Assembling the Rosewill Ranger

Rosewill doesn't include motherboard standoffs preinstalled, but once we start hovering around this price point we're willing to sacrifice a few amenities. That said, things don't start off on the best foot with the Ranger. Rosewill includes a generic I/O shield built into the case that has to be punched out, and all that really does is add an extra step to assembly. Getting the I/O shield for our testbed in turned out to be an exercise in frustration, too, as the Ranger made for a particularly tight fit. Wiring things up is a little better, and Rosewill amusingly opted not to include a power LED header at all; given that the front fan glows red, that LED would've been redundant. The cable routing holes made for plugging the eSATA connector into the sideways-mounted SATA ports on the motherboard a bit difficult, though, and the front panel audio header could've used another inch or two of slack.

Mounting a 3.5" drive in the Ranger is incredibly easy; the two drive sleds snap into the sides of the drive and then are held in place when you mount the drive to the cage. The plastic tray included also supports mounting two 2.5" drives, and while it isn't the firmest in the world it definitely gets the job done and is easier than some of the other trays I've used. Finally, the tool-less clips for the 5.25" drive bays are easy enough to use, but they do feel a bit loose: you'll want to screw in the other side of the optical drive for security. You'll have to actually pop the front panel off to remove the drive bay shields as well, which is another in a string of minor nuisances.

Popping in the GeForce GTX 580 from our testbed isn't too tight a fit, but this is really as long a video card as you'll want to go with. Theoretically you could shimmy in something longer like a Radeon HD 6990 or, I don't know, a Voodoo 5 6000, but you'll lose access to at least one external drive bay in the process, depending on where you need to slot it in.

Finally, while getting the power supply in is easy enough, routing cables turns out to be an utter nightmare. The routing holes around the motherboard tray are seeming slightly off center, especially around the side-mounted SATA ports, but your mileage may vary; side-mounted SATA ports on a full-sized ATX board are going to result in serious cable bending. Rosewill at least has all of the cabling for the storage drives routed to behind the motherboard tray. Getting the AUX 12V line in is also very difficult; clearance between the port and the top 140mm fan is borderline nonexistent, and I actually wound up having to use the heatsink to pin the cable down so it wouldn't get caught in the fan.

This is also where I realized just how much cable routing space there isn't in the Ranger; I'm used to having to apply a little force to replace the panel behind the motherboard tray, but I had to apply pressure to three of the four sides of the panel at once to eventually squeeze it on. This is really inexcusable; even an extra centimeter or two would've made a world of difference.

Honestly the Ranger is more work to build than it really needs to be. Tweaking the layout of the mounting holes in the motherboard tray and adding 2cm to every axis of the enclosure would've made everything a lot easier without making the case that much bigger. As it stands, this is just too small and difficult to work in. Hopefully it'll at least perform well enough to merit the trouble.

In and Around the Rosewill Ranger Testing Methodology


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  • Sttm - Wednesday, December 14, 2011 - link

    Especially when it's molded like that on the front in. It'd look better and be just as cheap I'd wager with a cleaner design and with a matte finish. Reply
  • piroroadkill - Wednesday, December 14, 2011 - link

    Hah, that is exactly the first thing I thought when I saw it.

    Then I was dismayed by the sheer number of holes all over it. It would be terrible for keeping quiet.

    Spend a bit more and get yourself a Fractal Design Define R3. Who even wants that many 5.25" bays anyway?

    The only thing I do like about the design on this is the ventilated back panel that extends beyond the 120mm fan and down the side where the graphics card(s) would be.

    That would be nice to let the graphics card breathe a bit more, but it's not on the side, so it's unlikely it would create a path for sound directly to your ear. Fractal Design, take note of that minor point. (I also prefer ports and buttons on the front, and honestly I'd rather have the power button BEHIND the door. Ports collect dust when they're facing up!).
  • piroroadkill - Wednesday, December 14, 2011 - link

    That said, it's almost certainly made the same OEM that Fractal Design uses. It shares a very high number of case elements, although it's done them in a slightly more half-assed way than the Define case does. Filtered fans, and so on.

