The sides easily slide off with the removal of two screws; thumb screws on the windowed panel, and standard hex screws on the other. Removing the flat black panel allows access to the rear side of the motherboard tray, for routing of cables and easy cleaning.
As mentioned earlier, there is space for up to three optical drives. The drives are held in place by plastic clips (one clip per drive), which makes installation extremely easy.
The use of plastic with the clips also eliminates any metal-on-metal contact between the case and the clips, which could reduce noise. Upon installation, the clips really never seems tight, and it is difficult to tell if they are locked at all. That aside, the drive installs firmly and feels solid.
The eight hard-drive bays are located directly below the optical bays. Each has space for up to four hard drives, cooled by the two aforementioned 120mm intake fans. Hard drive installation is tool-less through the use of plastic clips which mount on the hard-drive and slide into place. Similar to optical clips, the hard-drive clips never feel like they are truly locked on the drive. In fact, in order to keep the clips from falling off during installation, we had to hold them in place while sliding the hard drives into position. Once the drives are installed however, everything feels quite solid with minimal movement evident.
Looking at the top of the case from the inside, we see the two 140 mm exhaust fans. These remove air directly from the CPU and RAM and make for efficient removal of rising heat within the case.
The rear of the case is pretty much as expected. It includes one black 120 mm fan, with the requisite number of expansion slots. The expansion slots are not tool-less, as is increasingly popular, though the covers are re-usable. The rear of the case also has two rubber-covered holes, for those interested in a water-cooled setup.
Another feature of the case is that the power supply is mounted at the bottom. The PSU sits on a steel stand and is attached securely by four hex screws on the rear of the case. This design allows for improved airflow and separation of the PSU from the CPU, reducing heat near the processor. It also makes connecting the power supply to the system components, as well as the hiding of unused cables, quite easy.
There was a time a few years ago that Hi-Fi/AMP like HTPC cases were everywhere. That has changed a bit in recent times due to some excellent m-ATX boards allowing builds in compact chassis however there is still something about the home theatre component style of design which can be appealing...