Introducing the Rosewill Ranger

When you start dipping well below an MSRP of $99 for an enclosure, you'll see manufacturers having to make compromises in the design and build quality in order to keep the price down. That's not unusual, and it gives the opportunity for smart engineering to come to the forefront in a bid to maximize value at minimal expense. We've seen a lot of exciting cases at $99 and in that neighborhood, but Rosewill's Ranger can be had for just $69.99, putting it in direct competition with crowd favorites like Bitfenix's Shinobi. Rosewill offered superior value with their full-sized Thor v2; can they repeat that success at half the cost?

We've seen a lot of decent contenders for budget cases lately, but things start to get really tight once you hit the Ranger's price tag, as you start to lose a lot of the amenities from more expensive enclosures. A good, inexpensive enclosure is a fine deal for an enthusiast at home, but boutiques would also do well to see what's available down here. I've griped about boutiques using mediocre cases for otherwise powerful builds in my desktop reviews, but there's a key difference between inexpensive and cheap. It's fine to save money on the case if the case itself is a good deal for the price, and that's what we're going to try and determine with the Rosewill Ranger today.

Rosewill Ranger Specifications
Motherboard Form Factor Micro-ATX, ATX
Drive Bays External 3x 5.25", 1x3.5"
Internal 4x 3.5" (2x 2.5" with included adaptor tray)
Cooling Front 1x 120mm intake fan
Rear 1x 120mm exhaust fan
Top 1x 140mm exhaust fan (supports 2x 120/140mm fans)
Side 2x 120mm fan mount
Bottom 1x 120mm fan mount
Expansion Slots 7
Front I/O Port eSATA, 2x USB 3.0, mic and headphone jacks
Top I/O Port -
Power Supply Size ATX
Clearance 10.5" (Expansion Cards), 170mm (CPU HSF), 200mm (PSU)
Weight 9.36 lbs.
Dimensions 7.88" x 18.23" x 18.98"
Price $69

Rosewill seems to be offering a decent amount of expandability for the price, but there are some odd tradeoffs here. While most users (especially users buying a case in this price range) aren't going to need more than four hard drive bays, the four external 5.25" bays are even less likely to see use. A smarter plan might have been to kill one of the 5.25" bays to add one more 3.5" bay, which would feel at least a little more balanced.

You'll also notice this is a pretty small enclosure, and while it's not quite the devil to assemble that the Lian Li PC-A05FN was, you'll see it's not particularly easy to work in either.

In and Around the Rosewill Ranger
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  • Iketh - Wednesday, December 14, 2011 - link

    IIIIIIIII find this hard to believe... motherboards have plenty of flex
  • ShieTar - Wednesday, December 14, 2011 - link

    Sure, but operating them while bent, with maybe some thermal cycling on top, does not sound like a good Idea.

    Of course, if the routing is this bad, why not just leave it be and live with the cables within the case, like it has been done with any case before 2008 or so. I'd rather have a somewhat uglified interior and a slightly disturbed airflow, rather than turn assembly into a comical "You sit on it, I close it" episode.
  • piroroadkill - Wednesday, December 14, 2011 - link

    Oh, I got a new case, Fractal Design Define R3, now, and made sure to bear this fact in mind.

    My system is OK now, although I do have a new board.
  • piroroadkill - Wednesday, December 14, 2011 - link

    Well, you can find it hard to believe, but when I was about to fit a new motherboard, I unscrewed my old one, took it out, put my brand new one in, and noticed there was a gap of about 4mm or something silly between the motherboard and the standoffs near the bottom of the case.

    I had to push the crap out of the tray to get it back to flat, so the motherboard would actually sit flat on all the standoffs.

    My old motherboard had clearly been bent by the motherboard tray. I'm not sure why that's unbelievable.
  • kyuu - Wednesday, December 14, 2011 - link

    I believe what the poster found hard to believe was that the motherboard flex was the cause of your issues, not that the tray was in fact bent and, therefore, flexing your mobo. Although, usually the side panel of the case will bend outwards rather than pushing the motherboard try in, since it is generally going to be a lot more flexible than the tray.

    I would have to concur with that poster, unless there was really an extreme amount of flex going on with your mobo.

    However, I would concur that case manufacturers really need to provide enough space to actually route cables behind the tray and enable the side panel to go without an overt amount of force and/or bending the side panel out.
  • IvanChess - Wednesday, December 14, 2011 - link

    I own the Rosewill Gear X3 and it has lots of plastic and it uses a pass-thru cable instead of a motherboard header for the USB 3.0 (my motherboard doesn't have that so no big loss and you can buy a converter) but it was actually a nice build for under $50 at the time. Lot's of room inside and behind the motherboard tray plus it has a hole for the ATX CPU power cable at the top of the case. The top fans are mounted in plastic outside the case which looks terrible but keeps the inside roomy. In conclusion, the case looks cheap and is cheap but it is very functional especially if you replace the fans and add a fan controller.
  • DanNeely - Wednesday, December 14, 2011 - link

    I picked one of those up during the sale too to give my 2ndary box a case that wasn't an exercise in frustration/impossible to get a full size GPU in. The Gear x3's plastic has just a hint of gloss but is much more heavily skewed toward matte. Cable space was a bit tight; but as long as you use right angle sata connectors and make sure none of the fat cables are overlapping the panel goes on reasonably easily.
  • IvanChess - Friday, December 16, 2011 - link

    The plastic is mostly matte but it is a different black from the rest of the case so it looks weird. Also, I should have said the case has plenty of room for cables given the price tag although using right angle SATA connectors I did fit three drives into the case without much problem and zip-ties (with handy tie down points built-in to the case) can really compress the cables so they fit into that channel behind the motherboard.
  • mfenn - Wednesday, December 14, 2011 - link

    "The routing holes around the motherboard tray are seeming slightly off center, especially around the side-mounted SATA ports, but your mileage may vary; side-mounted SATA ports on a full-sized ATX board are going to result in serious cable bending."

    Dustin, here's PROTIP for you: Other motherboards exist in this world besides the P7P55D-E Pro. Many of them even have 90 degree SATA ports in different locations! Interesting concept, I know.
  • Dustin Sklavos - Wednesday, December 14, 2011 - link

    "Your mileage may vary."

    Stunning, I know.

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