Review: Raidmax V5 Vortex ATX Computer Case

2 months ago Jack 0

Most of us who build PCs prefer to have high quality items and shy away from the cheaply made parts and knock-offs of brand named items. That said, there are a lot of parts you can skimp on and still have a really great performing PC. Things like the power supply, CPU, and GPU are important for raw performance, but other parts like the case, motherboard, and even CPU cooler can be selected from the class of less expensive components and still perform great (I bet I get a lot of negative comments about that last statement, but it’s true).

Anyway, that’s where this Raidmax V5 Vortex case comes in. I bought this case on newegg for just $30 plus tax. Shipping was free and Raidmax offered a $10 rebate on top of that. For a little over $20, I now have a windowed ATX case can handle a ton of parts and peripherals.

Features & Specs

This is a well-rounded ATX case. Most builders are not going to want much more than this unless they’ve got a special plan; like housing 8 hard drives or extreme water cooling.

Specs:

2 x 5.25″ External Drive Bays

3 x 3.5″ Internal HDD Bays

3 x 2.5″ SSD or Laptop HDD Internal Drive Bays

Removable 2.5″ Drive Bay Section

ATX / Micro ATX / Mini-ITX Support

7 Expansion Slots

1 x USB 3.0 Front Port

1 x USB 2.0 Front Port

Front HD Audio Headphone & Mic Ports

120mm Fan Support – 2 x Front, 1 x Rear (included), 1 x Top

Side Window

Overall Dimensions – 469mm L x 206mm W x 430mm H

Bottom and Front Dust Filters

300mm GPU Length Clearance (390mm with 2.5″ bay removed)

280mm PSU clearance

Max CPU Cooler Height of 160mm

So you can see that this case really isn’t a slouch when it comes to specs.

Build Quality & Features

Build quality is surprisingly good for a case this cheap, but they skimp on a lot of components compared to higher-priced cases; as you would expect. For instance, the included thumb screws that hold each side panel in place are those plastic sleeved kind. Another example is that the front panel control wires (power, reset, etc) aren’t consistently long. Finally, you’ll see that most of the case is held together by rivet instead of screws, so modding and customization get a little trickier; if you’re into that sort of thing.

 

The front is almost entirely molded plastic that resembles the Corsair SPEC cases a little. It looks cheap and a little cheesy at first, but what you discover behind the plastic is a mesh screen with foam dust filter hiding the two front 120mm fan positions.

That’s a surprising bit of extra feature on an inexpensive case. The two 5.25″ bays are also covered with mesh and foam dust filters to complete the look. Power and reset buttons are plastic, but get the job done. The headphone and mic jacks seem solid, but are actually unlabeled. You only get 1 USB 3.0 port and 1 USB 2.0 port on this case’s front side.

The side panels feel like flimsy steel, but they’re still steel. Both sides bulge out giving a little extra clearance for CPU coolers and for cable management. I don’t mind the bulges on cases like this as long as the case stays somewhat symmetrical like this one does. The panels fit well, leaving even gaps between the parallel edges of nearby case components. Even on one of my favorite cases, the Corsair Air 540, Corsair did not manage to create a clean and even gap between the panels.

The window on the left panel only opens up a view to the motherboard & major components. Hard drives and CD drives are completely hidden unless looking at a sharp angle through the window from the rear.

The back panel shows 7 expansion slots and a nice cover for PCI devices. You won’t have the chrome plates sticking out of the back uncovered. Is it a nice touch or just more hassle? It doesn’t matter because I’m quite certain you don’t have to use the plate if you don’t want to. Showing its cheapness here, only the first expansion slot has a replaceable cover. The rest are stamped with the back panel and have to be snapped off of the case to open up the slot. There’s room for one 120mm fan back here and Raidmax says it’s a good spot for a 120mm AIO water cooling radiator. No dust filter here.

On the top you’ll see a similar bulge to the side that has space for a single 120mm fan. It looks like they had room for two, but decided not to stamp out the holes for the second fan. Go figure. No dust filter here either. It’s worth noting that the top and rear fan locations are likely going to be exhausting air; so dust should be less of a concern.

The bottom panel has a cheap dust-filtered cut-out for power supply ventilation. I’m sure that’s good enough for most folks.

