The original Enermax Ostrog’s classic and plain design served the workstation environment quite well and in some circles, the gamer too. Looking to enhance the design and attract serious gamers and enthusiasts alike, the Ostrog has had a makeover. This time around, the looks are much more aggressive and plenty of additional features have been added to the fold. Today’s review will be on the Ostrog GT (Giant) ECA3280A-BR, which is at the upper end of the ECA3280 series of cases. So, let’s have an up close look at this new chassis offering from Enermax and find out if it is a serious player in the crowded mid-tower case market.
Specifications And Features
Here are the specifications as provided by the Enermax Website. Lots of drive bays, included fans, and a window too!
|Enermax Ostrog GT Giant Specifications|
|Model||ECA3280A-BL / ECA3280A-BR|
|Dimension||485(D) X 244(W) X 495(H) mm|
|M/B||Micro ATX, ATX|
|Drive Bay||5.25″: 3|
|3.5″: 8 x hidden (4 x removable)|
|2.5″: 2 x hidden|
|I/O||USB 3.0 x 2, USB 2.0 x 2, HD Audio|
|Cooling||Front: 2 x 14cm LED fan|
with LED on/off function
|Rear: 1 x 12cm fan|
|Expansion Slots||8 + 1 (Vertical)|
There are plenty of features built into the Ostrog GT Giant, that’s for sure. We’ll be going over all of this in more detail as the review progresses, but for now, here is what the Enermax website has to say.
- Meshed bezel with inherited gene of Ostrog and advanced ventilation
- 32mm clearance for easy backside cable routing
- Top I/O for easy connection of external devices
- Easy installation
- Enermax patented SlideIn™ ODD design (Patent no. M438105)
- Rails with anti-vibration rubber pads for 3.5” HDD installation
- Removable HDD cage allows high-end VGA card installation
- Utmost expandability
- Enermax patented SlideIn™ ODD design (Patent no. M438105)
- 8 expansion slots to support triple graphic cards
- Internal USB 3.0 support for the fastest data transfer
- Supreme cooling performance
- Maximum support up to 12x fans
- Support 23/20cm monster fan
- Support 280/240mm liquid cooling radiator
- Transparent acrylic side panel shows individual inside view
- Bottom mounted PSU slot with rubber pads and removable dust filter
The Ostrog GT is contained in a brown box with black graphics and text. The front and back are identical with both having a large drawing of the case and the appropriate branding. The box sides have the specifications and check boxes to identify the model number and color. The box top is home to some additional Enermax Ostrog branding.
Opening the top of the carton finds the Ostrog GT secured with the customary Styrofoam blocks and wrapped in a plastic bag. Once removed from the box, we can also see Enermax has guarded the side window with a protective film on the inside and outside.
The box of accessories is found tucked into the lower most drive cage and includes the following items:
- User Manual
- 16 HDD Rails
- Five Zip-Ties
- Two Enermax Branded Velcro Cable Ties
- Bag of Assorted Assembly Hardware
- Two 3-pin fan to 4-pin Molex Adapter Cables
There is a large smoke tinted window on the left side of the Ostrog GT that’s built into a bulged out area of the side panel. I suspect the bulged out area is to help facilitate the taller heatsinks of the world and to match the design of the right side panel. The bulged out area on the right side panel should be a great help for routing cables behind the motherboard tray. You know what a stickler I am about that!
Looking at the back of the case, we begin with the bottom mount PSU opening and the 8+1 ventilated expansion slot covers. The “+1” meaning the vertical slot to the right. Above that are three rubber grommet holes for water cooling tubes, a grilled area for the included 120 mm exhaust fan, and the place where the motherboard’s I/O shield gets installed.
The front of the Ostrog GT has an aggressive all mesh design with a red accent strip around the outer edge. The bottom area has a filter behind it to cover the two 140 mm intake fans (more on this later). The three 5.25″ drive bay covers at the top also have foam filters on the backside of them. Unfortunately, none of the 5.25″ bay covers have a removable center to accommodate a 3.5″ drive. To finish off the look, Enermax topped off the front panel with a shiny Ostrog emblem. The entire front panel is made from plastic and a wire-mesh type material. If red isn’t to your liking, there is also a a blue version of the Ostrog GT.
