Within the cluster of plastic mouldings the top panel is also home to the Spedo’s front panel, consisting of dual USB 2.0 ports, eSATA, microphone and headphone sockets with support for both HD audio and AC-97 audio outputs.
Looking to the side panels there’s more use of metal mesh, although used a little more conservatively this time with both panels including a small meshed section above the 5.25” bays. The right hand panel is also fitted with a vented section directly behind where the CPU socket is mounted on ATX motherboards to provide cooling to the underside of the motherboard– but more on that later.
The left hand side panel differs depending on what model of Spedo you choose, with the Advanced Package we’re looking at today fitted with a quite unique 230mm side intake fan. While the fan itself is pretty mundane, it’s connected to an electrical contact point in the base of the panel rather than a traditional 3pin or 4 pin Molex connector.
This contact point meets another fitted to the inside of the chassis when the door is fitted, which is in turn connected to a 4-pin Molex connector, powering the fan. It’s a really ingenious solution to the problem of powering side panel mounted fans, so when you remove the side panel it's not tethered to the PSU inside. It's certainly something we’d love to see fitted into other cases in the future.
Click to enlarge
Despite this nifty inclusion though, we’re a little disappointed to not find any dust filters fitted into the side panels, especially after the complete fitting for the front fascia.
We were also disappointed, nee maddened, when the Spedo’s left side hand side panel handle broke off continuously throughout our testing – in fact the case hadn’t been out of its box for 5 minutes before we first snapped the flimsy thing off.
Click to enlarge - the door handle is all too easy to break off
While it was easy enough to pop back into place, it’s since broken off again. And again. And again. Literally every time we’ve called upon it to actually do its job, it’s broken off in our hands and it's not just one of us being a clutz either - everyone in the office has had it happen making opening up the side panel a continued exercise in frustration.
So not exactly a great showing on the outside for the Spedo, but can what’s inside improve on the package? Let’s hope so.