You might think that when someone who frequents a site like The Tech Report is trying to decide on parts for a new computer, he would spend less time picking the perfect case than selecting a processor or graphics card. However, spending more on a CPU or GPU just gets you higher clock speeds, more processing units, or as a rule of thumb, more processing power in general. In contrast, the case market is a lot less clear-cut. You don't necessarily get better products by spending big bucks, and similarly, you don't have to spend a lot to get a case that covers basic functions and cools well, to boot. And it might not even look all that bad.
In my somewhat-biased opinion, case reviews can actually be more important than other kinds of hardware reviews. Without a close look at an enclosure's construction and fit, and without physically examining a test unit and getting a feel for how well it cools and how noisy it is, you really don't have a good idea of how one case stacks up against another. Case benchmarking is a topic seldom mentioned, with matters of personal taste and brand loyalty generally guiding discussions. Most people probably think of names like Lian Li, Cooler Master, Antec, or Silverstone, and they might also have at least one favorite series from each brand already picked out. After all, top players in the case market have generally earned their stature with solid designs and consistently reliable products.
With all that said, I'm sure quite a few TR regulars will wonder why we're looking at a Rosewill case today. Rosewill is a perfect example of a manufacturer that enthusiasts generally overlook, but rest assuredthe Conqueror stands a good chance of conquering misconceptions as handily as our thorough gauntlet of tests. Read on to find out more about this affordable enclosure.
Black goes with everything
Rosewill enlists trapezoids and a mix of textured steel and high-gloss plastic to give the Conqueror a futuristic edge. This isn't my personal favorite for the look of a front of a case, but I don't think it's ugly, either. The tape is just there to hold the door shut during shipment, and the only other point of interest is the pair of indicator lights in the top left corner.
The door swings easily open from the right to reveal an "all-bays array." Each drive cover is noticeably perforated, and since some of us are picky about how a case door works, I should note that the Conqueror's has a small magnetic latch and only opens far enough past 90 degrees to provide clearance for an optical driveyou can't swing the door so far back that it folds against the left side panel.
Like the Hiper Osiris we reviewed recently, the Conqueror has its port cluster and buttons on the top panel at the front of the case. Unlike the Osiris and many other cases, however, the Conqueror gets the jack placements right. Each port sits far enough from its neighbors to prevent connected devices from interfering with each otheror with empty ports. Here, we see Rosewill has elected to go with a FireWire port instead of external Serial ATA.
Rosewill hasn't strayed from the norm here, outfitting the back of the Conqueror with a beefy 120 mm exhaust fan and a conventional, top-mounted power-supply area. However, some rough handling on the shipping company's part gave the case a uniquely bent back plate. (They didn't break anything this time, at least.)
Our last glance at the Conqueror's exterior is a direct shot of the side panel, which features a hefty acrylic window rife with ventilation holes. The area positioned over the CPU includes mounting holes for a 120 mm or 80 mm fan, but neither is installed there by default. Additional venting is located right about where a system's graphics card(s) would be located.
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