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Enermax Steelwing Premium Aluminum Chassis Review

By: Chad Sebring | Small Form Factor Cases in Cases, Cooling & PSU | Posted: May 5, 2017 1:46 pm
TweakTown Rating: 93%Manufacturer: Enermax

Final Thoughts

 

For such a small Micro-ATX chassis, Enermax has packed a lot into this design. You are smacked in the face with the use of aluminum with a textured finish from sandblasting it, and the mix of silver and an almost blinding red anodization. The fins on the front are the best way to allow air into the chassis, and the mesh used behind it is not so tight as to stifle the amount of air that can be sucked in through it. We like the look of the red LEDs and the brightly colored side panel which is to match, and we feel that the green version is just as attractive. From every aspect of looking at the chassis, we see nothing but attention to detail and the use of top-tier engineering to deliver a chassis such as this. Enermax even goes as far as to etch the side panel with the name of the case on it, and ships it in its own containment to ensure nothing bad can happen to it. On a basic level of construction, layout, and options, we see nothing wrong with what Enermax has done here.

 

 

As far as the feature set and customization are concerned, we feel that Enermax offers quite a lot within the confines of this compact chassis. We like the removable fan bracket at the front, which makes cleaning much easier and also provides room for an extra 3.5" drive. The second drive bracket is also well placed, and delivers options as to what sort of storage drives can be used inside. At the same time, we have two minor points to make for informational purposes. The PSU fits, all of the wires run where they are needed, but with it placed where it is, you are left staring at a section of flat steel through the tempered glass window. Our other concern is to the AIO compatibility. Using one requires it to be a single thickness radiator with Micro-ATX motherboards, or they will conflict with each other. If you opt to install a Mini-ITX motherboard, a double thick radiator will fit without conflict. The instructions do show a thinner radiator based 120mm AIO being installed, just keep this in mind, as it can also restrict push/pull fan setups. Again, this comes down to the choices made when buying the parts to fit in the chassis, and with all of the information in hand, you are full aware of the situation and can make the right calls the first time.

 

For most, the price will be the real deal killer, as they see such a small chassis and think that size alone dictates cost. Considering that Enermax makes no other case similar to these two Steelwing color option cases, new tooling is needed to build such a case. On top of that, they opted to extrude quite a few of the aluminum pieces; some are even 3.5mm thick and opting for tempered glass and a fancy anodization of the opposing side of the case, we can hear cash register noises going off in our head as we mention each of these things. As shipped, the chassis is near silent at 27 dB of noise, and while there is a premium price associated with the Steelwing, we feel that at $149.99 for this chassis, you do get quite a bit in return for the investment. For those of you who appreciate unusually attractive chassis design, or for anyone looking for a high-end chassis to save room with Micro-ATX builds, Enermax has what you need. The Steelwing may not be everyone's cup of tea, yet at the same time, it is likely to make fans of the direction Enermax has taken into the realm of high-end, top-tier chassis designs.

 

 

Chad's Chassis Test System Specifications

 

Product Summary Breakdown

TweakTown award
Performance93%
Quality98%
Features92%
Value90%
Overall TweakTown Rating93%

The Bottom Line: Enermax's Steelwing is near spectacular! Using high-end materials with a layout and features better than what is expected for a chassis this compact, there is much to be appreciated. The price is a tad high, but then again, nothing this nice comes cheap.

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