When you see a computer what do you see? Usually two things, a monitor and a case (maybe along with speakers and other miscellaneous goodies). The monitor is usually the best you can afford, however the case is something we have more of a choice over. If you are a serious overclocker then you would have looked into modifying your existing case with blow holes. Blow holes allow you to position 80 - 120mm case fans directly above key components like the CPU and PCI/AGP cards.
One problem with making blow holes is that they are generally not the easiest thing to do. You need specific equipment, such as hole/circular cutters (which cut through metal), a very steady pair of hands and practise. If you are like me and can't spare the time or the effort (and don't have a very steady pair of hands), you can now buy a pre-modified case. This is where the Powercase Oblivion steps in. From the outset, we have to tell you, this is a *serious* case.
The Powercase Oblivion is based on the Inwin Q500, which itself is a great tower case. The Overclocking Store weren't going to leave it like that though, oh no. The Oblivion has 4 120mm blow holes which are positioned for maximum effect. 2 fans are positioned over the motherboard (over the CPU and the expansion slots) and another two are at the top of the case. This makes good sense since warm air rises to the top and this warm air is then vented out of the case bringing the ambient temperature down.
So we've said that there are 4 blow holes, but what makes these blow holes so special? The fans that are pushing air through them of course. The fans supplied in the Oblivion are top of the range. The YSTech 120mm fans push out a staggering 131.5 CFM each. Compare this to the 120mm CAF12 (which is reviewed here). That monster pushes out a very modest 65 CFM. When put together the 4 YSTech's in the Oblivion, it has a total of 526 CFM. However the ability of adding more fans aren't held back even then. Within the Inwin Q500 there is space for an additional 3 80mm fans. So without further modifications to the case you could be looking at just under 630 CFM if you add 3 more YSTech 80mm fans.
It is important to consider the build quality of a case, and when looking at the build quality of the InWin Q500, you expect something special. Let's face it, 150 quid isn't something you would usually spend on a case, so you expect something really out of the ordinary. The Inwin Q500 delivers the goods. It has many features that other tower cases could only dream about (like the Juno P6). One of the most impressive features is the number of hard drive (or internal 3.5") bays that are available in the Q500. Unlike the poor showing of these in the Juno P6, which only has2, the Q500 has a very capacious 5 bays. This is much better for people who have a number of hard drives.
The finishing of the Q500 is very high, with no rough edges and a neat finish. Although the case doesn't come with thumbscrews, it was born and bred to be a professional high-end case with no fancy (some might say poncy) bits. Another very unique and useful feature is the key flap which is supplied. Once you fit this metal attachment on, and attach a padlock (which isn't supplied), it is not possible to open the case. This little feature might not be useful for the home based overclocker, however when taking your system around different places, leaving it for hours it can proove invaluable. The wide feet at the bottom of the case are firm unlike the ones on the Globalwin 802 which always move out of place if the case moves. The feet have a large surface area so they spread the weight of the case out nicely. One of the more ergonomic features of this case is that the metal covers for each of the 5.25" drive bays aren't soldered on, rather they are clipped on, so you don't have to get all physical with the case when trying to remove them. Some might consider these to be small points, however small points add up to make a difference in the whole product, and therefore we thought it was worth mentioning.
Some the nicer features have been added by modifiers of this case, OCStore. Blow holes look cool but rough without some attachments so they have fitted chrome grills on each of the blow holes to give it a nice, professional finish. This enhances the overall look and feel of the case, making it look like a finished product rather than a home-made job.
One of the downsides to having such a power house of a case is that there is a increase in noise, since the fans are rated to shift 131.5 CFM. The sound when switched on is quite loud until you get used to it, but if you are a dedicated overclocker then you will be undetered by this. However you will not be able to sleep in the room if the Oblivion is on, so Uni students might want to consider that before purchasing one.
It's all well and good talking about the cooling capabilities of this case, but lets see how it performs in the real world, does the 500+ CFM do the business? Lets find out.