So I finally received my new case from Scan and now have more options of what to do with my new motherboard and associated bits! (They were sitting in my cupboard up till then really not earning their rent)
Now I hadn't seen one of these cases in the metal so was just going on the various photos and reviews I had managed to find on the interweb. I had slight concerns over the look and quality of the plastic front facia as black plastic never photographs well so I couldn't tell from the pictures if it would be a good quality solid black or flimsy grey. The good news is that it is a nice solid black so no complaints there.
My main requirement in choosing the case was good air cooling ability. I've had enough problems with my previous pc overheating to want to have a poorly thermal performing case as the basis of my new machine. The reviews promised great cooling performance and air through put hence the choice. In choosing between the Eclipse and the Mirage, the deciding factor was the front. The Eclipse looks basic but the Mirage has a more styled front if not to everyone’s tastes.
Having read that the case comes with no fans I duly ordered two of Akasas amber finest. I’d bought one from Maplin recently (I know, I know, it was a ‘want one now’ retail impatience moment) and was very pleased with the almost complete lack of noise with it running at full voltage. Imagine my surprise when I open the BIG box with the case in and discover it already has a pair of fans already fitted! The fans are clear rather than amber but the fan blades are the same profile so they should be similar I hope. If not I now unintentionally have 2 replacements!
Another item I wasn’t expecting was what I assume is a fan hood. It looks a bit like a Subaru bonnet scoop but taller and is made from black moulded plastic. It’s got a screw hole in each corner of the base which match up to the screw holes on the 120mm case fans. With it mounted to the rear exhaust fan and with the scoop facing the back of the case it looks like it would be neatly positioned over the cpu block although you’d then need an upwards blowing cpu fan… I probably will end up not using it but it is an interesting ‘freebie’.
My last case which was also my first proper case is a Coolermaster ATCS 201 which still looks contemporary in a home audio separates way. With nice thick aluminium in all the right places, great build quality and what was described by them as ‘automotive grade paint finish’ it’s a real quality item. Maybe I was spoiled…
My first impression of the Mirage 62 is that it looks big but sleek and doesn’t disappoint visually from the outside. It’s actually surprisingly light – why became apparent when I opened the case up.
I noticed the box had a sticker on saying made in China or Taiwan or similar.
It really shows. I don’t know what the original server case was made from before it started to become a popular case with the enthusiast market but I have my suspicions it may have been made from steel which was the common or garden material to make CP cases from around 10 years ago. If you took a pressed steel pc case and made it with aluminium sheet of the same thickness, the Mirage is what you’d end up with. Rather than having a framework of box section with the panels hung on them it’s a riveted construction that looks none too robust and the panels don’t meet seamlessly at the joins. It even took me several goes to get the side panel back on snugly and it still didn’t sit flush with the rear of the case.
A further disappointment is the motherboard tray. It’s big enough to mount your system to, PCI cards and all before sliding it into the case. That’s a plus point. However when I undid the thumb screws (which are too small for a thumb by the way and more suited to little fingers if they were really strong and preferably opposable) one edge of the trays rear panel sprang away from the case leaving a 10mm gap! Great for mounting your cards securely then… With the tray in the case the bottom edge nearest the front can move around 5mm side to side in it’s slot. Again, not the kind of thing you want happening when your motherboard and PCI cards are installed.
Taking the tray out and further manufacturing no-nos are revealed. A polished steel front is all very well and nice but where there are threaded holes to mount the motherboard, on the backs the holes edges are jagged. It would just be a simple thing to have smoothed these off with a file after drilling/threading.
If the cooling performance is as good as tests say then that and the ample space inside will be enough of a reason to keep the case. There are a number of things I’ll have to do to get it to a state where I’m happy to build up my system using this case but the overall impression is that it could have been made better, could be sturdier for the price and should have had the finishing touches done at the factory.
The removable extra hard drive cage is actually really well done and mounts very well. It’s just let down by the rest of the case…
As I said earlier, maybe I’m spoilt by my last cases high all round quality. Maybe the case I received skipped the quality checks at the factory. Maybe I’m just hard to please. I didn’t sit down with the intention of bashing this case, I just ended up wroting what my observations and impressions were.
Whichever, I’ll have a long hard look at it again before deciding whether to keep it or ditch it.