Inside the case there’s little interesting to talk about. There are some cable management holes to the front of the motherboard tray and below it, but none above. None of the holes have rubber grommets, but those seem practically pointless anyway. They barely serve any function. The motherboard tray (which is fixed by the way) has a large cutout for accessing heat sink mounts. Good job Raidmax. Also of note on the motherboard tray, the holes for mounting the motherboard were very well located. I’ll write more on that later. The PSU location has rubber pads on the bottom to dampen vibration. The rear half of the SSD mounting bays can be removed by pulling out two screws. That kills your SSD usage without adapters, but allows for stupid long video cards. The last thing I want to note is that Raidmax did include tiedown points for cable management on the backside of the motherboard tray. They did NOT include any zip ties though.

Usability / User Experience

I slapped a system together in this case in under an hour (could have been a lot less time – I wasn’t measuring). Accessing every area was very easy and I didn’t run into any strange sharp edges like one sometimes does in cheap cases. First thing I did was place the motherboard’s I/O shield in it’s spot. The wobbly steel made me feel like I was going to break the case when installing it, but it did go in fine. When I laid down the motherboard I noticed that the stand-offs were surprisingly well located. I’ve owned much more expensive cases with fitment issues. This pleasantly surprised me.

The SSD I installed slit right in. Reaching the deeper screw to anchor it proved difficult with my long screwdriver. It took some finesse to reach in there and get everything settled. Also, it’s worth noting that if you remove this metal piece that serves as the rear SSD mounting side panel, you will need adapters to mount any other SSDs. The only other mounting places are 5.25″ or 3.5″.

Once that was all in place, I installed the rest of the components and then the power supply. The power supply installation annoyed me the most out of this whole build; and even that wasn’t bad. Installing the PSU with a full sized ATX case means leaves barely any clearance between the top of the PSU and bottom of the board. Since the case isn’t very wide to begin with, it took some wiggling around of cables to get everything in.

 

Sub-optimal cable routing options didn’t help the situation. The EPS 8-pin connector has to be routed from the front of the case back to the board header. That’s because there are no cut-outs above the motherboard for cable management. It’s worth noting that the lack of cut-outs above and the lack of clearance between the motherboard and PSU help in keeping the height of the case down. Anyway, Raidmax did do something clever with cable routing in the back. The designers angled the drive bay areas slightly on the rear side; allowing for more cables to be crammed in that area without as hard bends as would be required otherwise. Pretty neat.

Keep in mind that, even with all of these minor complaints, this is worlds ahead of the old tower cases I used to build in from nearly a decade ago. Those case manufacturers avoided side panel windows for a good reason.

Once fired up, I tweaked the bios a little bit to control the single included fan (I didn’t add any more fans – CHEAP STUFF REVIEWS REMEMBER?). The included fan runs practically silently at low speeds. I held my camera about 5 inches from the side of the case and recorded a video, but I couldn’t hear the computer operating over the single car driving by about 100 feet away, outside, two floors down.

I fired up linux, ran a few programs, played a round of Arms Race in CS:GO, and forgot all of the little quirks of building in this case. I took a picture of a temp monitor showing that, even in CS:GO, the temps stayed well below warning areas. By the way, that’s in an unseasonable 75-80 degree ambient for this late in October.

Note: System Specs – i5-2500k, 16GB RAM, Asrock Extreme3 Z68, EVGA GTX 970 SSC, EVGA 650W P2 PSU, 120GB SSD

Conclusion

The fact is, you do NOT need an expensive case for most computers. I have no doubt that I could slap a $1000 Intel 10-core CPU in here and I wouldn’t have any issues, though I might have to add more fans if I really stressed it. Building your own PC can be expensive and it’s easy to focus on what looks cool over what works. When you can go to a cheaper part that won’t have much effect on the longevity or functionality of your PC, you end up saving your hard earned money or being able to upgrade another piece of the PC.

I highly recommend considering cheaper cases as an option for builders on a budget. This particular case was fine to build in. It really doesn’t look half bad either.

As always, I am really greatful for the people that do their Amazon shopping through my product link below. If you end up buying this case, Amazon gives a small cut back to me that helps me support this website. Also, below the link is a full product gallery. Have a look at the various pictures I didn’t put into the review text.

 

 

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