AMD PH II X4 955BE 3.2 AM3 OC'ed to 3.6
Noctua NH-UB9 SE2 CPU Cooler
Gigabyte GA-770TA-UD3 770 R
G.Skill 4gb (2x2gb) DDR3 1600
PSU: Raidmax Hybrid 730w Modular LED
XFX Radeon HD 5770 1gb
HDD0: OCZ Solid 2 Solid State Drive 60gb
HDD1: Samsung Spinpoint 7200rpm 1TB
HDD2: Samsung Spinpoint 7200rpm 1TB
Asus Wireless Nic
The case uses the traditional brass standoffs which installed easily and as you can notice in the case leave plenty of room on the right side. This is good to note if you are looking to install a large graphics cards. There was plenty of room to work with inside of the case. It was readily apparent that if I wanted to use a larger air cooler than the Noctua, I would be able to fit it in.
The instructions were limited with the case, so I did run into a minor issue of trying to figure out how to connect the card reader. It is actually a USB pin out, though only using four of the 9-pin header. It took me a few minutes of comparing the pin out description from the case instructions with the mainboard manual to put things together. A little more descriptive text in the instruction pamphlet would have been nice. I discovered that the 4-port USB2.0 plus on the top were two header cables and the card reader a third. My mainboard only had two USB headers on it, so I elected to leave two of the USB ports on the top dead and have two working along with the card reader.
Revisiting the back of the case, we can see the cable management system in work. The tie-downs are able to be done and redone, making this a very nice feature for someone like me who moves hardware around often. I am not having to clip tie downs or buy a bag of zip ties every time I redo my hardware.
Taking a closer look at the tray cutout, I noted it was easily exposing the whole backplate so if I swap air coolers or go to a water cooling setup, I don’t need to remove the mainboard. I have seen this feature in other cases, but some make the cutout too small or not lined up right. Not an issue in this Arvina case at all.
The expansion slot retention clips did present an issue. They worked just fine on my wireless NIC - while not as snug as a screw, perfectly sufficient. The issue I ran into was with my Radeon 5770. The clips try to press on the top and side of the plate. Well with something like the Radeon I have, there is a plastic shroud over the whole card. This prevents the red clips from clamping down on the card. I ended up removing two of the red clips and using a screw to keep the card in. Not a real big issue, but another area to be aware of.
The drive trays worked well for the most part. They felt a bit flimsy, but actually worked just fine. One issue I noted with them though. When installing a 2.5” drive, it sits right in the center. When trying to install the power and data cables, I actually had to fish the cables through, install them, then fish the whole thing back into the case. It would have been better if they had set the holes so it mounted at the edge like a 3.5” drive connector. The entire 3.5” enclosure can be easily removed as well.
After getting the expansion cards installed, I was able to clean up the wiring a bit. There is plenty of room to tuck cables behind the mainboard tray and also in the unused 5.25” spots. This had the effect of really removing airflow restrictions that I have always had in a mid-tower no matter how much time I spent cleaning up the cables.
The pictures I took of the lighting show that with the lights off, all of the fans are blue LEDs. With the mostly solid side and mesh coverings, it is actually a very subdued effect. It adds some flash to the case, but looks well under a desk without being overwhelming. You can go even darker by using the fan control buttons at the top to turn off some or all of the fans.
I noted while booting up and running a temp check that my machine was running a few degrees cooler. While I didn’t run rigorous testing, I did conclude that the fan configuration and cable management did have a positive impact coming from my cramped RAIDMAX mid-tower. The air had a clear path from the side, front, and ability to draw from the bottom, and vent from the top and rear.