The Basic Breakdown
Judging by the list of product specifications on the previous page, you get a pretty good idea that the R900 has a lot of features for a computer case. The case itself is huge, capable of housing six 5.25" drives and eight 3.5" drives, and has locations for seven card slots. The body supports ATX-E, ATX and Micro ATX form factors, covering the ATX gamut. For a tower case, the R900 is truly towering at a height of 21.25" and weighs in at a hefty 33lbs with no components installed. Built around a sturdy frame, the weight was no surprise, but may be a detractor for those constantly working on their case. It was good to see that the entire frame was designed so there isn't a single sharp edge to be found. The front of the case has a steel hinged door with decorative aluminum strip that neatly covers the optical drives. The door stays closed with several magnets mounted on the back side of the bezel. While we experienced no issues with them, we are a bit uncomfortable with magnets in a computer case as it is a general rule of thumb to keep magnets away from computer components.
3RSystem built the R900 with tool-less operation in mind. In fact, the only thing that needs screws is the power supplies, which gets attached to a removable plate, that's gets secured to the enclosure with thumbscrews. The remainder of the system uses color coded thumbscrews for mounting the drives, securing the motherboard and attaching the side panels and add-on cards. Rubber grommets are included to help prevent system vibration from transferring to the hard drives.
When mounted, the two power supplies are staggered so one's fan is at the bottom and the other draws from the top. The cage itself was a bit snug when sliding two power supplies into place, but the mount was sturdy in the end. The only real drawback to this type of set up is that there is twice the cabling, all of which hangs from the top down, making it difficult to keep the wires tidy. With so much space in the case, it would have been a good idea for 3RSystem to include some velcro ties in the bonus kit. On the upside, the R900 allows the use of a second PSU to help power an abundance of components. A single PSU can be set up for the main board and video card while the other can power all of the drives, balancing the load between the two.
Equipped with two 120mm Omega case fans for maximum airflow, the R900 is one quiet case. Each fan is connected to the case fan controller which is mounted on the front bezel for easy adjustment. While high and low-end RPM information wasn't available, we can tell you that at the lowest speed you could not tell the system was running, yet the case temperature averaged 28-30 C, even under load. When increased to the maximum speed, the case fans were much louder, but the noise was not excessive.
As effective as the fans were at the lowest speed, unless the case is packed to the gills with hardware, it's doubtful it would be necessary to run the fans full-tilt for extended lengths of time. With an overclocked Pentium 530J running at 3.5GHz, a Silent-Pipe Gigabyte X800 Turbo, two 7200 RPM hard drives, two optical drives and two power supplies, increasing fan speed was never necessary, even after gaming for several hours the case temperature peaked at 33C. Granted, each hardware combination and environment is different, but what this shows it the R900 is well designed when it comes to cooling and, if needed, the R900 can move some serious CFMs at full throttle.