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ABS Canyon 695--Unpacking And Build

Four Full Tower Cases From $150 To $600
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$600

Behind that front cover you'll find three 140 mm cooling fans

Unpacking

You know a product needs serious protection when you open one box and find another box inside. That’s how the Canyon 695 is shipped, and unwrapping it almost felt like a Christmas tease. Upon popping open the second box, I got my first peek at the ABS chassis—otherwise known as Lian Li’s PC-X2000, which is being sold exclusively by ABS in North America under the Canyon marquee. There’s no other way to put this: the thing is gigantic. And yet it’s remarkably light as a result of its all-aluminum construction.

Alright, step one out of the way—pull the case from its packing material. Step two: open it up and check out the interior. Ah, but the Canyon 695 isn’t your everyday full tower chassis. In fact, it’s completely different from any other chassis in this piece. Enough so, in fact, that its $600 price tag almost makes it incomparable in a roundup of significantly more affordable boxes. I’ll go into further detail in the build section, but suffice to say, it took several glances at the installation guide before figuring out how it came apart. One thumb screw on the left and another on the right; pull each, and remove both sound-insulated side panels, revealing the box of goodies that ABS includes.

Never mind those SATA cables that came with your motherboard. Inside the Canyon’s accessory bundle, you’ll find six short, black cables to attach hard drives and two long ones able to reach optical drives at the top of the case. Black zip ties and clamps keep things neat without breaking the Canyon’s dark color scheme. ABS even adds a screwdriver for installing motherboard standoffs and a clear plastic box for spare parts.

No room for our PC Power and Cooling 1 kW PSU

Build

If you’ve ever pieced together model airplanes or rebuilt an engine, then you know there’s an art involved that makes slow, steady progress worthwhile instead of rushing through the job. Most case vendors today emphasize how easy their products are to put together. And indeed, when I’m building a system, I appreciate extras like tool-free construction—if only because after my 500th build, building PCs isn’t exactly the magical experience it once was.

But the Canyon is more of an artisan piece. As mentioned, it’s fully aluminum, right down to the motherboard tray (which could certainly be problematic if you strip a thread). Thus, despite its massive size, the Canyon weighs a mere 26 pounds, empty. It isn’t something you throw together quickly, either. Hard drives have to be screwed into brackets, for example, and those brackets slide into SATA backplanes, resting on each screw’s head.

Externally accessible drive bays on the side

If anything, the Canyon’s design is controversial. Starting with the front, there is no stack of externally-facing 5.25” bays. Instead, a solid aluminum panel (which pops off just a little too easily) covers a removable dust filter and a trio of 140 mm cooling fans. The left side of the case sports three bays: two 5.25” and one 3.5.” I’m not a fan of this arrangement. Not only does it require 2.5’ of vertical clearance and 1.5’ of depth, but you’ll also need a foot and a half of width, instead of nine inches, to be sure your optical drive isn’t banging up against something.

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