Review DeepCool Matrexx 40 3FS - a budget case that really feels budget


In a recent quest to build the absolute least expensive all new parts build that I could find, I happened across this DeepCool Matrexx.

Right off the bat, the picture of the unit looks good, the case presents very well. It has a real glass side panel, a power supply basement, apparently good air routing, and of course, the coup de gras in (3) pre-installed lighted fans. It immediately catches the eye and compared to many other cases in this price range (this one was on sale for $50, normally priced ~$65) it seems to have a lot going for it. Other recent experiences with cases in this price point are the Thermaltake Versa, a line of Montech cases, and the Lian Li Lancool. Surely there are others, but to get back on track, the case looks really good in that company and seemed to be a smart choice for the price. Admittedly, I did not pay as close attention to details as one should when trying a new product. In that, I say shame on me, and lucky for you presents a great opportunity to inform others of the pros and (mostly) cons of this hardware enclosure.

Right off the rip coming out of the box the front panel feels very flimsy. It made noises akin to cracking plastic just handling it. Already things didn't bode well. Once the unit was sat on the table it seems pretty solid feeling. The feet are just plastic rectangles with no manner of rubber or plastic to help it stay in place. The case is very light, thin, but while together it felt fairly solid other than the aforementioned front panel. The side panel is real glass and has a sticker on it indicating so and to handle with care. A nice touch considering other purchaser reviews stating the first thing many of them did was mishandle and break that.

Upon pulling the glass side panel and the rear 'cable management' area the rigidity of the case is completely gone. At this point it is much like working with one of those disposable aluminum turkey pans. The inside of the case had the wiring and parts bag all tied up. Reaching inside it was pleasant to note that the edges are all (mostly) finished so as not to present razor edges like other cases in this price range. The front panel has a wire for USB 2 and USB 3, the power and reset button, power LED button, and the finishing and very disappointing touch to find that the fans are all Molex connector type. Straight away that this was a big disappointment as those were the factor which influenced the decision to pull on this one rather than others being considered. The parts bag has all the screws needed for the motherboard installation, extra screws for additional fans, some for HDD mounting, a small booklet, and a bonus of having a nice supply of zip ties.

The case is designed for M-ATX motherboards as well as M-ITX. According to the actual dimensions of the selected motherboard is is of utmost importance to check the pre-installed standoffs. At least one of the standoff pre-installed would have grounded on the back of the motherboard, which necessitated removal, and then in this case there were two others off to the 'front side' of the tray that were removed for aesthetic reasons. There are two spots allocated for placement of 2.5" drives and one of the HUGE detractors in this area is that they are the screw from the back type instead of being the more common keyhole/grommet type. One of the 2.5" bays are up on the flat area just behind the front fans on the tray. No issue there, mostly, in that it is possible to reach all four mounting holes with the case put together. The other 2.5" bay is behind the motherboard. It is not accessible with the motherboard in the case, so a possible future red flag there, right away. There is a removable 3.5" bay down in the front part of the basement. There are spots for two fans or a water cooler in the top of the case, one fan on the rear, and two or maybe three fans possible in the front. The basement has an incoming air vent faced down for PSU placement as well as a filter. The top of the case also has a filter. The front of the case is a fairly tight mesh which appears to be ready to get clogged with some dust.

The case has plenty of room inside to work with. Large hands pose no issues. The rear I/O is the type that the covers break out of for the PCI expansion. The wire management inside the case is very limited. There are pass-ways on the motherboard tray in (most of) the common spots. The back side has almost nothing for anchoring your zip ties aside from around the edges of the pass-ways. It is a very odd layout and took some time figuring out how to run those wires without being able to see them from the front. The bottom edge of the case in back has nothing to anchor to so the USB, Audio, and Front Panel connectors are basically just poking through and bear some minor adjustments as finalizing and putting the back cover on. The actual back panel of the case is super flimsy without the sides on. The PCI cards are under a strange stress that trys to pull the (front facing) side of the connector out of the PCI slot. The video card lock takes care of that aspect for GPU, but the 1X PCI seemingly could eventually be pulled out at an angle due to the pull from the back panel. Very odd issue to have and of the hope that it will not. This is an issue that has never presented in a case build done previously.

