- Manufacturer: Sharkoon
- Model: VS3-V (Chrome)
- Website: http://www.sharkoon.com/?q=en/content/vs3-v
- RRP: €25
Here I have a new value level gaming chassis, the VS3-V by Sharkoon; a company with a good reputation for its thermal products ranging from fans, chassis and coolers. This chassis is aimed at anyone who wants to get the best value for money in the lower price bracket.
Over the years I’ve had my hands on many value level chassis, many of which I’ve been less than pleased with. Let’s see how it performs and if it is a worthy contender in the large number of value chassis out there on the market today.
|Available Colours||Black chassis, silver trim and blue fanBlack chassis, green trim and green fanBlack chassis, red trim and red fan|
|Dimensions||427 x 190 x 420 mm (L x W x H)|
|5.25” Drive Bays||3|
|3.5” Drive Bays||2 internal, 1 external|
|2.5” Drive Bays||1 (additional convertible from 3.5”)|
|I/O Panel||2 x USB 3.0, 2 x Audio|
|Cooling System||Front Panel: 1 x 120mm LED fanSide Panel: 1 x 120mm / 140mm fan (optional)Rear Panel: 1 x 80mm / 92mm fan (optional)|
|Power Supply Type||ATX|
|Maximum Compatibility||Maximum length graphics card: 35 cmMaximum height CPU cooler: 15.5 cmMaximum length PSU: 23.5 cm|
Closer Look – Exterior
The first thing we’ll look at is the design of the box. It is fairly simple with a silhouette style design of the chassis on the front with some of the features in black boxes. Although it is simple, I find it very attractive, especially compared to some of the cases with aggressive and overkill designs out there.
The packaging looks fairly robust with thick card board and polystyrene inserts. Also included is hand hold cut outs to help with carrying; No damage should technically occur during transit although serious bumps and drops from height could cause problems.
The information on the front of the box looks complete. It includes all the relevant information and in several languages. The language list consists of: English, German, French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Dutch, Polish, Chinese and Japanese.
The front of the chassis has a fine black mesh which will aid airflow into the case. As well as this, there are additional mounts for those who wish to install more fans.
You can also see the front I/O panel, which has 2 x USB 3.0 ports along with a headphone and a microphone port. Although this is lacking things such as FireWire and eSATA, it’s nice to see the inclusion of USB 3.0 in such a low end chassis. On the other hand, I can personally understand that Sharkoon are derived on cutting costs as not everyone uses these additional connections.
Above the front I/O, you can see the inclusion of a 3.5” front drive bay. Something which nowadays people tend to put card readers in or even small fan controllers. You could also install a floppy disk drive if you wanted to. I respect the addition of something like this, although a drive bay adapter would have sufficed.
On the rear of the chassis, you can see that the power supply is top mounted, which is a rare thing nowadays as almost all chassis come with a bottom mounted power supply. The difference between the two placements are marginal at best.
Closer Look – Interior
Once opening the chassis, I found a bag including some visual instructions and a bag of screws including:
- 6x quick fasteners for ODDs (pre-installed)
- 9x mainboard stand-offs (6x pre-installed)
- 6x screws for PSU/addon card attachment
- 8x long coarse thread screws for 3.5″ HDDs
- 8x coarse thread screws
- 10x short fine thread screws for 2.5″ HDDs/SSDs
- 13x long fine thread screws
- 1x internal speaker
Upon further inspection, I very quickly realised that the design is very unique. I have never seen any chassis which mounts hard drives in this manner, it is very space inefficient but looks to be very thermally efficient due to the increased airflow from the extra space behind the hard drive mounts.
Both of the hard drive mounts support both 3.5” and 2.5” drives, however the 2.5” mounts are not presented with rubber washers. I believe this is because they are intended for solid state drives rather than the 2.5” hard drives found in laptops.
Another interesting part of the design is the fact that it can support very long graphics cards (up to 35cm) in a very small chassis, but you will have to sacrifice drive bays for this.
