Pros: Easy to Build In, Improved Mounting of SSDs
This case has larger fans than the Arc Midi (140mm vs. 120) and one for intake and one for exhaust (the Arc MIDI had two for exhaust, one to the back and one out the top). I like the addition of the USB 2.0 ports on the top panel along with the USB 3.0 as I'm often transferring files to Android phones and tablets. Since I mainly use the PC for work and photo processing and am not a gamer, I have opted to stick with the cooling that comes with the PC. I'll be seeing how this hold up as I do some of the more CPU intensive tasks and then decide whether additional fans are needed or not. I don't know whether I will OC or not but the option is there with the installed hardware:
CPU: i7 4790k
CPU Cooler: Noctua NH U12S
MoBo: ASUS Sabertooth Z97 Mark 2
RAM: 15GB Crucial DDR3
GPU: ASUS STRIX-GTX960
SSD: Samsung 850 Pro 256GB
HDD: 2 x WD Black 2TB
PSU: Seasonic SSR-650RM
OS: Windows 8.1
As with other Fractal Design cases there is ample room behind the mother board tray for cable storage and they now have included three Velcro tie downs that keep every thing in place. Installing all the parts is pretty easy and I like that they have substituted a pin for the middle ATX standoff as this holds the MoBo in place as you put in the other screws. I wish this were around when I did my Arc MIDI build a couple of years ago! The Seasonic PSU has a stiff sleeved 8 pin MoBo connector and and as it is not modular with this particular PSU presents a minor challenge in getting it plugged in since there is not a lot of room between the connection point and the routing hole. The only other minor issue is plugging in the USB 3.0 front panel header. On the Sabertooth MoBo the fastening point is parallel to the MoBo rather than perpendicular as with my last ASUS ATX MoBo. Since the routing hole is very close to the MoBo, one has to bend the cable somewhat severely to plug it in. This may be more of a MoBo issue than one of case design, though one could feed the USB 3.0 header cable through the main case and simplify things (but of course it would not look as clean).
I particularly liked the two SSD drive trays that mount just behind the MoBo tray so you don't need to mount the SSDs prior to MoBo installation. This was not the case with the Arc MIDI. Since I use a 2nd SSD for both Photoshop and Lightroom I can easily upgrade to a larger capacity SSD if needed. Although one can move the two hard drive bays around (one holds 5 drives and the other 3), I left them both in place as I may need them for further expansion at some point. I did remove the five upper drive trays to allow for better airflow from the intake fan.
I have been running the case fans on the middle setting of the fan controller (7v). They are not power managed fans and cannot be run off the MoBo. this is not a real big deal for me. I am seeing a CPU temperature of 30C which is just fine. The room is normally about 25C in the summer time and in the winter when it drops down to 19C, I can probably drop the fans down to the lowest setting (5v).
I know it's difficult to say this will be the last case I ever buy for my work station but my early experience leads me to that consideration. For those interested in more exotic cooling solutions, this case offers those options. It's also available at a particularly good price point and the dimensions are just right for my desk top. This is well worth considering for those who like understated styling coupled with good performance features. If you like glowing LEDs look elsewhere.