Overall and Final Verdict
So remember even back with the original Sentry launch I was excited, did the Sentry 2.0 live up to those lofty expectations? In most ways it did. I am in love with the simple all-metal construction and the simple styling that doesn’t have branding all over it. At 6.9 liters in overall capacity, it is amazing what they manage to fit in the form factor. You could run one of the RTX 2070’s from MSI or Gigabyte and still have room for a radiator which I think is the most optimal configuration or if you don’t mind having a little less CPU cooling performance and sticking with air cooling you can pack in an RTX 2080 Ti. Our test configuration with a GTX 1080 and an i5-8400 gets you 6 cores running at 4Ghz and more than enough performance unless you are trying to game at 4k.
The small capacity is nice, but it is the support for a full-length video card or a 120mm AIO that is impressive to me. Dr Zaber has an attention to detail finding a way to slip in two 2.5 inch drives even a radiator and video card installed. Or if you want you could drop those and put two 3.5 inch drives, two 2.5 inch drives, and two M.2 drives and create a weird compact NAS. The same goes for their attention to detail on their instructions.
Of course, I did run into a few issues and concerns. The weird defective screws they included for installing your motherboard and hard drives was a first. I was also really bummed to see scratches on the powder coating even before I powered the system on. I will say again that the instructions do note to make sure to build on a soft surface and I didn’t do that. But I’m going to be keeping an eye on the overall finish a little more long term as well to see if it is a sign of a bigger issue or if I was unlucky. If nothing else maybe put the feet on the case first when building in it. I also thought the power button LED was weak, it was washed out with just my two basic photo lights on it. That is less of a concern and frankly, I will most likely swap the vandal power switch out for another color in the future anyhow.
For those of you wondering about the overall size of the Sentry 2.0. I did grab three other SFF builds I had in the office for comparison. On the far left is the GEEEK A30 which uses a FlexATX power supply and only supports an ITX length video card. The Sentry 2.0, then next to it is the Raijintek Ophion Evo I just reviewed last week. It supports a full-length card as well as a 240mm AIO. Then on the right is the Lian Li TU-100 used for our Lunchbox 3 build years ago. It also only supports an ITX length card but you can fit a 120mm AIO in it as well. The Sentry 2..0 is the tallest but also less than half or even 1/3 as thick as the rest and is also shorter than the Ophion Evo.
The other concern with the Sentry 2.0 which is a concern with all of the lower production community made or inspired cases is the price. Not having the huge buying power and production of the big name case companies is part of the reason. But cases like the Sentry 2.0 also don’t really cut corners like other cases do. They built the case out of a thick steel, used a traditional vandal power switch which costs more, not to mention things like the PCB PCIe riser. It might be a small case, but you can tell just from picking the case up that it is on a whole other level from a lot of your traditional cases as far as construction. Same goes for details like its fortress like packaging, including a tool, and the included stand as well. It all adds up and in the end getting one will run you $260 plus shipping the case internationally.
To get one you have to pick one up in their Indiegogo which just started yesterday and is running for the next 30 days. I don’t have it listed as a downside, but having to buy the case on their terms and not at your own pace is a downside for some as well. On the plus side, that should also help the case hold value for later if you want to change later but honestly, I don’t think you will want to do that. This is a great case and while it isn’t cheap, it is a perfect case to be used as an HTPC or to take to LANs. In my opinion, it also looks great sitting out if you go the HTPC route. Check out their pictures on their website or Indiegogo page. Speaking of, if you want one don’t wait too long. They are 27% of the way towards their goal right now and they do have a limit on the number of cases in this run. It is available in the black that I took a look at and a grey as well which I really like as well, I’m a little jealous of those of you who end up with it in grey!
Here is a link to the Indiegogo