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Mean:It 5PM ARC Blue Mid-Tower Chassis Review

Mean:It 5PM ARC Blue Mid-Tower Chassis Review

Mean:It's 5PM ARC Blue mid-tower computer case gets fully examined as we see what it's all about and if you should buy it or not.

@chad_sebring
Published Tue, Nov 21 2017 11:18 AM CST   |   Updated Thu, Jul 30 2020 4:20 PM CDT
Rating: 93%Manufacturer: mean:IT

Introduction, Specifications, and Pricing

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VIEW GALLERY - 36 IMAGES

Up to this point in our reviewing career, we had never heard of the company called mean:IT, but they made contact with us to have one of their cases looked at. Upon inspection of their webpage, we found that this company may or may not be the originator of this design, but being honest, we have seen a chassis very similar to the one you are about to see here today. We are unsure in Anidees was first to market with this chassis, or if mean:IT was first, but we can say that both companies are getting their cases from the same manufacturer, and changing the fine details ever so slightly to stand out as to which is which.

With that said, we are going to be re-examining what was originally shown to you as the Anidees AI Crystal chassis here today. At the same time, we do feel that mean:IT has changed enough things to make it worth the effort of a re-examination. In the 5PM Series of cases from mean:IT, there are five iterations, mainly due to the fan options available. In this series of cases, we are offered the LUM Red and LUM Blue, which alludes to the color of the fans used, and that all of the fans are illuminated. The second series is the ARC Red and ARC Blue cases, where just the outer ring of the fans is what is illuminated. Lastly, there is the 5PM Black, which uses fans with no illumination.

The 5PM series of cases are built with tempered glass on three sides, an internal layout which is wide open to take full advantage of airflow, much like we have seen before. What separates the two cases beyond names and branding applied to the chassis, is that the former solution came with side vents on the front bezel, while the 5PM has them around the edge of the glass. One other thing that mean:IT offers over the original us a built-in PWM or DC fan controller hub. Shockingly, even though mean:IT seems to offer the better package deal right now, it costs less than the Anidees solutions too. If we haven't grabbed your attention so far, stick with it, as the mean:IT 5PM ARC Blue chassis we have been shipped is worthy of your attention if looking for a solid mid-tower chassis.

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Within the chart we borrowed from mean:IT, things start off with addressing that this is a mid-tower chassis and it is 216mm wide, 487mm tall, 480mm deep, and weighs in at eleven kilograms when empty. The materials used in this design are steel for the bulk of the chassis, ABS plastic for covers, feet, and a few internal components, and tempered glass used on the front and both sides. The 5PM cases will house ATX< E-ATX, Micro-ATX, or a Mini-ITX motherboard, and takes a PS/2 PSU in the bottom of it. Maximums offered in space are nice, where we get 435mm for video cards, 175mm for CPU coolers, and up to 330mm of room for the PSU. There are seven expansion slots in the back, while internally we are given two trays in a cage for 3.5" and 2.5" drives, the cage can be removed to use the single 3.5" drive location on the floor, and behind the motherboard tray are three trays designed to house only 2.5" drives. As for the front I/O panel. It offers a pair of USB 2.0 ports, a pair of USB 3.0 ports, HD Audio jacks, a fan controller, and a power and reset button. The last bit seen on the left is that there is also a mounting plate for pumps, which accepts AQ, D5, and DDC pumps.

The fan controller has three speeds, power off, low speed, and high speed or auto if using the PWM functionality of the controller. The controller is used to supply the four 120mm fans supplied in the chassis with power. Three of the 120mm fans come in the front, but there is room for three 140mm fans there too. The fourth 120mm ARC fan is installed into the back of the chassis, or it too can be changed out for a 140mm fan. The top of the chassis is similar to the front, where we can use three 120mm fans, but this time only two 140mm fans will fit. We do notice that all of the specifications charts state the fans are ARC Red fans, but this is not the case, ours are as blue as they can get. The front of the chassis can house 240 and 280mm radiators in the front with 60mm thickness, but if you desire a 360mm radiator, it can be no thicker than 55mm. The top can also hold a 280mm or 360mm radiator, but the recommended thickness there is 30mm. The back can also house a radiator, and there isn't a restriction on thickness. The last thing to note is that the 5PM ARC Blue chassis, the four fans, and the fan hub are all covered under warranty for a total of two years.

