Assembling Our Gaming Box
The boxes shipped from Newegg arrived in great shape, giving us little reason for concern. Closer inspection later revealed that the container with the case inside had a couple of wrinkled and rounded edges. At some point, whether during shipping or before, the box was likely dropped on its back edge, evidenced by the top and bottom right-hand thumb screws pushed in and bent to the side. When we removed them, a few loose paint chips crumbled off from the surrounding area.
Structurally, the case is still fine, and once I straightened out some of the sheet metal from the inside, this little bit of damage didn't affect motherboard or power supply mounting.
There weren't any visible scratches in the glossy red highlights along of the front edges of the enclosure, which weren't covered by protective film. However, there were some faint (but visible) scratches under the USB 3.0 and eSATA ports. Those were covered in film. So the scratches likely occurred at the factory when the ports were being installed into the bezel.
The black metal mesh was ding-free, apart from a faint hint of worn paint in a rounded area along the left edge. We probably could have masked this blemish almost completely with a black marker.
I proceeded to prep the case for use. The front bezel was held secure and never popped off on its own, but just the slightest tug from the bottom lip was enough to remove it. Next, I separated the mesh cover from the bezel, and twisted off the sheet metal from the case, exposing the top 5.25” bay for our DVD burner.
Given plenty of internal space, I didn't need to install drives or the power supply before securing our motherboard in place. This was easy enough with the CPU, heat sink, and memory already installed.
Rosewill packages the Redbone with one sheet of instructions and a bag of screws. The company includes a small speaker to attach to a motherboard header, and one bracket to cover a rear slot once the original punch-out is removed. I do have a few criticisms of the Redbone that I'd like to share, though.
The first could potentially be disheartening for novice builders to overcome, but would be easy to solve. The case supports full ATX and microATX motherboards requiring three rows of screws, just like the ASRock model we're using. However, rather than including all of the standoffs you'd require, Rosewill only bundles seven. Other customers on Newegg complain of the same oversight, so this isn't a one-time deal. Standoffs come in different heights, and these employ a low-profile design. Securing our motherboard properly required nine. So, unless we had spares on-hand, all progress would have ground to a halt. Fortunately, the extras included with Antec’s Three Hundred are the same, and I had plenty of those from prior builds.
Another easy-to-solve complaint concerns the useless drive clips. They're designed to attach on the near side, and use dimpled pressure on the rear. But this mechanism doesn't come close to holding either of our drives in place (particularly the disk drive). Thankfully, screws are also provided to secure them properly.
Next up, cable management (or, more accurately, a lack thereof). This is a roomy case, so airflow shouldn't be a problem. But there's no easy way to finish the build with a tidy appearance once the side panel is removed.
We ran into two other problems after firing up our build. First, the case fan attached to the side panel is quite noisy, and might benefit from some oil. Second, the Asus DVD burner we've used so many times before was dead on arrival (its tray wouldn't come out), and had to be returned. Newegg quickly shipped out a replacement, getting us up and running again.
In general, I've been pleased with many of Rosewill's enclosures, which is why I gave this one a shot. And despite picking on a handful of weaknesses, the Redbone remains likeable. Value is perhaps its greatest strength. The front-panel USB cable, which can adapt to fit either third- or second-gen motherboard headers, is a welcome addition. The three bundled fans are too. It was just a shame one was so noisy. But a few oversights make the case impossible to recommend enthusiastically. I feel for new builders who wind up frustrated by penny-pinching on the part of Rosewill.