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Hands On: EVGA DG-87 Gaming Case

We see a lot of cases around here, and we thought we’d seen it all. But even the most jaded of us was surprised when we unboxed EVGA’s DG-87, because saying this full tower case is massive is an understatement. Whether that’s good or bad really depends on what kind of user you are and how interested you are in displaying your build.

If you’re looking for a micro build, move along. It’s impossible to talk about the design of the DG-87 without mentioning its size, which features one of the largest horizontal footprints of any case we’ve seen -- 27" long by 25" tall by 10.6" wide to be exact. But thanks to its largess, the EVGA acts as a museum display for your flashy components.

The side of the case — with the massive window — is actually the front. It’s unusual, but all of the inputs and outputs are at the bottom of the front, which means EVGA designed the DG-87 to be kept on a desk with the window facing forward to show off what’s inside.

In other words, we’re going to need a bigger desk.

But you can also keep the DG-87 on the floor, which might make sense for some. However, accessing the front input- and output-panel would be somewhat awkward due to its proximity to the floor.

Although the case is plastic, the gunmetal-gray finish looks metallic from afar. However, it would be neat to see an aluminum version, even though that would probably increase its already substantial weight — the DG-87 wasn’t exactly designed to be portable to begin with.

The side panels, which would be the front and back on a more traditional case, are easily removed to reveal the fans. The doors on the front and back can also be removed for building the computer and then managing cabling and SSDs behind the motherboard. There are plenty of cable management tools at your disposal including several clips. Because this is a display case, it’s good EVGA provided the tools necessary to keep things tidy.

There are four different models in the EVGA’s DG-8X line; the DG-84, DG-85, DG-86, and DG-87. DG, which stands for Designed for Gaming, lives up to its name. As you can imagine from the extraordinary size, there is plenty of room for just about anything you could think of. For example, the case can house four graphics card for SLI or CrossFire builds.

In fact, EVGA showed off the DG-87 at CES 2016 and had four EVGA GTX 980 hybrid water- and air-cooled cards running with an easy disconnect cooling system. It looked gorgeous, and really gives you an idea of the sort of powerful builds you can put on display with this massive case.

As far as we can tell the only difference between the DG-86 and DG-87 is the color. The DG-84 — the cheapest model — doesn't have the window, which some people might actually prefer. The rest of the differences come down to whether or not it has a fan controller and how many drives it can support. The DG-86 and DG-87 can support up to a whopping 12 drives, which would be great for people with massive storage needs or someone who loves to RAID SSDs.

One interesting — and mysterious — feature is the K button on the top and bottom of the case. Though it's not exactly clear until you test it, this button allows you to overclock your CPU and your GPU with the press of a button for when you need extra speed.

When it comes to cooling, the DG-87 is designed for efficiency. The DG-87 comes with six fans pre-installed; three intake, two exhaust, and one top-down. As you can probably imagine, there’s plenty of room for more fans — it supports up to eight 140 or 120mm fans — and a liquid cooling system in the cavernous maw of a case. There’s even a dedicated place for a dual 360 or 420mm radiator and a cooling reservoir. With all those fans, dust could become an issue. But the DG-87 has two filters; one in front of the intake fans and a very small one underneath the power supply.

I always appreciate when a case is easy to work on, and  I love when cases are toolless. For the most part the DG-87 is both. Almost everything can be removed with simple thumbscrews, which makes adding anything from cooling to SSDs painless. The only aspect of working with this case that I found frustrating is there’s only one place for cables to pass through the back, and it isn’t very large. The passthrough could get crowded fast, especially if you’re using larger cables such as DVI.

On the front of the case, you can control both the intake and output fans separately with the switches and the aforementioned LED screen. However, in an age where fan, LED, and temperature controls are migrating to the motherboard and software, this feature stands out as perhaps a bit archaic. Also, on the DG-86 and DG-87, the numbers that give you the fan speed and temperatures are really large and, frankly, distracting.

Given the sheer size and the wealth of options provided by this enormous case, one would think it would be more expensive than others in its class.

Also on the front are two USB 3.0 ports, a USB 3.1 type C input, and of course your standard mic and headphone connections. The front panel also has an HDMI input, which would be great for VR enthusiasts who want easy access for their head mounted displays. Additionally, there are two USB 2.0 inputs on the top near the reset, power, and second overclock control buttons. The DG-87 has plenty of ports, and having them on the top and the front of the case makes access less difficult for someone without the desk real estate who has to keep it on the floor.

Given the sheer size and the wealth of options provided by this enormous case, one would think it would be more expensive than others in its class. The DG-8X line starts at $150 and goes up to $230 which, while not cheap, seems pretty reasonable for something this large.

The DG-87 is not subtle, but it’s not trying to be. It’s a great case for someone who really wants to showcase their build, has enough room to display it in a huge case, and does not need to be mobile. If that sounds like you, then you won’t be disappointed.

The fan control being on the bottom of the case feels a bit gimmicky, though it is nice to see all that information in real time. The build of the case itself is very solid. Nothing about it feels cheap, and it’s super easy on which to work. However, I do wish there was a metal version. Not only would it look great, but it would feel more premium.

EVGA did a great job of allowing easy access from all sides. Not having to try and squeeze everything into a little box is a nice change, and it’s refreshing to have so much room with which to work. Fitting four cards into this case would be a cinch.

We’ve wanted to do an all-EVGA build for a while now, and the DG-87 is a perfect excuse to do it. Stay tuned for more soon.