I got another case in, time to strip the LAN rig once more for a review… Sharkoon have been around since the early noughties and have produced lots of parts and peripherals. My experience with them is mostly enclosures and HDD caddies, they do however have quite a broad range. The Sharkoon Pure Steel is a mid-range chassis designed to show off pretty builds where the visible action takes place mostly on the component side for a sideways desk placing setup.
Sharkoon Pure Steel RGB Specifications & Features
- Form Factor: ATX, E-ATX, CEB, EEB
- Expansion Slots: 7
- Interior Painting: ✓
- Cable Management System: ✓
- Side Panel Tempered Glass: ✓
- Weight & Dimensions
- Weight: 8.66 kg
- Dimensions (L x W x H): 47.4 x 21.0 x 47.5 cm
- USB 3.0 (Top): ✓
- Audio (Top): ✓
- Max. Drive Bays
- 3.5″: 3
- 2.5″: 5
- Fan Configuration
- Side Panel: 2x 120 mm fan (optional) or radiator (optional)*
- Rear Panel: 1x 120 mm RGB fan (pre-installed)
- Bottom Panel: 3x 120 mm RGB fan or radiator (pre-installed)**
- Mainboard: Mini-ITX, Micro-ATX, ATX, E-ATX, SSI CEB, SSI EEB
- Max. Length Graphics Cards: 42 cm***
- Max. Height CPU Cooler: 16 cm
- Max. Length Power Supply: 29.5 cm
- Max. Height Radiator incl. Fan (Front): 14.5 cm
- * If HDD/SSD mounting cover is removed
- ** Internal USB 3.0 connection to mainboard may conflict with space for radiator. Check before installation.
- *** 30 cm if radiator is installed on side panel.
Sharkoon Pure Steel RGB Closer Look
Arriving home I am confronted with a rather large box, the Pure Steel seems bigger than your standard mid-tower. Lots of information printed on the box with a drawn image of the case itself. Specs and details in various languages down the side.
Unboxing reveals a great looking and quite understated design, plain panels top and front, a tempered glass side window showing off the included fans and a very roomy interior. The paint job on the case is excellent and will withstand quite a bit of handling without scratching too easily.
The side view with the window in place shows quite a bit of reflection on the darkened glass, the window covered almost all of the side with the exception of front and back bezels so no obfuscation of components here.
Taking away the glass panel we get a much clearer view of the component bay. Unusual but similar to one or two other cases the PSU shroud is at the top embossed with the Sharkoon logo, this could present some interesting cabling issues since power supplies these days often cater for bottom mounting with the cable lengths. Four fans are included pre-mounted three on the bottom and one rear. Also note next to the bottom rubber cable grommet the GPU support bracket, which is a nice touch.
The cabling side of the Pure Steel is quite well vented at the front with a striking design rather than a standard grille, this does mean there is no dust filtering in this area.
The cabling side offers a few routing features with some of those nice rubber grommets in place, the distance to the side panel isn’t great so that should be considered when managing the layout. Towards the rear there are two 2.5″ mounting brackets for disk drives with mounting for two more drives up to 3.5″ at the top near the front, this bracket is removable. The Pure Steel’s PSU bay area is very generous so should be capable of taking some hefty power supplies. Finally we can see the RGB controller board in the lower middle area.
The addressable RGB controller supports up to 8 devices which is quite generous. Each connector uses the standard 3-pins out of 4 RGB connections, each connector handily has the extra pin hole filled in to prevent attaching them to a 4 pin output however a 4-pin RGB device would actually connect to this board so do be aware. The board features two control cables one that goes to a compatible connector on a motherboard or other controller and one that takes the reset button connector for optional RGB switching via the top reset button.
I do like the monolithic look of the front of the case, no big badges or illuminated logos here.
The bottom of the Pure Steel features two large plastic feet at either end with additional support from smaller rubber pads to stop the case sliding around. This clearance allows the filtered grilles on the bottom to breathe. The filter slides out sideways rather than from the ends, which is a design win for access.
The top of the case sticks strictly to function, the right hand side delivering us audio ports, two USB 3 ports the reset/RGB button and an illuminated power button. We do see this kind of presentation quite a lot on cases at the moment.
