Rated 4 out of 5 by 1
Rated 4 out of 5 by Haravikk Best Small Form Factor Case on the Market
When it comes to small form factor cases, most are pretty miserable affairs with noisy fans and horrible performance, often with poorly designed or cheap exteriors.
These are not problems faced by the Akasa Euler case; it is a solidly constructed aluminium case that is essentially a giant heatsink, allowing you to build a 100% silent system (except for the odd popping sound if you start up cold, or drive noise if you don't install an SSD).
The case is, as you would expect, fairly cramped inside with room for very little besides a 2.5" hard drive and a thin Mini-ITX motherboard, with a bit of extra space for some passive movement. This makes installation very fiddly, especially since the front power-button and light connectors aren't especially long, and the included hard-drive cables are likewise very short; an anti-static wristband is highly recommended as it's going to be hard to connect everything with the motherboard upside-down without accidentally touching something.
This case includes a decent 120W power-supply (a great bonus for the price, especially as the newer model doesn't include one that I've been able to find anywhere). It also includes a reasonable amount of some unknown silicon-based thermal compound; if you're using a higher-end processor then I'd recommend paying the extra to get a good thermal compound such as Arctic Silver 5; it will help the heat to spread to the case faster, and reduce the build-up of heat within the case. It should also be applied last, as you're bound to touch it while connecting all the cables; it's awkward to apply like this, but there isn't really a good way to do it.
Speaking of the internals; as mentioned the case has room for a 2.5" drive, though most thin Mini-ITX motherboards include an mSATA slot which is far more convenient (since you can connect the drive before installing the motherboard this way). Actually the 2.5" drive installation is probably the biggest weak point of this case; it involves screwing brackets onto the drive, then screwing it onto the case, and connecting some tiny cables. I'd have happily paid extra for the case for it to have a fixed back-plane and a slot that the drive could simply slide into, and it would be considerably easier.
Drives installed internally are the most vulnerable to the heat of the case; for me I opted for a higher than recommended 45W processor (an i7-4790T) which does get pretty hot, causing the inside of the case to get quite warm too. The case can be mounted in one of two ways; either horizontally on the supplied feet, or vertically on a VESA mount behind a suitable screen; my preference is for the latter, as tiny side-vents on the case allow for some air convection which keeps the internal components at a more reasonable temperature, even though there is greater top surface area when placed horizontally.
Some additional notes; although it isn't mentioned anywhere, this case actually includes two holes for pigtail type wireless aerial connectors. However, none are provided; if you do decide to use WiFi then you'll want to get connectors longer than 20cm; I got 18cm ones and found it very difficult to fit them due to the position of the WiFi card on my motherboard (a Gigabyte GAQ87TN).
So for the quick summary; if you want to build a small, quiet system then there really is no better case than this on the market right now. Even the recommended processors give you solid performance despite the small size. Just be very careful during installation, and you can quickly have an incredibly unobtrusive little system up and running in no time. The Euler S case is also available with additional USB ports on the front and a little extra styling, however it is functionally identically otherwise, and doesn't seem to come with a bundled power supply, which is why I opted for the more basic model.
09 November 2014