Montech Sky Two ATX Case Review
To say that we were a little surprised upon seeing the Sky Two’s price would be a vast understatement: It’s definitely not the typical fare one is likely to find in a mere perusal of similarly-priced cases on Amazon. No, this one looks far more like a shrunken version of Raijintek’s recently-reviewed Paean Premium than it does a different manufacturer’s take on the TD500 Mesh.
|Montech Sky Two|
|Type||Mid-Tower||Included Fans||(2) 120mm Side, (1) Rear, (1) Center (all ARGB)|
|Motherboard Support||EATX, ATX, Micro ATX, Mini ITX||Front Fan Mounts||X|
|Max Motherboard Depth||15.9″ (40.4 cm) (w/o side fans)||Rear Fan Mounts||(1) 120mm|
|Dimensions (HxWxD)||19.38 x 8.50 x 17.5″ (49.2 x 21.6 x 44.5 cm)||Top Fan Mounts||(3) 120mm or (2) 140mm|
|Air Cooler Clearance||168mm||Bottom Fan Mounts||X|
|Card Length||404mm (meaured, rated 400mm)||Side Fan Mounts||(2) 120mm|
|Power Supply Format||PS/2: 260mm measured, rated 210mm||Top Rad. Clearance||56mm vertical, 22mm horizontal (max)|
|Weight||17.3 lbs (7.85 kg)||Front Rad. Clearance||X|
|External Bays||X||Front Filter||X|
|Internal Bays||(2) 3.5″, (3) 2.5″||Top Filter||X|
|Card Slots||7||Bottom Filter||Slide-out (from rear) nylon mesh|
|Ports/Jacks||(1) Gen2 Type-C, (2) Gen1 Type A, Headphone, Microphone||Damping||None|
As to how we’d forgotten what the price was supposed to be before opening the box—there might have been a hospitalization involved—but a quick look at the construction methods, fit and finish is what likened it to those small to medium-production shops that brought us the above-mentioned offering.
On offer is a black box with two glass panels and accompanying steel accent panels that may trick you into thinking they’re anything but the carbon grey pearlescent painted parts that they turn out to be. Two side intakes and a rear exhaust are mounted, and Montech throws in a fourth intake fan to mount below your graphics card during construction. Unlike most fans, intake and exhaust is dictated by whether the blade’s curvature is normal (push) or reversed (pull).
Front-panel ports line the right front corner of the top panel, above the side vent that feeds the two intake fans of the previous paragraph. Data includes two Type A and one Type-C port, the later tied to a Gen2 lead. Montech still supplies traditional Headphone and Microphone jacks rather than combine those.
Around back we see the standard seven expansion slots of ATX, an exhaust fan that can be slid upward on its screw mounting slots, and space above the motherboard I/O panel hole for the top-mounting of radiators. The power supply mount has two sets of holes to allow builders to flip theirs and sits above a slide-out dust filter. The two side intake fans are clearly visible through side panel vents.
The Sky Two features thin rubber feet upon foot-like plastic spacers, but the main reason we flipped it over is to find the center screw for the left side’s vented accent panel. That panel is also secured with two screws through the back and two through the front of holes in the chassis frame.
The center cover of the top panel slides out after removing a single screw at the center of its rear edge, revealing mounts for 100mm, 120mm, and 140mm fans. Since 100mm fans aren’t a “thing” in this market, Montech shows that the extra slots can also provide dual mounting positions for 120mm fans.
The second dust filter is attached via magnetic strips over the inside of the side panel vents: Montech leaves it to the builder to make sure it’s positioned correctly. This sheet and the slide-out part beneath the power supply are the Sky Two’s only dust filters.
