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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  • lwatcdr - Friday, March 29, 2013 - link

    You see I feel the opposite. I would like to see more cases with just optical drive bays. It is easy enough to put in adaptors for any drive you want. What I really want is an ITX or mATX case with just 4 optical bays. I can get two 2to3 hotswap bays and make a NAS then. I would take six bays as well as then I could use two 3x5 bays and build a 10 drive NAS. In a way I do agree that we need more extreme cases. I would like to see some with no optical bays, some with only optical bays, and some with a mix of bays.
  • lwatcdr - Thursday, March 28, 2013 - link

    I do not think that the Blackhawk competes with the Phantom 630 but with the 820, the Switch 810, and other cases that support E-ATX and larger motherboards. The 630 is a great case but is a good bit smaller. If you want to do a build a really complex water cooler loop system, or run a quad SLI system then you need a case like the Blackhawk. The 630 is a great case but not really in the same class as the Blackhawk. The Switch is and frankly maybe the better case for a lot of builds.
    The one place that Blackhawk and it's twin the Xigmatek Elysium really shine is if you want a dual CPU workstation. They have the cutouts to support dual CPUs. That is also probably why they have such conservative looks. If you are going to build a dual 2011 system with a Quadro card and maybe a Tesla card or two then you really don't want it to look like a transformer. Lots of space and cooling for a really large system for a really low price.
  • SunLord - Thursday, March 28, 2013 - link

    I have this case which I'm setting up to run a water cooled Dual Opteron server. This case is perfect for crazy large water cooled builds. As you can easily run 1 200MM on top, 1 3x140mm on bottom, and 1 140mm radiator on the rear with little trouble. You also can in theory fit in a 2x140MM radiator on the side of the hard drive cage but it's a bit of a pain as the case isn't meant mount one there. You also have the option given all the hose holes to use external radiators.
  • JonnyDough - Friday, March 29, 2013 - link

    Honestly, two big fans directing air through filtration from bottom to top is all you really need to properly cool a case. I still think that the modern redesign of the old layout has a long way to go. How these companies situation the goods inside the case could use some re-evaluation.

    It would be best served towards the front bottom of the case, below the drives for cable routing. The PSU needs to be a source of filtered cool air INTAKE. The out other intake needs to be filtered air through the bottom rear of the case flowing directly into the video card. If you want, an optional third intake can be window mounted with direct ducting to the CPU cooler.

    The top of the case needs one giant quiet fan in the middle to expel hot air. Hot air rises, so it will rise to the top naturally and be expelled from the case by the fan. Positive air pressure is not necessary as long as the rest of the case is sealed up and the only intake possible is through the filters.
  • lwatcdr - Friday, March 29, 2013 - link

    I think you underestimate the value of positive case pressure.
    1. It is pretty impractical to seal a case so it can only intake air from filtered sources. USB ports, side panels, and other ports and connections are almost never air tight.
    2. Higher air pressure means that you have denser air which means more mass to carry away the heat. Of course just to make life hard when you compress a fluid like air you heat it. Light positive pressure supplied from filtered intakes.
  • sulu1977 - Friday, March 29, 2013 - link

    What I want to see is a case with a filter so that no dust or insects can get inside. Also most of USB ports should be at bottom of front panel, behind a simple hinged cover.
  • Ammohunt - Thursday, April 4, 2013 - link

    I would like to see this case built with every fan position filled.

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