Introducing the Rosewill Blackhawk Ultra

We've long maintained that Rosewill's Thor v2 is one of the best deals floating around for enthusiasts. In that enclosure, Rosewill has a product that's fairly feature rich, quiet, and offers stellar performance. Yet the Thor v2 isn't the flagship of their enclosure line, but today we have that flagship in house. Given its predecessor's stellar performance, expectations are pretty high for the Blackhawk Ultra.

This case is huge, enthusiast class through and through, but it's far less ostentatious than the Thor v2. Our rep at Rosewill has repeatedly cited the Blackhawk Ultra as a bestseller and consistently highly rated enclosure, and it's not hard to see why users might buy it without a second thought: in every sense of the word, this case has a lot of fans. Just about anywhere Rosewill could put a fan, they did, and you'll see when I start breaking it down exactly what I mean.

Rosewill Blackhawk Ultra Specifications
Motherboard Form Factor Mini-ITX, Micro-ATX, ATX, E-ATX, XL-ATX, HPTX
Drive Bays External 4x 5.25" (5.25" to 3.5" adapters included)
Internal 10x 3.5"/2.5"
Cooling Front 2x 140mm red LED intake fan, 2x 140mm intake fan (behind drive cage)
Rear 1x 140mm exhaust fan (supports 120mm)
Top 2x 230mm red LED exhaust fan (supports 2x 180mm, 3x 120mm/140mm)
Side 1x 230mm red LED intake fan (supports 9x 120mm)
1x 120mm/140mm fan mount behind motherboard tray
Bottom 1x 120mm/140mm fan mount
Expansion Slots 10
I/O Port 4x USB 2.0, 2x USB 3.0, 1x Headphone, 1x Mic
Power Supply Size ATX
Clearances HSF 170mm
PSU 220mm
GPU 404mm
Dimensions 9.45" x 25" x 25.99"
240mm x 635mm x 660mm
Weight 36.6 lbs. / 16.6 kg
Special Features USB 3.0 via internal header
Hotswap SATA bay
Secondary power supply bay
Internal fan hubs
Price $179

Rosewill cites the Blackhawk Ultra as supporting the Corsair H100, which is almost like saying something might explode in a Michael Bay film. The reality is that the Blackhawk Ultra has very healthy radiator support, and a lot of that is due to the substantially increased height as a result of the secondary power supply bay at the top of the case. This bay is blocked off initially, and you'll have to remove one of the 230mm fans from the top to use it.

In keeping with the Thor v2's design, though, it's interesting to see just how much mileage Rosewill is willing to get out of these enormous 230mm fans. Suffice to say that cooling shouldn't be a huge issue, but at eight fans installed stock, it's easy to suspect the Blackhawk Ultra will have trouble with noise. That trouble may be compounded by the one feature the Thor v2 has that the Blackhawk Ultra lacks: a fan controller. Rosewill opted instead for a pair of fan hubs inside the enclosure that support five fans apiece, and the whole thing comes wired and ready to go for the most part.

In and Around the Rosewill Blackhawk Ultra
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  • marc1000 - Thursday, March 28, 2013 - link

    I guess that's the reason he complains about the cable management issue. It's more of a "chicken and egg" problem lol !!!
  • Jorus - Saturday, August 31, 2013 - link

    Did you notice the lack of tie downs? This doesn't excuse the mess in the case but not much to work with under the motherboard for cable management. A shame. I really like the layout. Lack of toolless 3.5, lack of tie downs, small grommets and bad spacing as well, and having to remove front bezel to put in 5.25's. NZXT Phantom 630 or Enermax Fulmo GT is looking like better options for the price range.
  • doubletake - Thursday, March 28, 2013 - link

    I feel AnandTech should sponsor Dustin with a personal trainer + intense workout regimen, so he can (hopefully) stop complaining about a case's weight, and the "difficulty" in mounting notched side panels. Apart from that, I enjoy the rest of the content in his reviews.
  • HisDivineOrder - Thursday, March 28, 2013 - link

    You could always Kickstarter one.
  • Ninhalem - Thursday, March 28, 2013 - link

    I can lift a decent amount of weight (usually lifting 50 to 60 lb gauges all day at work), and I can understand some of Dustin's issues. I don't want to have to lift my case all day long because 1) I'm afraid of dropping the sucker (weighs about 45 lbs) and destroying components, and 2) there are not a lot of decent hand holds on cases especially when you need to lift in a specific configuration (especially when you have a custom loop inside where items aren't always secured down).

