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.