The case cover is secured by two clips at either side of the chassis. Once these clips are released, the cover can be lifted away from the main chassis – it’s probably the simplest internal access I’ve seen on a PC. Once inside, you can see that the motherboard is mounted on a raised platform, with the hard disk cage lurking underneath. The hard disk in the review system was a 250GB Maxtor unit with a 16MB buffer – so you shouldn’t see any kind of bottleneck here.
The motherboard is a Foxconn WinFast Socket 939 model with single x16 and x1 PCI Express slots, along with two PCI slots. All the slots are empty apart from the x16 PCI Express slot, but this is the important one – residing here is an XFX GeForce 7800GTX card. The 7800GTX represents the pinacle of 3D graphics at the moment and makes the Isotope a serious machine for serious gamers.
Of course a fast graphics card needs a fast CPU to drive it, but Scan is well aware of this and has populated the Socket 939 with an AMD Athlon 64 4000+. This may not be as fast as the high-end FX Athlon 64 chips, but it offers a great price/performance ratio, and won’t let you down in the gaming department. The memory won’t let the side down either – Scan has fitted a pair of 512MB Corsair XMS Pro modules, complete with LED load indicators. I usually see flashing LEDs on memory modules as a pointless gimmick, but when you’ve got a case with as many windows as the Isotope, these modules complement it perfectly.
Despite the high specification of the Isotope, it’s actually quite quiet in operation. OK, so it’s not as quiet as a passively cooled small form factor box, but it’s not going to drive you mad either. Of course the fans don’t spin up to full speed unless you’re really hammering the hardware, which usually means playing games, and when you’re playing games you’re going to have headphones or speakers on, so you’re not going to be bothered by system noise.