I just assembled a DQ77KB + Akasa Euler system over the weekend (in large part thanks to Mike's review and this forum topic), and I have very mixed feelings about the Euler. On the one hand, it has a nice appearance, feels well made, and it does seem to do the job (the case gets notably warm after a period of "activity" -- installing ESXi and building a few VMs). However, I am very un-impressed with the engineering. There are 10 points of contact between the case and the motherboard (4 screws in the corners of the motherboard, 4 nuts around the heatsink, the heatsink itself with the CPU, and the rear edge of the motherboard with the I/O shield), and the alignment is just not even close! It is essential for the CPU to be absolutely square with the heatsink, and if you try to screw down the corners of the motherboard, or if you use the I/O shield, then the CPU is *not* square with the heatsink, and that is a catastrophic design/manufacturing fault. The only way of getting the CPU perfectly aligned with the heatsink is to *only* use the 4 nuts around the heatsink, and to *not* use either the corner screws or the rear I/O shield.
User Regis reported this same problem, and provided a diagram that perfectly illustrates the problem: viewtopic.php?p=569291#p569291
Other user reports:
- MikeC never installed the I/O shield
- piglover says I/O shield lines up fine
- Aluminum has two of these, with no fit problems
My theory is that both piglover and Aluminum might be a little bit shocked if they check how much contact there is between the CPU and the heatsink block on their systems. If you use a bright torch, you can roughly see what the alignment is by peering through one of the side holes (the one furthest from the heatsink).
As long as you don't have TIM (heatsink goop) applied, it's easy to rock the motherboard on the different contact points (without any screws) to get a good idea of what touches where. Without the I/O shield, if you ensure the CPU is square with the heatsink (you can rock the motherboard and feel when the CPU is flat against the heatsink), the 4 corners of the board still don't come up flat against the posts; in most cases you have to push down on the corner of the board to get it to touch the post. As soon as you install the I/O shield, alignment goes completely out the window, and to get everything to touch you have to seriously distort the motherboard, and even then I don't think the contact between the CPU and the heatsink block is great (because at this point the board is twisted horribly).
In summary, the only way of getting the CPU square to the heatsink block is to:
a) Use only the heatsink nuts
b) Don't use the screws in the corners of the board
c) Don't use the I/O shield
a) and b) I can live with, but c) is what I'm struggling with. It looks ghetto, and if you aren't careful you could short something out by accidentally touching metal when plugging something in; unlikely but possible. It also lets in more dust than otherwise necessary, and in general is just poor practice. And at the end of the day, for a premium case (I paid £75), it is a fundamental flaw.
I'm posting this in the hope that others will see it and have another look at their setup. The problem is that I haven't been able to find any other passive cases. My options (none of them great), are:
- Live without the I/O shield
- Distort the motherboard and hope for the best
- Find another fanless case (haven't been successful so far)
- Find a case with a fan
Would be greatly interested to get feedback on other people's experiences.