Enermax - CS-1018, Continued
The construction of the CS-1018 is exceptional. It features a well thought-out design with smooth edges and thick 1.0mmSECCor aluminum. The case is heavy, and by the time you get it loaded up with your motherboard and drives, this case would not be one that you would want to carry to your next LAN party.
Yes, that's right - the CS-1018 has room to hold a total of SEVEN 80mm fans. The problem with slots for seven fans is that if you use fans that have high RPMs, your case will sound like a jet about to take off. What is good, however, is that this case creates serious airflow making it a potential dream case for the overclocker or multiple SCSI drive owner. The real gem here is that you can pick and choose your fan placement to get the best cooling solution for your configuration.
We really liked the swing-out fan duct that runs across the motherboard area. This is a nice feature that can provide extra cooling for a dual processor or overclocked video card setup. When toying with different fan configurations, we explored options such as using the Vantec Stealth fans, and we were able to reduce the fan noise to an acceptable level with all seven case fans going. Even when using the Vantec Stealth fans that only spin at 2050 RPM, we were still able to create nice, steady airflow to keep the system cool. In addition, the CS-1018 features two washable fan filters for the front intake case fans, which help cut down on dust and dirt that can be sucked into the case.
In a unique configuration, the CS-1018 features the external ports under a hatch on the top of the case. After opening the lid, the ports are exposed, which we thought was a great idea at first. In practical use, however, it leaves cables running all over the top of your case, so the advantage of the top-mounted ports might be minor, depending on how you are using them.
On the top of the case there is a rounded hatch that can be popped open to reveal two USB 2.0 ports, one 1394 Firewire port, and a mic and headphone jack. The location of these ports on the top of the case may or may not present a problem, depending on the placement of your case. If it is set on the ground, this seems like a very logical solution, but if you have it on your desk, this clearly isn't the best location.
We liked the CS-1018 a lot, and it offers an exceptional amount of features. Enermax has delivered this case with a fresh look and unique features that set it apart from other cases that we have seen. While it might be difficult to justify the purchase of such a case, depending on your application, this might be the best fit. Of course, price does play a role in these decisions, and the CS-1018 is not cheap. The excellent quality offered by the CS-1018, when coupled with the robust feature set, makes this a reasonable value for the money.