Aerocool BattleHawk Black Review – At just 18 inches deep, the BattleHawk from Aerocool is on the small end of the mid-tower spectrum, but it supports ATX boards (as well as mATX and Mini-ITX ones), graphics cards up to more than 15 inches long, and fullsized power supplies, so there’s no need to worry about skimping on components.
The 5.25-inch and 3.5-inch drive cages at the top and bottom of the front end are riveted in rather than fastened with thumbscrews. As a result, this case lacks the interior modularity that is increasingly popular in gaming cases, but removing the cages is a simple matter of drilling out the rivets that hold them in place. The good news is that one of the BattleHawk’s two 2.5-inch drive mounts resides on the back of the motherboard tray, so you can remove the cages (leaving more space for cooling gear and whatnot) and still have a great spot for an SSD boot drive.
One of the bays in the upper, 5.25- inch drive cage actually supports a 3.5- inch external drive. Aerocool’s site points out that this bay can house an FDD or a card reader, which is a bit odd given that floppy drives are extinct and there’s already an SD card reader mounted on top of the case. (There are also two fan control buttons and the usual selection of ports at the front of the top.) But the handsome front panel’s door closes over this slot, meaning whatever you decide to use it for will be mostly your business.
Aerocool equips the case with a single 120mm red LED fan behind the front panel (there’s room for a second if you want to add it), and the dark translucent bottom section of the front panel shows the LEDs’ glow when the case is powered up. There’s another 120mm fan (no LEDs) preinstalled at the rear, and there are another two 120mm fan mounts beneath the top panel. Not coincidentally, you can opt for a 240mm double rad under the top panel, and of course the rear fan mount will accommodate a single rad.
Aerocool’s BattleHawk Black is an apt answer to the question, “How much case can you get for $80 these days?” It’s also proof positive that budgetconscious cases don’t have to be bland, square boxes; this case has a striking exterior shape and (for the most part) smooth, clean lines that result in a sleek, muscular look that contains just the right amounts of flash and restraint. Add its windowed left-side panel to the equation, and the result is an awful lot of case for a little money.
Aerocool BattleHawk Black Specifications
- Dimensions: 19.3 x 8.6 x 18 inches (HxWxD)
- Materials: Steel, plastic
- Motherboard support: Mini-ITX, microATX, ATX
- Drive bays: 1 x 5.25-inch external, 3 x 3.5-inch internal, 2 x 2.5-inch internal
- Fans (included): 1 x 120mm LED front, 1 x 120mm rear
- Fans (optional): 2 x 120mm, 1 x 120mm rear, 2 x 120mm top
- Ports: 1 x USB 3.0, 2 x USB 2.0, audio I/O