Getting inside is accomplished via the afore-mentioned lockable spring-loaded thumbscrew assembly on the back of the case at the top of either side panel. The side panel rails are then slightly angled outward to release the side panel slots from up top. You angle the panel away from the top of the case and then pull up to release the wide groove down low. I discovered after opening the case several times that the side panels are indeed keyed differently and are not universal.
The three chamber design is immediately evident. The front lower 120mm fan, which is thumbscrew-mounted to the filter housing, feeds air across the drive bay. The air filter will stop larger contaminants from being forced across your beloved Raptors. The PSU bay is also in the basement. The drive mounts and PSU separation can be removed completely.
Above the basement is the living room. The 5 1/4" drive bays are suspended in the mounting rails, with the wide open motherboard area ready for the brains of the outfit. The back of the chamber is home to the 120mm case fan that provides a majority of the circulation.
Time to install the hardware...
I wanted to completely pimp this rig out, so a decision was made to use split tube hose over the power leads. In order to do so, I started by busting out the motherboard and getting approximate lengths to make sure I have the right amount of materials. I replaced the backplane connector plate with the one provided by Asus. Easy. I laid out the location the motherboard risers. Again, easy. I installed the PSU mounting plate and made my first attempt at dealing with the wiring loom. Not so easy. Immediately, I was challenged with the design decision of sacrificing drive space the cable storage. After ensuring the SATA cable would reach to the front set of drive slots, I went forward with the plan that the drive bay next to the PSU would hold slack power line. Measure twice, cut once, and cover the power lines in sleek black corrugated plastic. I confess, there is one line of EL rope running through the front to give the mesh a subtle glow.
Lower Level Test Fit
After the test fit, I started tearing open the multiple bags of motherboard risers, motherboard screws, hard drive mounts, optical drive screws and even some cable management loops and zip-ties (tie-wraps in my industry).
These Are The Left Overs!!!
I then started to mount the 5 1/4 drives. Since I had two DVD drives, I abandoned the aluminum faceplate. If you use the faceplate, you simply mount the DVD behind. The faceplate and additional faceplates should you choose to use them have a mounting bracket that runs vertical on either side of the drive bays. Getting to these screws can be a chore and an adventure in busted knuckles. Thankfully, the clean edges leave no risk of them becoming bloody busted knuckles. The floppy did get installed behind the included aluminum face plate.
Screwing Things Up
Next on the install hit-parade is the motherboard. I have built systems in cases with out slide out trays, and didn't think much about the lack of one. My final complaint about the V1000 pops up here. The motherboard is mounted against the divider of the PSU/hard drive chamber and the main chamber. The CPU position on the A8N-SLI Deluxe forces you to make a decision, mount the CPU and cooler first and then the motherboard, or the motherboard first and then the CPU and cooler. Either way, you will fight the space limitation and either curse dropped screws or fight with a mounting clip longer than you should have to.
Screwing Things Up
The rest of the install is an absolute joy. The hard drive slot guides screw into the standard mounting positions of the hard drive. The drives glide in and are locked down. Signal cables are run to their destinations, and the front panel cables you choose to use are plugged in to their new homes. Speaking of which, the USB and firewire cables come with the standard motherboard connectors as well as individual leads for non-standard pin locations. The PCI cards easily lined up and everything slotted with the normal reassuring clunk. Excess cables have a few locations for storage and you can do some creative cable routing given the proper lengths.