Enermax Fulmo ST Case Review

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  • Brand: Enermax
  • Model: Fulmo ST
  • RRP: €110 (At time of the review)

Over 3 decades ago (30 years), a company was born, but what company you may ask?  Well that company was Enermax, who are one of the market leaders in PSU’s, cooling and more recently, have come to be known for their cases.  With 5 main chapters of the Enermax brand which hail from Germany, France, the USA, Japan and China, the company strives on bringing products to the market which provide quality over quantity.

In particular today, I will be taking a look at their latest chassis, more interestingly the new arrival to the Fulmo series, the Fulmo ST.  Will it be a case (mind the pun) of carrying on the Enermax legacy?  Or is it just another Fulmo?  Let’s find out, starting with the Fulmo ST’s specifications…

SPECIFICATIONS

Fulmo ST
Model ECA3270B-B ECA3270A-G-BL
Type ATX Midi Tower
Colour black gunmetal grey
Interior Colour black gunmetal grey
Material SECC
Dimensions (D x W x H) 485mm x 244mm x 513mm
Drive bays 5,25″ 3x
Drive Bays 3,5″ 8x (4x removable)
Drive Bays 2,5″ 10x (8x converted from 3.5″ HDD tray)
M/B ATX, mATX
I/O on top 2x USB 3.0, 2x USB 2.0, HD Audio
Air Cooling – Front optional: 2x 14cm fan pre-installed: 2x blue 14cm LED fan
with LED on/off function
Air Cooling – Top optional: 1x 20/23cm or 2x 12/14cm fan
Air Cooling – Bottom optional: 1x 12cm fan
Air Cooling – Rear pre-installed: 1x 12cm fan
Air Cooling – HDD Cages optional: 4x 12cm fan
Max. Length Graphics Cards 286mm / 412,5mm (without upper HDD cage)
Max. CPU Cooler Height 185,3 mm
Extension card slots 9x (8x horizonzal, 1x vertical)
Tubing Holes for Water Cooling 2x

 

The box that the Fulmo ST comes inside is mainly brown with a blue and black two tone design, primarily towards the bottom of the box.  The Fulmo ST logo is predominant in the bottom right corner with a sketch like illustration of the actual case on the left hand side.  This is typical with cases and it is relatively plain looking, so in a retail environment it might not attract too much attention but it’s what’s inside that counts right?

I am very confident that the case inside would remain in-tact in transit, due to the hard form inserts that the case has around it while inside the box.  This is designed to not only stop damage, but to reduce impacts due to dropping or sudden impacts.

Looking at the main body of the case with the windowed side panel, we have the Fulmo ST in its shining glory.  This particular case is gun-metal grey and has a blue LED intake fan at the front, but it also comes available in black, which doesn’t have LED fans equipped.  The case is ATX form-factor and has a black grilled case front which I will come to next.

Here we have the front of the Fulmo ST, which is all black with the gun-metal grey trim.  It has the Enermax logo which is centred towards the bottom.  The Fulmo ST has 3 x 5.25 removable inserts which is required to install devices such as DVD-RW drives, Blu-Ray drives and other 5.25” devices such as fan controllers and even reservoirs.

On the other side panel, we have a bevelled edge which by my estimates gives slightly more room for cable management for what it’s worth.  The entire panel sticks with the colour theme of the case, which is once again, gun-metal grey, but it fingerprints like crazy and it has become apparent to me, this glossy finish is the cause.

The rear of the case has the usual attributes associated with the rear such as the I/O shield space for the motherboard, 8 PCI slots, a bottom mounted PSU space with the holes to secure the PSU, rubber grommets for water cooling and a rear 120mm fan mount, which comes pre-installed with the Fulmo ST.  The screws used to secure the side panels feel a little flimsy, mainly due to the plastic grip and in my opinion, would have just been better using metal ones as plastic tends to snap easily.  Never the less, everything seems to be in order so far.

Now it’s time to take a look at the top of the case and as you can see, we not only have the front I/O and the buttons (which I will illustrate more closely next) but we have the all black mesh.  The general theme of the areas which need airflow, have black solid mesh with the gun-metal grey trim, which works really well in my opinion.

