The Stratos from Computer Upgrade King sports a unique look, with a seemingly floating 4mm tempered glass front panel, matching side panel, and seven included Halo-ring RGB LED fans. Quite a feature set for $109, but should you make it the centerpiece of your next build?
The inside of the case is completely wide open, which makes fitting nearly any component you want a breeze. The metal used in construction is a bit thinner than I’m used to seeing at this price point, but even with both glass panels and the rear cover removed, it’s plenty sturdy. This get’s a passing mark
in my book, if only just because of the case’s other included features.
There are 3x 120mm fans under the glass panel at the front, 3x more along the filtered top, and a single 120mm on the rear. The only other visible feature here is the full-length shroud covering the basement of the Stratos.
I’m a bit disappointed with the lack of a 360mm radiator option on the top of this case. The max there is a 240mm due to length, which means if you’re water cooling, you won’t get to use all 7x of the included halo-ring RGB LED fans. You can mount a 360mm rad behind the front fans, but most AIOs will come up short when trying to reach the CPU socket from there. This, coupled with an issue further down, mean I’m only going to recommend air cooling in this case.
Around the back, we find 2x 2.5″ drive trays, 2x 3.5″ drive sleds, and the power supply with its own filtered intake in the basement. Plenty of cable management, and well thought-out grommets and cable tie points line the backside.
And that brings me to the only big negative of this case… All seven of those RGB fans connect to a proprietary controller for both speed and LED color. That box does not connect to your system in any way, meaning both RGB and fan speed cannot be controlled by your system. You only get to choose between 5v and 12v going to the fans, which makes them either dead silent or ready for takeoff. For an air-cooled system with a traditional CPU heatsink and fan, this is less of an issue. But for water cooling, you’ll be unable to send more air through your rads if temps demand it. And forget syncing LED color with anything.
The Stratos from Computer Upgrade King, while falling short with the fan controller, knocks it out of the park in looks and versatility, so long as you’re going with an air-cooled build. And at $109, it would make a fine chassis for your next system.
You can get the Stratos at https://cukusa.com/catalogsearch/result/?q=cuk+stratos
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