Gelid Darkforce Review
Up Close Exterior
First impressions of the exterior of the Darkforce are good. In a sector of the market dominated by black towers it's hard for a manufacturer to make their offerings look that little bit different. With the mix of mesh and thick set cut outs Gelid have managed to set their offering apart to a degree.
4x5.25" drive bays are located at the top of the front, with the lowermost having a separate cut out for 3.5" external drives or devices. I can't help thinking this addition is becoming an increasingly unnecessary inclusion though, but for the time being nice to have the option I guess. Access to the 5.25 bays is gained by unclipping and removing the whole front of the case. This might sound drastic bit it actually comes away very easily. The left side of the case is dominated by a large clear perspex window going from top bottom and 3/4 of the way from the rear to the front of the case which is pretty much perfect as it allows you to see the sexy stuff but masks off the Optical drive and HDD area from view. The window is surface mounted on the exterior of the door rather than the interior of the door and held in place with plastic rivets.
Moving round the back and working our way down from the top we see there are three 3/4" rubber gorommeted Water-cooling access ports. Beneath them lies the fan extract, fitted with a Gelid 120mm fan. To the left of this we see the rear I/O area. The Darkforce has 8 expansions slots with an additional one vertically mounted to allow the attachment of expansion bay devices that do not require to be hooked up to the Motherboard, such as fan controllers etc. The bottom of the case presents us with the opening for the PSU.
The Front I/O area seen below left is blended nicely into the top front area of the case, with the ramped area behind it providing hot swap capabilities for your 3.5 and 2.5" drives. The panel sports the usual power and reset buttons along with mic and phono jack plug sockets. connectivity wise all is present and correct with 2xUSB2, 1xUSB3 (no adapter) and 1xE-SATA. The image below right shows some detail of the front grill area.
Before we move to the interior of the case lets take a little look at the top and base. The top is flanked by two curving shoulders and blends nicely into the front of the case. It is finished in the same fine rigid mesh as the front. The top of the case is removable via 4 screws and although there is a recess underneath it is not deep enough to accommodate fans. To remove the mesh filters from the roof of the case necessitates the removal of the front and roof sections before this can be accomplished, which has to be said is a bit of a fag just to remove a filter, remembering that all your front I/O connections are also attached to the roof of the case. The base of the case is fully ventilated, with both the PSU and forward sections having mesh filters. Although not requiring major case disassembling, the filters in this area are still not easy to remove and re fit.