Enermax Staray Case Review
By Gabriel Torres on August 4, 2009
Staray is available in two versions: with one Apollish fan with blue LEDs (ECA-3170-BL) or with three Apollish fans with red LEDs (ECA-3171-BR-AP), which is the model we reviewed. Of course the model with three fans is more expensive than the model with just one fan. Let’s see if this case is a good pick.
The front panel of Staray is completely meshed with dust filters. As you can see in Figure 3, this case has four external 5.25” bays and one external 3.5” bay. Both versions from this case have a front 120 mm Apollish fan. Apollish fans feature a magnetic bearing, a series of 15 LEDs connected to an on/off switch and spins at 1,200 rpm, plus a cool metallic looks. The retail version of this fan has a thermal sensor to control the fan speed (between 700 rpm and 1,700 rpm), so the Apollish fans used on Staray aren't identical to the retail version. The fans used on Staray have only two wires, being connected to a standard peripheral power plug, so you can’t monitor their speed using a fan monitoring program. On the front fan the on/off switch from the LEDs is routed to the front panel, however the side fans don’t have the same privilege, as we will talk about later.
In Figure 4 we show the back side from the front panel. Notice how each bay cover has a dust filter just like the fan mesh.
This case comes with two USB ports, which are placed away from each other, allowing the installation of two “fat” USB devices at the same time. The problem is that the microphone and headphones jacks are located between the two ports, so if you have a headset installed you probably won’t be able to install “fat” USB devices without disconnecting it from the case. No eSATA or FireWire ports are available. Also notice the on/off switch for the LEDs from the front fan.
The rear panel can be seen in Figure 6. It follows the traditional ATX layout, with the power supply located on the top part of the case. A place for installing a 120 mm, 90-mm or 80 mm fan is available, but this case doesn’t come with a fan here. This case has holes for passing hoses from liquid cooling solutions, and these holes are protected by rubber covers, so you won’t need to break anything on Staray to use them.
Now let’s take a look inside Staray.
The left panel is attached to the chassis using black thumbscrews, but the right panel is attached to the case using regular screws. The interior from Staray isn’t painted black, as you may have already noticed from Figure 6.
The motherboard tray has no holes or windows, features found on more expensive units that help routing cables and replacing the CPU cooler back plate without the need of removing the motherboard from the case.
In Figure 8, you can see the rear panel from the case viewed from inside. Staray features a screwless mechanism for holding daughterboards based on a single metallic piece. The slot covers aren’t meshed and you need to literally break them to use the slots.
Depending on the version of Staray you choose (ECA-3170-BL or ECA-3171-BR-AP), the right panel will come or not with another two 120 mm Apollish fans, having the same specs published on the first page. In Figure 10, you can see one of these fans turned on outside the case, where you can see the really unique effect created by its 15 LEDs. On the bottom left corner from this picture you can see the on/off switch for the LEDs, which is the most significant weak point from Staray. When turned on, the fans have their LEDs turned off by default. If you want the LEDs from the side fans to be turned on, you have to open your case and manually press two switches, one for each fan, and then close your case. What a bummer! This doesn’t happen with the front fan, as its switch is already routed to the front panel.
Now let’s take an in-depth look at the disk drive options from the reviewed case.
This case has four external 5.25” bays and seven 3.5” bays, all using a terrific screwless mechanism for installing drives (see Figure 12). From the seven 3.5” bays available, the top two come with screwless mechanisms for holding floppy disk drives, but the case has only one opening for using an external 3.5” drive – the second 3.5” external opening is used to hold the USB ports and microphone and headphones jacks. The good news is these two top bays are compatible with hard disk drives, but you will need to use regular screws on them. In summary, you can have up to seven hard disk drives installed if no floppy disk drive is used (five using screwless mechanisms and two using regular screws). Of course if you have an external 3.5” device (floppy disk drive, memory card reader, etc), the limit drops to six.
Enermax Staray case main specs include:
Enermax Staray is a mid-tower case for users that want a good case but don’t want or can’t pay more to have a case with superior quality. Here is a summary of what we found about this product.