Aerocool DS 230 Review

October 28, 2016 // 2:08 p.m.

Tags: #aerocool #aerocool-ds-230-review #atx #mid-tower

Interior

Thankfully, the side panels are easier to get off than the front one – they use the standard system of thumbscrews, notches and rails. Removing them reveals just how sturdy they are, with the thick steel and noise deadening material combining to make a panel you definitely wouldn't want to drop on your toes.

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As is common these days, Aerocool is using a fixed PSU cover. The cover keeps the PSU thermally isolated and will keep your build looking very clean by keeping unsightly power cables well hidden.

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Only four motherboard standoffs are pre-installed. It's a minor niggle, but we're not sure why Aerocool didn't just install the full set since the vast majority of people buying this case will be using an ATX motherboard. Still, there's plenty of space inside so hardware is easy to install, with the PSU sliding in from the opposite side and resting on small foam feet that will help dampen any vibrations. That said, we would have liked it if Aerocool had used foam where the PSU meets the rear of the chassis too.

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For some reason, our sample shipped without its drive mounting brackets so we can't gauge their quality. Nonetheless, retail samples will have a pair of 3.5in/2.5in mounting trays inside the fixed position HDD cage at the front of the bottom chamber. You'll also get a single 2.5in tray secured to the back of the motherboard. Finally, there are two extra 2.5in mounting points built directly into the front of the extended motherboard tray – you simply hold them in position on one side and screw them in from the rear.

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Fixed to the back of the motherboard tray as well, albeit only with Velcro, is a PWM fan hub. Connecting this to your motherboard's 4-pin CPU fan header means you can control not only your CPU cooler's fan but six other fans, too, based on the current CPU temperature. Coupled with modern fan control suites on today's motherboards (especially MSI and Asus), this gives you the potential for some pretty flexible fan control. The PWM Hub also comes connected to the lighting hub on the floor of the chassis, which enables the aforementioned PWM lighting mode. The entire setup only needs to be powered by a single Molex connection – we'd have preferred it if a slimline SATA power connector were used instead, but we're a fussy bunch.

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Aerocool's approach to cable routing is adequate, although not outstanding in today's world of cases with Velcro cable ties and indented channels. Still, you get heaps of room behind the motherboard tray, routing holes in all the appropriate places and enough anchor points to use with the supplied zip ties. There are no rubber grommets on the routing holes, although since the case doesn't have a window this isn't a major oversight. A hole cut into the PSU cover for GPU power cables would also have been nice and is something we've seen elsewhere.

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If you're looking to water-cool your hardware, there's a strong level of radiator support. In the front, 360mm and 280mm radiators are supported with about 68mm of clearance between the case and the start of the PSU cover. If you go with a 240mm model, you might be able to clear the PSU cover completely and thus use thicker models. In the roof, 240mm radiators are supported in offset mounts that should ensure thick setups are okay, but the 140mm mounting holes look to be for fans only so 280mm radiators are probably off the cards. Aerocool hasn't really made any effort with built-in support for pumps or reservoirs, so in this sense it's lagging a little behind some competitors in the mid-tower space.
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