So, thanks to my end of the work week euphoria (it was a rough one) my brain wouldn't stop letting me think about the thing I probably won't do (to the DB700) for a few months, so I decided to take it apart and swap the motherboard tray tonight, which was my #1 reason for buying this case.
Before I get started (actually, in all honesty, I wrote probably over half of this before I came back to write this part). This case is beautiful. I haven't had a new case since the original CM STC-01. It was one of the biggest cases you could get, unless you bought from Mountain Mods or that one cube (PC-343, I think it was?) Lian Li case that was ALWAYS sold out. In the years since, I am glad I never went THAT big. of course, my Stacker (this was before even the HAF) was a case where swapping the orientation of the mobo was pretty easy. A few cases back then had mother board trays that could be unscrewed (from the back of the case only) and slid right on out of the case, inverted and slid right back in. Although, the Coolermaster quality was not all that great and I remember having to force it in, just LITTLE bit 10 or so years ago when I first decided to go lefty with my case. (left side of the desk, y'know) anyway, on to my experience. I did this for all of you. Don't be dissuaded, there IS a happy ending.
Out of the gutter, not THAT happy.
A note regarding the large plastic cover on the PSU shroud. Two of the tabs that hold it on VERY firmly may break. Don't worry, it is very secure without them. Don't ask how I know. *walks away whistling*
Whichever reviewer it was (maybe Dmitri from Hardware Canucks) that said the mobo tray could be removed by moving "JUST SIX SCREWS!" was so bleeping wrong.
First. There are 9 screws that hold the motherboard in.
Then you have to move the upper rad/fan mount. Only two screws.
Then you realize all the cables from the front I/O panel and the front RGB LEDs need to swap sides. Heck, you don't want them intruding through that beauty of an interior!
Start look at how to remove the top panel. Oh hey, two screws towards the front and two towards the rear. No problem.
Oops. Per side.
That's eight, folks.
Eight screws later...what is holding this thing on???
Wait...why are there THREE screws at the back of the top panel? Is Be Quiet! worried that you are gonna load the top rad/fan mount with high pressure fans and blow the top off? MAYBE!!!
Whew, top is off. Now to extract all the cables carefully from now the wrong side of the case and start tucking them into the handy hole.
Couple cables done...oh, this is a big USB cable. Whoa. it is TWO USB cables (sorry, I have not dealt with a front I/O panel in a LONG time). Hey, it won't fit with half the cables in the way...guess I should remove them and put the big one in first. (No, that was NOT what she said). It sure would be easier without the I/O panel moving around. Oh, why is that moving, you ask? Well, I forgot to mention that when I was trying to figure out why the top panel wouldn't come off, I happened to notice two screws tucked under the top of the front of the case. So I removed those. You don't need to. And in fact it caused me to temporarily lose the slider for the fan control. But I found it during reassembly.
Where was I ? Oh yeah. Moving cables. Yeah, after the USB cable was put through the rest were cake. Although I might put something to protect the cables in there, not liking cables possibly rubbing up against a metal edge. Not like it is sharp. Come to think if it, this was the most disassembly I have ever done on a case without a single drop of blood being spilled.
How will I appease the Computer God without a blood sacrifice? Oh well, I will worry about that later.
So after the cables were moved, I moved the pegs for the TG side over, which was mostly painless. watch the plastic sleeves for them though, I had one do a runner during reassembly and had a moment of panic trying to figure out what it was.
Oh wait wait wait. Something else came first. You also can't go and have the lower section HDD mounts be pointing towards the wrong side. that would be RIDICULOUS! Anyway, so first I removed the two HDD trays, which is a whopping three thumbscrews each. Captive yes, you you can actually keep unscrewing them to a point where they are no longer captive. I dunno, maybe I was in a disassembly haze by that point, no excuse for such a lapse. I also decided to remove the front 140, a I will have a 360 rad up there when I build the actual computer, so that will be moved. Hey, I will put it up in the top fan mount, great idea, let me screw that in with the HUGE round top screws that held it up front! More on that stroke of genius in a minute. Back to the HDD cage.
Man, I am all over the place.
