PC cases don’t get enough love. Yeah sure, we pick the ones that look the best, can fit the most stuff inside, or don’t cost an arm and a leg; but here’s a case that has all three. The Corsair SPEC-02.
This review includes no paid promotion and is the sole opinion of the author.
A few years ago when I decided it was high time I finally put my machine together, most parts were fairly easy picks. Mid-range graphics card for games, very fast processor for video editing, etc; but the case was a tough pick. So many to choose from that were compatible, but after one and a half years, I know I made the right choice.
The SPEC-02 is an ATX Mid tower more than capable of holding all of your modules with space to spare. It’s a sleek flat black on the outside, with a huge window to see inside and be proud of your handiwork.
- Two external 5.25 inch bays
- Two internal 2.5 inch bays
- Three internal 3.5 inch bays
- Two front USB 3.0 jacks
- 8 fan slots (including power supply)
- 16.77 inch graphics card compatibility
Let’s start with that GPU space. Nearly 17 inches, longer than most comparably priced cases. Will you ever use all of that space? Not likely, but that extra breathing room will improve airflow. With 5 fans running in mine, it’s not overheated a single time.
Speaking of space, there’s an awful lot here. Room for a disk drive and something else out front by the power button, and spots for three internal hard drives, plus an extra two solid states, if you need that much storage. Always good to leave room for expansion as well!
As a fan of the all-black aesthetic, I put the blank canvas design idea to good use with my neon pink fans. You can really use any color you like. As much as I hate to use the word ‘generic’, it fits well here.
The plastic and metal build is pretty sturdy; I wouldn’t go kicking it around, but you can exert as much force as installing PC components requires without hurting anything. It’s not too heavy or imposing either. For as much room as you get, it’s still an ATX Mid case, making it surprisingly wieldy if you need to move it around.
There are two big negatives that will make or break your love of this case – CPU cooler size, and the cable management.
I want to start with the cable management, because I don’t want you to get the wrong impression. It’s not hard to route everything; just the opposite. When both side panels are off, it’s a dream to navigate all of the cables here and there, twist-tying and tucking your way to aesthetic bliss. It’s getting the back panel back on that’s tricky.
It absolutely needs some careful finagling to slot the tabs back in place and get the two thumb screws where they need to be. It probably would be easier with two people, a luxury I did not have at the time. Not a deal breaker for me at all, as I almost never need to take the back panel off, but if you plan on doing lots of expansions, plan your cable routing well, and pray to whichever entity you like it’ll go off and back on again smoothly.
CPU cooler space is another thing that doesn’t affect me, but could scratch this case off the list for others. It’s only 8.6 inches wide, and with your choice of motherboard and CPU, the cooler you need may not have enough horizontal breathing room to fit.
Now, I have a 4GHz i7-4790k, which was supposed to be a hot running processor, and my little Cryorig C7 has done a wonderful job keeping it all cool, and it’s not even two inches tall. Oh, and that cooler is only $30, and mine has a seven year warranty. I highly recommend it for nearly any build.
Bottom line with that side of things, if you plan to overclock or are really concerned about your CPU heat, maybe pick something a little bigger, or swap up to an ATX Full.
+++ Ease of use
+++ Module space
– CPU cooler height restriction
– – Back panel cable management
So if you need a great ATX Mid for a very reasonable price tag, look no further than the Corsair SPEC-02. Coming in at around $50, it certainly won’t break the bank, and that little Cryorig won’t either.
Thanks very much for your time, as always keep up with me over on Twitter or YouTube, and stay cool.