    As for the notched side panels, I usually don't have difficulty with those, but putting both the side panels on after a cleaning is just annoying. I don't like to be annoyed after spending 3 hours cleaning the inside. It is not hard implementing engineering changes to put swing doors on these cases especially if you are charging over $150 USD.
  • Observist - Thursday, March 28, 2013 - link

    Well, Dustin does say that 60 lbs is almost half his body weight, so he's not a big guy. If, like many computer enthusiasts, he were carrying around an extra 200 lbs at all times, lifting a 60 lb case wouldn't be such a big deal, but alas, you're giving him crap for being small.
  • Th-z - Thursday, March 28, 2013 - link

    Suggestion: please include filter as a category in your spec table in your case reviews, Dustin. Maybe it's something you don't care so you never/rarely mention even for a case with dust filters in your reviews, but your readers may want to know. Nowadays I don't consider any case without intergrated, easy to remove filters, because even for case with filters, I also have to check the density of filters, and how many fan slots are covered (especially for the intakes). So at least some mentions of it would be appreciated, having some pictures taken would be even greater.
  • Onus - Thursday, March 28, 2013 - link

    While a good argument can be made that such shouldn't be necessary at this price point, adding a fan controller oneself and adding fan filters (e.g. nylon hosiery stretched on a frame) will address the noise and dust issues without doing any real harm to cooling performance. The fan controller is incidentally another excellent use for a 5-1/4" bay.
  • freedom4556 - Thursday, March 28, 2013 - link

    I don't understand the general disdain for 5.25" bays perpetrated in Anandtech case reviews. I can easily see someone wanting two optical drives for simultaneous rip/burn and a fan controller, and if that's a double height model then that's four bays right there. A case of this ridiculous magnitude should have had four bays as a minimum (which it does). How likely is needing 10 3.5" drives verses two opticals and a fan controller (or two, given how many fans this case supports)? Personally, I think that the suggestion that anyone buying a case this massive would want to whip out and use "an external enclosure and a USB cable" (pg 2) for installing stuff from DVD or watching a blu-ray is asinine, especially when the case comes with a hard drive dock (a more likely use for the "an external enclosure and a USB cable" scenario). Enough with the pie-in-the-sky 'everything's digital distribution and in the cloud' rhetoric already. It's just not true, and not all (even most?) of us have 100 mbps internet connections at our disposal. </soapbox>
  • Grok42 - Friday, March 29, 2013 - link

    I am the source of some of this so called general disdain on the case review comments. If you look back through my posts I never complain about them on large cases such as these. My chief complaint is the lack of choice. There are only two mITX cases sans an external drive bay and both of those are recently released. I built my Core i7 3770 / 16GB / Ti 560 gaming rig out of one of them the Lian Li QB25 so I put my $120 where my mouth is. I couldn't be happier with this setup and not once did I need to use an optical drive to install the system or the ~30 games I have on it.

    The fact is that the vast majority of computers don't have optical drives anymore. If you could phones and tablets as computers then the vast majority don't have any external storage including SD cards. Given that I like to be on the bleeding edge of computing and build custom computers why do I have to put up with cases full of legacy bays I don't need or want? Building custom computers is going to die if the industry clings to the past completely.

    As to you other straw man arguments. I long since ripped all my DVDs to my media server. I haven't bought a DVD in years. If you like renting them and buying them more power to you but you also have to admit there is a large portion of the population that doesn't do this anymore and it is only getting larger. 4 years ago all this might have been pie in the sky but today everyone has laptops and tablets without optical drives and are happy watching all their media via digital distribution. These aren't techs but grandmothers. Finally I certainly don't have a 100mbps internet connection. My parents have a 1.5mb and I have a 6mb connection. We commonly stream 3 videos on different TVs without issue and sometimes 4.

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