We took a look back at the Anidees solution and found that right now, it will cost you $139.99 for a version of the AI Crystal with similar specifications. However, mean:IT delivers a bit more than the first version we looked at, and as we look to Newegg for the price, we see that it is priced at just $119.99 at this time. The MSRP is the same, and this is too late in the game for an introductory sale, so if you like either of the cases, our money will go to the one with better value. That means that the mean:IT 5PM ARC Blue Mid-Tower chassis not only brings more to the table, but it does also so with less cost involved, and anyone who isn't a fan of saving money has more dollars than sense.

Chad's Chassis Test System Specifications

Packaging

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In a plain brown box, we see a shadow of the chassis used to take up most of the panel. The company name is in the upper-left corner, and in the shadow, we see 5PM, the name of the case, and that mean:IT considers it to be see-through excellence.

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Under the words future, elegance, and performance, we are shown radiator compatibility first. Next, comes the fan support, then pump support, CPU cooler height, PSU length restrictions, and finish off with information about the fan controller.

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What we are calling the back of the box has another shadow used, outlining the chassis from another angle. Under the 5PM name, this time we see mentions of three sides of the tempered glass, direct airflow, extensive water cooling support, auto or manual fan speed control, and that there is room for up to seven fans.

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The last panel is used to display the rest of the chassis specifications. Here we find the chassis dimensions, weight, motherboard compatibility, GPU maximum length, storage options, expansion slots, and what comes in the I/O panel.

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Inside of the box, we find that the chassis does not have any plastic sticking to the glass panels before it was inserted into the clear bag. Combined with the dense foam caps on the top and bottom of the chassis, we found the inner packaging to be sufficient. Our chassis is free from damage and has not one mark on it from its trip across the globe.

mean:IT 5PM ARC Blue Mid-Tower Chassis

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The front of the chassis is a view of a long panel of tinted and tempered glass. Around the edges of the glass, there is a gap before we run into the plastic bezel frame, and that gap is where air flows into the front of the 5PM cases.

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In the I/O panel, things start with the fan controller buttons, going from low, to high, to auto, starting from the left. We then see the pair of HD Audio jacks before running into the power and reset buttons, both backlit for chassis power and HDD activity. On the right, we are left with the pair of USB 3.0 ports and the pair of USB 2.0 ports to round it out.

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The top of the chassis is made of steel and is well ventilated for optional cooling to be utilized from below it. Covering the ventilated area is a plastic dust filter which is magnetically mounted to the 5PM, and has tiny round holes in it.

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The left side of the chassis is made of more tinted and tempered glass, which is held onto the frame of the case with thumbscrews. At the front, we see that the bezel is thick, and it also has the mean:IT name printed near the bottom.

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With room above them, we first run into the rear I/O and exhaust fan location with height options. There are seven expansion slots with replaceable covers but are all accessed externally. The bottom of the chassis is used to support the PSU, and we can see the tab of the filter hanging below the chassis too.

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The right side of the chassis is also covered with tinted glass which has been tempered, and all panels are 5mm thick. This panel is also held in place with thumbscrews, and the solid side of the front bezel does not have the mean:IT name painted on it.

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The feet which support the chassis are a decent size and have rubber pads on them to keep it from sliding or vibrating away. Near the front are four rubber grommets to install a 3.5" drive there internally, and at the back is the dust filter that slides out the back for cleaning.

Inside the 5PM ARC Blue

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When removing the bezel, we find that the front I/O panel stays attached to the chassis. We can see the three pre-installed fans ion the chassis much easier too, without the tinted glass impeding the view. On the bezel, we find tiny perforations around the glass, ad these restrictive intakes is how the chassis is delivered its airflow.

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Inside of the chassis is a vast open area, which is only broken up with the PSU cover, which does not fully extend across the bottom of the case. There is plenty of room for components, and judging by what we see here, the build should be clean when finished as well.

