Enermax Staray ECA3175-BL Case Review
By Gabriel Torres on April 20, 2012


Introduction

Hardware Secrets Bronze Award

Let’s take a look at the latest version of the Staray mid-tower case from Enermax, the ECA3175-BL (a.k.a. Neo), which is targeted to the entry-level market.

Staray is the name of a series of entry-level cases from Enermax, not of a particular product, and this can be confusing. There are two basic models available: the ECA3170 (which we reviewed back in 2009) and the ECA3175, which one with different versions. The ECA3175, for instance, is available in three versions: BL, S, and L. The differences between them can be seen in the table available here.

Enermax Staray ECA3175-BL case
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Figure 1: Enermax Staray ECA3175-BL case

Enermax Staray ECA3175-BL case
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Figure 2: Enermax Staray ECA3175-BL case

One of the highlights of the Enermax Staray ECA3175-BL is the presence of a huge transparent window on its left-side panel; you can’t install fans on this panel. This is one of the main differences between the ECA3175-BL and the ECA3170 models, which have a mesh supporting two 120 mm or 140 mm fans.

Enermax Staray ECA3175-BL case
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Figure 3: Left panel

The Front Panel

The front panel of the Enermax Staray ECA3175-BL is practically identical to the one used on the ECA3170 models. The only difference is the addition of one USB 3.0 port. The reviewed case has four external 5.25” bays and one external 3.5” bay, all using meshed covers with air filters.

Enermax Staray ECA3175-BL case
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Figure 4: Front panel

The case comes with one 120 mm fan on its front panel, using a standard peripheral power connector. Unfortunately, the manufacturer doesn’t publish the specifications for this fan, which has blue LEDs. The case comes with a button near the USB 3.0 port for you to turn off these LEDs. There is an air filter for this fan on the front panel.

Enermax Staray ECA3175-BL case
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Figure 5: Front fan

The case comes with one USB 2.0 port, one USB 3.0 port and the traditional audio jacks at the middle of the front panel. The USB 3.0 port uses an internal USB 3.0 connector. As mentioned, there is a button for turning off the LEDs of the front fan.

Enermax Staray ECA3175-BL case
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Figure 6: Buttons and connectors

The Top, Bottom, and Rear Panels

The top panel of the Enermax ECA3175-BL is solid, while the bottom panel has a mesh for the power supply fan.

Enermax Staray ECA3175-BL case
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Figure 7: Top panel

Enermax Staray ECA3175-BL case
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Figure 8: Bottom panel

The rear panel and the interior of the Enermax Staray ECA3175-BL are painted black.

On the Enermax Staray ECA3175-BL, the power supply is installed at the bottom of the case.

The case doesn’t come with a fan installed on its rear panel, which nowadays is rather unusual. It supports the installation of an 80 mm, a 92 mm, or a 120 mm fan.

This case has seven expansion slots. The slot covers are disposable, which is common with entry-level cases.

There are two holes with rubber covers for hoses of liquid cooling solutions, measuring 0.7” (17 mm) in diameter.

Enermax Staray ECA3175-BL case
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Figure 9: Rear panel

Let’s now take a look inside the Enermax Staray ECA3175-BL.

Inside the Enermax Staray ECA3175-BL

Both panels are attached to the chassis using black thumbscrews, which is great to see on an entry-level product. 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. This case doesn’t allow you to route cables behind the motherboard tray, but the tray comes with several clips for you to fasten cables using cable ties.

Enermax Staray ECA3175-BL case
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Figure 10: Overall look

Enermax Staray ECA3175-BL case
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Figure 11: A view behind the motherboard tray

In Figure 12, we get another overall look inside the case. Expansion cards are fastened using a metallic tool-less mechanism. The Enermax Staray ECA3175-BL supports video cards up to 9.9” (252 mm) long and CPU coolers up to 6.5” (166 mm) tall.

Enermax Staray ECA3175-BL case
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Figure 12: Overall look

The power supply is installed at the bottom of the case. It 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 no air filter for the power supply fan.

Enermax Staray ECA3175-BL case
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Figure 13: Power supply compartment

The Disk Drive Bays

The Enermax Staray ECA3175-BL has four external 5.25” bays, one external 3.5” bay, and five internal 3.5” bays, all using tool-less installation mechanisms. A sixth internal 3.5” bay is available, but it incorrectly comes with a tool-less mechanism for floppy disk drives, not for hard disk drives, so this mechanism can’t be used. You still can use the bay for installing a hard drive, but you will need to use regular screws due to this error. This case doesn’t support 2.5” devices, which is a major drawback. Nowadays we expect to see even entry-level cases with at least one 2.5” bay.

Enermax Staray ECA3175-BL case
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Figure 14: Disk drive bays

Main Specifications

The main specifications for the Enermax Staray ECA3175-BL include:

Conclusions

We can only recommend the Enermax Staray ECA3175-BL if you can find it for the right price. It looks like and feels like a USD 40 case, especially for the lack of features that are standard nowadays, in particular the absence of a rear fan and at least one 2.5” bay, and the mistake of coming with a floppy disk drive retainer on its sixth hard drive bay, instead of a hard drive one. That said, if you are on a budget, don’t mind the weak points of this case, and can find it for USD 40-50, it is a good pick. However, if you have an extra USD 10 in your budget, we recommend you to pick a case such as the NZXT Tempest 210 or the NZXT Source 220

Strong Points

Weak Points

Originally at http://www.hardwaresecrets.com/article/Enermax-Staray-ECA3175-BL-Case-Review/1534


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