Overall Design & Layout
All four pre-configured ODE systems ship in a Corsair Graphite Series 600T mid-tower computer case dressed in white with black trim. It's elegant and clean cut, and just aggressive enough to appeal to gamers without scaring away more conservative customers with gaudy looks. Our only real complaint about the aesthetic is the odd combination of LED lights. The front of the chassis sports a large blue LED fan while the main side panel glows red from a pair of light strips nestled inside. These two colors don't naturally complement each other, unless they appear in your rear-view mirror as you're speeding down the highway.
The 600T makes liberal use of plastic mesh on the front, side, and top to facilitate airflow. Each main piece is easily removable without any tools -- simply press and eject the mesh from each section should you need to clear out any dust bunnies. There are also plenty of cooling fans to keep the components from getting too hot under the collar. Two front 200mm fans blow air over the storage and optical drives, four 120mm fans arranged in a square matrix on the side panel keep a steady flow of wind over the main parts, and a rear 120mm exhaust fan expels hot air from the system.
An LG Blu-ray reader/DVD writer comes pre-installed in the ODE Level 4 system, and adding more optical drives is a tool-less endeavor. Back in the day, we would liked to have seen dual optical drives for making disc-to-disc backups, but in today's streaming landscape where Steam and iTunes rule the world, this is no longer much of an issue.
It's worth mentioning that the 600T is a non-glossy computer case. The tradeoff is that it isn't as flashy, and in exchange, it doesn't pick up fingerprints like high-gloss finishes do.
On top is a circular fan-speed dial to control all those fans we just talked about, though don't be fooled into thinking you can run quiet with a twist of the wrist. Even when we set the dial as low as it would go, the fans on the dual Radeon HD 7970 graphics cards made their presence constantly known, like two obnoxious bachelors crashing a wedding party. The noise level is fine for gaming, and even general purpose computing if you don't mind a minor windstorm, but it's definitely not suited for HTPC chores (nor was it designed to be) or other quiet computing environments.
Also on top are four USB 2.0 ports, a single USB 3.0 port, and both headphone and microphone jacks, plus the power and reset buttons.
Turning our attention to the backside, which is something our wandering eyes like to do, we can see the many ports that the Asus P9X79 Deluxe motherboard packs. If you don't want to take stock of them all on your own, then take our word that it includes four USB 2.0 ports, half a dozen USB 3.0 ports, a pair of powered eSATA ports, optical S/PDIF, six audio jacks, two GbE LAN ports, a Bluetooth module, Wi-Fi antenna port, and a USB BIOS Flashback button in case you muck things up in the BIOS.
You'll also find connectivity ports on both graphics cards and two rubberized water cooling in/outlets. Below them all is a Corsair 1050HX power supply that, like the videocards, blows hot air directly out the back of the chassis.
Tearing away either side panel is a cinch -- just press down on the two quick-release buttons and pull the panel away. It's the same for both the left and right side, and it's a good idea to do this from time to time in order to clean out any dust that might have accumulated, especially with the amount of air blowing through this system.
Popping off the main side panel reveals Digital Storm's pristine case wiring job. Cables are bundled together and tucked neatly out of sight, most of which have been routed to the other side of the case behind the motherboard. If you happen to be new to PCs, the reason this is important is because cable clutter can impede airflow, leading to hotter running components and, in extreme cases, part failures. Cluttered cables can also cause turbulence within a system, which will increase noise levels somewhat.
Peeking at the inside also gives us a glimpse of the Corsair H100 liquid CPU cooler
that's installed. This consists of a low-profile CPU cooler that whisks heat away from the processor to a 240mm radiator equipped with two 120mm fans on the top of the chassis. Digital Storm overclocks its ODE systems up to 4.4GHz, a nice boost that's made possible because of the H100 liquid cooler.