Anyway, after you have loosened the 6 captive (somewhat) thumbscrews,. hold the HDD trays at the PRECISE EXACT ANGLE for removal. DO not vary by half a degree. Otherwise you are trying to pull a hippo down a hallway. You ain't goin' far, buddy. After those are removed, you realize that it is a single plate that hold them. Man, I am so glad to not see some honkin' overbuilt drive cage that could be used to protect the Crown Jewels in a case. Heck, some case designers even think it is a good idea to RIVET and/or WELD them puppies into place. After the 6 (somewhat) captive thumbscrews, this will be easy as pie to....wait. Two screws on the top of the HDD cage plate. Those are out...how is this faste....WHAT THE HECK. THERE ARE THREE SCREWS COMING THROUGH THE BOTTOM OF THE CASE? Oh man, I thought we were on a roll here, lets tip this puppy over....wait. Why do I only see two screws? Hmm...well, the bottom panel that covers the RGB LED's seems to maybe come off with two screws, lets just take that off... hmm.
THE ENTIRE FRONT FEET ARE PLASTIC FOR THE RGB. WHY GOD WHY?
Then I realize something.
There are three screw holes at the bottom of the HDD cage plate (gotta find the real name of that)....BUT ONLY TWO ARE USED AT A TIME?
Shoot me now.
The metal plate over the GIANT RGB PLASTIC COLOR DIFFUSER goes back on VERY quickly. The two screws hold the plate on (from underneath, that still bothers me), some out quickly. The HDD plate is quickly moved to the other side. In the process, I screw the top in with one screw. I will get back to that later.
So here we are, parts all over the place and let's recap the screw count. I will deduct the ones I didn't have to remove for the I/O panel and the front feet metal cover. That was 4 in all by the way.
4 Thumbscrews for the TG panel (oh, and no protective sticky film, that was a bit of a disappointment. I was looking forward to tearing it off when the actual computer assembly was done. I also like ellipses. Deal with it)
9 screws for the Mobo tray. which is really the entire internal structure of the case, above the lower section.
2 screws for the rad/fan mount up top.
11 for the top panel.
4 HUGE dome screws on the front fan (still coming back to that in a bit) - Optional for your disassembly, of course.
6 thumbscrews for the HDD trays
4 for the HDD plate
Hmm...I think that is it.
Let's see, Lets, do some math, carry the one, minus pi, DON'T multiply by zero and the total is 40.
40? OMG, jesusmaryjoesphcthulu, what the heck. I WAS PROMISED 6 SCREWS!!! DMITRI WILL PAY!. Well, when I get around to hunting Canucks. Maybe.
Anyway, so back to reassembly. I have been through the fire and emerged tempered and stronger for the experience. Nothing else can go wrong.
Did I mention that am doing this because I can't sleep? Yeah, must be sleep deprivation talking.
So since I already started talking about remounting the HDD cage platey thingy mawhatsit, I will explain the whole 1 screw problem. Since my memory is short, I forgot there were two screws up top, so naturally I say the top center screw and thought "THATS THE TICKET" Heck, it had only been about two minutes since I got the thing removed from the other side, but maybe THE GIGANTIC HIDDEN PLASTIC for the RGB reset my memory buffer. Whatever. So, the first drive tray goes back in, (EXACT ANGLE ONLY!)..this is cake, no problem, grab the second tray and WHY WON'T THIS BLASTIC THING GET SCRE....oh wait, I screwed the plate in there. Oops. Took about 5 seconds to fix. But that should be the only speedbump, right?
OK, since I got that all taken care of, better put the top back on. Of course, somewhere in there is where I fastened the I/O panel back in. Had one screw in, noticed the switch for the fan control wasn't quite right, found the switch lying on the floor and fixed all that back up.
back to the top
it went back on pretty easy. Sure it was 11 frikken screws...but yeah. That went well.
So what next? Hmm. I guess I will put the upper fan mount back in. I had previously attached the fan. Let me itemize how I tackled this task.
1. Find HUGE DANG SCREWS. Easy. Biggest ones in the collection, Not even a contest.
2. Start screwing it in.
3. Notice that cable placement is not optimal. I plan to screw this in once and pretty much forget about it until power up day.
4. Unscrew fan.
5. rotate fan. Cable is now correct.
6. Start sliding fan mount back in.
7. SLIDE IN AT EXACT ANGLE ONLY
8. Fail at 8.
9. Hit it in the middle.
10. Smile with pride at it is shoved in roughly by perfectly. Turns out it is a little reluctant to go back in. No biggie.
11. Secure with two screws
I will continue with the re installation of the mobo tray as it is relevant.
12. try to fit mobo in new orientation.
13. notice that the FAN MOUNT IS IN THE WAY.