Now we get to the rear of the case, as you can see we have the PSU mount at the top, room for a 120mm fan/radiator above the expansion slots which are all individually bolted in. There is a plate cover to the right which while neat misses the feature often available on cases at this level of a vertical mounting expansion slot.
The included accessories with the Pure Steel are pretty good. We get two manuals, one for the case and one for the RGB system, a warning sheet with some helpful reminders. A fair bunch of cable ties is included along with individually bagged and labelled sets of screws, which I like very much indeed. Finally we have a beeper and header and one of the smartest case badges I have seen. The Sharkoon logo is presented in the style of a Hi-Fi badge, it absolutely oozes quality, a very nice touch.
Onto The Build
Before building the usual parts into the case, I was a little concerned about the E-ATX support claim and I do have such a board. Here we see an E-ATX board taking up a hefty chunk of the component bay, going over the cable grommets which presents a cabling problem.
To alleviate the cabling issue, the radiator mounting cover can be removed, the cover otherwise serves as extra mounting places for drives. Doing this does mean that a radiator won’t mount against the back plate and with not much room at the bottom it would be left to the front mount, unfortunately there is little to no airflow from the front of this case. Extending the cutouts for cables would have made this a great case for E-ATX especially with the presentation, however with these systems often having higher end cooling the build would be quite frustrating and would likely not succeed.
Installing a power supply in the Pure Steel is a breeze, even a large unit slides in with little effort and cable be angled out to work on cables without obstructions. There are two cabling holes at the bottom of this area and my big PSU covers the first so using them for tidy CPU Power cabling is a little difficult.
Not having a cutout above the CPU Power headers is a problem as the cable has to run across the top of the motherboard which isn’t a very tidy solution. The fan cutout for the PSU is also not quite long enough and restricts some airflow.
Back to building and the M-ATX board fits in very easily so the majority of these and ATX boards would have no trouble at all with the rest of the cabling. The included fans have both 3-pin board connectors and Molex connectors for power, I am not a fan of these and would really have preferred PWM plugs especially for fans with addressable RGB features.
The 2.5″ drive mounts are very easy to use, simply unscrew the large thumbscrew at the top remote the plate to mount the drive then fit back into place again, these are not fiddly like others that I have encountered.
The GPU support is a great feature, it slides up and down the back plating and has an adjustable rubber arm for contact with the GPU. Very easy to adjust and use and a big thumbs up on the design.
With the build done it does look quite presentable with the exception of the CPU Power cable. A themed build in the Pure Steel would be showcased very well with the large open space. I do feel it would really benefit from the mentioned vertical GPU mount.
My power supply has some quite chunky cables and these have to be tied down tight for the side panel to go on. There is lots of space just not quite enough depth.
So here we have the Sharkoon Pure Steel assembled as a system, and it does look really good. If you don’t have a motherboard with compatible addressable control such as Aura Sync etc, you can switch through a good selection of presets using the reset button.
The Sharkoon Pure Steel RGB Review: The Verdict
Having built a rig into the Sharkoon Pure Steel RGB case, I am struck by the elegant exterior design, this really is a showcase chassis to show off some fancy components. The tempered glass side panel showing just about as much internal area as possible thanks to its minimal bordering. The steel casing finished in such an excellent paint job, it looks stunning and is durable. Inside there are a generous supply of fans and a great GPU support mechanism. Cable routing is unfortunately not great, with the PSU mounting in the top routing the CPU 8Pin can be untidy and if you have an E-ATX board you will struggle to accompany it with a watercooling loop as without radiator space at the bottom and using the back board panel for cabling there is nowhere left to mount a radiator with any chance of airflow.
- Excellent build quality and paint job.
- Great window to show off components.
- Comes with Addressable RGB Fans and Controller.
- Cable routing issues.
- No airflow to a front mounted radiator.
- Included fans have both 3-pin headers and Molex plugs.
I really do like the look of this case, it is unfortunately let down by cabling issues and E-ATX compatibility that introduces further cabling problems. It would have been a massive boost too to have vertical GPU brackets at the rear, such a case screams for a GPU to be mounted in this way. I am happy to award Bronze to Sharkoon for this great looker but at around £90 at the time of writing, this case is up against some heavy competition the NZXT H500i for example coming in a just a tenner more.
Thanks to Sharkoon for sending a sample of the Pure Steel RGB in for review.