Setup & Installation
Now I personally don’t want to sugar coat this experience, it was one of the worst installations I’ve ever performed in my career. Despite it being an ATX form factor chassis, it is incredibly small inside which can be problematic when trying route cables and when installing things in place. If you’re prepared to spend more time installing everything, this should not be a problem.
One thing that I noticed during the installation was that the quality and finish of the metal within the chassis is not particularly good, this can make it easy to cut yourself if you’re not aware.
One thing I am incredibly impressed with, is the tool-less installation of the optical disk drive, it was incredibly easy and smooth. It was secured very firmly and I would be just as comfortable installing it this way rather than securing it with screws.
The next thing of note was the cable routing hole next to the power supply, the idea is fantastic but the execution falls short, even with a modular power supply. The space is just not large enough to route all the required cables. Furthermore the metal clip added on the space to hold the cables in place is very flimsy. I simply pushed the clip down to increase the volume of cables I could put through the space rather than using it as intended. Instead of useful I found its addition unnecessary.
My last gripe with the installation is the lack of any real PCI blanking plates, but this is common in chassis of this price bracket. In spite of the low price, I genuinely feel that a minor price increase would justify the inclusion of reusable PCI blanking plates. Also to note the top PCI blanking plate was completely missing, leaving me with a space above my graphics card when installed.
Additionally, I found that my Noctua NH-D14 cooler did not fit inside the chassis with both fans attached, however this is a very large cooler and this is not a surprise in such a small chassis. If you are buying this chassis, ensure your cooler is shorter than 15.5 cm tall.
Thermal & Acoustic Performance
Due to the inability to mount my CPU cooler I could not properly test the thermal performance of the chassis. Furthermore due to my lack of a sound meter I was unable to test the acoustics of this chassis. However the chassis should perform incredibly well compared to products within the same price bracket.
If you were to add fans to the side panels and rear the thermal performance would be fantastic for a chassis of its size, unfortunately the only fan included is the front intake.
The overall design is very focused on thermal performance. The space between the front intake and the motherboard is free of traditional drive bays which should improve air flow quite significantly. Unfortunately this empty space soon fills up with cables after you have routed the cables.
On the acoustic side of things the included fan is very quiet and pushes a moderate amount of air. There will be no issue with how loud the stock fan is. If you add some quiet fans to the chassis, it will have fantastic acoustic and thermal performance. On the other hand additional fans are often expensive.
The inclusion of rubber washers on the hard drive mounts are a very welcome addition to a chassis in this price bracket, as they are not often added – they should reduce hard drive vibrations and overall noise quite significantly.
I’m very mixed on my opinion of the chassis. In some areas it seems fantastic value for money, offering some useful and innovative solutions for many users. On the other hand there are some almost crippling flaws such as the lack of expandability, the budget build quality, the lack of included fans and the ineffective cable routing.
However, most interestingly enough is that this case seems to trade overall expandability for improved thermal design and performance.
This leads me to believe that this chassis is not good in all areas like some other chassis, but instead targets itself at performing well thermally. This allows you to accommodate a high end system in a low end chassis. Obviously this is not necessarily ideal, but it does offer a unique solution to those with budget constraints.
One of the biggest issues I have is that the instruction manual supplied is woefully sub par. The manual does not give any insight on how to install anything. The only thing offered is a simple line of text which is literally what you are trying to accomplish, for example installing a 3.5” device, or a power supply unit. The manual requires useful descriptions on how to install the system, as the photos are vague. They do not even remotely assist the reader. The only way to effectively install things in this chassis is to inspect it carefully and guess rather than using the manual. This is something which I feel needs to be solved as soon as possible.
Overall at the price of €25 I think it’s a solid performer offering a large number of features for a low price. If you plan on only having two hard drives there are very few downsides I can genuinely think of, with strong thermal performance and the ability to mount long graphics cards, this chassis has a very unique niche in the market
Given the price certain aspects such as the build quality, lack of expandability and omission of internal fans can be excused, therefore making this a good buy if you are in need of solid thermal performance at a low cost.
The bottom line is – It’s clean, understated but essentially flawed in many areas.
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