GIGABYTE 3D Mercury 5

GIGABYTE 3D Mercury Review

Installation »

Internal view

GIGABYTE has gone ahead and designed their own 5.25" drive bay lock mechanism which works flawlessly. You insert the drive from the front and then push the leaver forward and then secure it by pushing down the tab. The drive is now held in place by a spring and two metal tabs inside the drive bay.

On the picture above you can see how the tubing is cleverly routed in an indent in one of the chassis strengtheners.

One of the things that amazed me with this is case is the way GIGABYTE has prepped it for watercooling. Every little detail in its construction seems to be tweaked in order to accommodate the 3D Galaxy liquid cooling system. All of these small, but important details are what makes this case so unique.

The PCI bracket features an easy clip system that replaces the need for screws to fix PCI cards in place. The fastener system works, but it isn't that efficient because PCI cards have a tendency to bend down a bit, and when you like me have three cards it’s quite hard to hold them all in place manually and then find a spare hand to press the lever back into fixed position. As you might also have noted, the chassis back plate features two holes for feeding water cooling tube through. And with the two 120 mm exhaust fans it would be easy to upgrade the water cooling system by adding a 240 mm radiator mounted on the outside of the case. Besides that the case is 10% deeper than a normal one which should leave you with plenty of space to install extra water cooling components such as pump and reservoir inside the case.

Inserting 3.5" hard drives into this case is quite easy. All you do is place two plastic rails on each side of the hard drive. The rails then slot into two groves in the hard drive bay. The drive locks in place once it's fully inserted. In order to get the drive out all you do is compress the two finger locks on the rails and the drive just slides right out.

Water cooling components

The water block is of the flow type which should perform well in combination with a high flow pump. The pattern of which the copper rods are mounted to the copper block is quite normal you have all the rods mounted in a square with the water going diagonally across the square maximizing the time water is in contact with the base and rods without blocking flow.

The finish of the base of the water block is about average. Minor milling marks are visible, but they are really shallow and shouldn’t affect performance at all. Another thing worth noticing is that it's perfectly flat. No dents or bumps on the surface or near the edges.

The 3D Galaxy liquid cooling system uses barb fittings with finger operated clamps. The fit between tubing and clamp couldn't be better. One of the advantages of running a barb / clamp system is that it's less likely to leak than a push-in system. The only real disadvantage of such a system is that the fitting that you push the tubing over blocks the flow somewhat. The choice of going with a barb fitting system by GIGABYTE is the right one, especially when taking into consideration that this case is aimed at first time water cooling buyers.

GIGABYTE has their own manifold system which allows the user to easily upgrade their water system with more cooling blocks. The manifold enables you to install up to a total of three blocks in parallel which should give a bit better performance than the same block mounted in serial fashion.

The pump and reservoir in this system are hidden underneath an aluminum plate in the top compartment of the chassis. The pump used is a 400 l/hr pump. GIGABYTE has opted for a reservoir which the pump is permanently mounted to, this is ok from a space saving point of view, but does make disassembly all that more complicated. The mounting of the pump is rock solid, the only problem is that GIGABYTE hasn't installed any anti vibration grommets under it. This means that even though the pump is a high quality one its vibrations are passed on to the case. This annoyed me a bit because every other design aspect of the water cooling setup is well thought out. Since the pump is permanently fitted to the reservoir it's hard to retrofit that part of the system with vibration dampening silicon grommets.

One of the nice features that this water cooling system sports is a low water level alarm. If the amount of water in the system goes below a certain amount the alarm will go off.

When it comes to radiator GIGABYTE has opted for an all aluminum one with two 120 mm high performance fans mounted on it. The fans are mounted in a push / pull configuration optimizing airflow across the radiator. The fans are quite silent while running at "low", but at full speed they make a lot of noise.
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