Review: DIYPC DIY-G5-BK Black

10 months ago comradetao Comments Off on Review: DIYPC DIY-G5-BK Black

p1060159When you see the DIY-G5-BK specs, you’re probably thinking this is going to be a solidly designed case. It’s got premium features like multi-color LED lighting and tempered glass panels. Does it live up to the promise of its spec-sheet check boxes?

I ordered this case for a price of $50 after rebate, but it’s commonly available for $70 and $80 when not on sale.

Features & Specifications

The main selling points for this case are the tempered glass panels and the LED lighting. Other than that, it really offers minimal benefits over other ATX cases around the same price.

Specs:

  • Tempered Glass Front and Side Panels
  • 7-color Changeable LED Lighting Strips in the Top and Front
  • Front Water Cooling Support for up to 240mm Radiators
  • Room for up to 5 Fans
  • USB 2.0, 3.0 and Front Panel Audio Ports
  • 170mm CPU Cooler Max Height
  • 360mm GPU Max Length
  • Room for 2 x 2.5″ SSD (more on this later)
  • Room for 2 x 3.5″ HDD

Build Quality

p1060073Build quality in this case is a mixed bag. The tempered glass gives this case a nice look and a heavy feel, and the look is uncommon to most case manufacturers, but strangely similar to the Inwin 303 case with its honeycomb patterned grills.

On the back you find your typical expansion slots, but only the first is replaceable. The rest must be snapped out of the case permanently. There’s space for the included 120mm red LED fan and two optional cutouts for water cooling hoses.
The top is plastic and shows power, reset, and LED color change buttons, USB 2.0 and 3.0 ports, headphone and mic jacks, and activity LEDs. It looks pretty clean overall and the case even comes with little rubber plugs for the USB ports to keep dirt out.p1060163

Once you get inside the case, things go a little south. First, and one of my personal gripes with cases, is that they give you two HDD trays that still require tools. The trays add only a small benefit to accessibility but, being plastic, just give you another part to break.
The case only came with six metal motherboard standoffs. The motherboard I was using to test this case asked for ten to be completely mounted. DIYPC included what looked like a few plastic locators for the motherboard, but I wouldn’t even dare try installing those. Why?

p1060218The pre-drilled holes in the motherboard tray were poorly threaded and made the use of pliers a necessity when installing the standoffs. No tool included. That meant that the plastic standoff pieces would probably have been shredded or permanently stuck in place in those holes.

p1060179You do see the usual motherboard cutout for CPU cooler access, which is nice. Also nearby, there’s a shelf for longer GPUs to support the extra weight; a nice touch.

For the most part, everything in this case is a thin painted steel, but DIYPC didn’t pay too much attention to quality control. I found a large section of my case bent. It wasn’t the most important structural part, but damage like that doesn’t sit well with me.

Usability

This is not a very easy case to work with. First, you have to remove both glass side panels to do any work inside. Typically a couple thumb screws are the only gatekeepers to a change in configuration, but here you’ve got to be careful to remove the glass without letting it hit the ground. Four screws hold the glass in place, but a tray or some kind of resting catch area would have been a great feature to keep the glass safe.

Once I got inside, I found that most things lined up OK, but installing the motherboard standoffs was a real turn-off. Having to find pliers to install them really hurt the usability here. As I also already mentioned, DIYPC did not include enough metal stand-offs or screws to fully mount my motherboard. Was this a design oversight did quality control miss a flawed product? I don’t know.

I tried to install my SSD, but the mounts are really not obvious. No manual came with the case, and the little cutout holes that are marked for SSD installation have no obvious use. Apparently, DIYPC included a few bare metal screws that are supposed to slide into the SSD “gourd holes”. A single locking screw would hold the SSD in place. Since I didn’t have any manual, I just assumed the correct hardware was missing. You wouldn’t probably guess the method of fixing your drive because practically every other case I’ve used has a better mounting system. Not user friendly.

p1060182I got the majority of the components installed. and left the PSU for last. The first thing I noticed when running the cables is that my full-sized ATX case blocked almost all of the cable routing holes. There’s even a cutout in the top right corner of the board that should have been able to allow my EPS cable through, but didn’t function well enough.
p1060223Cable routing was so poor that I decided to just rout my cables around the main area of the case and not bother with the routing holes. This case really doesn’t allow you to do a good job with cable routing unless you’ve got a smaller board. Also, if you can’t do the routing well, everyone’s going to see it through the right side window.

Conclusion

When it’s finished, the case looks decent. I think think it could use a lot of polish and revision in the looks department. Usability though really stung me. The damage inside the case, the lack of directions, and the non-functional parts (without some help) caused me to send this one back. Normally I would keep the case and pass it on to a friendly user, but not this one. For a normal price of $80, I would just wait for a Fractal Design Define R5 to go on sale. Every couple months they go for about $80-90 and offer worlds of usability and build quality over this case.

That said, once you’ve got everything in the case, you’re satisfied with the setup, and you’re back to using your computer instead of looking at it, this can be a good case; especially if you must have tempered glass and LEDs (neither of which make your computer faster).

With all that in mind. I do not recommend this case. Cases a fraction of this price house more drives and similar components with much less hassle. Similarly priced cases from other manufacturers seem to offer a lot more value.

Instead, go for something like the Raidmax V5 I recently reviewed or the Fractal R5 cases; which can handle 8 HDDs, 2 SSDs and 2 DVD drives all at once!

If you’d like me to add anything to the review, please let me know. I already sent the case back to Newegg but I still have lots of pictures. They’re posted in a gallery below.

Also, please support my reviews by shopping through my Amazon affiliate link. Your shopping helps me get more products to review. Maybe try out this case instead. I haven’t written a review on it, but I’ve used it and like it.

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