Page 4 - Installation and Conclusion
Installation is quite a breeze to go (Well, most of the time, lol). The case is made of entirely aluminum, built with great quality, and I noticed no sharp edges. As mentioned earlier, the power supply resides in the bottom chamber -- the Thermaltake Toughpower QFan 650W went in without any complaints. There's also tons of room to work with, and considering the fact that the PSU has its only separate room in the case, it doesn't matter whether you want to install it first or last.
The removable hard drive cages allows easy installation of hard drives. Since I installed one of my spare computers (Spare as in, one that I don't use much, but doesn't mean it sucks -- Intel Core 2 Duo E7200, Gigabyte EP45-DQ6, OCZ Reaper HPC PC2-8500 2x1GB, Asus 8800GT TOP, you get the idea) -- the lowliest part I have is a Seagate 7200.7 160GB PATA drive. I'm going to move it to the 3.5" drive bay later, but just for demonstration purposes, the hard drive cages does its job well.
As previously mentioned, the airflow guide over the CPU is a pain to remove, but I eventually got it out -- thanks to the use of some hardware tools. The motherboard risers were hard to get in right, since the holes on the tray aren't labeled. Other than that, with the abundance amount of room to work with, everything went well despite the fact that practically nothing was tool-free. To repeat my complaint once more, I had to run two power cables through the middle -- definitely not my first preference. If only there's more room behind the motherboard tray, it would have been perfect!
The finished thing. I installed a small green LED at the top to make enhance the looks a little bit. As you can see in the photo above, there are cabling limitations, and it can be obviously seen through the side window. Other than that, as far as full towers goes -- the end user would definitely enjoy the incredible amount of room provided -- even if you're not planning to use an eATX motherboard anytime soon.
Plugging in everything, the reconstructed computer was ready to go. I relocated the front intake fan to the rear top, since that area really needs additional cooling -- my 8800GT's stock fan went nuts without the top exhaust haha. The front panel is also pretty sweet with the temperature indicator (Data given by an included thermal sensor) and fan speed indicator. Two buttons are placed on both sides of the display to control fan speed -- as mentioned earlier, it doesn't save settings, so you'll have to set it manually every time you start your computer. The stock fans would run around 1500rpm by default. Holding down the right button reduces voltage supplied to the fans (The right button? Usually it's the left, it's kinda weird). Another thing is that the power LED's internal connector pins aren't independently split, so you might have problems connecting it to your motherboard -- in which in our case, we did.
Did the Tagan A+ Black Pearl WCR rock? Well, long story short, it pretty much did. As expected from a case built by Lian Li, it's obvious that a lot of attention was paid to quality and detail. Everything is done very well; although somewhat conservative in many areas, it did not really hold back our enjoyment of the case. The design is clean, and looks awesome for its 100% aluminum construction. It also has its credits as a full tower -- tons of room to work with, and can accommodate pretty much any consumer/prosumer hardware. It's not without its share of complaints though -- for one thing, I'm not a particular big fan of the mesh window on the side, so it would be nice if an acrylic version is available (The non-WCR version is, but what if I want water cooling AND the acrylic window?). More tool-free features would be appreciated. The motherboard tray should also have proper labels to show which holes are for eATX, ATX, and mATX motherboards. More of the latest cabling-friendly designs would be highly appreciated. There's also those small things such as the power LED's internal connector block layout. Finally, it would be really nice to have the fan controller save the user's settings.Other than that, the Tagan A+ Black Pearl WCR is loaded with great features, and well targeted towards computer enthusiasts. It's not without its faults, as with any product on the market, but it's not all too significant enough. It's an excellent computer case that will appeal to the taste of many people looking for full towers. Now if they made those changes to reduce the amount of room for improvement, we got a winner here!
Special thanks to Leo over at Tagan for making this review possible.
APH Review Focus Summary:
7/10 means Great product with many advantages and certain insignificant drawbacks; but should be considered before purchasing.
-- Final APH Numeric Rating is 7.0/10
Please note that the APH Numeric Rating system is based off our proprietary guidelines in the Review Focus, and should not be compared to other sites.
Excellent quality case, with generally great design and tons of room to work with. With some aspects a little conservatively made (Such as the lack of behind-the-motherboard-tray cabling capabilities), there's some room for improvement until it becomes one of 'the' cases for the enthusiast.
1. Introduction, Packaging
2. Physical Look - Outside
3. Physical Look - Inside
4. Installation and Conclusion