Taking a closer look at the front panel I/O, we have a power switch, reset switch, a slider switch which controls the front 120mm Blue LED intake fan and also a button to turn the LED lighting off on the 120mm intake fan.  In terms of connectivity, there is a headphone and microphone jack, 2 x USB2.0 and 2 x USB3.0 ports.

On the bottom of the case, we have 4 rubber feet which allow air to flow sufficiently underneath and it also protects your desk from being scratched.  One thing that is noticeable is the inclusion of dust filters, one for the PSU and another for the 120mm intake on the floor of the case.  I really like to see this in cases, especially since dust is a huge problem and can quite easily cause blockages in GPU coolers and even CPU coolers.

Finally, here is a close up of one of the rubber feet, just so you can see.  The rubber disc isn’t too thick and is mainly made up of plastic, but this should be sufficient to protect the case and also more importantly, your desk.

Now let’s take a look at the inside…

Taking a closer look at the innards, we can see the main compartment of the case.  It looks pretty spacious but the first thing I noticed was the lack of rubber grommets on the cable management holes.  It is the first thing I look to in cases these days, as a tidy build can help reduce temperatures and help increase overall airflow in the case.  In saying that it also looks a lot better also and as you can see, the brass stand-offs in the Fulmo ST have come pre-installed, although there are more included in the accessories, along with black cable ties to aid in cable management.

Here we have the HDD bays, as you can see, there are room for 8 x 2.5” HDD’s; a lot of space for a large amount of storage.  If you’re a dab hand, you could remove them if needed and potentially fit a 240mm radiator for all those water coolers out there.  The HDD bays are themselves tool-less and slide in and out via a runner mechanism.

Inside the main compartment, we have a large cut out in the motherboard tray, mainly for installation of CPU coolers and it also increases airflow allowing the CPU socket to breathe a little.  Here we can also see a closer look at the stand-offs which come pre-installed.

On the bottom, next to the 3.5” HDD bays, we have a small enclosure with room for 2 x 2.5” SSD’s or even 2.5” HDD’s, although I much prefer SSD’s, especially for OS/Boot drives.  This is a nice inclusion and can always be removed if you require the space.

Here we have the 5.25” bays, with room for 3 x 5.25” devices in total, this space could easily be used for water cooling, more specifically a pump/res combo.  Another great feature of the Fulmo ST is the tool-less 5.25” bays, something which I really do like.

Finally we have the roof of the case, which could quite easily accommodate a 240mm radiator up to 45mm if you wanted to run push or pull, or a 35mm thick radiator if you wanted to do push/pull.  Alternatively you could just have fans blowing the hot air outside of your case.  It is nice to see that water coolers have been thought of when designing the Fulmo ST; Water cooling in general is on the rise, especially as the latest CPU’s run hotter and hotter when pushed to their limits.

CPU – Intel i7 4770k

Motherboard – ASRock Z87 Extreme3

Memory – G.Skill RipjawZ 8GB (2400MHz CAS10) 2x4GB

Graphics – Gigabyte GTX 770 Windforce X3

Cooler – Thermalright Silver Arrow SB-E Extreme

Storage – Western Digital 320GB Blue 7200RPM SATA2 HDD

PSU – Enermax 1200w Platimax

Installation inside the Fulmo ST was pretty painless overall, but it did have its good and bad points with anything tech related.  Starting with the good points, the installation was easy and simple and took less time than I thought it would etc.  Another good addition to this case which is common, but I like it nevertheless is the anti-vibration pads for installing the power supply.  This reduces noise and also helps keep the vibrations to a minimum by absorbing them via the rubber pads.

The HDD enclosures are another fantastic point, one of my favourite features of this case.  The design is screw less and to remove the cage, all you need to do is pull the plastic clips and it comes out without hitch.  When re-installing it, it just clips back into place and is very secure.

Now to the bad points, which there are a couple of but I will make it brief.  First of all, if you have a large graphics card such as my Gigabyte GTX 770, you will need to remove one of the HDD cages to make room, as the end of the card scrapes against the cage.  The other main issue in my opinion is the lack of rubber grommets for cable management.  As you can see in the illustration, the cable management could look a lot tidier and due to the fact one of the HDD cages have to be removed, the cables behind can look a little messy.

