Gamer Storm Dukase Liquid Case Review
Published: 12th October 2017 | Source: Gamer Storm | Price: £145 |
So here we have it then. An ATX case of reasonable proportions that comes with a fully integrated water cooling system. Note that we're not referring to it as an AIO, as to do so wouldn't be painting the full picture, but more of this later.
The case itself measures 482.7x202x504mm (LxWxH). It will accept ATX as well as the smaller M-ATX and M-ITX boards, and to a degree has cable management holes to cater for the smaller boards. The front I/O has a single USB3.0 and 2.0 as well as audio sockets. Over to the right of the I/O there's also a three speed fan controller which can be used in conjunction with the bundled internal fan header extender to control an additional 4 fans. Storage wise the Dukase follows the current trend of keeping the 3.5" drives hidden beneath a false floor, with a pair of show-off mounts at the bottom of the case. Each of the 3.5" trays will accept a 2.5" drive as an alternative and there's a ghost mount for a 3rd SSD at the rear of the motherboard. Oddly, when you open the magnetically latched front panel/door of the case you see that there are drive blanks for a pair of external 5.25" drives and an external 3.5" drive (anyone up for some Floppy fun?). Look inside and sure enough, there's a rack provision for each of these drives, however the entirety of the space is occupied by the reservoir and the tubing for the integrated cooling. So what's going on here? Well either Gamer Storm are being very considerate and making provision for someone who wants to buy this case, rip out the integrated cooling an lob in a couple of optical drives and a floppy, or they've tried to keep costs down by opting to us a slightly older OEM design chassis and have decided not to waste time and money removing the features that won't be needed. If, as we suspect, it's the latter, we can't really blame them, however the whole effect would have been much more polished had they taken a different route. From a cooling perspective, aside from the fans attached to the rad for CPU cooling, the only other fan in the case is a 120mm extract. The front of the case will accept a pair of 120mm or a single 140mm fan, but none are included. The rear of motherboard area is quite compact, with the majority having about 12mm of clearance, with only the front 1/3 having slightly more. We're not saying there's not enough room, but you are going to have to be careful about how you route things, and yes, we know the case side bulges, which provides a bit more room, but even so! Carrying on the cable management theme, we are perhaps a little disappointed that the case doesn't have rubber grommeted management holes, oh, and the 8pin CPU power cable will need to be brought through at the top before you install the motherboard, as once installed it occluded the majority of the hole.
And so to the cooling system. We've deliberately tried to avaid calling this an AIO, for the simple reason that it's not. This is a cooling system that comes built into the case, it has a separate pump/cold plate, radiator, and most importantly, a separate reservoir. You could perhaps think of it more as an Extended AIO. The system supports a 240mm rad, with a pair of 120mm red bladed fans, which sits up in the roof, with the red and black theme being carried through to the red windowed reservoir and the red tubing which enters the pump/cold plate assembly.
So are there any issues with the Dukase? Well it did arrive with some major damage to the side panel. This we would assume has happend in transit, but there's no obvious damage to the box. It also appeared to be missing one of its vented PCI slot covers. This we found rattling around inside the case, with the thumb bolt that should have been securing it actually attached to one of the glued in magnets inside the removable front cover/door. How it got there we'd love to know, but we can't think that dropping a case a few times in transit would cause a thumb bolt to unscrew itself. While we're on the subject of the front panel/door, we did find the quality of work with regards to the hot glue securing the magnets more than a bit iffy. Take a look back at the snail trail on the last of page 3, and you'll see what we mean. OK, so it can't be seen, but it's lack of quality in areas that can't be seen that give insight into the overall quality of a product. There was though one other issue. Not so much a lack of quality but a real gaff. It appears that Gamer storm wanted the case to accommodate 170mm long PSUs, so somewhere down the line a spec has been given to gut a rebate into the bottom lip at the rear fo the case that's exactly 170mm from the vertical rear edge so that a 170mm long PSU can be slid in. The Problem is, 170mm PSUs aren't actually 170mm long, on the rear of them they have a switch and a molding round the IEC mains lead insertion that protrude a few mm beyond 170mm. Now, this is n't a great amount, but as the cut was made so precisely, it's physically impossible to get a 170mm PSU into the Dukase case. Fine, you can put a small one it no problem, but it's the principal of the fact that someone failed to catch this fundamental error at the design stage, never mind after the cases were built, and we would presume checked over that everything worked as intended, is simply unbelievable.
Price wise, at £145 it comes in about the same, perhaps a little cheaper that a decent case and a 240mm AIO of your choice. If you opt for the latter option, you won't be getting the visible reservoir with it's flow indicating impellers, but choose wisely and you'll get a case that has the option of adding a second 240mm AIO to the front of the case. Quality issues aside, we suspect this case will sell quite well,especially to those wanting the simplest route possible into water cooling.
Awards wise, we feel duty bound to bestow our innovation award.