Reviewing PC enclosures is always difficult. Of course, there are hard performance numbers to go by: Did the case provide adequate ventilation, did my temperatures increase or decrease, and so on. They can be measured on features; oh, does it have enough hard drive slots, is it big enough, did it have sharp metal edges that sliced my fingers, and whatnot. However, all the specs and stats in the world can’t help a flat-out ugly case—and people’s definitions of what constitutes “ugly” are about as varied as it gets. Really, a case purchase decision is purely aesthetic for a lot of people. Go to any retail PC store and you’ll see all the weirdest, flashiest cases out front and center; regardless of performance or functionality, a race car-red shiny case with lights and chrome is going to draw eyeballs, and that’s not a bad thing—a lot of people really like that.
So that said, we arrive at the new Seiran case from RAIDMAX, which was sent to Icrontic to review.
|EXTERNAL DRIVE BAYS:||9 X 5.25″|
|INTERNAL DRIVE BAYS:||6 X 3.5″ H.D./2.5″ SSD Racks|
|SYSTEM BOARD:||10” X 12” MAX SIZE ATX FORM FACTOR / MICRO ATX|
|EXPANSION SLOTS:||STANDARD ATX 7 SLOTS|
|I/O PORTS:||2 X USB2.0 / 2 x AUDIO / 1 x USB3.0|
|DIMENSIONS:||480(L) X 185(W) X 480(H)mm|
|FRONT:||1 X 120mm LED fan|
|SIDE:||1 x 180mm LED fan (optional)|
|BACK:||Black: 1 x 120mm Black frame with Red leaves fan
White & Red :1 x 120mm Black fan
The Seiran is a mid-tower, full-size ATX case with decent wire management and lots of drive space. The drive bays are cooled with a nice 120mm fan, and the front panel has fan speed and light dimmer knobs as well as front-panel USB 3, a feature of only the newest cases.
The first thing that jumps out about the Seiran is the massive 180mm side fan. Low and slow, I like to call these; they’re quiet and they spin slowly, but man do they push a lot of air. You’re not going to experience any ventilation issues with this fan going full speed; it’s going to pull all the hot air out of that case like nobody’s business.
My primary criteria for case selection is build quality. I don’t care how many features it has or how nice it looks, I will tear a case to shreds if it’s mediocre in this department. RAIDMAX wasn’t high on my list of recommended case manufacturers, mostly due to the mediocrity of the Skyline, so I was a little dubious as I opened the Seiran packaging.
I am happy to announce that RAIDMAX must have made some big changes. Everything about the Seiran is leagues above and beyond what they used to sell. Gone is any trace of the cheap, thin, finger-chewing sheet metal; the case internals are all powdered-finish steel, coated matte black—both functional and attractive. There are no sharp edges, nothing to punch out, and everything looks deliberate and not like “we took the cheapest manufacturing route that we could.”
The front drive bay panels are shockingly nice. They are extremely solid, well-built, and have a very substantial release mechanism. This is the first PC case I’ve ever worked with that didn’t make me feel I was going to snap off a couple of tabs on the front panels. The attractive red finger slider works well, and the whole thing is just a really nice system that I wish every case manufacturer would get on board with. These may be the Seiran’s best feature.
The front panel analog fan and light controls are a cool feature, but they’re not documented at all in the included pamphlet, which could potentially be dangerous since there are open power leads just hanging out inside the case; if those brush up against the interior metal, ground, or even a component, one could experience major electrical issues, perhaps even damage a component. Two of the leads come with covers to prevent this from happening, but there is nothing in the documentation showing where (or even why) to hook up these mystery leads. Anybody who’s had PC building experience would figure it out, but a first-time builder would be mystified as to these strange wires and may do something potentially damaging. They’re color coded, but that’s the only hint you have (hint: they hook up to the side fan; black to black and white to white). You’re welcome.
The standard case wiring leads are long enough to reach even the most poorly designed motherboard (which my ECS P55H-A is up there as far as connector placement goes). The internal USB 3 cable is very nice; high quality rubber with a high quality connector on the end; not loose twisted-pair wires like the rest of the leads.
The internal drive bays are really, really nice. They’re thick, high-quality plastic that will not break. They include mounting holes for both 2.5″ and 3.5″ drives, and they slide easily in and out of their bays. The tool-less side mounts are much appreciated and it’s nice to think that this is going to be the standard for cases going forward, because removing screws to change drives around has been a pain in the ass for most of my career. Unfortunately, it’s not totally tool-less, as you still have to screw the drives into the holders. That’s one thing they could improve in future models. Four of the six bays are covered by the 120mm front fan. Your drives will stay nice and cool in here. They also include one bay that has a 2.5″ opening for the front panel if you choose to mount a front-facing 2.5″ device like a media reader bay or a (lol) floppy drive.
The side panels are substantial, in line with the rest of the case quality. They’re not super flexy, oops I bent it and now it won’t rest straight on the side, like many cases are. There are, however, two completely inexplicable handles on the panels. They’re flimsy and certainly not weight-bearing, and they fold back to… cover the DVI port on most video cards. On the other side, it would definitely cover up any potential radiator hookups for a water-cooled system. The handles are a bizarre and totally useless feature. I guess they’re maybe supposed to provide a method by which to pull the sides off more easily? I don’t understand them.
The rear slot covers are sassy red grills; they look great in contrast with the black case.
Here’s where quality control goes sour, though.
The product page and press shots of the RAIDMAX Seiran show the black case with red accents and red LEDs. It looks pretty awesome. Imagine, then, how unsettling it is when you turn on the Seiran for the first time and see… blue LEDs on the fans, with red bezel accents and a black case. It’s just straight-up ugly, and I can’t figure out what happened here. It’s not like they make a “black & blue” model and accidentally packed in the wrong fans for my review model. The white version has blue fans (and it looks good), but the one I have here at ICHQ has red accents and blue lights. It looks pretty dumb.
Normally I’d chalk this up to packaging error, but this is kind of a blatant mistake. Theoretically, one could probably try to email RAIDMAX support and get red fans shipped over, but is it really worth the hassle? Just for an aesthetic choice? Probably not. It’s annoying, and I can’t say whether this is a one-off mistake or something you should check into before you buy, but there it is.
Way to go, RAIDMAX
Alright, besides the lights and the poor documentation, I have to say I was impressed with the Seiran; not because it’s a spectacular case, but because it represents a vast improvement over the last RAIDMAX case I looked at, and I’m glad they solved their manufacturing issues. It’s actually a really nice case with solid drive mounting options, enough space for your full ATX board, and pretty slick aesthetics. I never thought I’d see the day, but RAIDMAX has improved enough to the point that I’m happy to award them the Icrontic Stamp of Approval.
The RAIDMAX Seiran MSRP is $79.99 and should be available shortly from Newegg, Amazon, and retailers such as Fry’s and MicroCenter.