In and Around the Rosewill Blackhawk Ultra

Interestingly, Rosewill's aesthetic for the Blackhawk Ultra is very staid and conservative, which is welcome. There's a glossy plastic trim which looks a little chintzy, but the predominate motif is "ventilation." The entire front and top of the enclosure is essentially just a black mesh grill, and that includes the shields for the 5.25" bays.

Given the sheer size of the Blackhawk Ultra, I'm surprised Rosewill only included four 5.25" bays. This isn't necessarily a bad thing; I've maintained that 5.25" bays are essentially an albatross hanging around the neck of modern enclosures, and one of the only things they're truly needed for that can't be handled by an external enclosure and a USB cable is for storing coolant reservoirs. Certainly you could install a healthy liquid cooling system in the Blackhawk Ultra, but I suspect that's not what the case was truly intended for. If you pop off the front fascia, though, you can see they did something interesting with the 5.25" bays: outside of the standard bay shields, the metal pop-out plates inside feature mounting points for another 120mm fan and can be reinstalled after they've been removed.

The top of the case is roughly as minimal as any other part of it; the I/O cluster features a healthy four USB 2.0 ports and two USB 3.0 ports, and there's an inclined SATA hotswap bay. On the back are a substantial number of radiator hose routing holes, but the most notable feature is probably the secondary power supply bay in the top of the enclosure. There's a shield already in place, but it can be removed, though as I mentioned you'll have to remove one of the top 230mm fans to use it.

Rosewill secures the side panels with thumbscrews per usual, but frustratingly, the side panels are notched. This is baffling given that the Thor v2 uses hinged panels, and hinged panels (or another solution) should really be standard when you're paying this much for a case. The Blackhawk Ultra is enormous, and having to spread yourself out to place pressure on all four corners of a side panel to secure it is difficult to say the least. They couldn't help adding more fan mounts to the side panels, though; if you're so inclined you can actually mount nine 120mm fans to the left panel and even another 140mm one behind the motherboard (located directly behind the CPU.)

When we do look inside the case, there aren't actually that many surprises: this is a giant ATX case. Rosewill has toolless clamps for the 5.25" bays and ten metal drive trays that use rubber grommets to dampen vibration from 3.5" drives. There are routing holes for all motherboard sizes from ATX on up, but when you're looking at the size of the holes and how they're arranged, something should be sticking out: the ones near the power supply bays. Power cables are the thickest ones in the system, yet these holes are actually fairly small. You'll see later that this materializes into exactly the kind of problem you'd expect.

There's also one major omission in the Blackhawk Ultra's design that was forgiveable in the essentially value-priced Thor v2 but less so here: fan filters. There's only a single removable filter on the bottom of the case for the PSU; all of the other vents in the case are filter-free. I've seen what can happen to a Thor v2 when the grills aren't dusted out regularly, and I can't imagine the Blackhawk Ultra will fare much better on that front.

All in all there aren't too many surprises with the Blackhawk Ultra's design; that wouldn't be an issue ordinarily, but remember that this is a $179 case. In that light, it can seem strangely conservative and even a bit archaic in some ways.

Introducing the Rosewill Blackhawk Ultra Assembling 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 !!! Reply
  • 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. Reply
  • 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. Reply
  • HisDivineOrder - Thursday, March 28, 2013 - link

    You could always Kickstarter one. Reply
  • 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.
    Reply
  • 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. Reply
  • 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. Reply
  • 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. Reply
  • 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> Reply
  • 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.
    Reply

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