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Supermicro Gaming S5 ATX Case Review

Supermicro isn't typically associated with gaming products. However, the company's Gaming S5 ATX is riding a reputation for solid construction in the server business, hoping to attract enthusiast customers as well.

Conclusion

Supermicro’s Gaming S5 looks like a great value, but that’s partly because it’s the first sub-$100 case I’ve tested with the new hardware. As I wait for the next mid-market case to come in, let’s consider a few Gaming S5 specifics.

First of all, the S5 is very light and built with extremely thin steel. Supermicro does an admirable job of bracing it internally with rolled edges and a complex drive cage system, but side panel flex can still be a big deal. It’s particularly hard to put back together with that space behind the motherboard tray stuffed with cables. You'll need several hands to line up its slide tabs when cables are pushing against such a springy panel. We saw this issue addressed by adding a broadly-boxed edge on the Silent Base 800 side panels from be quiet! Then again, that case was 50% more costly and still made out of similar-gauge material.

The Gaming S5 also lacks space for slightly oversized motherboards, which are popular at the high-end of most enthusiast motherboard manufacturers. Maybe you won’t put a $400 board in a sub-$100 case, but I’m sure someone will try.

Perhaps the least-forgivable problem is that access holes are too small to pass a 24-pin cable, at least without removing the grommets. Then again, once you get the cable through, you’ll probably leave it there for a long time. It’s just the kind of thing that would have me pulling a Gibbs as the leader of a design department.

On the other hand, the S5 has several excellent design attributes that are sure to please most builders, such as the triple drive cages that can be independently installed or removed, and space for up to three double-fan radiators. Or even a triple-fan, with a bit of effort. The black-anodized brushed aluminum also looks far more convincing than the brushed-texture plastic of many competitors.

Thomas Soderstrom is a Senior Staff Editor at Tom's Hardware, covering Cases, Cooling, Memory and Motherboards. Follow him on Twitter @hardware_tom.

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  • someguynamedmatt
    It makes me happy to see SuperMicro getting into the consumer chassis market! I'm a huge fan of their other hardware, and this has some potential... let's hope to see some more refined updates in the future! First-gen products are always with their issues.

    Thoughts:
    Paint the interior black instead of zinc'ing it (this isn't a server or a Dell from 2004), sleeve the front panel connections or at least make them black, widen the access holes, offer other colors for the front bezel other than red (silver/maybe gunmetal). Cut the top drive cage in half and engineer up some way to include a 2x2.5" drive cage under the 5.25" bays for an SSD/HDD when all of the cages are removed for watercooling; it would easily fit with those two 120mm fans being used. Maybe add a windowed side panel option or at least a better mounting mechanism on those thin panels. Maybe put sound dampening material in a few locations? The right panel isn't typically a serious offender, but thin-gauge sheets are really going to be prone to passing through any noise. These are all just a few things I think could be done to make this a better product; not saying they SHOULD be done, but it's just an idea. Constructive criticism!
    Reply
  • Crashman
    15751713 said:
    It makes me happy to see SuperMicro getting into the consumer chassis market! I'm a huge fan of their other hardware, and this has some potential... let's hope to see some more refined updates in the future! First-gen products are always with their issues.

    Thoughts:
    Paint the interior black instead of zinc'ing it (this isn't a server or a Dell from 2004), sleeve the front panel connections or at least make them black, widen the access holes, offer other colors for the front bezel other than red (silver/maybe gunmetal)...Constructive criticism!
    LOL, I love bright interiors because they let me see what I'm doing more easily. I love color-coded cables because they let me see what I'm doing more easily. Practicality says that everyone in the case modding community is wrong because they are :p

    We see the same thing in the car community with tires that have such short sidewalls that the wheels hop at every bump, and smash the rims at any medium-sized pothole. A "performance enthusiast" would say no, if he really were a "performance enthusiast" :D

    Cable sleeves work though, since they let me see the color at the end of the cable. People used to say that sleeves were necessary to keep the wires from flopping around loosely and getting snagged on things, but those same people now demand individually-sleeved wires because (drumrole please) they're wrong. Having said that, I'd accept an arctic white interior and a single white sleeve over each cable bunch to match the interior, as long as the little bit of cable sticking out of the end is still properly color-coded :)

    Perhaps I'm being too practical.
    Reply
  • shrapnel_indie
    Maybe you won’t put a $400 board in a sub-$100 case, but I’m sure someone will try.

