Steam Castle, we can see a lot of design elements all at once. There is a mesh grill at the top, some ventilation on the sides that reminds us of classic car grills, and there is the matt finish, the grooves, and the faux screws that make it appear armour plated. There are also some oddly shaped bits at the bottom; maybe those are the "murder holes" for hot oil.
On top, the grooves and faux screws continue with the plating theme as it works between the four turrets that allow this chassis to ventilate. At the back, we are given that automotive essence once again, with louvers and "frenched" holes that look like they should have some nasty headers coming through them.
This panel will lift off, and once it is removed, the LEDs under each of the four turrets are exposed. Removing this panel also shows us that the top of the chassis is open, and ready for a pair of fans, or a dual radiator. This open space will also provide us with places to run wiring cleanly.
When viewing this side of the chassis, we can still see the turrets on the top. The top of the chassis wraps down and meets the steel side panel containing the large tinted window. We also find that the front curves around to meet this panel, as does the plastic used under the chassis.
The back offers a 120mm fan off to the left, which you could change out for a fan up to 140mm. There are water cooling holes above the four expansion slots, and the rear I/O access is right above the PSU location.
The right side of the chassis is shaped identically to the opposite side. The difference here (other than the lack of a window) is the placement of the front I/O at the front. In the front I/O, there is an LED brightness dial, a tiny reset and a much larger power button, activity LEDs, HD audio connections, and at the bottom are two ports for each USB 3.0 and USB 2.0.
Under the chassis, we see that it has been entirely wrapped in a plastic panel. It offers a place for the very large rubber pads that give it excellent footing on just about any surface. We can also see they cut venting to allow the PSU to draw fresh air in through the panel and the removable dust filter.
Inside the Steam Castle B
At first glance with the panels removed, this does remind us of the Prodigy layout. This is because the storage configuration has been changed in favor of a wider motherboard tray. We also find the hardware is on the bottom drive bay, and the wiring is bundled, but it is still attached to the inside of the right side panel.
The top, towards the front of the chassis, offers room for a 5.25" drive or device. Right below that is a short cage that is just long enough to support the weight of a hard drive. Under the bezel, and on both sides, these bays are screwed into the frame, and are removable if you do not need them.
Just behind the large front intake fan, we see that the extended panel of the motherboard tray is what frames in the HDD bays. That frame section can also be removed, and doing so would eliminate space for 3.5" drives, but it would open up two locations for 2.5" drives on the vertical frame section that is left.
At the back, we find the panel is split in two sections. Above the motherboard tray, we see expansion slot covers are held in place with a panel that slides down to lock them in. We also see the three-pin powered, 120mm fan.
In the middle, we can now see the two sections of the motherboard tray. The larger, left section offers pre-installed standoffs, and a cooler hole that is almost pointless. To the right, we can see more locations for standoffs, and it is also what will allow for Micro-ATX support, as well as the more basic Mini-ITX motherboard tray.
Below the motherboard tray is where the rest of the rear panel can be viewed internally. Here we find the large opening for the PSU, with the four rubber pads to support and isolate it.
Flipping around to the other side of the chassis, but still looking under the motherboard tray, we also find room for yet another pair of 2.5" drives in this design. If you do not need the additional drives, then this rack can also be removed.
As for all of the chassis wiring, well it is contained on the right side door panel. Not only is there all of the connectivity we usually get in a chassis, but there is also a SATA power lead, and three fan leads that stem from this panel. The SATA lead powers the fan hub, as well as the dial to increase the amount of red LED shown through the turrets.
Accessories and Documentation
We found all of these accessories packed into one bag inside of that hardware box. There is a socket and standoffs for Micro-ATX motherboards, rubber grommets for the small storage rack, fan screws, and PSU screws along the top. The bottom offers HDD screws, 2.5" and ODD screws, and a set of longer screws for the motherboard.
We did also find this motherboard speaker, as well as ten tie straps to help manage wiring and keep it out of the way.
Also in the hardware box is a folded up user guide that addresses all of the major points, with clear images and text to aide you in the build process. Tucked inside, we also found this small registration card that needs to be filled out, stamped with postage, and sent away to Deepcool, just in case there are any issues during the warranty period, and you need to make a claim.
The best we can tell you about the warranty period is that it is one to three years, depending on product type, yet no clarification is given as to which time frame applies here.
