Once the side panel is removed, you have full access to the interior of the case. Here, you can see the included fan (the only included fan), anchored by a support bracket that extends from the bottom to the top of the case. Of course, accessing the interior would be difficult with this in the way, but a light tug, and the bracket comes right off.
Above we have a shot of our 5.25" and 3.5" drive bays. Unlike for the hard drive, there are no rails supplied for optical drives. Instead, we have clips on one side of the bays to secure your devices.
To install your optical drive, simply unhook the clip and pull it outwards. You then slide in the drive until the holes line up (center picture), and then you secure the clip as in the last image. I had some concerns about the drive not being secure enough for transport. I attempted to push the drive back out with the clip in place, and it wasn't going anywhere, thus concluding that this installation method is quite secure.
Just beneath the 3.5" bay is the area for the HDD rack and 80mm fan. As we've mentioned earlier, only one fan is included, so you'll need to pick up a couple more to fill the remaining fan bays.
The HDD rack is a separate cage. Once you attach the drive rails, simply slide the HDD into the cage. The cage is keyed to only install into the case one way, and its orientation is the rear of the HDD facing the left side of the case. Though you can orient the HDD where the rear faces the right of the case, I prefer this direction as it gives the user easy access to the cables and jumper settings.
For the PCI cards (and lone AGP), the CS800-TA comes equipped with a clip to secure your cards.
Rounding things out are the front panel cables and temperature probe. All the cables are clearly labeled, so provided your motherboard supports the additional connections, you should be able to enable the extra ports on the front of the case.
System Temperature Tests
ABIT NF7-S nForce2: Barton 2500+, 2 x 256MB Corsair TWINX PC3200 Ram, FIC Radeon 9600 Pro, 120GB Western Digital SE 8MB Cache, Thermalright SLK-800.
The comparison case will be a Lian-Li PC65U, and both cases will be using 80mm Pananflo fans, each rated at 21cfm. In the case of the Lain-Li, there are two intake fans in the front, and one in the rear. For the Enermax, there is one front, one rear, and one side (configured as intake). System temperatures will be presented in °C. Fans on both cases are run at full speed.
The Lian-Li edges the Enermax by a small margin in our cooling tests. This could be caused by a couple of factors. For one thing, the Enermax is not aluminum based, so heat may be retained a little longer with the steel design. In addition, the Enermax is a bit bigger, and there may be dead zones where some heat may be retained. When we lowered the fan speed to its lowest setting, the CS800-TA's temperature rose by about 1°C.
The Enermax CS800-TA is a well designed case, and something I felt was quite easy to work with. It's quite large for a mid-tower, and some of the features such as fan control, drive rails/clips, and a temperature LCD are nice additions.
However, there was a reason why I didn't talk much about the LCD, and that was because our sample's LCD seemed to be malfunctioning. I examined the wires, and checked the PCB of the LCD, but I couldn't find anything wrong physically. Basically, no display was present, and there was nothing in the instructions that I could find that addressed this. After a bit more investigation, I discovered the temperature probe had been slightly torn from the wire. This probably happened during shipping, and I suggest that in the future, Enermax secures the probe to the side of the case with some tape.
Though the case was easy to work with, a motherboard tray would be a welcome addition. I also found the HDD cage slightly out of spec (some of the hinges were bent), and some prying with a set of pliers was needed to make the cage slide in smoothly the first time. The product description says the case is an "excellent choice for watercooling", though with only 80mm fan bays, I'm not too sure about that. The rear fan bay can accommodate various sized fans, but the vents are made for 80mm fans.
Outside some of those concerns, overall, I was quite satisfied with the CS800-TA. For a steel case, it doesn't look half bad, and it is quite sturdy as well. Even with the fans at full speed, the noise levels seemed to be a little lower than it was with the Lian-Li, which may be the result of the steel muffling the whir of the fans better.
Pros: Large, mostly tool-less interior, fan control, temperature LCD.
Cons: More care needed in shipping, no removable mobo tray.
Bottom Line: A good case with a few minor flaws. The overall design is a little more than standard fare, with some useful extras. With more care before shipping, I think the temperature probe and HDD cage issues will go away.