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Alan Fackler

Apr 13, 2011

Enermax Hoplite

At A Glance

STEEL

Cool LEDs and removable dust filter on front fan.

STEAL

Industrial look doesnt really work for us; no side window; flimsy top-panel SATA dock.

Some beauty in this beast

From the outside, the Enermax Hoplite doesn’t really stand out. Its generic industrial look has been done before, and better—it owes a lot to Cooler Master’s HAF series, by way of example. What it lacks in the looks department, however, it makes up for with ease of use. Couple that with a $100 price tag and a pretty spiffy LED-enabled front fan, and you’ve got yourself a deal. Kind of.

The Hoplite is a mid-tower chassis that is painted black throughout. The side panels are made of sleek, lightweight steel, while the front and top panel (now with a built-in SATA dock!) are made of matte plastic, lined with steel mesh underlain by screen. The front panel offers two USB 2.0 ports, an eSATA port, and the standard audio jacks.

The Hoplite takes most of its cues from Cooler Master’s HAF series but adds a cool front LED, too.

The case itself is actually quite small, measuring 8.25 inches wide by 19.3 inches high by 18.5 inches deep, narrowly beating the already small Thermaltake V9 BlacX Edition we reviewed in March. The Hoplite can accommodate both ATX and microATX motherboards. Its hard drive cage has room for four toolless 3.5-inch bays and two 2.5-inch bays, and the front of the case conceals two hotswap SATA trays. Despite the Hoplite’s relatively small size, it can fit a full 12.2-inch GPU, though this should definitely be one of the final steps in your build, as trying to work around the massive GPU in such a small form factor can be cumbersome.

The hard drive cage has room for four toolless 3.5-inch bays and two 2.5-inch bays.

The case comes stock with just two fans—a variable-speed 12cm front fan with blue and red LED lights and a slide-out dust filter, and a 12cm rear fan. The LED lights are customizable via a switch on the front panel—you can set them to blink on and off, blink in a circular pattern, or stay on. The top panel can accommodate two 14cm or 12cm fans, and the side panel can take either two 12cm fans or one 20cm fan.

The motherboard tray features five rubber-grommeted cable-routing cutouts that allow for easy cable management. The mobo tray also has one of the largest CPU backplane cutouts we’ve ever seen in a case, plus a cutout near the PSU to route power cables behind the case. Our test build was easy, fast, and organized. Given the Hoplite’s impressive cable-routing options, it’s kind of a shame that the left side panel doesn’t have a window so you can ogle your highly organized innards. You’ll have to make do with mesh.

The five rubber-grommeted routing cutouts in the mobo tray make organization a snap.

So is the Hoplite worth the price tag? It depends. For the price, it’s far less feature-laden than cases like the Thermaltake V9 BlacX Edition, which sports an additional top SATA dock (of better build quality, no less), a front-panel USB 3.0 port, and a 23cm top exhaust fan—but no cable-routing cutouts in the motherboard tray. Where the Hoplite really shines is organization—the five cutouts make constructing a polished- and professional-looking computer easy and fast. Whether or not the Hoplite is a good deal for you will depend on whether you value those cable-management features more than the fancier hardware other $100 cases provide.

Top panel SATA docks are convenient and all, but this one is pretty flimsy.

$100, www.enermax.com

THE VERDICT

Enermax Hoplite

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