Introducing the Rosewill Ranger

When you start dipping well below an MSRP of $99 for an enclosure, you'll see manufacturers having to make compromises in the design and build quality in order to keep the price down. That's not unusual, and it gives the opportunity for smart engineering to come to the forefront in a bid to maximize value at minimal expense. We've seen a lot of exciting cases at $99 and in that neighborhood, but Rosewill's Ranger can be had for just $69.99, putting it in direct competition with crowd favorites like Bitfenix's Shinobi. Rosewill offered superior value with their full-sized Thor v2; can they repeat that success at half the cost?

We've seen a lot of decent contenders for budget cases lately, but things start to get really tight once you hit the Ranger's price tag, as you start to lose a lot of the amenities from more expensive enclosures. A good, inexpensive enclosure is a fine deal for an enthusiast at home, but boutiques would also do well to see what's available down here. I've griped about boutiques using mediocre cases for otherwise powerful builds in my desktop reviews, but there's a key difference between inexpensive and cheap. It's fine to save money on the case if the case itself is a good deal for the price, and that's what we're going to try and determine with the Rosewill Ranger today.

Rosewill Ranger Specifications
Motherboard Form Factor Micro-ATX, ATX
Drive Bays External 3x 5.25", 1x3.5"
Internal 4x 3.5" (2x 2.5" with included adaptor tray)
Cooling Front 1x 120mm intake fan
Rear 1x 120mm exhaust fan
Top 1x 140mm exhaust fan (supports 2x 120/140mm fans)
Side 2x 120mm fan mount
Bottom 1x 120mm fan mount
Expansion Slots 7
Front I/O Port eSATA, 2x USB 3.0, mic and headphone jacks
Top I/O Port -
Power Supply Size ATX
Clearance 10.5" (Expansion Cards), 170mm (CPU HSF), 200mm (PSU)
Weight 9.36 lbs.
Dimensions 7.88" x 18.23" x 18.98"
Price $69

Rosewill seems to be offering a decent amount of expandability for the price, but there are some odd tradeoffs here. While most users (especially users buying a case in this price range) aren't going to need more than four hard drive bays, the four external 5.25" bays are even less likely to see use. A smarter plan might have been to kill one of the 5.25" bays to add one more 3.5" bay, which would feel at least a little more balanced.

You'll also notice this is a pretty small enclosure, and while it's not quite the devil to assemble that the Lian Li PC-A05FN was, you'll see it's not particularly easy to work in either.

In and Around the Rosewill Ranger
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  • Aphelion02 - Wednesday, December 14, 2011 - link

    God that red and black color theme hurts my eyes. Chea plastic isn't helping either. These case manufacturers really need to hire designers with some modicum of taste. Reply
  • Death666Angel - Wednesday, December 14, 2011 - link

    I haven't finished reading this piece, but I still feel like I have to comment on this:
    "A smarter plan might have been to kill one of the 5.25" bays to add one more 3.5" bay, which would feel at least a little more balanced."
    Why? A 3.5" internal bay is about the most useless thing once you have enough room to install the HDDs you want. A 5.25" bay on the other hand offers up a world of customization and usability, with room for fan controllers, displays, a whole bunch of 2.5" bays (1-to-6 converters are available), decoupled HDDs to dampen noise, reservoirs for water cooling, card readers....
    Reply
  • Holler - Wednesday, December 14, 2011 - link

    agreed 5.25 much more useful. Reply
  • Zoomer - Wednesday, January 18, 2012 - link

    3 5.25" = 1 120mm fan mount. Reply
  • AssBall - Wednesday, December 14, 2011 - link

    I also agree? What the hell are you going to do with more 3.5"s? The only things I can think of you'd want to jam in there are maybe a card reader and a rheostat/fan/temp monitor. That's 2. Reply
  • JarredWalton - Wednesday, December 14, 2011 - link

    5.25" can be used for 3.5" and other devices, sure, but four of them is overkill for an already cramped case. I'd rather they just dropped the fourth (and even third) 5.25" bay altogether. There's obviously personal opinion and intended use as factors to consider, but I have four mid-tower desktops right now and not a single one uses more than two 5.25" bays...and only one uses two bays. YMMV, naturally. Reply
  • AssBall - Thursday, December 15, 2011 - link

    Fair enough. Maybe my "keep my old shit" stuff is killing my in builds, but I generally end up with two optical drives and 3-4 hard drives that those extra slots are nice for. You are right though, the case is a little too cramped to shove all that in there and expect decent thermals and avoid cable cluster. Reply
  • Onus - Thursday, December 15, 2011 - link

    I am using three 5.25" external bays; one DVD burner, one 5.25" storage drawer (for thumbdrives, O/S, and recovery CDs), and a memory card reader. If I wanted a fan controller, I'd need the fourth and last one available on my case (Enermax Hoplite). The memory card reader could also be installed in a 3.5" bay, but this case does not have one. The two listed for it in Newegg's description are actually a 2-drive 3.5" backplane with drive drawers; they aren't usable for other things. Reply
  • Onus - Wednesday, December 14, 2011 - link

    I think this review was good, but I suspect the cable-routing issues would not have come up with a more "typical" build; 1155 or AM3 mobo (possibly a mATX), 1x optical, 2x 3.5" (or make one a 2.5"), HD6770 or other GPU with a single power connector, and a 350W-450W PSU like an Antec Earthwatts or Corsair Builder. With a lot less cables to route, the shortcomings described should essentially vanish; and such builds, once created, are indeed typically left alone.
    Whether or not I personally like the style, this case does nothing to knock Rosewill off the short list of cases I consider at just about any price point, and where they typically win, often on features like an extra included fan (or two).
    Reply
  • JarredWalton - Wednesday, December 14, 2011 - link

    If we take the approach you're suggesting, there are several difficulties.

    1) We would need to get Dustin additional hardware for testing (and he'd need to store it when it's not in use). We can certainly do this, but it's inconvenient at best.

    2) More importantly, we would either need to test each case with several sets of hardware (one more set of hardware would double the testing time, two additional points of reference would triple it).

    3) Alternately, we would only test a case with hardware that "makes sense" -- according to us, which naturally others would disagree with our choices, whatever they might be. Then we would have a database of test results where we can only compare cases tested with the same configuration. So, Define R3 works fine with our current setup; do we test it with that or with a more "sensible" HD 6770 card and a smaller PSU? What about [insert a case]?

    This gets very messy very fast, and ultimately results in either substantially more work for Dustin (with no additional pay), or substantially less useful comparisons. This is why we ended up with the current test beds -- and we do have more than one, but it's either Mini-ITX or full ATX testing.
    Reply

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