At the very top of the Ostrog GT, we see the I/O ports and switches. There are two USB 3.0, two USB 2.0, and headphone and mic jacks. Just in front of those are the power switch, reset switch, HDD activity and power LEDs, and the fan LED on/off switch. Also built into the top panel is a nice little storage compartment. The fan area at the back of the top panel can accept one 230 or 200 mm fan or two 140 or 120 mm fans.
At the bottom of the case, we find all four feet have a rubber pads to provide anti-vibration qualities and surface protection. There are two flexible filters: one for the PSU and one for the optional 120 mm fan. The forward most filter requires you to remove four screws in order take the filter out. Removing either of these two filters will require you to lay the chassis on its side to gain access. The worst part of the forward filter design is that the four screws also hold either the internal SSD cage or optional fan in place. So, that means you not only have to lay the case on its side to get at the filter, but you’ll also have to remove the left side panel to realign the SSD cage or fan as you replace the filter. Seems like a lot of work to simply clean a filter.
We’ll start our interior tour by looking at the inside of the front panel and the 5.25″ drive bay covers. As I mentioned earlier, each of the drive bay covers have a foam filter on the inside. The lower half of the front panel has another of those flexible mesh filters attached. If you weren’t keen on the four bolts running through the bottom filter (like I am), then you’ll really be disappointed in the front panel filter… it has six! I suppose you can just take the entire front panel and rinse it out, but the design is still less than stellar. Moving to the drive bay cover area, you’ll notice the tabs that hold the covers in place. Your first inclination will be to squeeze the tabs toward the center, thinking the tabs will come out with the cover. Actually, the tabs are not attached to the covers and you have to press them outward to remove the covers. This isn’t a bad design, just something a little different than the norm.
Behind the front panel, there are two 140 mm red LED intake fans. The lighting can be turned on or off with the switch on the top panel. If you prefer, two 120 mm fans can be substituted in this location. Above the fans, we can look down the barrel of the 5.25″ drive bays and see the inner workings of the top I/O functions.
The bottom interior area has a nifty SSD hard drive cage that can be removed in favor of a fan or left empty if desired. The SSD cage can also be installed in the upper HDD cage or on top of the lower HDD cage when the upper cage is removed. The PSU stands are outfitted with rubber pads to reduce any vibrations. Along the back we find only the vertical expansion slot cover utilizes a thumb screw, while the other eight use standard Phillips head screws. At the top of the back area is the seven blade 120 mm exhaust fan.
At the top, we find the large grill design for mounting optional fans and potentially, a radiator setup. Enermax claims support for a 240 or 280 mm radiator here, but there is only about 42 mm space available before reaching the edge of the motherboard. At first glance, it would appear you could get away with a 240 mm radiator and fans because they should sit high enough to overlap the edge of the motherboard. But, I tried to install a Swiftech H220 AIO radiator and fan assembly, and it was a no go. The assembly did not clear the I/O blocks on the back of the motherboard, and the tubing kept the DVD ROM drive from sliding all the way back into position. A 280 mm radiator and fans don’t have a chance of fitting under the top deck either. While the bare radiators alone may fit here, the fans would have to be installed outside of the case. But that’s just silly looking. So, the claim of 240/280 mm radiator support is misleading at best.
The 5.25″ drive bay area can accept up to three devices, which are secured by Enermax’s patented “SlideIn ODD” design. The SlideIn latches are only available on the left side, but if desired you can further secure a device with screws on the right side of the bays.
Below the 5.25″ drive bays are two 3.5″ HDD cages. The upper most cage can easily be removed for additional video card clearance or to make way for installing the SSD cage on top of the lower cage. When the SSD cage is mounted on top of the lower 3.5″ HDD cage, the drive orientation is in the opposite direction of the lower cage. This doesn’t allow you to take full advantage of the cable management options, like when the business end of the drive points towards the back of the case. The SSD cage can also be installed inside the 3.5″ cage, either at the top or bottom. Each of the 3.5″ hard drive cages can accept two 120 mm fans, one on the left side, and one at the back. However, with the right side panel on, a fan at the back of a HDD cage will struggle to get much in the way of air flow.