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The trio of fans used in the front is the A1225L12SU ARC fans from mean:IT. They aren't mounted to the frame of the chassis, but rather to a plate, which is them mounted to the frame. We can also see the plastic wire cover for the 24-pin cable, USB 3.0 cable, and even SATS data cables. The slots on the front of it are used to support longer video cards to help fight GPU sagging.

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Sliding the magnetic filter off the ventilated section of the top panel, we can see now what is offered. Large honeycomb mesh is used, and on both sides of it, we find elongated mounting holes for 120mm and 140mm cooling products.

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The motherboard tray ships with nine standoffs in it, and has three holes across the top, other than the large holes on the right under the plastic cover. We also see fourteen tie points in vital locations, and while oddly shaped, the CPU access hole is large enough for most motherboards. Some E-ATX boards may not align so well though.

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The PSU cover is made of steel and has nothing to offer on the side of it. The top has a large grommet in place for GPU and motherboard wire passage, and in front of that is a universal pump mounting plate. The leading edge of the PSU cover is the frame of the HDD cage, which can be removed if desired.

Inside the 5PM ARC Blue Continued

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Hanging in the back of the chassis is the last of the four preinstalled, 3-pin powered, fans. All of the fans are also wired to the hub for you, so much of the wire management is done for you already. Below the fan are the seven expansion slots, which we mentioned earlier are accessed externally.

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Behind the motherboard tray is where much of the business happens. We can now see the pair of holes on the left side which are behind the plastic cover, and to the right of them are three 2.5" drive mounting trays. The wires are grouped and bound with hook and loop straps at the left edge, and as for the rest, we will cover it shortly, in detail.

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Here we have the built-in fan hub. All of the preinstalled fans are connected here, and we see that there is room to control another two fans as well. Powering this hub is a long SATA power lead, and there is a lead to connect to the motherboard for PWM signal. Also, in the middle, is the DC or PWM switch, so that you may use this as a two-stage system, or use the heat of the CPU to drive the amount of airflow.

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The HDD cage is screwed into the floor of the chassis as well as the PSU cover, which makes it possible to remove it if the room is needed for the PSU or other goodies. As-is, the rack will house a pair of 2.5" or 3.5" drives, and the trays slide open for 3.5" drive installations, while 2.5" drives are mounted with screws.

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At the back of the case, under the cover, is where the PSU and PSU wires are to go. The PSU sets on four plastic standoffs with rubber pads atop each of them and the slotted floor allows the fan of the PSU to breathe easily through the dust filter.

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The chassis wiring is what we would expect to see. There is a native USB 3.0 connection that needs to be made, as well as connecting the HD Audio and USB 2.0 headers to the next pair of cables. For the LEDs and buttons, a ribbon of black wires is used to keep all of these wires hidden from view once the build is completed.

Hardware & Documentation

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The hardware comes in four bags to attempt to make life easier for the consumer. At the left, we see four screws to secure a 3.5" drive to the floor of the chassis, and we are given a bag with 6-32 screws in it, to mount the motherboard with. The second bag marked motherboard contains M3 screws to mount 2.5" drives, and the last bag contains four hex head screws to secure the PSU.

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Even though the bulk of the chassis wiring is contained in the hook and loop straps, mean:IT wanted to be sure the PSU wires had something to be attached with too and is why we are given ten zip ties. In case one of the preinstalled standoffs are cross threaded, or if you lose some while moving the right row of them for E-ATX motherboards, we are sent five extra brass standoffs.

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The manual for the 5PM cases are all contained in this one insert. The manual is a folded piece of paper, which opens up to a parts list, specifications, and a small step-by-step guide to parts installation. For many, these will not be needed, but for the beginners out there, the instructions will get the build process completed.

Case Build & Finished Product

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The more we look at the front of the 5PM ARC Blue chassis, the more we like it. Made mostly of tinted glass, with only the thinnest of gaps and frame showing around it, the appearance is sleek and sophisticated.

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While the 5PM may not seem expansive inside, with what we have installed, it bodes well to the actual amount of space you have to deal with. There is room for the AIO at the top of the chassis, not conflicting with the motherboard, The GPU is level even without the support of the plastic cover, and all we see of the wires is just the minimum needed for connectivity.

