DarkFlash DLM21 Case Review

There are a plethora of cases in the Pakistani market for gamers to choose from. The variety caters well to the high-end PC gamer, as well as the more budget-friendly ones. The DarkFlash DLM21 is not short of competition in this market. Team that with the fact that new players like 1st player have penetrated the Pakistani market. So then how well does the DarkFlash DLM21 stack up against the competition? To find out, we’ve made this DarkFlash DLM21 Case Review.

In the DarkFlash DLM21 case review, we will go over aspects that the modern case buyer looks for in a casing.

DarkFlash DLM21 Case Review – Looks

Well, let me just start by saying that looks are subjective. What I think about this case might not resonate with everybody. However, with that said, I am going to keep it as objective as I can while keeping it interesting.

DarkFlash DLM21 Case Review image
DarkFlash DLM21

On my first look at this casing, the first thing to strike me was the size. My honest first thought was that it is an NZXT H510 that someone shrunk. However, a second look revealed that that’s where the similarities end. When viewed from the front, the white fractals remind me of the Fractal Design Meshify C, except that it’s white…and closed.

DarkFlash DLM21 Case Review Front
DarkFlash DLM21 Front View

The second thing that struck me was the large, centered DarkFlash logo on the side of the basement cover. Personally, I am not a huge fan of that kind of branding, but that is just personal preference.

DarkFlash DLM21 Door

The third thing I noticed was the small bit of black cloth protruding out from the side of the tempered glass. Upon pulling it, I discovered that the tempered glass side panel is on a hinge, which left me amazed. Hinging panels are considered a premium when it comes to cases; thus, seeing a relatively cheaper casing with a hinge is a refreshing and pleasant sight.

Lastly, the magnetic top mesh filter is a nice to have feature. Upon removal, you can see that you can have mounts for both 140mm and 120mm fans.

Compatibility & Ports

For starters, it is important to remember that this an M-ATX enclosure. However, for something of its size, it still allows you to mount a fair bit of hardware inside.

DarkFlash DLM21 Case Compatibility.
DarkFlash DLM21 Compatibility
DarkFlash DLM21 Case Review Clearances.
DarkFlash DLM21 Clearances & Dimensions

The case is easily compatible with the following hardware:

  • Two SATA SSDs
  • 1 + 1 HDDs (One Inside & One Above The Caddy)
  • Up to five 120mm Fans
  • Two 140mm Fans
DarkFlash DLM21 Case Review Front I/O
DarkFlash DLM21 Front I/O

On the front, we have 2 USB 2.0 ports, a single USB 3.0 port, split headset and microphone jacks, a reset switch, and a big round power button.

With all these features, this casing looks like a cool choice for M-ATX builders right? Well, let’s see what it’s like to build in it.

Building Experience

In the fairness of giving this DarkFlash DLM21 case review the best chance at a positive outlook, I populated all the fan slots in the casing with 3 Panther fans and 2 Thermaltake Riing 12 RGB fans on the top. Furthermore, I installed what is considered to be the current mid-high range gaming setup to see how it runs.

The specs of the test rig include:

  • Motherboard = ASUS PRIME A320M-E
  • RAM = G.Skill TridentZ RGB 3000Mhz CL16 16GB (8×2)
  • CPU = Ryzen 5 2600
  • Cooler = Wraith Prism
  • GPU = ZOTAC TWIN EDGE RTX 3070
  • PSU = CoolerMaster V750
DarkFlash DLM21 Case Review Build
Build Inside The DarkFlash DLM21

The first thing I will say about the building experience is to BE CAREFUL WITH THE STANDOFFS. Whether it was a factory fault or if it is a standard but the standoffs in our review unit were poorly fitted, to the extent of rotating when installing the motherboard; thus, the motherboard could not be installed easily. However, this is not a major fault and certainly not one that isn’t easily fixable.

Fan Mounting

DarkFlash DLM21 Case Review Front Fan Mount
DarkFlash DLM21 Front Fan Mount

The second thing to be said is the ease with which the fans can be mounted into the casing. There is no need to remove the front panel of the casing to install the fans on the front. There is a dedicated bracket to house the fans on the front of the casing that can be removed. Installing the front fans was a dawdle. It was as simple as removing the bracket, installing the fans into the bracket, then inserting the bracket back. However, routing the fan cables was a little tricky but nothing too difficult.

The bracket also gives the fans much needed space for airflow from as it’s only source of air is via side vents in the rear side panel (much like an H510).

Cable Management

DarkFlash DLM21 Cable “Management”

Cable management became quite tricky. It was an arduous process to avoid the rat’s nest in the bottom. However, 2 different sets of fans were used; thus, having 2 controllers in the back made things extra messy. The channels for routing are quite narrow and I had to get a little creative about hiding the cables in the back. The lack of space really did become an issue. However, at the end of the day, I was able to close the back panel without it bulging in the center. That’s about as good as it gets for something this small, in my opinion at least.

PCIE Covers

DarkFlash DLM21 PCIE Covers

The last thing to note is the PCIE covers. They aren’t the covers that can be restored, they’re the push out ones. Once you push a PCIE cover out, that’s it -That slot cannot be covered anymore. Furthermore, there is a cover for the PCIE slots that I was unable to use once a GPU was installed. It’s there to cover the PCIE covers. However, I could not figure out how to reinstall it once a GPU was inside.

HDD & SSD Mounting

Mounting the SSD was extremely simple. All that was required was to have the SSD SATA power and connector ports facing towards the cable routing slot and screwing it in from the other side. The HDD mounting, however, was not so simple.

DarkFlash DLM21 Hard Drive Caddy

The first HDD has to be installed on top of the caddy and the second hard drive then goes inside the caddy. the first one has to be screwed in from the bottom so make sure to do that before inserting the second one.

Thermals

My Ryzen 5 2600 and RTX 3070 were being run in their stock configurations and all the fans were regulated to 1200RPM. the test included multiple-hour-long game sessions of Apex Legends, Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six: Siege, and PUBG. Ambient temperature at the time of testing was 27 degrees Celsius. The results are quite interesting for a case of this size.

The CPU hovered steadily over 60 degrees with occasional bumps to 65.

The GPU went up to 78 degrees. However, this is only a 7 degree delta from my testing with the GPU in an open setup.

DarkFlash DLM21 Case Review – Conclusion

So then what do you make of this DarkFlash DLM21 case review? I believe that for an MATX casing, it is not a bad choice. The DarkFlash DLM21 gets a lot of things right. It understands how to tackle most of the major issues that MATX enclosures normally face. furthermore, it has enough premium features where i would certainly think it was more than what it’s worth.

Should you get one? if you think the NZXT H510 is too big and you don’t mind sacrificing a tiny amount on thermals then definitely. However, if you want something in black then the 1stPlayer B4-M BLACK SIR might be worth checking out.

Also be sure to check our 2020 PC case round-up here

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Shahzeb Nasir
PC hardware and coding enthusiast. My primary fields of interest are Hardware, Artificial Intelligence, and IoT. Apart from that, most everything related to computers fascinates me to some degree for the most part.

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