SUPPLIED BY: Cougar
PRODUCT: Panzer Max Case
PROD LINK: Panzer Max Product Page
PRICE: $149.95 @ Altex
Price is at time of testing!
Let’s have a look behind the front panel. Which, incidentally, is one big air filter you release by pushing where I have my fingers. You can remove it easily even with optical drives installed.
You have the option of up to three 120mm or 140mm fans here, or any radiators you might want to mount. You are only depth restricted here if you want to use the airflow guide for the mainboard tray.
I am very pleased to report that none of the fans included with the case are LED models.
Where do you put that third fan? Why, where the optical drive bays are, of course. You can remove the bays in this case to allow it, which is a breath of fresh air to me. Not all of us need 5.25″ bays anymore and would like the room to put other things there.
I’ll just show you real quick how to get the bays out. I have two screwdrivers on two of the screws in this shot, and red arrows indicating the remaining three. Take the screws out, remove the drive bay hardware. Easy peasy.
There. Now we can put a fan where the 5.25″ bays were. Or put this thing back in, as it were, so I can install the DVD rewriter I still sometimes use.
Now is a good time to look at the accessories box. We have a ton of screws, some grommets for the water cooling knockouts on the back of the case, the headphone bracket, and two splitters for the fan controller in the event that three fan connectors aren’t enough for you.
The accessories box is tied to the case through the topmost expansion slot, so the cover for that slot is found in the box. But there’s no thumbscrew for it, like the other expansion slots. So, if you need to block off all the expansion slots, you’ll need to steal a thumbscrew from somewhere else in the case. Fortunately, there’s one that holds on the power supply ventilation guide that is totally unnecessary you can use instead. More about that guide later.
First, the headphone hook. You get two extra long screws in the box to mount it with, and it goes on the outside edge of the case, like so. Now, here’s what the nonexistent manual and site pictures don’t tell you – there are eight mounting locations for this thing. Top left, top right, bottom left, bottom right. Repeat for the back panel of the case. I’ll just put it here for now – it will be removed when I put this case into the office. This will only catch my pants legs as I walk by it. I don’t want that.
Our first look at the inside of the case. Across the bottom, you see that power supply ventilation guide I mentioned. I hate that thing, I really do. Not because it’s not functional – it is – it’s because it’s a bloody fight and a half to get that thing out of there.
That’s right, I said “bloody,” and I damn well meant it. You kind of have to push inwards and upwards in the bottom center to release the catches and then work the guide down and out of the mainboard slot catches. But here’s what I didn’t know and was not made privy to before I started this review: there’s a single thumbscrew holding that blasted guide in there you can’t access or even see from this side of the case. So, I tried to get that thing out of there before I found the thumbscrew. Long story short, that guide took a big chunk out of my right thumb. I had to stop shooting the case for a good hour just to get the bleeding to stop before I could continue. When I did find the screw and remove it, it still wasn’t that easy getting that thing out of there.
Now, let me show you the area behind the motherboard tray and the location of that thumbscrew so you can avoid going through what I did.
This case is in love with thumbscrews. The red arrows are the ones for the 3.5″ drive bays. The cyan ones are for the 2.5″ bays, and yes you do need those in there or those things come loose. The green arrow is the rotten no good screw that caused me to go through several Band-Aids. I never reinstalled it… it’s now holding on that last expansion bay cover.
I personally love the idea of putting hard drives behind the mainboard tray, as Cougar has done here. Limited space aside, this gets them out of the airflow to the GPU and power supply areas, and the case is designed to still channel air back here so they get some cooling. Those 2.5″ bays are angled just right to allow the air to come past any drives in them and continue past the 3.5″ bays and out the back. What I’m not sure about yet is how effective this is without the fans on full at all times, or whether there’s enough space back here to both cool the drives and hide the cables, so I’ll judge things by how loosely the side panel goes back on. If it’s easy, there’s probably enough room. If not, I’ll score against it.
There. The power supply air guide is out. We can look at the vertical one for the front fans now.