Ultra Products: Microfly SFF Case Review :: Microfly Exterior

06-22-2006 · Category: Hardware - Cases

By Tulatin

Getting everything out of the box, I'd be inclined to think that I've officially found the only company that sends you an entire roll of bubble wrap with their item, Also included in the box with the case was a wee brown box, holding a token I/O shield, two bags of screws (with two mini speakers, oddly enough), and a manual for the LCD's "alarm" function. Overall, all the necessities, something you'd expect from a quality SFF case.

Ultra Products: Microfly SFF Case Review Packing


Ultra Products: Microfly SFF Case Review Box-o-Goodies


The first thing you'll think when you see this case from the front is that it IS a clone of one of Aspire's finest, and to be honest, I'd have trouble telling them apart too. Framed by a silver inset (on this model, at least), the front bezel houses a pair of 5 1/4" bays, along with an external 3 1/2" bay. Housed in a small silver bay below your optical hideout, and next to the vacant floppy bay is a wee LCD, lit in blue when the system is powered on, and intended to read the temperature of a moveable internal probe.

Past a brief silver ridge, below these bays, the front I/O ports, buttons and LEDs are visible. Overall, their layout is sensible, and their security is strong, which is nice, though our case had a slight issue. Unfortunately, "the few and the proud" of the Microfly cases came out of the factory with the Mic and Headphone ports reversed. Though there is a replacement cable available for free from Ultra Products to remedy this problem, I was a touch too lazy to bother wanting to rip out the front bezel to fix it, so I just opted to remembering that the pink plug went on the left, and the green plug was on the right. Normal production units should be unaffected by this "bug". Sorry for the pun, folks. Found right below this silver cluster, a molded handle is worked into the front panel, and swings out with minimal effort. While initial worry said that this handle wouldn't be the best thing, I found it was sturdy enough to pick the case up by, even when it was loaded up, the plastic of the bezel - even the vents around the handle - didn't seem to flex, or feel any stress. Of course, this handle is for moving the case a few feet, not carrying it to a LAN party a town over.

Ultra Products: Microfly SFF Case Review Angle Left

Angle Left

Ultra Products: Microfly SFF Case Review Angle Right

Angle Right

Slipping along the chassis, there are a number of things I could have seen. Though there was a model of this case with side windows, my contact inside Ultra opted not to fire one of those my way - which I'm thankful for - as it gives a blank canvas, and a good way to hide my currently abhorrent wiring. Instead, I'm left with a view of glimmering, incredibly glossy aluminum, much like what was visible on the Aluminus chassis. Unfortunately, also much like the Aluminus chassis, these side panels will require special handling, as they can and will scratch quite easily. In order to access the interior of this case, the top panel must be pulled back, and its notches pull out of the side panels. It can then be lifted off and set aside. Then, to remove the side panels, just pull upwards on them, and they come right out. While this may seem flimsy to some, they all stay in place quite well once the single screw of the top panel is in place. While it is a mite frustrating to have to do things this way, it really is no problem compared to the hassles of a one piece cover. Now, once the smooth side panels have been passed, the rear of the case needs examination.

After the unbroken expanses we've just passed, I'd guess it's a bit of a relief to come to an area which is so busy. The first thing to note is that this case will support a 120mm fan, regular sized ATX PSU (modifications will be needed for cases that are even minimally longer), and a removable and vented motherboard tray. Unfortunately, if you try mounting a 120mm fan so that it blows into the case (or blows out, if you have a strange fan like my Nidec Beta V, or one of Arctic Cooling's upcoming TC 120mm fans), the raised aluminum bump at the center of the grille will make it so that the center of the fan scrapes nosily against this area. The simplest solution is to put a flat fan grille onto the fan, so that it can't be pushed down. As to the PSU problem, the included V-Series (if you go for one, that is) supply should have enough gusto to handle even a downright mean machine (FX class processor and X1900 anyone?) On the plus side, though, the PSU stays well supported thanks to a pair of internal crossbars. Unfortunately, the motherboard tray, though secured at four points, has a slight issue with bending (it's essentially single sheets of metal), so care must be taken when sliding it in and out of the case. On the plus side, it does look good once properly installed. With this tour of the exterior out of the way, it's about time to see what sets this chassis apart inside.

Ultra Products: Microfly SFF Case Review Angle Rear

Angle Rear

Ultra Products: Microfly SFF Case Review Front


Ultra Products: Microfly SFF Case Review Top Panel

Top Panel

Ultra Products: Microfly SFF Case Review Side Panel

Side Panel

Ultra Products: Microfly SFF Case Review Side Panel Clasps

Side Panel Clasps