It’s a difficult time to be a PC case manufacturer. As more mainstream users choose notebooks over desktops, and the choice of high-powered gaming laptops gets broader and cheaper, there are fewer customers to go around. In the end, all you can do is innovate or price your product hard: with their new Conquerer WSL, Rosewill have concentrated most on the latter, with a few nods to the former.
Measuring 10.24 x 22.17 x 19.49-inches, the WSL is a pretty standard ATX mid-tower. Unlike some of the more expensive Lian Li cases, it’s made from steel not aluminium; however cooling shouldn’t be too much of an issue with two 120mm front intake fans and a single 120mm exhaust fan round the back. Up to seven expansion cards can be accommodated. Inside, there’s room for nine drives, either 3.5-inch or 5.25-inch, split across three separate bays. The front fans are mounted to two of these bays, which can be accessed – and removed – from the front of the case. In theory you could pack the WSL with three optical drives and still have space for six hard-drives.
A door covers the front panel, and can be hung either from the left or right side. Held shut with a magnetic clasp, we did find it wasn’t as solid or reassuring as a proper latch would be; alternatively you can leave the whole thing off. Ventilation slots in the door feed plenty of air to the fans, which return the favor by shining their blue LEDs through despite the individual dust-guards.
The front ports are, more accurately, top-mounted, and include a large power button and smaller (though thankfully not so small as to require a pen to poke) reset button, two USB ports, Firewire and headphone/microphone sockets. Of course, these connect to the relevant headers on your motherboard, so if you don’t have the headers then the ports won’t work; this is only likely to be the case with Firewire. The cables themselves are long enough to not only reach the motherboard but be tidied out of the way, too.
Cable management in general is not as comprehensively planned out as some cases we’ve seen, but there are a reasonable number of clips and guide channels that can be used. Our test PSU fit snuggly, but we do wonder whether the latest breed of larger, higher-voltage supplies might find it too tight a squeeze. While you’re prodding around inside, you’re unlikely to cut yourself. We found no sharp edges or jagged metal, which is a good sign both for finger safety and for keeping cables uncut.
In use, despite the absence of any sort of fan speed control – whether manual or automatic – the WSL is quiet and runs cool. Some users have reported an intermittent clicking sound from the fans; we experienced no such noise, and the consensus seems to be that slightly loosening the fan screws generally fixes the issue. A third fan – either 80mm, 92mm or 120mm – can be fixed to the windowed side-panel.
Although, again, we had no problems in our test setup, the depth of the Conqueror WSL could make fitting both long expansion cards together with fully-filled drive bays uncomfortable cramped. Graphics cards that require separate power supplies (and that therefore sprout cables from the back) or extend back beyond the motherboard will demand some forward planning to accommodate.
Nonetheless, it’s not enough to unduly sour our opinion of the Rosewill case, particularly when pricing is taken into account. While the MRSP is a little over $140, Newegg.com’s (Rosewill Conqueror exclusive retailer) pricing closer to $90. Only you can say whether the Conqueror WSL is aesthetically to your tastes, but if your priority is a cool-running, quiet and relatively capacious case for gaming or use as a home media server, the Rosewill is definitely worth considering.
Writing for R3 Media since 2006, Chris Davies is currently executive editor for SlashGear, Android Community and the other network sites. Based in London, UK, he's responsible for SlashGear's editorial decisions and covers all forms of consumer technology. You can follow him on Twitter.