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Frontpage Slideshow | Copyright © 2006-2010 orks, a business unit of Nuevvo Webware Ltd.
Thursday, 12 January 2012 08:00

GELID Solutions Dark Force Gaming case tested - Inside and Assembly

Written by Sanjin Rados

dark force th

Review: Gelid obviously means business

Dark Force supports full-ATX / micro-ATX motherboards. The case is enough wide to house CPU coolers up to 165mm in height. Graphics cards are limited to about 29cm length, but it will support up to 410mm length once the HDD cage is removed.

You can maximize cooling Dark Force’s cooling by adding more fans, as the case supports up to 8. However, we’re not happy with the fact that Dark Force comes with only two preinstalled fans. Whether GELID Solution did their best is arguable, as many will agree. Knowing that GELID Solutions fans are quality parts, we were quite disappointed not to see at least three fans as standard. But let us look at the bright side.

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There are two removable HDD cages, each with three bays for 3.5” or 2.5” drives.

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The lower HDD cage can be also removed leaving room for 120 or 240mm radiators on the bottom panel.

Looking at how we grabbed the bay may look a bit funny, but it’s the easiest way to take it out.

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You’ll find antivibration grommets in every bay.

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You can place the seventh 3.5” drive in one of the 5.25” bays using the included converter. As we said earlier, the top panel features one external hot-swap dock, meaning that Dark Force offers eight 3.5” and eight 2.5” bays.   

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Installing 5.25” devices is easy except when installing it the topmost bay. There are some cables hanging from the I/O panel, which makes inserting 5.25” drives in the top bay a bit difficult. The toolles mechanism works well.

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The motherboard tray has a big CPU backplate cutout, but it wasn’t compatible with all of our motherboards. GELID Solutions used rubber on cable management holes. The holes are not that big but there are enough of them to make cable management easy.

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All cables that come from the I/O panel, as well as fan cables, are sleeved for better look and easier cable management. We have about 150mm free space to work with in the back.

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It’s not a common feature, but Dark Force supports 80mm or 120mm fans with maximum 15mm thickness on the right side cover. You can see that the spot for this thin fan is just behind the motherboard tray cutout.

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Two internal fan extension PCBs will come handy when installing additional fans, but it would be nice to see some fan controllers here as well.

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We used the Velcro Fastener on the picture below to tie and hold some cables, but its real use is to keep the PSU in place.

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Stand-off screws come pre-installed for full ATX motherboards. We really liked was the small thumb screw dubbed quick fix tool, which was made for easy stand-off removing. GELID Solutions opted on internal USB 3.0 pin connector.

Dual or even triple GPU configuration is an option here, as we have 8 expansion slots on our disposal. The slots have small exhausts for better ventilation. The cards are held in place by large thumbscrews. There is also a ninth expansion slot placed on the side. 

Dark Force took Asus’ Rampage II Extreme motherboard (269x305 mm, 10.6" x 12"). The case has a few cable management holes in the motherboard tray but, unfortunately, our Rampage II closed off most of them. However, Dark Force won’t have trouble with any standard ATX board (Rampage II Extreme is about 2cm wider than standard.

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EVGA X58 FTW3 motherboard left more cable holes open, but we still had difficulties unscrewing our CPU cooler backplate.

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The PSU is on the bottom of the case and Gelid left a rubber seal that minimizes vibration and makes for a tighter fit. GELID also used Velcro Fastener that can be used to additionally secure PSUs. In our case, we used it to fix Sapphire’s Pure 1250W – the fastener eased some pressure off the screws that hold it in place.

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It’s not rare that a case manufacturer underestimates the need for quality rubber grommets that should support the PSU. Dark force has four points with grommets, which are unfortunately very thin and aren’t glued well. As you can see from the photo below, they remained on the PSU when we took it out. 

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The PSU filter is a mesh that can be taken off once the case is laid on the side, although it’s not quite what we’d call easy.

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The rest of our mounting process went without a hitch and our Dark Force was soon ready for action.

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Dark Force comes with two 1200 RPM fans. The fans aren’t loud, but you’ll hear them a bit. Unfortunately, high end gaming components will require better cooling inside the case.

(Page 6 of 7)
Last modified on Thursday, 12 January 2012 10:10
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