Corsair Vengeance C70 Case Review: Going for the Gamersby Dustin Sklavos on May 17, 2012 5:45 PM EST
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In and Around the Corsair Vengeance C70
While I've generally appreciated Corsair's aesthetics (even the Vengeance branded keyboards have a nice, simplistic design to them), the Vengeance C70 enclosure threw me for a loop. I'm not sure when the military styling became popular, but the C70 looks like an awfully good place to store an ASUS Sabertooth (just like in the reviewer's guide!) or one of Gigabyte's G1 series boards. The "Military Green" finish is probably the most garish of the three; I suspect the "Gunmetal Black" is probably going to be the one everyone will want to shortlist, but I could be mistaken.
The front of the C70 boasts a trio of 5.25" bays, with the power, reset, and I/O occupying the space that ostensibly would've been a fourth. The stylistic choice is clean enough, but the power button has a distinct "this-belongs-inside-a-tank" look, and you actually have to flip up a tiny plastic door to access the reset button. It's a cute touch, but also practical, ensuring nobody ever accidentally hits the reset button. Beneath the drive bays is a honeycomb-style vent with a honeycombed grate pattern behind it (honeycomb is pretty much the pattern of choice across the C70), and there's room beneath the fascia for two 120mm fans.
When we move to the top of the case is when we see the oddest parts: the two 120mm/140mm fan mounts (and corresponding ventilation) are dead center of the top, flanked by the clamps for the side panels and the two carrying handles. Centering the fan mounts (and thus the internal mounts) is actually a smart move; if the end user wants to install a 240mm radiator, the radiator winds up being out of the way of the AUX12V line and some of the power circuitry. The only way this could be improved would be to shift its alignment closer to the left side panel as SilverStone did with the Temjin TJ04-E.
While the back of the C70 offers no surprises (eight expansion slots, a bottom-mounted PSU, and a couple of rubber-lined radiator holes), the left side panel features a large window with two vertically aligned 120mm/140mm fan mounts. Corsair offers rubber grommets for all of its case fan screws (and extras are included in the package) to prevent issues with fan vibration. Removing the side panel is accomplished similarly to opening a toolbox: flip the latches up on the side panel, then release the clamps. Panels hinge out from the bottom. The clamps are remarkably snug, leaving me with none of the reservations I had with the panel mounting system used on the 550D.
Of course, the inside of the C70 is par for the course for Corsair at this point; in fact there's surprisingly little variation in here, and that may be this design's Achilles' Heel. The pair of removable drive cages each supports three 2.5"/3.5" drives on sleds, but they also each include a 120mm intake fan on the inside similar to Antec's design with the P280 and Eleven Hundred. In fact, Corsair opted to include the intake fans here instead of behind the front fascia. The 5.25" drive bays are toolless, but you can secure drives with screws anyhow if you so choose.
The rest of the interior is traditional Corsair, with rubber-lined cable routing holes in the motherboard tray along with a cabling "channel" that saves on case width while allowing you to tuck cables neatly behind the tray. In fact, when you check behind the tray you can see the other major addition to Corsair's internal design: latches that open and lock closed to help keep cabling neat. Cable ties, begone! This is a fantastic feature that makes Corsair's traditionally clean interior assembly even easier to manage.
I'm not totally displeased with the C70's design, but the exterior is unusually gaudy for them. The build also seems a little fragile in places; I get the impression my review unit was roughed up in shipping, as one of the bottom fan filters was cracked and bent, and one of the long bars the C70 uses for feet was dented inward. The drive trays are also nice and flexible, but at the same time it seems like they almost need to be occupied to maintain their shape enough to stay in the cage.
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SilthDraeth - Thursday, May 17, 2012 - linkBut then again, I am a sucker for that ammo can military green.
kyuu - Thursday, May 17, 2012 - linkPretty sure the "ammo can" was actually the basis for the aesthetics, with the military green, the clips for the side panels, and the handles on top. I actually rather like it as well (though I'd personally probably go with the gunmetal grey instead).
The cooling performance is disappointing, unfortunately. However, didn't I see the reviewer state that the ambient temperature was higher than normal, which would skew the results...?
Dustin Sklavos - Thursday, May 17, 2012 - linkThermal performance is listed as the delta above ambient, so all of the thermal results are adjusted to compensate for differences in ambient temperature.
Arghem - Thursday, May 17, 2012 - linkBut as the base temperature of the CPU goes up it will draw more current and produce more heat. So making the temperature relative to ambient does not correct for a higher baseline temperature. If this was done in hot conditions then the thermal performance data for the chassis is not accurate relative to other chassis.
I realize they are doing as good as they can here but making the temperature relative does not remove bias created by lower or higher environmental temperatures.
JarredWalton - Friday, May 18, 2012 - linkIt removes a large portion of the bias. It's not like Dustin is testing at 19C for one case and 30C for another; the temperatures are relatively constant at 23~26C (25.5C for this review). A 2C ambient difference should not create a 5C delta, which is basically what we're seeing with this case.
Now, you could stuff more fans into the C70, and that might help. I also think Dustin is right in that the initial positioning of fans is poorly selected -- I'd say at the very front of the drive cages would be better at least. Or you could use a watercooling setup and that would likely help tremendously. The thing is, you can do all those same things with a P280 or Eleven Hundred, and you should still end up with superior results.
kevith - Friday, May 18, 2012 - linkYou nailed it!
Arghem - Friday, May 18, 2012 - linkYour certainly right that the front fan placement is highly questionable. I wasn't meaning to imply that the higher ambient accounted for the entire difference in thermal performance only a portion of it. And yes probably a small portion in this case.
I was just pointing out that presenting the temperature as relative to ambient isn't perfect. It's simply the best that can be done without a perfectly controlled environment.
BMAN61 - Saturday, May 19, 2012 - link" Or you could use a watercooling setup and that would likely help tremendously."
Yes; watercooling any setup vastly improves temperatures, but still requires air cooling to expel air from within the case (via the radiator), and a balanced amount of air coming into the case to create positive air pressure. So if the chassis has dismal airflow; it doesn't matter if you're using water cooling or not, temperatures will still be bad.
Being one that owns a (water cooled) Corsair 700D; I can say that airflow is what has been the problem with many of these cases, the 140mm fans that were shipped with the 700/ 800D cases are all garbage, but neither of these cases had (have) any fan mounts (other than one fan mount on the bottom) to bring fresh air into the chassis.
m0n5t3r - Tuesday, April 30, 2013 - linkOut of the box, yes the cooling performance isn't great. The stock fans really don't contribute in the cooling, they are pretty shitty. But as you can see that is a lot of ventilation and fan mount options.
Chaitanya - Thursday, May 17, 2012 - linkI still own a Ammo, I kept it aside just because of the looks were awesome.