The motherboard tray has a huge opening for accessing a CPU cooler’s retention mechanism, three cable pass-through holes, and several pre-installed motherboard standoffs. None of the pass-through holes have rubber grommets, which is a bit disappointing. The very upper left corner sports an additional smaller pass-through hole. The Ostrog GT has provided a good amount of room between the back of the motherboard tray and the right side panel. Enermax advertises 33 mm (roughly 1-1/4″) of clearance, and my measurement confirms this to be true.
A look at the back side of the motherboard tray area reveal lots of loops for tying off cables and yet another pass-through hole tucked under the the edge of the top panel. This pass-through hole could stand to be a bit larger to accommodate an 8-pin CPU AUX12V cable. A solid 8-pin connector will not fit through the hole, but one that splits into a 2X4-pin will.
The fan power cables are a 3-pin design and are not sleeved. The rest of the case wiring is standard fare you’ve seen many times over.
Ok, now that we’ve been through the Ostrog GT inside and out, let’s toss a system in it and see what we come up with!
Putting It All Together
ASUS F2A85-V Pro Motherboard (Overclockers Approved)
AMD A10-5800K APU (Overclockers Approved)
2×4 GB Kingston HyperX Memory
Toshiba HDS721050DLE630 500 GB SATA 6 Gb/s Hard Drive
Super Talent TeraDrive CT3 SSD (Overclockers Meh)
Thermaltake Smart-M 750 Watt PSU (Overclockers Approved)
Sapphire HD 7770 Video Card (Overclockers Approved)
HP CD/DVD SATA Rom Drive
Evercool HPQ-12025 Venti CPU Cooler (Overclockers Approved)
Assembling a system in the Enermax Ostrog GT is pretty straightforward. Installing a 5.25″ drive is extremely simple and only requires sliding it in until the Slidein ODD latch engages the drive. For the 3.5″ HDDs, you simply grab a set of rails and hold them in place while sliding the drives into the cage. No screws or tools needed. If you take advantage of using the SSD cage, you will need to secure a drive with screws.
Once the drives are installed, it’s just a matter of installing the rest of your hardware and tidying things up. The large amount of room behind the motherboard tray was put to good use, and I had no problem getting the right side panel reinstalled.
Inside the main cavity, I ended up with a pretty descent looking build. I was a little disappointed I couldn’t get the Swiftech H220 kit installed, try as I might. However, if you have an AIO water cooler that can mount at the exhaust fan location, you should be golden.
And finally, a few shots with the build all buttoned up.
The Enermax Ostrog GT (Giant) certainly has some nice features that will appeal to many of you out there. The modular capabilities of the HDD/SSD cages and the enormous amount of cable management room behind the motherboard tray stand out the most. The tool-less 3.5″ HDD mounting design works very well and holds the drive firmly in place. The easy to use 5.25″ Slidin ODD latches are unique and do a fantastic job of holding optical drives in place. The large smoke colored window and aggressive looking front panel give the Ostrog GT a unique look, obviously geared towards the gaming crowd. Including three fans in the case is another great feature that adds additional value to the Ostrog GT.
Not everything is rosy with the Ostrog GT, and there are some areas that missed the mark. Water cooling options are very limited, especially if you want everything mounted inside the case. You’ll pretty much be limited to using the exhaust fan area to mount an all-in-one unit or living with fans mounted outside of the top panel for larger radiators. The filter design is, quite frankly, not very well thought out. Removing them is a cumbersome task at best, and the filters themselves are not the best of quality. Other minor squabbles I have are the lack of a 3.5″ option for one of the front panel covers, no thumb screws on the expansion slot covers, no rubber grommets on the cable pass-through holes, and not being able to fit a solid 8-pin CPU AUX12V cable through the hole intended for it.
Currently, the Enermax Ostrog GT (Giant) sells for $74.99 at Newegg. A quick comparison leaves me with the impression the price is in line with other offerings in this price range. Typically, when looking at cases in this price range, there are sacrifices to be made. It’s up to the consumer to decide how well the end result of these sacrifices match what features they are looking for. At the end of the day, we have a nice looking case with a lot of useful features that would make a good basis for a budget conscious build. It’s not perfect, but there aren’t any $75.00 cases that are. If the features and capabilities of the Ostrog GT fit your needs, then it’s definitely worth a good look.
-Dino DeCesari (Lvcoyote)