    Talk about resellers up pricing products from MSRP.... Sub $100 case? the provided Amazon links (as of when I type this) show a price practically double that "sub" mark. ($199.99)

    Oh yeah... makes it look like you get a bigger discount when they do drop the prices a Jefferson, Lincoln, Hamilton, or Jackson below MSRP as a "sale" price.
    Reply
  • Crashman
    15751819 said:
    Maybe you won’t put a $400 board in a sub-$100 case, but I’m sure someone will try.

    Talk about resellers up pricing products from MSRP.... Sub $100 case? the provided Amazon links (as of when I type this) show a price practically double that "sub" mark. ($199.99)

    Oh yeah... makes it look like you get a bigger discount when they do drop the prices a Jefferson, Lincoln, Hamilton, or Jackson below MSRP as a "sale" price.
    Our link system isn't always practical is it? I found this one for $94 at Newegg.
    Reply
  • synphul
    The $200 pricetag is way over the top. Even at $94, that puts it right in line with the enthoo pro at $99. That's the first thing I thought of when I saw this case, right down to the included 'extras' box and hdd sleds which look almost identical. Except the enthoo is painted inside and out, comes with a psu cover (windowed version), comes with nicer dust filters etc. I agree, granted it's not a windowed case so less of an issue but no paint inside it looks like something from dell circa 1990's. At $94 it might be for some folks, at $200 they get blown out of the water by a lot of nicer cases.
    Reply
  • Crashman
    15752298 said:
    The $200 pricetag is way over the top. Even at $94, that puts it right in line with the enthoo pro at $99.
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811152588Now at $95. I can't talk about the Enthoo anything because they never sent one.
    Reply
  • jimmysmitty
    15751734 said:
    15751713 said:
    It makes me happy to see SuperMicro getting into the consumer chassis market! I'm a huge fan of their other hardware, and this has some potential... let's hope to see some more refined updates in the future! First-gen products are always with their issues.

    Thoughts:
    Paint the interior black instead of zinc'ing it (this isn't a server or a Dell from 2004), sleeve the front panel connections or at least make them black, widen the access holes, offer other colors for the front bezel other than red (silver/maybe gunmetal)...Constructive criticism!
    LOL, I love bright interiors because they let me see what I'm doing more easily. I love color-coded cables because they let me see what I'm doing more easily. Practicality says that everyone in the case modding community is wrong because they are :p

    We see the same thing in the car community with tires that have such short sidewalls that the wheels hop at every bump, and smash the rims at any medium-sized pothole. A "performance enthusiast" would say no, if he really were a "performance enthusiast" :D

    Cable sleeves work though, since they let me see the color at the end of the cable. People used to say that sleeves were necessary to keep the wires from flopping around loosely and getting snagged on things, but those same people now demand individually-sleeved wires because (drumrole please) they're wrong. Having said that, I'd accept an arctic white interior and a single white sleeve over each cable bunch to match the interior, as long as the little bit of cable sticking out of the end is still properly color-coded :)

    Perhaps I'm being too practical.

    Everyone has a preference. I personally cannot do a case without a black interior because it just doesn't look as clean to me in the end.

    I have also come to notice that even when black, the front panel connectors are the same layout. If the writing is on the front it will face downwards.

    I guess I just love my 500R. It is probably the best case I have ever bought. I just hope they make a 500R V2 with a few improvements to layout.
    Reply
  • Dark Lord of Tech
    Nice case , real basic looks , very appealing,
    Reply
  • firefoxx04
    " Now at $95. I can't talk about the Enthoo anything because they never sent one.'

    You dont have to talk about it, everyone else already covered it.. and it smokes all cases at $100... At least when it comes to almost full tower size.
    Reply
  • Dark Lord of Tech
    I own the Enthoo Pro , got mine from newegg for $89.00 when they were first released , fantastic value.
    Reply