Gelid Darkforce Review
Testing and Conclusion
Once built into and fired up the Gelid Darkforce is actually a very quiet and elegant looking piece of kit to have sitting on the desk beside you. The 3 inclusive Gelid branded fans appear to be an all black version of the Gelid "Silent" range. Whether they are or not they certainly are pretty damn quiet. Cross case airflow is reasonable but certainly not brilliant. With room for additional fans this could always be improved should you so desire. Build quality is good, with no rough edges or marks, smears or scratches out of the box. The case feels solid and well put together. Braiding on the internal cables is of a good quality and well presented with heat shrink terminations being nice and tidy. Take not all other case manufacturers. If Gelid can braid it's cables so can you. The quality and presentation of the plastics is also good, as is the inclusion of rubber grommets for all cable management holes. The Darkforce can take GPUs up to 11.5 " or 16" with the removal of sections of the HDD racks, it can accommodate CPU coolers up to 165mm in height, which should see it cope with all but the very biggest on the market. It has ample storage capacity and flexibility of mounting for 3.5 and 2.5" drives. Essentially sleek and stealthy in it's looks their is yet an air of aggression emanating from the broad barred grill at the front.
So far so good then, but as you'll know from reading through the review this case is not without it's problems. The main areas of concern are the lack of space behind the motherboard and the rather small cable management hole beside the PSU. All this makes not only for what could best be described a tiresome build but also makes it very hard to achieve a decent looking interior, which with that big window is something you're going to want to achieve. Add to this that the fan filters aren't exactly easy to get at, with some being totally non removable and the Darkforce starts to lose a few points from what was looking quite a tidy score.
Now lets look at how it fits into the market place. At £89 it's up against some stiff competition, not least of which is the new Black and white edition CM690II recently reviewed. for a bit less you can sort yourself out with one of the lite versions of the CM690 complete with window. At £89 sadly the CM690 is not it's only competitor. Shop about and you you'll find you can also pick Corsair Carbide 500R and the new NZXT Phantom 410.
First impressions of this case were very good. It ticks a lot of the right boxes and has some features that other manufacturers could do with taking note of. However, When thinking about summing it up and scoring it I keep getting dragged back to the build experience and the mess of cables I was left with. It really was a pain and I am really not happy with the results, and believe me I had more than one go at it. In the end I got so fed up with trying to arrange the cables in such a way that I could actually get the door on that I just stuffed everything into a vacant 3.5" drawer. Another 5mm back there and a larger management hole near the PSU and I really I would have been praising this case from the highest mountains. As it is regretfully I have to award a Bronze.