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COMPONENTS IN DETAIL
The Case: Front
The first photo below shows the front bezel from the side. You might be able to see that the vertical grooves are actually ventilation slots for the front air intake. The center shows the bezel removed. Now it is very clear just how open the intake vents are. There is also a large hidden opening at the front bottom of the bezel. You can see the wooden floor through that opening. The third photo shows the front of the case beneath the bezel. At the bottom, the outline of the front fan and its blades is visible. Again, it is a very open grill that actually extends beyond the circumference of the 80mm front intake fan. This open grill and the generous intake vents in the bezel ensures a high level of unobstructed airflow. If I was building a quiet PC with this case, I would not need any cutting tools.
Wide open front intake vents provide excellent low noise airflow.
The Case: Back Panel
The back panel is fairly conventional, except for the square holes in the grill for the back fan, which looks like it presents very little impedance to the exhaust airflow. The same cannot be said of the Seasonic PSU grill, but this may be a moot point, as the airflow from its fan is very low.
Inside the Case
The inside of the left cover is lined with a layer of soft, damping foam. It helps to absorb some noise. The side vent hole is left open. The system ships with screws that hold the left cover in place, but once off, the 2 black tabs visible on the back (left) edge easily slip the cover off. I imagine hardware nuts would use just the tabs for quick access.
The original interior layout of this system (shown two photos below) was a thing of precision, with cables tied down neatly and logically. I ended up making a change, and when it came time to put everything back together, I could not duplicate the original neatness. The change, introduced by ARM Systems as a quieter option, was the Alpha PAL8045 HS with a Panaflo 80mm L fan to replace the (louder) 60mm fan equipped Zalman 5100CU. This option also involved the replacement of other 3 accessible Zalman 80mm fans in the system with 3 Panaflos.
Just in case anyone doesn't know by now how impressive the Alpha 8045 is.
The VGA and CPU HS fans draw some cooler outside air through the side vent. However, the back panel fan blows out, and this may result in a useless short path of air from the side going right through the back case fan. There is an additional 3.5 inch drive bay that slides into the slots on the bottom directly under the existing drive: it just didn't make it into the photo.
The photo on the left below shows Alpha 8045 heatsink beneath the Panaflo fan in the center. The photo on the right shows the drive bays, which use a slide-and-lock mechanism.
In the right photo above, you can see the blue grommets and screws holding the Seagate hard drive in the 3.5 inch drive bay just above the front case fan. The holes in the drive bay are made specifically for use with these grommets, which slip into large offset holes that have four notches. (The same as the holes directly above the blue grommets.) The grommets themselves are not made of rubber but something softer. There is no metal-to-metal contact between the hard drive and the chassis.
Photo above shows VGA fan with wire grill on Zalman 165 bracket, and Zalman ZM17 heatsink on MX400 VGA card.
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