SilverStone has announced a new front panel utility, the FP56. The FP56 utility is built to fit in a single optical drive bay and has a number of features including three USB 3.0 ports, one high-current USB 3.0 port for charging power-hungry gadgets, and a multi-card reader. The multi-card reader reads a number of card formats including SD, MemoryStick, xD, and CompactFlash cards. The FP56 is powered by a USB 3.0 header as well as a 4-pin Molex connector.
Included with the device are three front panels, so that the buyer can choose a design that fits in with his or her enclosure. These panels come in silver, black, and white. Moreover, to make better use of the optical drive bay, users can install two 2.5" drives in the back of the FP56.
So far, there is no official word on pricing or availability.
Plus, I have the original HAF922, so it doesn't come w/ USB3s, making this quite handy. I only wish it had a fan controller too... :P
That same bay could have housed a slim BR/DVD burner (they have a slot loading one! I didn't know that...), the same set of memory card slots, and either a smaller number of USB ports or else stacked ports to reduce space. And even the SSD mounts could have been kept.
Or, make the face basically be the front of a hot-swap tray for a 2.5" SSD or 3.5" HDD. The whole thing slides out and you can remove the drive if you need to without going into your case. There are 2.5" hot-swap drive accessories that can fit 6 devices into a 5" bay, so they should have been able to fit just two of those plus the ports.
In the end, I suppose it all depends on the purpose. I wouldn't want hot-swap bays in my living room, and I wouldn't want a mixup of bays and USB ports / card readers if I had empty bays in a mid-tower. So multi-purpose bay accessories are only useful if you have a limited number of bays available.
Also, imagine not having fixed HDD/SDD (if you could mount 3.5" drives to something like this) bays in the bottom of your case and more open space for better airflow?