When I sit down to start any review I like to go through a little bit of mental word association. I look at what I’m reviewing, I consider it and then I let other, tangential words flow through my head. The Gigabyte iSolo is no exception, so here’s what I think when I look at the iSolo 210:
iSolo. Solo. The Man From UNCLE. Napoleon Solo. Smooth, sleek, charming, debonair, disturbingly masculine… From there on in, it just falls into a melodramatic imagining which isn’t entirely suitable for work.
Thankfully then the Gigabyte iSolo manages to match my disturbingly romantic imagination and, just like super-spy Napoleon Solo, looks perfectly polished and sophisticated. Though the bezel of the chassis may at first glance appear plain and uninspiring, it actually belies an incredibly suave secret agent design ethic.
The entire front of the iSolo 210 is given over to a doorless (and thus clutterless), stealthed front with five 5.25” drive bays and two 3.5” bays. This leaves you plenty of room for the usual array of optical drives, followed by a fan controller and a card reader then.
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Moving on, the case has a selection of ports at the bottom of the case, along with the power button, on a section which has been recessed behind the bezel just a little. There’s nothing to get too excited about with the ports though – two USBs, a headphone and microphone socket and a Firewire port mean that the iSolo doesn’t go a step above the standard.
The power button for the case is located in the middle of these ports, with the USBs on one side and the remainder on the other. The button itself is oversized, which we like, and very prone to rattling when pressed, which we don’t like. In fact, if we’re to be totally, brutally honest about it then the button shakes about in its casing more than an indecisive suicidal Goth standing on a cliff edge after too many cups of coffee.
What bothers us most about the outside of the case though is the total lack of a reset button. It’s something an increasing number of case manufacturers have been doing lately, and it irks me to say the least. I’m a very busy person and I frankly don’t have the willpower time to hold down the power button every time my PC locks up.
Still, aside from that the case is pretty good, so on that front we can forgive the jittery nature of the power button.
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Moving around the side of the case we come to the side-grille, which is positioned to give a little extra cooling to the motherboard. The window may look a bit familiar to some of you too and that’s because the side panel of the iSolo 210 is identical to the side panel from another Gigabyte chassis – the Poseidon.
The side panel itself is fairly basic and therein lays our primary complaint with it – that the blockiness of it seems a little out of place on the side iSolo 210. It feels as if Gigabyte is using this side panel again not because it knows it provides decent ventilation or because it looks good, but just because it has a load of them laying around.
Still, with that said, the iSolo 210 is still a good-looking case for the most part and more than worthy of carrying the name of Napoleon Solo, super-spy. Whether that unerring charm and sophistication still carries through onto the interior of the case though is another issue entirely, so let’s open it up and have a look.