Fong Kai FK330 mid tower case

Cases|Damping
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THE EXTERIOR

Front

There are three exposed 5.25" bays, and one exposed 3.5" bay. A nice touch is that the 3.5" bay cover doesn't look like a cover at all, which is nice if you're like me and have abandoned the floppy drive altogether. As you can see, the silver fronted optical drive looks right at home.

The bottom half of the bezel is dominated by a huge area of aluminum mesh, broken only by the port for the front mounted USB 2.0, audio, and firewire connectors.

The ports are covered by a little door, which happens to be the one weak point about the front bezel. Well, actually, the door is fine, I like having a door to keep dust out of the ports, the latch is the issue. It appears to have a serious aversion to remaining closed. The slightest jiggle of the case and the door flops back open. For a case where the rest of the design is so well thought-out, this latch is entirely too wimpy. I ended up just popping the door completely off.

Back

The first thing that stands out when looking at the rear of the FK-330 is the 120mm fan opening. The grill itself is composed of stamped circular holes, with very narrow spaces in between them. It's one of the best stamped fan grills I've seen on a case. Some people may choose to cut it out, but that's not likely to give any cooling or noise advantage because it is already so open. (Editor's Note: The grill holes are smaller than in the Antec Sonata or SLK3700BQE, but overall openness appears the same.)

One thing I noticed is the lack of standard screws holding the sides on the case on. The right side has no screws showing on the back plane at all, and the ones on the left are odd little torx/slot combinations. Why the left side doesn't show screws we'll get to shortly. The use of nonstandard screws on the left demonstrates Fong Kai's design intention that the left panel does not need to be removed for most installations. That is due to their nearly tool-less interior design, which we will also get to shortly.

NOTE: At least one online reviewer has complained about the right side being non-removable. It is removable, and pretty easily at that. The trick is that it has to be pulled upwards after the screws are removed, not backwards as with most case sides. (I have a hilarious mental image of some reviewer, case clutched between his knees, pulling backwards with all his might, trying to get the side off.) The right panel on mine has been off more than once, with no grunting or swearing required.

Removable Left Panel

And now, one of my favorite parts of the whole case: The Door. The left side is latched at the top, with the handle recessed into the panel itself. Lifting the handle causes the panel to come free, and it can either pivot from the bottom, or you can lift it clear.


Image deliberately lightened with Photoshop so you can see the detail.

The mechanism is a bar latch that extends the whole width of the panel and engages at four points It works easily, smoothly and securely. It feels more like the latch for a piece of quality cabinetry or industrial equipment than for a computer case. (Editor's aside: Jeff of FKI USA says that the inspiration for this latch and door design came from the likes of luxury cars like the Lexus, so Russ is not far off.)

Part the of reason for the solidity of the latch, as well as the case's general heft, can seen on the inside of the removable panel. Rather than being a single sheet of steel, the panel is reinforced by the addition of another layer of steel welded to it on the inside, as shown below. This also acts as a mass dampener, reducing the possibility of panel resonance. (Note to Fong-Kai: The designers responsible for this latch should have a go at revising the latch on the front bezel ports cover!)



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