We decided to remove all outer panels for this photo, and found that tabs on the front glass frame slide up out of its mounts, the vented front accent panel then slides up after removing two screws from its folded-over top edge, and the side accent slides out after removing its five screws (two of which are hidden behind the front accent). There aren’t any internal components to prevent expansion cards from extending all the way up to the front panel glass (about 404mm), but any motherboards over ATX spec will encroach on the cable passage holes next to the side fans, and those more than an inch over ATX spec will at least partially block the fan blades.
The top of the power supply tunnel features two 120mm fan mounts, though using these will likely cause unfiltered air to be drawn through the vents of the front and left side accent panels.
The obverse shows the recessed side fan mount in greater detail, along with its adjacent cable passage holes that are angled 45° between the offset surface and the motherboard tray. Note that the fan is labeled “reverse” as its blades are shaped to pull air in past the fan frame, rather than push air past that frame.
Two 2.5” drive trays are mounted directly behind the motherboard, two 3.5” drives can be mounted within the power supply tunnel’s drive cage, and a third 2.5” drive can be mounted atop the 3.5” drive cage. The drive cage rests 260mm forward of the power supply mount, and removing it would give builders even more power supply space.
Montech told us that current customers will get revision 2 of the ARGB-controlling PWM fan hub shown here. We can only hope that the revised version supports as many fans and ARGB strips (six each).
Building With The Sky Two
Montech includes a bag of shoulder screws for the two 3.5” drive bays, a set of plugs for the front-panel ports, a second set #6-32 screws with hex/Phillips heads for things like the power supply, a big bag of M3 screws for motherboard standoffs and 2.5” drives, three additional standoffs for the leading edge of EATX motherboards, a set of short #6-32 panhead screws for mounting radiators directly to the case, a set of longer #6-32 panhead screws for mounting fans, and a beep-code PC speaker bagged with a socket adapter for installing standoffs.
The funny thing about those three EATX standoffs is that two of the Sky Two’s three extra standoff holes were removed to make way for the side fan mount. Regardless, the kit also includes an ARGB fan, several ratcheting cable ties, and three reusable cable ties. The extra RX120 PWM fan matches the two side fans, featuring reversed blades to “pull” air into the case when mounted with the face pointing inward. Conversely, the model AX120 PWM rear exhaust fan is the only included part that flows in the traditional nose-to-frame direction.
The Sky Two’s ARGB fan controller features an SATA style power input, PWM feed through for motherboard control and standard ARGB input with an oddball “Gigabyte Only” additional pigtail. Remaining cables include USB3 Gen1 for the two Type A ports, USB3 Gen2 for the Type-C port, HD Audio for the headphone and microphone jacks, and a combined button/LED connector block which follows our Front Panel Header guide to support 99% of consumer-market motherboards.
The fan also has connectors, which include a PWM and an ARGB. Note that ARGB differs from classic RGB design in that it uses a missing pin to “key” the connector.
Now before we move forward, please note the CPU cooler we’ve been using in our tests:
|CPU||AMD Ryzen 7 3700X: 8 cores/ 16 threads, 32MB L3 Cache
O/C to 4.20 GHz (42x 100 MHz) at 1.3625 V Core
|CPU Cooler||Fractal Design Celsius S24 2x 120mm Closed-Loop Liquid Cooler|
|Motherboard||MSI X570 Ace: AMD X570, Socket AM4|
|RAM||PNY XLR8 MD32GK2D4320016XR: 2x 16GB DDR4-3200
T-Force Vulcan Z TLZGD416G3200HC16CDC0 DDR4-3200
|Graphics||Gigabyte GeForce RTX 2070 Gaming OC 8G: GeForce RTX 2070
1815 MHz GPU, GDDR6-14000, Maximum Fan When Listed
|Hard Drives||Toshiba OCZ RD400 256GB NVMe SSD|
|Sound||Integrated HD Audio|
|Network||Integrated Gigabit Networking|
|Power||Corsair AX860i: ATX12V v2.3, EPS12V, 80 PLUS Platinum|
|Load Software||AIDA 64 Engineer Version 6.00.5100, Stress CPU, FPU, Cache, GPU|
|H/W Monitoring||HWiNFO64 v6.28-4200|
|SPL Monitoring||Galaxy CM-140 SPL Meter: Tested at 1/4 m, corrected to 1 m (-12 dB)|
Our cooler uses a 30mm-thick radiator to optimize temperature, which is only a bit less common than the 27mm parts found in our recent reviews. That 3mm makes a difference, as we had to remove a couple screws to fit our cooler into the Sky Two.
