October 26, 2017 // 2 p.m.
It’s funny how quickly things can start to feel dated in this industry. Even though the Spec-04 does away with optical drives, the absence of a PSU shroud makes the case feel strangely behind the times.
We didn’t encounter many issues when building into the Spec-04. Motherboard mounts are pre-installed and include a long central one to hold your board in place while you get the first screw in. We did have to wiggle our graphics card a bit when fitting it, but otherwise it was smooth sailing. The power supply has some small rubber pads to rest on as well.
The odd HDD cage makes a return in this edition. We say odd, because it is a four-bay unit but only three trays are supplied. That plastic trays offer tool-free installation for 3.5” drives, but 2.5” drives can also be screwed in instead. No rubber surround the mounting pins for the larger drives, however.
The Spec-04 Tempered Glass also has a pair of dedicated 2.5” mounts built into the front of the elongated motherboard tray. These are not trays, however, but merely mounting holes, so it’s a bit fiddly holding the drive on one side and screwing it in from the other.
Oddly for a company so committed to all-in-one liquid-cooling, only 120mm radiators are supported in the rear. The roof only has space for fans thanks to the proximity to the motherboard, and even the front does not officially support radiators, although it wouldn’t take much modding to get one to fit. The HDD cage is held in by screws, so this is easily removed to make way. Still, a lack of support for double-fan radiators is another area where this case lags behind competitors.
With very little space above the motherboard, there isn’t even room for a routing hole for the EPS cable. This again makes the case feel dated, as you’re forced to trail the cable across your motherboard – not ideal when the tempered glass leaves everything on show. The other cable routing holes are a little on the small side and have no grommets, while cable ties are your basic zip variety rather than Velcro ones. The extruded side panel definitely helps, but some of the thicker power cables were still pressing on the bottom of the panel (where it isn’t extruded). You can do a better job than we did if you take the time with this case, but you still won’t achieve as clean a build as those cases that include PSU shrouds.