Sahara EK33 | PC Case Review
Sahara are a semi-known case manufacturer that also dabble in fans and RGB controllers. When it comes to their cases, you can clearly see that they draw a lot of inspiration from the competition, often offering similarly looking cases for a cheaper price.
The Sahara EK33 is the larger mid-tower case in the EK range and reminds us of the Cougar MX330. It is important to note that the EK33 is twice as much as the Cougar MX330, but that is down to the Sahara cases features.
The EK33 feels solid, and we see a tempered glass window on the side, which is much better than the Cougar MX330's acrylic window. The case could handle a high priced ATX build, and there are sufficient places to mount fans and radiators for airflow.
In this review, we take a closer look at what features the Sahara EK33 possesses for the price, how easy it is to build with, and if its a good option for under $100.
|Dimensions (mm)||208 x 432 x 480 (W x D x H)|
|Materials||Steel, tempered glass|
|Front I/O panel||Power, Reset, USB 3.0 x 1, USB 2.0 x 2, Audio, RGB switch|
|Drive Bays||1 x 5.25, 3 x 3.5", 3 x 2.5"|
|Motherboard support||Mini-ITX, MicroATX, ATX|
|Cooling (Front/Rear/Top)||Front: 3 x 120mm / 2 x 140mm, Top: 2 x 120mm/ 2 x 140mm , Rear: 1 x 120mm|
|CPU cooling clearance||161mm|
|Maximum GPU length||364mm|
Packaging & Contents
The Sahara EK33 arrived well-packaged and undamaged, which is always a great start! Like most products, the box had a large image of the PC case on the side and there was nothing out of the ordinary to report here.
Pull away the packaging and we find the case inside with four RGB Pirate Ring fans and a controller. The screws, unfortunately, are all loose in a bag which is irritating but what can you do, it is closer to the budget side of things.
Inside & Outside
What I found most surprising was how nice this case looked straight out of the box, it doesn't scream budget like the Thermaltake Versa H15. Despite being in the $100 range, this is considered to be a budget tempered glass case, and you're getting some great value for money here.
With tempered glass, addressable RGB fans and a wide variety of support options, this case could factor into many peoples builds. The design on the surface is quite simple, but once you get your components in there, it starts to look very aesthetically pleasing.
As mentioned, you get a tempered glass window, so you are going to want to house a semi-decent gaming PC inside this case to take advantage of that view. A GPU with some flashy RGB would look fantastic inside the Sahara EK33. You can get this case for slightly cheaper if you don't want the RGB fans.
Front & Rear
The front is just one large sheet of ventilation sheet metal which doesn't really add anything to the case except for airflow. The front has the capacity to mount three 120mm fans or two 140mm fans. There is also room for a 280mm radiator on the front, for those looking into an all in one cooler.
The front panel comes off easily, so you don't feel like you are going to snap something off. There is a single 5.25 drive bay for anyone who still uses DVDs but, for the build I'll be making today, this space will be used to tuck away some cable excess.
At the back, it is pretty standard stuff here, with no fans preinstalled. The one thing to report is the extra mounting space for your rear fan. You can adjust your rear fan if you want to and while I'm not sure this improves the airflow, it is still nice to see versatility. We see seven expansion slots, giving you ample room for a decent gaming rig and the side panel is attached with user-friendly thumb screws.
There is a dust filter to the rear of the case on the underside. The filter will help protect your PSU from ground dust when mounted upside down. The filter is easily removed when it requires a clean, and it won't be too hard to refit as it is magnetic.
One of the side panels is flat sheet metal and doesn't seem to have any noticeable dent for cable accommodation. It seems the side panel is completely flat for design reasons and we will go into how much room you get for your cables later on. The other side features a tempered glass panel which is removed with four thumbscrews. While this window adds a lot of weight and cost to the case, it also improves the overall appearance.
The thumbscrews are good enough to get off without the need for a screwdriver. We also see rubber washers featured on the tempered glass thumbscrews to prevent any scratching.
On top of the case, we see another dust filter which can be easily removed/ attached, thanks to its magnetic strips. There is room on the top for two 120mm or 140mm fans and rad support of up to 280mm.
Let's take a look inside..
The outside of the case is fairly uninteresting so let's take a peek inside and see what we are dealing with.
Beneath the PSU shroud sits the drive bay. The drive bay has two easy to access slide trays which you can mount your SSD or HDD onto. The trays are a bit flimsy, and it isn't the smoothest when sliding them in and out, but they work well enough.
In the normal spot, we see the space for a 5.25" drive, and strangely there is just a screw bracket and nothing else. The cable cut out holes are fairly simple, but there is enough room to get your cables through, although it can get quite tight. We don't see any rubber grommets, but the PSU shroud will do a great job of keeping your system build looking clean.
It is worth noting that you can mount three 120mm fans on top of the PSU shroud if you want extra airflow.
To the back we see room to mount three SSDs directly onto the sheet metal, so there are plenty of storage options available. Mounting your SSDs directly onto the sheet metal can potentially make cable management a little harder so be wary.
Despite there being no indentation to accommodate for your cables there is about a half to two-thirds of an inch of room, so there shouldn't be any issues for tidying up your cables.
For a lower-end case, this actually comes with some fairly decent features. There is just enough to consider putting a high-end build in.
- Magnetic Dust Filters - The case comes with two dust filters, one on the top and one on the bottom. The filters are attached using magnetic strips, so they can be easily removed and cleaned.
- 4 x Addressable RGB Fans - When you bundle in the RGB fans, you get four of Sahara's new Ring fans which do a very impressive job for airflow, and of course, illuminating your system.
- Fan Controller - As the case comes with a large number of fans, we see the fan controller also featuring. The fan controller will make it a lot easier to install your fans when building your system, saving you the trouble of fan splitters! You also get a little remote control to change your lighting and effects.
- PSU Shroud - The case comes with a full PSU shroud which stretches the length of the bottom. This shroud covers up the messy area and makes cable management a lot easier for those that haven't got a lot of time.
The only issue I had with the case is the untidy bag of screws you get attached to one of the drive bays. While I shouldn't be surprised that a budget case such as this only comes with a loose bag of screws, it would have been nice to see a little box like the Phanteks cases.
The stand-off screws came preinstalled for an ATX motherboard, which is always nice to see. Despite the compact feel of this case, there is ample room for a good-sized build, and unlike previous Sahara cases I have built in this didn't have strange gaps or loose parts.
Overall the Sahara EK33 looks smart and with the included features can make a budget system look quite impressive. The RGB fans, tempered glass panel, and PSU shroud made the system look nice with little effort required.
The RGB controller came with sticky back plastic so you can mount it anywhere you choose but ensure you get this part right as once it's stuck down, that is that.
It is worth noting the cable holes on top of the PSU shroud were in an excellent position for cable management. That being said, the holes for your 24-pin, SATA, and GPU power were very underwhelming and actually made the build process a little trickier than it should have been.
While I managed to use a non-modular PSU without many problems, I would certainly advise you go with semi or fully modular power supplies to make your life a bit easier when it comes to building.
This may not be one of the best cases in the looks or practicality department, but with a wide array of features, it is not a bad little case.