Now we can mount some drives. Again, the lack of a manual here is almost unforgivable. I'm used to a rail-and-clip sort of system for the optical drives, which is what I thought the six included rails were for. After a bit of fiddling around, I discovered that the retention system does not use rails.
Instead, you slide your optical drive into the drive bay, line the back-most screw hole up with an “aimer hole” near the rear of the locking mechanism, then slide the locking rail forward. This extends pins into the two bottom-most holes on the side of your drive. The plus side to this setup is there are no drive rails to lose. However, as there is no similar locking mechanism on the other side of the drive cage, your drive is held in place by, essentially, two screws on one side only. It feels solid enough, and the “shelf” underneath the edges of the drive keep it from moving, but I'd still prefer to see some sort of retention device on the other side, or at the very least, screw holes for added security.
The other drawback is that this arrangement does not work for hard drives, which can be an issue if you have more than three hard drives, and need to use one of the external 3.5” drive bays.
If you prefer to use screws, or the retaining pins break, the locking slides also provide for regular screws.
The hard drive cage uses a more conventional rail setup, which is surprising. Not that it uses a conventional tool-free setup, but that it uses one at all. Even many higher priced cases require you to use screws on the HDD cage, limiting the tool-free joy to just the optical drives.
The included rails simply snap onto the side of your drive. The fit is a tad loose, so you'll need to hold them in place while you start to slide the drive into the cage.
All you need to do is slide the drive into the drive cage. A plastic notch on each rail locks into a matching hole in the drive cage, locking the drive securely in place.
It's that easy. iStar provides rails for three hard drives, which again is a nice plus. Many cases I've worked with in the past only provided a bare minimum of rails, forcing you to buy extras if you had more than one or two drives.
All that's left to do now is install your add-in cards. Again, iStar provides you with a tool-free method, using a rotating retaining clip. Press on the tab by the back case wall, and pull the clip outwards from outside the case. Install your card, then push the clip back in. It's a solid setup, but on a particularly heavy video card, I would still feel safer using the provided screw holes.
My biggest concern was the cooling, Given that the case only provides for three fans, I was a bit worried that my (somewhat) overloaded rig would sweat a bit. Once I fired ‘er up, though, my worries were gone. With a single 120mm exhaust fan and a single 80mm intake, my temps actually dropped 5C. And you cannot credit that to a neat wiring job, by any means.