The first thing you see, of course, is Maingear’s Ephex chassis, made of sleek, brushed black aluminum. Aside from a couple of blue LEDs, the etched window spanning almost one half of the side panel is about as flashy as this case gets. The insides are definitely cool-looking enough to warrant it, showcasing very tidy cabling and additional lights on the motherboard. There are holes built into the back to accommodate liquid cooling tubes, but they aren’t needed here because the whole system is contained internally. I won’t get ahead of myself though…
There is a nice solid door on the front that opens up to reveal the 5 drive bays, as well as a set of vents on all sides to promote airflow about the four 120mm fans that are in the case. Also on top is a neat little hub with USB, audio, and firewire ports that you can pull out like an artillery launcher, then snap back in again when you don’t need it. All the moving parts are pleasantly sturdy because they’re made of metal, instead of plastic like I’ve seen on other cases.
Inside you will find an EVGA X58 SLI Classified motherboard, though it’s largely hidden behind the rest of the components. This bad boy has an LGA 1366 socket, 4 PCI-Express slots, support for up to 6 sticks of triple-channel DDR3 RAM, more USB and SATA ports than you’d probably ever need, and some serious chipset cooling. Not to mention the dual gigabit Ethernet ports, onboard Realtek high definition audio, LED debug/temperature display, and CMOS reset button. As far as motherboards go, this is about as good as it gets.
This particular system has an Intel Core i7-950 quad-core CPU in it – running stock at 3.07GHz -- as well as 6GB of Kingston HyperX DDR3-1600 memory, a 150GB Western Digital Raptor hard drive, and Sony Optiarc 24x DVD burner with Lightscribe. Everything is powered by a beast of a power supply, the 1500W Silverstone Strider. So beastly, in fact, that it requires an extra strength power cable! The ones we are used to using for computers and monitors have a limit of 1250W, which is obviously not enough for this application.
If you’re wondering just what sort of machine would merit such a powerhouse under the hood, I refer you to the next page of this article, where I go into detail on its graphics capabilities.