The gold casing is awash with windows and grilles, allowing you to see the internals of the Isotope from almost any angle. When you have clear line of sight to the internals of a PC, you need to make sure that the build quality is top notch, and Scan has definitely made sure of that with the Isotope. All the cables are routed so that they don’t obscure airflow or vision, while the case is equipped with multiple coloured lights to show off the internals to best effect.
Talking of system internal layout, it comes as a surprise to find the PSU mounted at the front of the chassis rather than the rear. But what’s even more surprising is that there is a power pass-through on the rear of the case, so that you can power your monitor directly from the Isotope rather than pluging it into a wall socket. I seem to remember that there was a problem with CE approval when it came to power pass-throughs on power supplies, although in this case, the pass-through is not actually on the PSU, so the same issue probably doesn’t apply. Either way, the option is there if you want it, but you’re not obliged to connect your monitor this way if you don’t want to.
The front fascia of the Isotope is constructed from an 8mm thick slab of perspex that’s fixed to the casing using five large Allen bolts. There’s one 5.25in bay cut into the fascia which houses a black NEC ND-3540A DVD writer – pretty much the best DVD burner that you can get your paws on these days. At the bottom of the fascia is a 3.5in bay which has been filled with a floppy drive/memory card reader that will accept CompactFlash, MicroDrive, SD, MMC, SmartMedia and MemoryStick formats. There’s a gold Isotope badge bolted to the middle of the fascia, with a very large, gold power button to the left of it – once again both look great.
If there’s one problem with the fascia design, it’s the front mounted ports. To the left of the power button, there are fascia cut outs for a six-pin FireWire port, headphone and mic sockets, and two USB 2.0 ports. The issue is that the perspex is so thick, and the cut outs so tight to the ports, that you can’t actually fit some devices into them. For example, I could fit neither my SanDisk USB SD card or my Swissbit TwistPro USB memory key into the USB 2.0 ports at the front of the Isotope. Of course, the majority of USB devices do fit without issue, but you should really be able to use any device with these ports.