The other fitment issue is that there’s only 22mm of horizontal space between the motherboard and our fans. That leaves too little space between our motherboard’s EPS12V connector and the inward edge of the rear fan to pass a cable through, forcing us to instead run its cable around the back of the fan. Also notice that the extra fan that Montech included to assist graphics card cooling had to be placed in the rear position of its two-fan mount: That’s because both of our USB3 front-panel headers (Gen1 and Gen2) exited the motherboard into the forward fan mount.
We’d say that it was worth the effort since our radiator ended up not covering those pretty side fans, which sit in an alternative mounting location for radiators this size.
Regarding the case’s ability to support so-called 280mm and 360mm radiators, the former would likely work only if mounted ahead of the motherboard’s EPS12V/ATX12V leads, and the later would require some…extra effort. With its 27mm radiator thickness, DeepCool’s recently-reviewed LS720 WH is at least thin enough to slide the heads of its fan screws past the top of our motherboard’s voltage regulator heat sink.
The Sky Two ran our CPU cool in a first-place tie with the MasterBox TD500 Mesh. Then again, CPU cooling isn’t difficult for any of the tested cases…given the size of our radiator.
Voltage regulator temperature is a matter of airflow around the motherboard’s upper rear corner, with some motherboards running so hot that nothing short of a local fan (such as an air CPU cooler) will suffice. Given our use of a closed-loop cooler, this test primarily shows how well the case’s top radiator mount aligns to our motherboard’s voltage regulator, and the Sky Two ties for second behind the TD500 Mesh.
The Sky Two also ties for second in chipset temperature, which should be the reading most closely related to the motherboard chamber’s air temperature.
And, remembering that lower is better with temperatures, the Sky Two also ties for second in GPU temperature. We noticed that the second-place contender it matches keeps changing, making the Sky Two the only case to consistently place second behind the first-place TD 500 Mesh.
SPL is where things go south for the MasterBox TD500 Mesh, which though coolest is also noisiest. Second coolest, the Sky Two takes first place in noise control…but only if you’re listening to it from the left front corner. Because its “Front fans” are actually on the front part of the right-hand side panel, those hearing the Sky Two from the right front corner will likely swear that it sounds as loud as the noise-losing TD500 Mesh.
This brings us to the point where we tell you that the Sky Two looks like a better case than it is, but not for performance reasons: Instead, it’s a little too crowded above, below, and in front of the motherboard to reach all of its marketing goals. Furthermore, one of its design features beleaguers another, its center fan pulling unfiltered air through the vent holes of front and left accent panels.
We could go on and tell Montech exactly how to make this the premium case it deserves to be by giving it an inch more room in front of the motherboard so that longer (10.6”-deep) motherboards won’t cover up the cable access holes, a half inch more above the motherboard so that cables can more easily clear radiator-mounted fans, a half inch more below the motherboard so that stiff USB3 cables can be curved over the top edge of fan frames, and removable dust filters for the front and side accent panels…but we should first realize that this was never priced to be a premium case. It’s only a hundred dollars.
|Montech Sky Two|
|The Sky Two’s combination of performance, features, build quality and finish make it feel like a bargain despite being packed with roughly one design quirk for every added feature.|
A hundred bucks! A product that can tie a price that low to performance and features this grand usually wins a prize. Doing so without sacrificing anything by way of aesthetics just might make us start to think of all those glaring design flaws as minor annoyances.