Joined on 01/12/12
Great Quality, Great Features, M.2 Heat Spreaders Beware
Pros: -Packaging, contents, and overall build quality of the board is fantastic. -Looks very good, the RGB can be either entirely off, an accent, or the focal point of your build depending on your preferences -I/O is great overall. The only thing I missed at first was the option for PS/2, but I use all USB peripherals anyhow so not an actual issue. -RAM slots are low enough to allow for a 51mm radiator+fan assembly to be used in a mATX case (FD Define Mini C TG) -On board connectors are all placed nicely, cable management is very clean on the front side. -Out of all the RGB software from MoBo manufacturers Ive used, Ive come to prefer Aura Sync over the others for its fairly friendly UI and plenty of pre-defined patterns
Cons: -The M.2 slots are extremely close together. I purchased one drive with a heat spreader and one without, as the board includes a built on heat spreader on the primary M.2 slot. The second slot was so close to the first slot that my WD Black SN750 with heat spreader physically could not fit into the slot. I don't have the right tool to remove the heat spreader from the drive, so Ill be swapping it out for the model without it. -GPU clearance to the IO/RGB block is extremely low. A Gigabyte card with metal back-plate does fit, but I've seen other cards with thicker back-plates that I think would be either a very tight fit or not slide in at all, but can't say for sure as I don't have others to test. -The included Wifi antenna was a bit awkward to assemble. The manual didn't have any sort of instructions, which at first seemed fine. After fiddling with it I found that the connectors that are supposed to fit through the opening in the base do in fact fit, but only on one end of the opening as it is very slightly tapered.
Overall Review: I would certainly recommend this board to someone looking to build a beefy mATX system, but I would make sure to mention the M.2 spacing issue beforehand. Ill give it 4/5, because the M.2 drive issue did set me back a bit when assembling and did cause some brief frustration.
Great Semi-Budget Case, Our unit was troublesome
Pros: Fairly easy to build an air-based system inside this case. Has drive bays for those of us still using optical media. Fans installed are almost silent during regular use.
Cons: Our unit came with a cold-soldered joint on the power button. Thankfully, an engineering friend identified the issue and a quick soldering job fixed our unit.
Overall Review: I would certainly recommend this case in the future, and I would also ask Fractal Design to perhaps bump up the quality assurance on their lower-priced cases