Famous for their high-performance processor coolers and thermal pastes, Gelid have now applied their cooling expertise to computer chassis design and have announced the impressive DarkForce case. It certainly looks the part with its smooth black finish and hot-swappable SSD/HDD docking station but what really makes it stand out from the crowd are its clean lines and excellent build quality at this price point.
Features & Benefits
The case is manufactured from high quality 0.7mm SECC black matt anodised steel throughout, whilst the top and front bezels are made from tough plastic but have a metal appearance that gives the DarkForce a simple and clean look. If your taste is a little more flamboyant and you like to show off your PC's internals then you'll love the large transparent acrylic window which comes free with the case as an alternative side panel. Just use whichever panel you prefer!
There are enough drive bays in the DarkForce to accommodate virtually all storage scenarios. The case has four external 5.25" drive bays, one of which can be converted into an external 3.5" bay thanks to the included adapter. Internally, the DarkForce has six 3.5" drive bays available. Each drive bay has a plastic tray which holds the 3.5" device on rubber grommets. Also, each tray has hole mounts for 2.5" devices so mounting smaller drives or SSDs is no problem.
The 3.5" bays are made up of two cages with each cage holding three drive bays. Each cage can be removed from the case if required. The benefit of this is increased airflow as there will be no cage blocking airflow from the intake fans. Also, if you remove a cage you will be able to install a longer graphics card. Obviously removing the HDD cages will reduce the number of 3.5" devices which the case can accommodate.
For a mid tower case, the DarkForce has a surprisingly number of cooling options. In total, the case can accommodate up to nine fans; three at the front (one supplied), two on the roof, one at the rear (supplied), two on the floor and one on the side. To view which fan sizes can be fitted to which locations, please see the specifications table below.
To allow the use of three 120mm fans at the front of the case, Gelid have utilised EMI plates for the bottom three 5.25" bays allowing a 120mm fan to be mounted. It is possible to continue to use the drive bays but they would be converted into internal bays rather than external. Also, to be able to mount two fans on the floor of the case the bottom HDD cage would need to be removed.
If you plan to utilise all or most of the fan options, Gelid have strategically placed two Fan Power Extension PCBs that will allow you to connect up to six 3-pin fans so you do not have to rely on the motherboard to provide fan headers. The PCB does not control the speed of the connected fans; it just provides them with power.
As well as the great features mentioned above, Gelid have also included many smaller features that add to the overall quality of the DarkForce. For example, all the cables that route to the front USB/audio ports etc are either coated in black sleeving or are black wires. This helps to build a more attractive system.
Other finishing touches include an extra extension slot, PSU securing straps, a Hard Drive Docking Station, one USB 3.0, two USB 2.0, one e-SATA, headphone and mic ports, rubber coated feet, internal USB 3.0 connector, ventilated extension slot back plates, PSU anti-vibration gaskets, rubber coated cable management cut-outs, a large CPU motherboard cut-out and last but not least, three rubber coated holes for users planning on installing an external water cooler.