The basement has ample room for a goodly sized PSU. Keep in mind that if the audio and USB front panel wiring is already run through here that it may require removing those to get the top side of the PSU in and past them. It can be very tight. There are a couple of inches, according to the PSU length, between it and the 3.5" drive bay. Just forward of that the basement 'ends' and is open for the front fan exhaust. Many cases with a design like this have a removable panel that would allow for this to be open, or not, according to the builders desire. There is a hole that indicates something like this may be an option, but is not discussed within the provided paperwork. The drawback here is that any front panel wiring, or the power connector to the front mounted 2.5" drive can be visible here. Extra care has to be taken in order to hide that wiring.

For ease in adding the motherboard I/O and mounting, the rear fan should be removed. It is of note here to pass along that EVERY hole for the fan screws pulled the plastic out with the screw. This is indicative that the builder of the case is using a power tool to quickly do this, without taking care not to over-tighten. Once that fan was removed (at least in this instance) it required some 'tape' around the screw in order to mount and not be very loose. (teflon tape worked for at least one re-install). Putting in the motherboard I/O shield was made somewhat frustrating by the lack of rigidity in the back panel. It bends and flexes so much that it requires a lot of care to hold the proper pressure in place as each side of the shield is locked in. All of the standoffs worked fine. There was no cross threading and thankfully no small metal slivers or anything. Surprisingly, once the motherboard is in place and screwed down it lends a small amount of rigidity to the area and backplate.

As is mentioned previously, the front panel is made of plastic and seems very brittle. Even handling it makes strange creaks and crack noises that lend to a fear of breaking it. This is a big enough concern that even removing the front panel in order to re-arrange or replace the fans (now or later) is worrisome. It would seem that taking off the side panels and pushing the connector from the inside as gently pulling around the front would be advisable. Because of this the front fans were left in the original placement. One is high and the other is low about half in and out of the basement. This should, in theory, allow some airflow for the drive caddy in the basement as well as fresh air over the graphics card fan. The case has I/O for a "3 slot" card, however installing said will leave very little space between the fan and basement top. A single or dual slot card are likely ideal for this particular case. The top of the case is "high" in relation to the top of the motherboard and even the wire pass through located there. It appears that there would be room for even a thick radiator without concern of interference between it and the top of the motherboard. Heat sinks may or may not pose an issue there, but the back panel and rear fan would be something to triple check during the install process.

Once built, and assuming that not too much hulking went on during the build, the case (in spite of the flimsy feel) did not bend out of shape. This has been an issue with other cases in this range. The feet were all solidly on the table and no rocking or anything took place. The feel of the case, overall, is much more solid once built and back together. It is likely worth considering getting some of the small rubber pads to stick on the feet. Even after the build the case is very light and very easy to move. Some rubber would help considerably with this aspect.

With the glass side panel on and the fans lit up and going the case does look quite nice. Unfortunately, with the Molex fans, the only speed is full tilt boogie and it certainly makes for a mid to loud sound signature. The plus side being, it isn't going to be MORE loud on load, at least from those fans. If it weren't for the budget motivation, those fans would be a likely culprit for R&R right away. Thermals in the case, in spite of these fans, isn't groundbreaking impressive. It would be easy to think that three 120mm fans running at full speed would handle this a bit better. In this particular case a Ryzen 5 3600 is in place with a 'graphics only' level of GPU (GeForce 210). Idle temps here on the cool start of the morning are ~30-32. the moment a browser is opened or user activity starts the case quickly climbs up into the mid to high 30's and low 40C. This does not bode particularly well for how it will perform once a more powerful graphics card is added.

To round everything up, the case presents very well and looks pretty good in person, particularly from a few feet away. Front panel I/O is a bit lacking, but serviceable. The lack of rigidity overall, the Molex fans, and the cheesy brittle front panel are all serious detractors from what could have been a homerun in the price range. There is really no reason in 2023 for any manufacturer to be using a fixed speed Molex fan. It is of note that if you purchased a more modern PSU it might require a trip back to the store for the SATA to Molex adapter. At $50 sale price and free shipping these shortcomings could be overlooked with a bit of a squint. At its normal price ~$65 brings this unit too close to far better quality offerings and best skipped over.
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