In terms of clearance for installing PCI devices such as sound cards, graphics cards and other devices, there is approximately 29.5cm of room before you reach the end of the cage.  This can cause problems for the longer graphics cards but the cage can be removed if needed at the cost of extra storage space.

Behind the motherboard tray at the rear of the case, you can see that there is just under 2cm of clearance for you to hide cables etc.  It feels like there’s a lot more clearance than shown but I would have liked to seen a little more, given the value of the Fulmo ST.

The Enermax Fulmo ST comes with 2 x 120mm fan which is installed as an intake and rear exhaust.  I decided to test the thermal performance at stock (case as it comes).  Delta temps were recorded.

Noise levels are tested with a decibel meter and the readings of the noise levels are taken when the coolers are in idle and loaded states.  The background noise during testing is very minimal and not enough to disrupt the readings given.

Having had the chance to run my test system in the Enermax Fulmo ST and having had the experience of installing a full build into the case, is it any good?  How was the thermal performance?  How does the cable management stack up?  Well now I will summarise my findings…

Starting with the aesthetics, the case looks nice, sleek and combined with the gun-metal grey finish, the Fulmo ST is a little stunner.  From the smoothness of the edges all the way down to the ventilation for airflow, this case looks the part.  Probably the biggest issue in my eyes is the finish; it is a magnet for finger prints and can be quite tedious to rub off.  Otherwise the finish is a very nice one and I can imagine the black model to be similar.

Installation was a doddle but in saying that, this is where the case showed a couple of flaws which I will go into a bit more detail about now.  First of all, the lack of rubber grommets really does hinder the Fulmo ST’s ability to keep the cable management tidy, especially in my case as I had to remove one of the HDD bays to fit the GPU inside.  The other main flaw is the quality of the side panels, they seem to flex a little too easily for my liking and I could imagine bends forming that would ruin the look of the case.

In terms of build quality, the Fulmo ST is pretty solid, bar the side panels feeling on the cheap side.  The interior is as solid as a rock and although there is quite a lot of plastic, this is mainly for the handles and latches for the tool-less functions of the case, which in my opinion work really well and Enermax can be proud of them.

The actual performance of the case is good, coming supplied with 2 x 120mm fans is a given based on the price and in terms of thermal performance, was slightly better than the last case I reviewed, The CM Storm Scout 2.  However in terms of acoustic performance, it is slightly louder but this is due to having more fans installed.

Overall I was very pleased with the performance and the whole experience, bar the lack of rubber grommets, which I have to keep making a note of.  For a case of this price, I would certainly expect the grommets to come included as in effect, it’s a little bit of moulded rubber, but I guess it was not to be.  There are options for water cooling available, especially in top of the case, there is room for a 240mm radiator.  Although there isn’t much space, you could get away with a H100i in the roof in either push or pull configuration.

Next up is the price, the Fulmo ST is priced with an RRP of €109.90 but I would expect it to be lower when it’s released in the UK.  Is it worth the price?  I don’t really think it is, but that’s my personal opinion.  With how much competition there is in its price bracket, it has a lot to live up to and without rubber grommets or without that little bit of extra length for GPU’s without sacrificing drive bays, it comes down to personal preference.  I will however say that if this case comes in about £80, it is most definitely worth it and not to forget, it is available in black.

Overall the Fulmo ST delivers in the fundamental key areas which are cooling, style and design.  Although there were a couple of flaws, they aren’t major and only hinder the Fulmo ST slightly.  For around €110 it is a little on the expensive side but I expect the UK price to be around £90 which is good, but there is a lot of competition in this price range.

Thanks to Enermax for the sample and I look forward to more from them in the future.

  • Performance
  • Design
  • Value

Summary

If your looking for a stylish but elegant case that is far from agressive, then the Fulmo ST might be up your street. Aside from the lack of rubber grommets, Enermax have a winner providing on the final UK RRP of the Fulmo ST but one thing is for sure, it keeps in line with Enermax’s proud legacy in terms of quality.

3.8

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