DeepCool Steam Castle mITX / mATX PC case – good, bad or ugly?
Now that I have a new rig I have recently been looking in to building a smaller PC for my girlfriend as she has inherited my old machine, most of which is 5+ years old. It still runs, but it’s noisy and getting a bit slow. Not only that, but it’s in a large Antec case so has to live under the desk at the moment. The plan is to build something in the mITX or mATX scheme of things. There’s plenty to choose from and I did have plans involving the Corsair Graphite 380t but this rather interesting case from DeepCool has caught my eye. It is called Steam Castle.
The Steam Castle is certainly unique in terms of design.
I’m not sure that it actually has the claimed Steam Punk chic but there is definitely something about it that has a sprinkling of Mad Max flavour (or should that be Mad mATX?) – perhaps crossed with a 50s jukebox.
The Steam Castle is compatible with mATX and mITX motherboards and as such shares the market with the likes of Aerocool’s Dead Silence Cube, the Prodigy from BitFenix and the highly customisable Parvum chassis which plays very nicely for those looking for watercooled skills in a small form factor.
This size of case is generally the choice of LAN (local area network) gamers as they can be packed with gaming-level hardware but are still be portable enough to take to a friend’s place or LAN competition.
The DeepCool Steam Castle measures 406mm (L) x 278mm (W) x 420mm (H) so shouldn’t take up much desk space.
The left side of the chassis features a tinted window side panel so you can see the result of your building skills and where your money has gone. The right side panel is where you will find the main I/O panel which features a small dial at the top for controlling fans and lighting. There’s also reset and power buttons, HD audio, HDD and power LEDs, 2 x USB 3.0 ports and 2 x USB 2.0 ports.
The side panels are held on by thumb screws and can both be completely removed. My only concern is that as all the aforementioned ports, dial and buttons are located on the right panel, instead of the front or top of the case. This means that the cables to these parts are going to complicate things during a build. Also, these cables are going to have to be quite lengthy to facilitate the removal of this panel and so have the potential to irk those out there that are quite OCD about cable management and case internal aesthetics.
The front features two long rows of fins down the left and right sides and a mesh intake at the top as well as two smaller intake ports the bottom. These cooling intakes are what gives the case its jukebox/valve radio/SteamPunk vibe. There is a removable 5.25-inch drive bay cover just about the DeepCool logo so you can fit an optical drive (CD/DVD/Blu-ray) but that is going to break up the case’s look. It would have been great if that blank was a flap or hinged door which could be closed when that drive is not in use. Just to keep things tidy.
Behind the front panel is a pre-installed 200mm fan but has mounts for 120mm, 140mm versions.
Around the back there are two rubber grommets, a 140/120mm fan mount with a 120mm fan pre-installed, four expansion slots and a bottom mounted PSU section. As with cases of this size you will have to keep in mind how much room you have for your PSU and I would say that no longer than 160mm would fit in this case.
The top panel is where most of the weirdness lives. Those things that look like exhaust ports are mostly there for design. They do house four LEDs and,. judging by pictures on the interwebs, they provide quite a nice glow. Blue, red and green colour options are available and you can toggle through colour or brightness by pressing or rotating the control wheel on the side of the chassis. Unfortunately I can’t imagine they help much with airflow. There is a small vent at the back which will be utilised by any top mounted cooling. The other rows of holes are again, purely for fancy.
The PSU ventilation is filtered with what looks to be a decent slide out filter.
The whole case rests on four long rubber coated feet.
The inside of the case looks much roomier than the Corsair 380t and should prove to be easier to work on I imagine. DeepCool have opted to have the motherboard lay flat which does mean that even the most beastly of CPU air-coolers should have space.
High end graphics cards shouldn’t be any trouble to fit either, given that there is room for cards of up to 320mm in length. The design is such that, should you fancy it, you could even slot in a second GPU for SLi or CrossFire fun.
In the front you’ll see two hard drive bays, each fitted with a removable tray. These can be totally removed, as can the suspended caddies, which could give options for custom water cooling – but that is going out of my knowledge zone. There is another removable 2.5-inch drive bay behind the PSU (power supply unit).
Each drive tray features tool free installation of 3.5-inch drives and the option to fit 2.5-inch drives, such as SSD using the included screws.
The PSU is mounted in the base of the chassis below the motherboard.
The motherboard tray comes with four stand-offs pre-installed, although more are included in the box for installation of mATX motherboards. There is a small cable routing cut-out for your motherboard cables.
Under the top panel you’ll find two 120mm / 140mm fan mounts, of course you could also install compatible size water cooling radiators here, but you may have to remove the 5.25-inch drive bay to make room for the longer rads.
As I said at the start, I have been watching the Graphite 380t from Corsair develop and now it’s out for around £95. Deepcool’s Steam Castle is about £30 less.
Not only does it have… unique looks but it has room to fit high-performance components and has the option to sling in mini- or micro-ATX boards – I believe the Corsair unit is only mITX. As the various drive bays can be removed it appears to me that PC builders with more skill than I (not difficult) could fit a custom water cooled loop in to this case. I am open to be corrected on this of course. What I can say is that it shouldn’t be a problem to fit in an AIO (all-in-one) water cooler such as Corsair’s H80i in the rear or even a H100i in the roof should be possible.
It’s not totally faultless though. There doesn’t appear to be any handles on the side panels (I could be wrong and they might just be well hidden in the design) but my main concern is spaghetti of cables attached to the side I/O panel. I may be overreacting as I’ve not been hands-on with this case but, just flicking though the pictures, it is a cause of concern for me.
All-in-all, if you ignore the controller wires and look at the £61.63 price tag (Newegg – but currently unavailable), you get room for many hard drives, water cooling, mATX and mITX motherboards, dual graphics cards, LED lighting and all in a striking case for under £70 – it’s not at all bad.
What do you think?