Let’s take a look at the latest version of the Staray mid-tower case from Enermax, the ECA3175-BL (a.k.a. Neo), which is targeted to the entry-level market.
Staray is the name of a series of entry-level cases from Enermax, not of a particular product, and this can be confusing. There are two basic models available: the ECA3170 (which we reviewed back in 2009) and the ECA3175, which one with different versions. The ECA3175, for instance, is available in three versions: BL, S, and L. The differences between them can be seen in the table available here.
One of the highlights of the Enermax Staray ECA3175-BL is the presence of a huge transparent window on its left-side panel; you can’t install fans on this panel. This is one of the main differences between the ECA3175-BL and the ECA3170 models, which have a mesh supporting two 120 mm or 140 mm fans.
[nextpage title=”The Front Panel”]
The front panel of the Enermax Staray ECA3175-BL is practically identical to the one used on the ECA3170 models. The only difference is the addition of one USB 3.0 port. The reviewed case has four external 5.25” bays and one external 3.5” bay, all using meshed covers with air filters.
The case comes with one 120 mm fan on its front panel, using a standard peripheral power connector. Unfortunately, the manufacturer doesn’t publish the specifications for this fan, which has blue LEDs. The case comes with a button near the USB 3.0 port for you to turn off these LEDs. There is an air filter for this fan on the front panel.
The case comes with one USB 2.0 port, one USB 3.0 port and the traditional audio jacks at the middle of the front panel. The USB 3.0 port uses an internal USB 3.0 connector. As mentioned, there is a button for turning off the LEDs of the front fan.
[nextpage title=”The Top, Bottom, and Rear Panels”]
The top panel of the Enermax ECA3175-BL is solid, while the bottom panel has a mesh for the power supply fan.
The rear panel and the interior of the Enermax Staray ECA3175-BL are painted black.
On the Enermax Staray ECA3175-BL, the power supply is installed at the bottom of the case.
The case doesn’t come with a fan installed on its rear panel, which nowadays is rather unusual. It supports the installation of an 80 mm, a 92 mm, or a 120 mm fan.
This case has seven expansion slots. The slot covers are disposable, which is common with entry-level cases.
There are two holes with rubber covers for hoses of liquid cooling solutions, measuring 0.7” (17 mm) in diameter.
Let’s now take a look inside the Enermax Staray ECA3175-BL.
[nextpage title=”Inside the Enermax Staray ECA3175-BL”]
Both panels are attached to the chassis using black thumbscrews, which is great to see on an entry-level product. The motherboard tray has a huge hole for you to access the backplate of the CPU cooler without having to remove the motherboard from the case. This case doesn’t allow you to route cables behind the motherboard tray, but the tray comes with several clips for you to fasten cables using cable ties.
In Figure 12, we get another overall look inside the case. Expansion cards are fastened using a metallic tool-less mechanism. The Enermax Staray ECA3175-BL supports video cards up to 9.9” (252 mm) long and CPU coolers up to 6.5” (166 mm) tall.
The power supply is installed at the bottom of the case. It can be installed with either its bottom fan facing up or facing down, so you can decide if you want the fan of your power supply pulling air from inside the case or from outside of it. There is no air filter for the power supply fan.
[nextpage title=”The Disk Drive Bays”]
The Enermax Staray ECA3175-BL has four external 5.25” bays, one external 3.5” bay, and five internal 3.5” bays, all using tool-less installation mechanisms. A sixth internal 3.5” bay is available, but it incorrectly comes with a tool-less mechanism for floppy disk drives, not for hard disk drives, so this mechanism can’t be used. You still can use the bay for installing a hard drive, but you will need to use regular screws due to this error. This case doesn’t support 2.5” devices, which is a major drawback. Nowadays we expect to see even entry-level cases with at least one 2.5” bay.
[nextpage title=”Main Specifications”]
The main specifications for the Enermax Staray ECA3175-BL include:
- Style: Mid-tower
- Application: ATX, and smaller form factors
- Material: Zinc-coated steel (SECC) body
- Power supply: Doesn’t come with the product
- Available colors: Black
- Side panel: Transparent window
- Dimensions: 16.2 x 7.3 x 17.7 inches (411 x 185 x 450 mm) (H x W x D)
- Net weight: 12 lbs (5.6 kg)
- Gross weight: 14 lbs (6.4 kg)
- Bays: Four external 5.25” bays, one external 3.5” bay, and six internal 3.5” bays
- Expansion slots: Seven
- Maximum video card length: Up to 9.9” (252 mm)
- Maximum CPU cooler height: Up to 6.5” (166 mm)
- Fans: One 120 mm fan on the front panel (blue LEDs with switch)
- Optional fans: One 80 mm, 92 mm or 120 mm fan on the rear panel
- Extra Features: NA
- More Information: https://www.enermax.com
- MSRP in the U.S.: USD 50.00
We can only recommend the Enermax Staray ECA3175-BL if you can find it for the right price. It looks like and feels like a USD 40 case, especially for the lack of features that are standard nowadays, in particular the absence of a rear fan and at least one 2.5” bay, and the mistake of coming with a floppy disk drive retainer on its sixth hard drive bay, instead of a hard drive one. That said, if you are on a budget, don’t mind the weak points of this case, and can find it for USD 40-50, it is a good pick. However, if you have an extra USD 10 in your budget, we recommend you to pick a case such as the NZXT Tempest 210 or the NZXT Source 220.
- The external bay covers are meshed and have air filters
- Air filter for the front fan
- Supports six hard drives
- Tool-less mechanism for fastening expansion cards
- A huge hole in the motherboard tray for accessing the backplate of the CPU cooler
- Clips for fastening cables using cable ties
- One USB 3.0 port using an internal connector
- Doesn’t come with the rear fan
- Doesn’t have a 2.5” bay
- The sixth hard drive bay comes with a tool-less mechanism for floppy disk drives by mistake