A Closer Look - Outside
The first impression of the chassis is quite good. Even though we have seen similar approaches of an "industrial" design before - Cooler Master HAF or Antec DF series - the approach Enermax has taken is well executed. The biggest gripe I would have is the cheap plastic used, as it feels soft and flimsy.
I was thinking long and hard, where I had seen a similar design before. Then suddenly the metaphorical light bulb turned on and the answer is "Antec DF Series". While there are distinct differences in design and functionality, they do look fairly similar as far as the front is concerned. This is by no means a bad thing though and the Enermax Hoplite does offer a few interesting features. The rear is nothing out of the ordinary by today's standards. A bottom mounted PSU bay and the all black paint job are a given with cases of this price range.
Both sides of the Hoplite further underline the overall design, as they feature an extruded shape. This is not only beneficial to the looks of the chassis, but also gives you more room to work with on top and below the mainboard tray. A large opening on the main panel acts as a vent for two 120 mm or a single 200 mm fan. Interestingly enough, Enermax does not mention the fact that such a large cooling unit may be installed here, but it is clearly possible.
Due to the large top cover, the I/O panel of the chassis has been angled. This is great as it gives you easy access to the plugs no matter where you place the chassis. There is also a docking station for 2.5 or 3.5 inch hard drives. While this feature is admirable, the approach taken is cause for some concern. Enermax has simply made the opening in the top panel and screwed a PCB with connector below it, but there are no walls to guide the drive into place, so you have to go fish with the fragile pins of the hard drive to find the SATA PCB and its plug.
Enermax has incorporated two hot-swap hard drive bays within the Hoplite. These are hidden on the very bottom, behind a little door. Above that is the 120 mm LED Vegas intake fan with the numerous lighting themes using the embedded red or blue LEDs. You may cycle through these with a press of a button and adjust the fan speed with the little dial in the top right corner. The top half is taken by four 5.25 inch bays.
You may swing the front fan compartment open - much like in the Antec DF series. It gives you easy access to the cooling unit, but there is no dust filter in front of it. Also due to the soft plastic, the clip does not really snap into place with a lot of force. Below that is the afore mentioned dual hot-swap bay. The trays are of refreshingly good quality and the handle/locking mechanism is excellent.
Turning our focus to the rear of the chassis, starting at the bottom, there is the standard PSU bay. It allows you to install the unit with the fan facing downward or upward. A removable dust filter on the underside of the chassis keeps unwanted dirt out. Above that are the seven mainbard expansion slots. These are covered by break-out pieces, so you will not be able to reuse them later. I would have liked to see separate covers along with thumb screws in this area. Another 120 mm fan can be found in the rear, pushing air out of the case. It does not have any LEDs and lacks the Enermax branding. A small opening above it is intended to route the USB 3.0 cables through, as these need to be plugged into the backplate of the mainboard.