There is no doubt in
my mind that this case is a work of art. Let's
continue our tour and see if form meets function.
Physical Attributes and Features
In the first picture, you
can see the included floppy drive that is painted to match
the case, the Evercool Hard drive cooler and the "BayBus"
fan controlling switches. At the upper right, you
can also see the power switch. Besides the paint,
there is nothing exciting to report concerning the floppy
drive or the hard drive cooler but if you're not familiar
with a "BayBus", we'll elaborate a bit. The "BayBus"
is basically comprised of four (4), three (3) position
switches that allow users to control the voltage being
sent to the fans. If you're like me and are sick of
having a loud case, you'll love the "BayBus".
Depending on the switch's position, you can either run the
fans at full speed (highest voltage), low speed (lower
voltage) or shut them completely off.
We have to mention
however, that even with all of the fans turned on and
running at high speed, this case is surprisingly quiet!
Its not silent but it is quiet. All of the fans
(with the exception of the PSU fans) are high quality
Panaflo models, the loudest of the bunch barely emitting
30dbs. It's tough to convey just how quiet this case
really is but consider this, a single 60MM High-Output
Delta fan used on many of today's high-end CPU coolers
emits approximately 55dbs. The CDI InWin Alaska 3
complete with a full compliment of hardware, with all fans
running on high, barely broke the 60db barrier on our
trusty old RadioShack noise meter!
The case LEDs
and reset switch are visible in the second picture.
One concern I had, when initially inspecting the reset and
power switches, was that the paint was going to interfere
with them and cause them to stick or bind but that is not
what happened. Even with a thick coat of paint, the
switches functioned perfectly.
As we continue
our tour, we come to the 120MM blow-hole at the very top
of the case. Looking at the rear of the case we see
another 120MM exhaust fan. Also visible is one of
the Enermax power supply's exhaust fans and just beneath
that, behind the "grill" is an 80MM intake fan.
Essentially the upper half of the case is dedicated to
exhausting warm air, which is necessary to insure low
Here we come
to one of the more interesting pictures in the review.
There is a lot to see in this shot. Obviously, the
large Plexi-Glass window is most visible. Mounted to
the window are another two 120MM Panaflo intake fans, and
you can also see the chrome handle which facilitates the
removal of the side panel should you have to get into the
system for any reason.
Look past the
window and you'll get a glimpse of the Enermax 365Watt PSU
and all of the drive bays. The CDI InWin Alaska 3
has one external 3.5" bay (that is filled with the
included floppy), five external 5.25" bays (two of which
are filled with the "BayBus" and hard drive cooler) and
five internal 3.5" bays. Just in case you're worried
that your CD-ROM or other external drives won't look right
because they won't match the rest of the case, don't fret.
You can send your bezels to CDI and they will paint them
all to match! We did not have time to send our
bezels out but it's nice to know we could if we chose to.
There is still
more to this picture though. If you look at the
bottom of the case you'll see the "FanBus"
and some of the internal wiring. The "FanBus" looks
similar to the spring clips on the back of many speakers
and makes it easy to connect any device that needs voltage
but has only bare wire leads. Which brings us to one
of the CDI InWin Alaska 3's only flaws, the wiring.
We feel the case wiring could have been a bit cleaner and
better organized, but it is by no means bad. Some of the
fans are connected with simple male / female crimp
connectors that are labeled "R" (red) and "B" black.
It would have been better to actually color code them, or
alternate the male / female connectors so there is no way
to connect anything "backwards". We have actually
come up with what we think is a better wiring scheme and
we will hopefully be working with CDI to see if it is
feasible to incorporate these changes into a future
(but not pictured) is a 10" 12v Neon strip light.
The switch for the Neon light is not mounted to the case
at the factory and to be honest with you, we haven't
decided where we want to mount it yet! Because the
light operates on 12v, powering it is as simple as
plugging it into a free PSU connector and flipping the
At the bottom of the
case, we find another intake and can see the locking
casters. The casters are mounted to the bottom of
the case with four large bolts and because the "wheelbase"
is fairly wide, rolling the case around is very stable and
easy to manage. By now you should also have noticed
that all of the fans are covered by black grilles.
More Eye Candy...