14. remove screws to upper pain in the neck
15. Curse. Why? It wont't move.
16. Look at it like a monkey trying to understand a hand gun
17. Realize that the HUGE DOMED SCREWS are actually hitting the frame (which is actually the top panel) and making it harder to remove.
18 . Curse again
19 Struggle and pull for a while until it finally comes free.
20.Find NOT HUGE NOT DOMED Screws.
Wasn't that easy?
Anyway, yeah, don't use those huge dang screws anywhere near that top fan mount. Remember, I DID THIS FOR YOU, dear reader.
Ok, so after some jiggling and finagling, I get the mobo tray back in, secure it with minor issues with it's NINE screws (seriously, Dmitri, if that was you....) and all is pretty much done. The non-TG side swaps easy as pie, I though it's captive thumbscrews were a little on the dinky side, but whatevs.
In all honesty, I had a quite of bit of fun with this, not only doing the swap, but also writing this up for you all. Yes, I put a darker spin on it than it actually was, but all the steps were pretty much exactly what happened. Other than mentioning the switch that fell, I passed on mentioning dropped screws, because basically if I put something together someday without dropping a few screws here and there, I will probably die horribly the next second.
I do have a couple legitimate gripes and some things I really like. First of all, my gripes.
Screws. Except for the HUGE DOMED SCREWS for that front fan, my feeling is that every other screw on this case is too small. I mentioned in the beginning that my last experience flipping a mobo was with my STC-01. All the screws in that process are the same size as the screws you would use to mount your mobo. Sure, not huge, but not tiny either. At some point (when I actually finally start my build) I will post some pics of the various screws used and compare them to the ones I am "used to". That said, all of the screws were distinctive, and I had no issue (even in full insomnia mode) remember which screws went where, and other than a few that I left out temporarily, I did not have any "extras" when I was done. And WHAT WAS WITH THE ELEVEN SCREWS for the top panel? Maybe they just really loved Stranger Things.
Instructions. One exploded view in the manual. USELESS.
Some of the pre-attached connectors on the Fan/RGB hub included are a PAIN to remove. I thought I was going to break them. If I was keeping the case in it's original config, this probably would not have been a issue. And seriously, ,Be Quiet. for $179 US (PS, I paid $169) couldn't you have cleaned that up just a LITTLE? Is a plastic cover too much to ask?
Fine. I will fabricate something myself....later. Like in spring.
Anyway, on to what I love.
Well, of course the case doesn't have any blood in it. But I dissembled half of the dang thing! Where are the cuts that I don't discover until I start leaving bloody fingerprints on everything? WHERE IS THE BLOOD FOR THE COMPUTER GOD?
Which is actually a nice thing. Like I said, first case I have touched in years that I haven't bled for.
This case is just sweet. I love the look, and despite my writeup, it isn't THAT hard to swap over. In all, I spent about an hour taking it apart, seeing how it ticks, and other than a few gaffes, it did go back together pretty easy. If I had a decent space to work in, it would have been cake. You try taking a case this size apart on a counter the size of a dinner plate.
Oh, one last thing. The other day I posted the measurement for the space between the front panel and the back of the front cutout. While I had it apart, it was a cakewalk to check other dimensions up front. The front fan/rad area is 425.45 mm high, 154.4 mm wide and as I mentioned before about 57.15 mm deep. The top of course, can also fit a 360, 240 or anything smaller of course. You could probably fit a smaller rad under the shroud, as there is spacing for what appears to be a couple 120mm fans down there, but only if the HDD cage was completely removed. Since it has a full length filter, it would have made sense for a good place for a rad. And I am not sold on the airflow up top. Oh yeah, full filter up front and on bottom. Both accessible simply by removing the front panel. Which was another huge selling point for me. I hate pulling my case out of where it is for cleaning. If I had to pull the whole thing out just to get to filter only accessible from the rear or the side that up against a wall, I wouldn't have bought the DB 700 and just kept looking. Or finally have finished what I started with the STC-01 ten years ago. (long story about losing jobs and horrible living situations afterwards, I won't bore you)
Well, This turned out to be far longer than I expected. It is 7:30ish AM now, and insomnia has won this battle.
Hope you enjoyed it.
P.P.S - Just checked the Hardware Canucks review and Dmitry said "11 screws". But basically all he did was remove the mobo tray. I don't think they ever really looked at what it would take to move the front I/O cables and HDD cage.