We recently had a chance to take a look at the MSI Ravager case, a case that is marketed towards people who want something a little flashing. Today we are going to look at another offering from MSI called the Barricade. This time around the Barricade has more subtle styling for those who may not be looking for a case for your youngest cousin or baby brother. It has been interesting to see MSI branch out a bit into different areas such as cases and SSDs. It should be interesting to see how this case compares to the previous one and how it stands on its own.
Product Name: MSI Barricade
Review Sample Provided by: MSI
Review by: Jakob Barnard
Pictures by: Jakob Barnard
|Case Type||ATX Mid Tower|
|Front Bezel Material||Mesh|
|Dimension||198 (w) x 507 (l) x 477 (h)mm (Case)185 (w) x 450 (l) x 412 (h)mm (Chasis)|
|Front I/O Panel||USB2.0 x 2USB3.0 x 2Card Reader x 1HD Audio97 Audio|
|Motherboard Compatibility||ATX / Micro ATX|
|Power Supply Mounting||Bottom|
|3.5” Internal Drive Bays||4|
|5.25” Drive Bays||3|
|Pre-Installed Fans||2 x 120mm Front Blue LED Fans1 x 120mm Reae Fan|
|Optional Fan Expansions||2 x 120mm Top Fans|
|Survival Pack||User ManualScrew Pack|
The packaging is exactly the same style as we saw with the Ravager. The front has a picture of the case, the back is identical. One side of the box displays pictures of various features while the other lists the specifications. Note the specifications on the box are accurate match the website, though the website has “Ravager” above them on the Barricade page. MSI seems to be jumbling its marketing material between the cases, but the shipped material looks correct. The case itself came packed in a plastic bag and foam end caps.
Unwrapping the case we find the MSI Survival Pack and the case. The case is black and black mesh from the outside, with the side window giving is a peek at the blue interior.
We will spend more time looking at the I/O panel in a moment, but on the front of the case you can see the MSI logo, three external drives, and the I/O panel.
The side of the case we see a larger side window than the Ravager had. I am a sucker for side windows, but prefer the clear windows as opposed to the smoky version we see here. I figure I invest a lot on the inside, I like to see it clearly. However that is purely a preference thing. Turning the case to the back we can see the USB3.0 pass-through cable and the water-support holes. The USB3.0 pass-through puzzles me. Why not include an internal header cable like the Ravager? I really hate the pass-through cables and it seems a bit of a throwback. It does do the trick to getting USB3.0 support to the front of the case. The far side of the case is plain black.
The top and I/O panel have some interesting features that make this case stand out. First the top mesh is removable and you can add up to two additional 120mm fans. Near the front we can see two integrated fan speed controls. The I/O ports also have rubber covers to keep dust and grime out of the ports. I am pretty confident these will get lost if those ports are regularly used, so personally I would have skipped this feature. I am happy to see a built-in SD Card Reader along with the usual headphone, mic, and two USB2.0 ports, and one USB3.0 ports.
The bottom of the case includes a couple of fan opening filter covers that are removable. There is one for the power supply and one for an unlisted optional 120mm bottom fan.
Now we will crack open the case and take a look at the inside.
The survival pack includes the bag of screws, instruction book, cable ties, and the MSI dog tag. Revisiting the top briefly, the top mesh is easily removable to add up to two 120mm fans. Cables can be plugged directly into the fan control system for power and airflow control.
Taking the sides off we see the mainboard tray is blue along with the blue drive trays. There is a large cutout for aftermarket CPU coolers. The openings for cable routing are what MSI is calling “Cable Camouflage.” There looks to be plenty of options for routing cables for a clean install. With the split between the 3.5” bays and the 5.25” bays this case supports full sized VGA cards.
On the back we can see the bottom mount PSU opening, seven expansion slots, and the included rear-exhaust 120mm fan. Turning the case around to look at the backside of the mainboard we can get a better look at the cable routing options. You can also see that the fan control plus are clearly labeled, making it easy to later swap out the fans if needed or add in those top fans.
Now we will install some hardware in this case and see how it goes.
Popping the front off to install our DVD drive gave us a chance to see the dual 120mm LED fans. The DVD drive simply slides in and is held into place by thumbscrews. The mainboard is mounted into place via the traditional standoffs and the case has sufficient depth to allow for us to have room to work around most of the sides. Working on the top of the mainboard might get a little snug until you remember that the top pops off and allows you to work from that side. If you do chose to add fans on the top, do them last and it will be easier to work with.
I do want to mention the 3.5” drive trays in particular. There are screw holes if you want to better secure the 3.5” drives, though the single pin on either side seems sufficient to hold them in place. For 2.5” drives though, I don’t like how the screw holes are positioned. Having it centered means the ports are inside of the tray. This makes it a pain to get some plugs in. The screw holes should really be moved so that 2.5” drive ports are lined up with the edge.
The cable holes for routing would allow for this install to be a bit cleaner, but there is plenty of room to allow for it. The tool-free nature allows for a quick and easy install of the hardware.
Wrapping it all together the MSI Barricade is a solid mid tower offering. The style and coloring I certainly like more than the Ravager. The black mesh and blue LED lighting effects are a nice mix with the side window. There are a couple of points that I am not a fan of however. The USB3.0 pass-through is annoying. I am still not sure that instead of an internal header the used the pass-through. I would have expected to see this on a case a couple of years ago, but not one coming out in 2012. This means we have only one USB3.0 port on the front and the annoying cable looping out the back. Other than that, we have just a minor annoyance with the drive trays. The rubber plugs on the I/O ports I am neutral on. I see those eventually getting pulled off or lost, while keeping dust or gunk out of the ports really isn't needed. It does however give a finished feel to the case. I also like that the styling is a little more subtle that the previous MSI case we took a look at. We took a lot of heat for our previous recommendation, but when it comes down to it you have to remember who the case is targeted after. Their last case was a low priced cased focused on the younger market who would like its over the top styling. This time around the Barricade is a little more mature, but still in the lower end case market. The smoke side panel included here (although not what I prefer) goes along with this subtle look while still giving you a slight peak at the goods inside.
Even with those couple of things that bothered me about this case, overall I still like it. It is a decent offering at a reasonable price. At the time of writing it can be found for $80 on Amazon.