Enermax SpineRex Case Review
By Gabriel Torres on April 28, 2011
The SpineRex is the latest case from Enermax, featuring a huge “250 mm” fan on its left-side panel (which is actually a 220 mm device) and two “VEGAS” fans on its front panel. Let’s check it out.
As mentioned, the left-side panel comes with a huge fan that is advertised by Enermax as being a “250 mm” model. However, 250 mm is the distance between the mounting holes of the fan; the fan actually measures 220 mm. We wonder when someone will step up and do something about this lack of fan size standardization among case and fan manufacturers. The model is a Power Cooler PS223012MM-L, a brand that belongs to Enermax, and from the part number you can clearly see that it is, in fact, a 220 mm model. This fan uses a standard peripheral power connector and comes with an analog speed controller and a switch for you to choose the color of the LEDs, blue or red. See Figure 4. The whole mesh of the side panel is protected with an air filter, which is great.
As you can see in Figure 5, the Enermax SpineRex has 11 5.25” bays, all featuring meshed covers with air filters. The case comes with two hard drive cages, each one using three 5.25” bays. So, if you use the case’s default configuration, you will have five 5.25” bays available. To have access to the 5.25” bays you have to “open” the two edges of the front panel. See Figure 6.
At its default configuration, the SpineRex comes with two 120 mm “VEGAS” fans installed in front of each hard drive cage, but the fans aren’t attached to the hard drive cages, so you can move these fans and the cages independently. The fans use three-pin power connectors and come with adapters if you want to install them directly on the power supply, and have 13 different operation modes, which are selected by pressing a switch (the two rectangular black objects seen on the left side in Figure 7). These fans have red and blue LEDs. We made a short video of these fans in action. See below.
The top panel of the SpineRex can be seen in Figure 8. You can open and close the available air intake. See Figures 9 and 10. The top panel supports two 120 mm or 140 mm fans, but the case doesn’t come with them.
The SpineRex comes with three USB 2.0 ports, one USB 3.0 port, one eSATA port, and the traditional audio jacks.
The bottom panel, seen in Figure 12, has an air intake for the power supply fan. An air filter is available inside the case. The location of this air filter is not the best, because you will need to remove your power supply whenever you need to clean it. It would be better if Enermax had put this filter outside the case.
The feet of the case can be rotated 90°, so you can choose between having the feet showing or hidden.
The rear panel and the interior of the Enermax SpineRex are painted black. The power supply is installed on the bottom part of the case, and the case comes with seven expansion slots. Here is one of the main drawbacks of this case. It could easily have eight or even nine expansion slots, as we will show in the next page. The covers for the expansion slots aren’t vented, but we don’t think this is an issue on this particular product, since there are several ventilation meshes on its rear panel.
The reviewed case doesn’t come with the rear 120 mm fan. This is another major drawback, unless you are planning to use a liquid cooling system that requires you to install the radiator on the space originally reserved for the rear 120 mm fan.
A major problem with this case is that it doesn’t have a specific hole for you to route the USB 3.0 cable to the rear panel. This hole, if it existed, should be placed near the motherboard rear panel – above the mesh for the 120 mm fan, for example. You can use one of the four holes for liquid cooling solutions that are available. However, since the cable must be installed on the motherboard rear panel, you will have this cable in front of your expansion cards, which may be inconvenient.
Both panels are attached to the chassis using thumbscrews. The motherboard tray has a huge hole for you to access the backplate of the CPU cooler without having to remove the motherboard from the case, two holes for you to route cables behind it, and several metallic clips for you to fasten cables behind the motherboard tray using cable ties.
In Figure 16, you have another overall look inside the case. Expansion cards are fastened to the case using black thumbscrews.
We don’t understand why Enermax added only seven expansion slots on this case. The whole point of someone needing a big full-tower case is to have several video cards installed, and, depending on your motherboard, this is only possible if you have eight expansion slots. As you can see in Figure 17, there is more than enough space between the seventh expansion slot and the power supply compartment for adding an eighth or even ninth expansion slot. The motherboard tray doesn’t go all the way down to the bottom panel, showing us that the manufacturer could have easily added support for motherboards bigger than the ATX size.
The SpineRex supports video cards up to 12.2” (310 mm) long or up to 13.3” (337 mm) long, if the hard drive cage in front of the video card is removed, and CPU coolers up to 7” (178 mm) tall.
Note that the power supply can be installed with either its bottom fan facing up or facing down, so you can decide if you want the fan of your power supply pulling air from inside the case or from outside of it. There is an air filter for the power supply fan, but as already explained, this filter is located between the power supply and the bottom panel, meaning that you need to remove the power supply whenever you want to clean it.
The Enermax SpineRex has 11 5.25” external bays and two hard drive cages with four 3.5” bays each, and each hard drive cage takes up three 5.25” bays. Therefore, on its factory configuration the SpineRex has five 5.25” external and eight internal 3.5” bays. Since each hard drive cage is removable, you can change this configuration, though. For example, you can move the hard drive cages to the top or remove one of them in order to get three additional 5.25” bays or to allow the installation of longer video cards.
The main specifications for the Enermax SpineRex include:
* Researched at Newegg.com on the day we published this review.
The Enermax SpineRex looks like a nice full-tower case, however, it has important features missing for a case in its category – namely, the absence of 2.5” bays and an eighth expansion slot – preventing us from recommending it.