    It also looks like it has the same rubber grommets, which are terrible. They're too soft and they fall out of the hole if you so much as breathe on them. The ones that came on the back of my Antec P182 are perfect in comparison, you can jam your finger in, pull it out, and the grommet does not fall out.

    Try that on these or on the Fractal Design cases (like I said, looks like the same OEM), and those things will pop out as soon as you push.
  • rrohbeck - Wednesday, December 14, 2011 - link

    Fractal Design has fixed that. I built with a Define XL (new model) recently and the grommets stuck where they should. Reply
  • ckryan - Wednesday, December 14, 2011 - link

    ... for the increase in quality their products have been getting recently. Better power supplies, better cases, better Rosewill-branded nose/ear hair trimmers too. But damn, the Ranger is hideous... not in a pseudo-good way, or a quirky way. It's first degree murder with the ugly stick.

    But from a functional point of view, I guess it works. It's just not as sexy as the Lian Li PC A05NB while doing it.
  • marvdmartian - Wednesday, December 14, 2011 - link

    They still have a long way to go, IMHO.

    And asking $70 for this case is a joke. Don't be surprised if Newegg has it on sale for $40 (or less) soon, just to clear out their inventory. This is a hideous case, and I can't see any serious system builder wanting to use it.

    Oh, and Dustin? There's plenty of sub-$100 cases that look good and perform well. The snobbery that exists for high prices (versus low priced) cases is just ridiculous.
  • Dustin Sklavos - Wednesday, December 14, 2011 - link

    You guys keep accusing me of snobbery when I've spent the last year testing these cases and have a big fat spreadsheet full of results.

    I do have a sub-$50 case review coming up that I was quite fond of, but the reality is that you ARE going to have to spend if you want heavy duty cooling performance with good acoustics.
  • marvdmartian - Wednesday, December 14, 2011 - link

    Sorry, Dustin. Didn't mean to point a finger solely at you, in the case snobbery comment.

    The snobbery seems, instead, to exist in a general way among many computer building enthusiasts. Some places I've seen, it's a prevailing attitude for years now (the whole, "Oh, it's not a Lian Li case"? comment gets old, ya know?).

    I will agree to disagree with you, concerning your cost versus heavy duty cooling and good accoustics point, though. To me, unless it's an HTPC case, I don't worry as much about accoustics (pushing 50 years old, with bad hearing, probably has something to do with that). My previous build was with an Antec 900 case, which offers excellent cooling, and is pretty darn quiet, but pushes the $100 price range. My current build was done in an Antec 100 case, which also offers pretty decent cooling, at half that price......and the only thing I hear from it is the hard drive winding up when it first starts up (sorry, no $$ for an SSD in my near future).

    But computer cases are like cars, and we're all going to have different tastes in what we like. Personally, I'd rather have an inexpensive box, filled with good quality components.
  • Zoomer - Wednesday, January 18, 2012 - link

    Antec 300 for $30 is the hands down value winner. I do have to spend some time adding some time to the side, taping up holes and neutering the top fan. I also took a marker to the blue LED but it's still kinda too bright.

    On the bright side, it is just barely audible beside hdd seek, but that sound is acceptable to me.
  • piroroadkill - Wednesday, December 14, 2011 - link

    Is an extremely bad thing when fitting the case.

    My P182 lacked enough holes and space to route cables efficiently round the back of the case.

    When I took my motherboard out (I was having random issues), I discovered that just the force of putting the case side on had, over time, slowly bent the motherboard tray, and thus the motherboard, which I'm now pretty certain caused my issues.

    I never pushed it on with a lot of force or anything, either. It's a cautionary tale, and a HUGE point against any case when you can't fit things without a real shove.

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