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The dust shield snaps into the chassis as it should, but the GPU gave us a fight. Once installed, it lines up perfectly, but the gap between chassis and expansion slots is not very wide, and we had to force the GPU into its proper location. The PSU, on the other hand, went in smooth and is easily screwed to the chassis.

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We tested drives in all of the locations, and we had no issues with fitment, but keep in mind, wires for the 2.5" drive trays will have to run next to the PSU, increasing what can be seen through the side panel. As for our additional wiring from the PSU, we were able to get it all routed easily and tied down to the motherboard tray where applicable.

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Even fully loaded, due to the tint in the tempered glass sides, it is hard to see anything that is not a few millimeters away from the inside of them. The looks have only changed slightly, and that is due to the use of round head screws on the radiator, where it has made the plastic dust filter curve over them.

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Once the juice is added, that is when the 5PM ARC Blue chassis comes to life. No matter the speed of the fans, we are greeted with the bright blue circles of LED lighting on all four fans. We can also see the LED lights on the side of the video card, and while the tubing blocks most of it from view at this angle, we can also see bits of the head unit LED lights.

Final Thoughts

Usually, we do not rehash a case we have already reviewed but mean:IT has improved things from the last time we saw this chassis, and has added much value to the deal too. Tempered glass is nothing new, but on the 5PM cases, it is done well, the glass is thicker than many others, and the tinting level, while dark, does still allow components to shine through it. We do advise a flat cable PSU or using custom cables, as it will help to relieve stress on the 24-pin cable, and will also not cause an issue where the wires overstep the 20mm boundary of room behind the motherboard tray. The ARC fans are a fantastic looking addition, and shockingly, with the design as restrictive as it is, temperatures inside of the chassis were pleasant and caused us no concern for long-term use. The fan hub and switches on the top of the chassis are an excellent addition, and while hook and loop straps are affordable, we do like that they were offered to contain all of the front panel wires.

We are sad to say this, but with all of the good, does come some bad points. First of all, and the largest concern of ours, is the lack of space between the expansion slots, and where the chassis continues next to it. All we needed was 2mm more of a gap, but in the 5PM, we found we had to force the card into place and was an unsettling feeling accomplishing it. We also ran into the issue where our 24-pin cable was too thick for the back of the motherboard tray. When it came to placing the glass panel on, we could not install the glass fully, and had to screw it into place and hope we did not warp it enough to break the panel. Also, while the airflow is sufficient, and noise is kept at 33 dB at maximum. We feel the bezel could have larger holes, and the tiny holes in the top dust filter also restrict this cases potential. It could be much cooler if only mean:IT had figured out another way to go about it.

We do not recall the Anidees solution to be free from issues either, so it is expected we would run into something along the way. However, even with the few minor details, we were able to install our system into and have the fancy ARC fans illuminated, delivering a finished product that looks a lot like some cases which cost twice what the 5PM ARC Blue does.

Considering the cost of this chassis is only $119.99 as we write this review, mean:IT delivered more than we expected to see, crushed the Anidees version, and did it with less money from their customers. That is saying something, and for a brand-new player to the scene to be able to do this, we have a feeling mean:IT and this 5PM chassis in any version may be the answer to your mid-tower chassis hunt.

Chad's Chassis Test System Specifications

TweakTown award
Performance93%
Quality91%
Features94%
Value95%
Overall93%

The Bottom Line: A couple of fine details may make some shy away from the 5PM, and while not the first of its kind, it is the best of the bunch! Our 5PM ARC blue mid-tower took some effort to conclude the build, but what we are left with is stunning to look at and easy on the wallet.

PRICING: You can find products similar to this one for sale below.

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After a year of gaming, Chad caught the OC bug. With overclocking comes the need for better cooling, and Chad has had many air and water setups. With a few years of abusing computer parts, he decided to take his chances and try to get a review job. As an avid overclocker, Chad is always looking for the next leg up in RAM, cooling, as well as peripherals.

We openly invite the companies who provide us with review samples / who are mentioned or discussed to express their opinion. If any company representative wishes to respond, we will publish the response here. Please contact us if you wish to respond.

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