Raidmax has been around for years, and provided many enthusiasts with quality cases such as the popular Aura and IceCube. Their newest entrant to their “Elite” line of cases is the Skyline: A mid-tower ATX chassis with plenty of included fans.
To start this review, we’ll ask an important question: With so many case manufacturers releasing an amazing number of product lines nowadays, is it enough to be “good enough”?
The problem for case manufacturers is that the bar has been raised. Enthusiasts are no longer content with thin, cheap sheet metal, finger-shearing sharp edges, cheap plastic that shatters if tightened too much, or sparse pack-ins. Cases have come of age and are now understood to be a critical system component, not an afterthought. “Any old case will do” no longer applies. Companies like Antec and NZXT have come to define the new standard of quality cases at affordable prices, and older case manufacturers are struggling to figure out the new formula.
The Raidmax Skyline is “good enough”, and that’s the problem. It’s not a bad case, but the devil is in the details, and that’s where the Skyline falls apart. The focus is on the included fans, the aesthetics, and the high quality drive mounting system. Unfortunately, those features are not enough to stand side-by-side with our current favorites, the NZXT Beta Evo and NZXT M59.
The Skyline comes with three high-quality 120mm fans: one rear exhaust and two top exhaust. The fans are Raidmax-branded, quiet, and overall represent one of the best features of the case. The other compelling feature is the zero-effort drive cage mechanism. It slides out with minimal effort and makes mounting drives a snap. The toolless 5.25″ optical mounting system is equally refreshing. One simply slides the clip forward, which locks in the drives tightly and with very minimal fuss.
Those are the only really good things I can say about the Skyline. The back panel is extremely flimsy sheet metal. You know the type: You can actually bend it with your fingers and on top of that, make sure you don’t accidentally touch the back panel connector area lest your shred your fingers on the extremely sharp metal. The motherboard tray is equally chintzy; we expect higher build quality and better materials in a $75 case. The front panel is thin painted plastic, and the review sample’s front panel nearly snapped off due to a slightly stuck clip when we tried to remove it.
While none of those things are horrible deal breakers, when you compare it with the competition, you start to get that creeping feeling similar to the one you get when you get the courage to approach the hot chick you’ve been checking out from across the bar, only to find that it is a cross-dressing dude when you get closer.
In another world, in another time, this would have been a good case. We would have recommended it. Unfortunately for Raidmax, those days are over, and people have come to expect higher quality. Our recommendation? It’s $25 more than cases that are far nicer. Skip this one.