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System Builder Marathon, March 2011: $500 Gaming PC

Once again, the $500 PC was a simple build. But, there are a few notations to pass on regarding the Asgard II case.

The removable front bezel aids in prepping the 5.25” bay for drive installation. In fact, it was downright difficult to release the mesh bay cover without first removing the whole bezel.

An all-black interior is desired for an extra-clean finish, though there was a downside with the execution of this enclosure. Finger-threading some of the black standoffs into the painted motherboard tray was impossible. Fortunately a handy 5mm nut driver makes it a simple task.

The case's motherboard tray includes a cut-out to simplify the installation of more exotic cooling solutions. Built-in cable management helps tidy up the installation a bit, although there isn’t much room behind the right-side panel for managing groups of wires or spare Molex connectors.

Familiar tool-less drive mechanisms are effective for a stationary PC, but we’d exercise caution before relying on them during transportation. Needless to say, this system is going to get shipped to the winner without its hard drive installed. Xigmatek only populates one side of the disk cage with these clips. If you want to secure your storage, you'll have to steal clips from one side to fasten down the other.

Our modest assortment of hardware is almost lost inside a deep, spacious enclosure capable of housing 11.5” video cards (sorry, Radeon HD 6990). There are a few small quality issues to point out, such as body panels not lining up perfectly. But, overall, it’s an impressive $30 package that we would certainly consider using again.

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