Case Build and Finished Product
The optical bay has a break-out plate that needs removed if you plan to use it, and the bay cover on the bezel is just clipped into place. There is plenty of ventilation in the bezel, as well as in the front of the chassis, to afford very good ventilation inside of the Steam Castle.
Again, the PSU with flat cables saves the day. We were able to run PSU wiring where other leads would not have fit; including the power to the GPU running next to the tray, where any other PSU would require you to find an alternate route. We can also see that our longer HD7950 has plenty of room to spare.
Around back, we found nothing out of the ordinary. The card is held in securely, the dust shield snapped right in, and there were no issues with getting the PSU mounted either.
From the right, we can see there is plenty of room for tower CPU coolers in this design. Of course, to simplify things even further, there is always the option for a custom kit or AIO hanging from the top.
We do wish that the front I/O panel had stayed on the chassis, and was not integrated into the panel. As this image shows, there are still quite a few connections that will end up pretty much locking this panel to the chassis, which will hinder even basic maintenance.
With the Steam Castle B now all back together, from this angle, we do get a great view of the PSU, the edge of the motherboard, and the majority of the video card. However, we would have preferred that the window be on the right side, as it affords a better view, and would make the placement of the I/O panel seem more logical. It just seems odd to have a window on one side facing outward, and then have connectivity against a wall.
Upon the initial powering of the Steam Castle B, we found that only the blue LED from the power LED was glowing, and this was accompanied by the occasional flicker of the HDD activity blue LED just below it. At this point, we did have to get closer than a foot from the chassis to hear it, and the meter was showing just 28dB at a foot away.
It wasn't until we gave the dial at the top of the I/O panel a little twist to the right that we saw anything from the LEDs on top. Things start out dimly lit, and you can keep spinning the dial until you achieve their maximum brightness, as is shown in this image. This does make us wish the mesh and grills on the side matched this LED theme though.
By featuring an exterior that has never been tried before, Deepcool took a real chance with how aggressively styled as this chassis is. While the design is slightly extreme with short turrets on top of it, we still see more of an automotive essence to its styling, and with very little effort, this chassis could be made to look like a classic Cord, or Duesenberg of yesteryear. Love the design, or hate it, we still applaud Deepcool for being this aggressive in a very picky market. While the interior is essentially a layout we have seen before, the additional section of motherboard tray that allows Micro-ATX motherboards to be installed, without needing to mod the chassis or move to a vertical motherboard layout, is a great touch.
There are no real complaints to lodge either. Personally, we would have liked a mounted front I/O panel; their solution does work, but it just limits access from that side of the chassis. We find it odd that there is a window on one side, and yet the I/O panel is completely on the other side of the chassis. In this layout, we would have just preferred the window to be on the right with the I/O panel so that the user gets the view, as well as access to the front connectivity. We also think, that even if it costs a couple of extra dollars, since the top illuminates and sets a color theme, having that same glow in the side grills and top mesh section would have taken that theme over the top, and made us much more of a fan of its final looks.
Thermally, we had no issues at all; with only half of the front fan blocked with bays, it offers plenty of flow into the chassis. When combined with the NiC C5 cooler we picked, and a 120mm right behind exhausting the chassis, we were greeted with better than average results in a chassis of this size. The bonus here is that even with all four fans, the PSU, and the video card fan spinning, that 28dB reading we took for the audio was the loudest we heard externally. With all of the plastic around the chassis, as well as ducts to deflect the noise from your ears, Deepcool was able to offer a pretty decent sound retaining design. Of course, if you planned to fill this chassis with Kaze or Delta fans, keep in mind, there is a point to where this chassis can no longer mask the sound of the fans.
While being somewhat more expensive than other solutions is its league, the Steam Castle B does offer aesthetics like no other chassis on the market, and it even has a very mod-able appearance that just makes the creative gears start turning. While this is definitely not the chassis that broke the mold in this category, with what Deepcool has done with this chassis, we feel that there are quite a few of us out there that this chassis has grown on. With just a few touches here and there, this chassis could be an absolute stunner at a LAN even, or even just sitting on your desk at home.
So, when it comes down to the $99.99 pricing of this chassis, you just have to ask yourself: Do you want the same old, same old, or are you looking for similar layout and feature sets, with a design that will definitely turn heads? Our guess is that you prefer the latter, and it just happens to come at a slightly higher cost. However, in our opinion, the price is not far off the mark at all.