Gigabyte used to be known only for its motherboards, and without a doubt that remains the core of its business. We've consistently been impressed with the range of mobo models the company offers and the careful execution that has delivered quality products with excellent performance. The firm's high-end boards combine phenomenal overclocking potential with a rich array of expansion capabilities. A few extras get dropped further down the line, but you'll still find plenty of reliable, stable, and overclocking-friendly offerings at affordable prices.
What does this have to do with cases, though? Well, not much, except that a few years ago, Gigabyte started to branch out from its core business into other areas, including cases. The first enclosure we saw from Gigabyte was the 3D Aurora, which offered a novel design philosophy and aesthetics, but failed to set itself apart from the rest of the market. Undeterred, Gigabyte has made several cases since then, including the Aurora-ish 3D Mars that we're reviewing today. The 3D Mars might even be considered the successor to the 3D Aurora, but I think that more of the quality we've come to expect from Gigabyte is present in this latest all-aluminum offering. Let's have a look at why.
This Mars ain't red
Somewhat like the Rosewill Conqueror we just reviewed, the 3D Mars (which seems to be referred to as the GZ-FA2CA-AJS by North American vendors) has an angular, futuristic appearance that favors straight lines and a simple separation of areas to create a stately look. When I first took this case out of the box and set it up under the lights, it just plain looked good.
There's no door to cover your drives, but that's definitely been counted on as part of the Mars' utilitarian look. Measuring 8.07" wide, 20.55" tall, and 22.24" deep (205 x 522 x 565 mm), there's no mistaking that this is a large tower case. These ample proportions allow the Mars to offer five 5.25" bays, one external 3.5" bay, and five internal hard drive bays, which should be more than enough for even drive-happy enthusiasts. And yet at only 17.6 lbs (8 kg), the Mars is surprisingly light for its size and expansion capacity.
Perhaps in an effort not to have this nice-looking case left under a desk for no one to appreciate, Gigabyte locates the ports and power buttons on the front panel of the case, directly under the external 3.5" bay.
Now, I'm not a professional designer, but even I can appreciate the careful alignment of the labels above each button, light, and jack. Impressively, each element is placed evenly, a small detail some products tend to get wrong. It doesn't hurt that the brushed finish of the aluminum is stunning on its own and is even employed on the power button itself.
Just to drive home the point that the front of the case is really the showpiece of the whole unit, a close-up of the vent area around the very bottom is in order. The emblem's choice of fonts seems fitting for the look of the rest of the case, and the angled vents are subtle enough to instill a real sense of the case's style without appearing gaudy.
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