The exterior of the case is, as you can see, finished in a brushed matte black aluminium finish, which is very reminiscent of old-school Lian Li cases.
The factory fitted 343 comes with a pair of black aluminium side panels, but the version we had came with the £15 optional extra window panel in the left hand side. If you want to show off the right hand side of the case - which is being used in the Thor to house the watercooling kit - you can pay extra to have that, too.
With the window panel in the left, the case is something of a ringer for the old Borg cube, the Yeong Yang case that was so popular with modders for the longest time. In many ways, the 343 is the spiritual successor - it looks the same, but is slicker and lighter.
The build quality around the case is fantastic. It really feels solid - unlike some cases we've seen recently - and the finish is exceptional. The polished aluminium interior looks brilliantly shiny, and the black exterior is sleek. Whilst aluminium is not the sort of material you want to throw around - go get a steel case if you want to abuse it - it still provides the best looking finish for a factory case.
The window is held in place with little plastic studs, which are removable - with some effort. If you're thinking of taking the plastic out and etching it or similar, you will probably want to come up with a better way of fixing it back on to the panel.
The case is, helpfully, mounted on wheels. Moving a fully-loaded system around in this case is not going to be an easy task, and its massive footprint could leave carpet begging for mercy. Thankfully, the wheels work fine, have brakes on and are removable if you want to put it flat down on a desk.
The rear of the case is has a variety of fan mounts, PSU mounts and the ATX backplate. There is a 120mm mount on the left rear of the case, another 120mm next to the ATX plate and two 80mm mounts at the top. We had our case outfitted with the £10 dual-PSU backplate, which is handy if you want to jury rig a second PSU to power your WC system, as we did.
Whilst the ATX backplate can actually be removed, it isn't a removable motherboard tray, which is a bit of a bizarre thing to be able to do. The lack of a backplate makes it easier to fit some components in, which is helpful. To be fair, the case is so spacious you're not really going to need a motherboard tray to be able to work comfortably - it's like the PC70 in that respect.
Here you can see the 'off-side' of the case which houses the watercooling kit and the PSUs. You can also appreciate the Lian Li attention to detail that is a trademark of its high-end cases - gorgeous aluminium thumbscrews abound throughout the case.
You get a decent range of accessories and screws with the case - a very good range, in fact. There is a bag of twenty more thumbscrews, meaning you can secure drives and PSUs with these gorgeous little things, rather than relying on nasty standard steel screws. There are enough fan screws and rubber grommets to populate the fan mounts with non-vibrating air pushers, and enough CD-ROM screws to make the most of the eighteen drive bays! There are also some cable clips and motherboard standoffs / screws. When you're paying this kind of money for a case, it's great to see that the details have not been overlooked.
Aqua PCs also provides an installation guide for the CPU block and some coloured anti-corrosion liquid to put in the WC system.