Obviously for a case the Design is one of the most important parts of it, as a bad design makes a bad case. Well, in this area, I can tell you the blizzard does not come up short. Here's a quick list of some cool features it has before I go into detail on them.
- Removable door
- Smooth edges
- Removable motherboard tray
- Thumbscrews galore
- Room for a RAID 0 + 1 setup and then some
- Good fan installs
- Case has feet
Removable door, while this may seem like a small issue, as that's common
feature now, its still a very good thing to have. Take it from someone who used a 'U' shaped case for a long time; the door is good to have. At first open, it was a bit tough to move the door as it was a little tight in there, but after I opened and closed it a few times, it was great to work with. Inside of that door they have a pair of 92mm intake fans mounted. The issue they could have had with this was opening the door with the cords coming out (because fans need to be plugged in.) This was avoided by using fans with a nice long cord coming off of them, so you can get some mobility with the door and not have to worry about them limiting your movement too much. Overall the door is good and setup very well.
Smooth edges again are very important to a case, simply because I like my fingers where they are. A sharp edge is the bane of computer people, as they seem to have magnets in them causing us to cut ourselves on them more often than we think we should. From what I saw, there weren't any surfaces that look like they could cause this in there, so I was happy. No battle scars from this case!
Ahhh, yes, the removable motherboard tray, a feature that many companies put in their cases, but almost none get right. A motherboard tray is not a sheet of metal you put the motherboard in and then reinstall it in the case before you add anything else. A motherboard tray is supposed to let you do all the hard work and then put it in the case with everything installed already. So far I've used 2 cases that had done this the right way, my In-Win A500 case and the Blizzard. I fell in love with the tray as soon as I used it.
Screwing a case and components into a case is one of the most annoying things you do with you system when building it, and for those of us who are constantly inside of it, a screwdriver is an annoyance to need. The Blizzard beats that trick with thumbscrews, they've got them in most of the places you could use them. The back of the case is held in with them, many internal pieces of the case are as well, not to mention the fact that FrozenCPU includes a set of their brass thumbscrews for use on the expansion slots with it. It's a very nice touch and a very handy feature.
(Update: After speaking with Mark at FrozenCPU, he now includes extra white thumbscrews instead of brass. They're physically smaller making them easier to work in the small space available there, and they match the others in the case as well.)
One of the separating features of a case is how much it can hold in terms of drives. This one holds 3 5.25" devices, which is average for a mid tower about this size, however, it holds 5 3.5" drive in its normal drive holders, plus two more on the top rack of the case. In other words, you've got room for a DVD, Burner, Live Drive, Floppy, RAID 0+1 setup and then 2 more hard drives after that! I'd show off how it'd look, but I don't have that many drives to put in it! Its broken up like this, a 2 drive caddy at the bottom (which is removable) that locks into a 3 drive caddy which holds the floppy as well, and both of them are secured to the underside of the 5.25" drives. Both drive caddies are removable which makes installing hard drives VERY nice. I hate trying to reach inside the back of the case to install a screw in my drives; it's to annoying to do. No more will I need to do this.
Since the Blizzard is a pre-modded case, it had better have the fans well installed; professionally punched holes with clean edges. To find out I tore apart the side door and found out. Sure enough, they were pretty danged clean; I'd have no trouble saying I did 'em myself.
The last touch this case adds is one for stability. While the case isn't all that narrow, the addition of feet means it'll be extremely difficult to knock it over unless you're trying to. The feet lock into position either in line with the case (so they're hidden) or pop outwards for stability. A pretty handy touch if you ask me.
Overall the blizzard case's design was pretty satisfying to me. There weren't any places I really found it lacking, other than the 3 5.25" bays. However since it is supposed to be a mid tower, I guess I can let it slide on that one. I think I'm going to need to give this a thumbs up for overall design and style. Not a fancy design, but it's far from being an eyesore.
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