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Sartre said that hell is other people. We don’t know about that, but we know what Hades is—a steel mid-tower chassis that’s full of surprises, nearly all of them pleasant.
At 7.9 inches wide by 16.9 inches high by 19.7 inches deep, the Hades is skinnier than the Zalman Z7 Plus, though otherwise similar in size. It’s all black, inside and out, and the motherboard tray includes a CPU backplate cutout as well as rubber-rimmed cable-routing cutouts. The front and side fans are 20cm monsters, and the top of the chassis has mounting holes for two 14cm or 12cm fans, as well as for a dual-fan radiator, if your tastes swing to water-cooling.
The Hades’ nine 5.25-inch drive bays include five toolless optical-drive retention mechanisms, and in lieu of dedicated hard drive cages, the Hades comes with four sets of mounting brackets, so you can install one 3.5-inch hard drive per optical drive bay. The floppy drive bay at the bottom of the case also includes an adapter that can hold two 2.5-inch SSDs (or notebook hard drives, if you prefer). Because of the Hades’ flexibility with regards to hard drive installation, it can handle foot-long videocards like the ATI Radeon HD 5970.
The Hades’ front door has a magnetic latch and includes a small LCD with three temperature readouts in Celsius or Fahrenheit—one for each of the three thermal probes included with the case (for hard drive, CPU, and motherboard). This is not a standard feature on any case we’ve tested, much less one that retails for $100. The LCD readout, though, is pretty dim, and hard to see in most normal use scenarios. And while we’re huge fans of, well, huge fans, we don’t see the need for front-panel doors, even ones as appealingly Vaderesque as the Hades’. That’s just personal preference, though.
The Hades’ biggest downside is its cramped quarters. To route the 8-pin motherboard power cable behind the motherboard tray, we had to move the top 14cm exhaust fan forward to the other top mount; the side-panel fan and sub-eight-inch width of the case limit CPU cooler height to less than six inches; and we would prefer an easier hard drive mounting system.
But the Hades is a lot of case for $100, and it’s nice to have options for large videocards, SSD mounting, and water-cooling in the same mid-tower case. And hey, the temperature readout doesn’t hurt.
LCD temperature readouts; four fans; rubber-rimmed cable-routing cutouts; painted interior.
Cramped quarters; hard drive mounting system is difficult.