3RSystems R900 Computer Case
Form and Function
On the inside, there are a multitude of cables/connectors to compliment all of the R900's external features. The front input cluster located on the lower left side of the case is a neat collection of the case controls and inputs. Each port has a corresponding cable that connects to motherboard headers, as with the four USB ports, while the FireWire, Headphone and Microphone port cables connect to the rear inputs of the motherboard. The only thing that was less than desirable was that these cables needed to be passed through a vacant PCI slot, which could cause a slight imbalance in air flow. We liked the solution employed in our FrontX review, where a half wide PCI slot cover was included to keep the opening minimal while allowing the cabling to pass through neatly.
Below the Firewire, USB and Audio connectors was the Fan controller, which is powered by a single molex connector and accepts the two case fan connections. One touch we really liked was the idea of two power buttons. The primary power and reset buttons were mounted adjacent to the lower port assembly while a second power button was mounted more conveniently at the top left of the case. The main power cable that connects to the motherboard comes with a parallel pigtail to accept the second power button connection. The unit is also fitted with four oversized feet that could be pivoted in various positions. Based on the overall weight of the R900, casters would be an excellent option, making it much easier to move the unit around when necessary.
One of the R900's major selling points is its temperature sensor that displays information on a LED display mounted low on the case. This is not an uncommon option, but in this case, we found the functionality somewhat limited. While the LED is clear and easy to read, it has no options. We would expect to see a Celsius/Fahrenheit toggle switch and, with the fan control so close, a possible RPM option readout. However, the biggest flaw lied with the length of the sensor cable. While the length was sufficient for hard drive mounting, it was too short for video card or CPU mounting. As you can see in the image above, when we extended the probe to its maximum length, it was just long enough to fit under the cooler. In the center image you can see how it runs right over the RAM and IDE connections with no slack to route the cable neatly. All of the other cables had ample length, but the thermal probe was significantly shorter, limiting its usefulness. In the end, we wrapped ours up and left it in the center of the case to report ambient case temperature.