The MSI Barricade Chassis
Typically when we think about the computer manufacturer Micro Star International (MSI) we think of their top quality video cards, motherboards, and their laptops. We rarely think that MSI also provides us computer users with chassis'. Even I have to admit that when I hear the name MSI the first thing that comes to mind are their motherboards, and the last thing that I honestly think about the name MSI are chassis'.
Well over here at Legit Reviews, we just so happen to be looking at a chassis for MSI, the Barricade. The question remains, did MSI carry over their top quality reputation into their chassis', and does MSI have what it takes to compete with some of the biggest chassis manufacturer's names in the computer industry? Well there is only one way to find out and that is to jump right in and see what the Barricade has to offer us computer users.
MSI Barricade IN-535 Specifications
- Model: IN-535
- Form Factor: ATX Mid Tower
- Color / Type: Black (Steel)
- Front Bezel Material: Mesh
- Motherboard Support: ATX / MicroATX
- 5.25" Drive: 3
- 3.5" Internal: 4
- Expansion Slots: 7
- USB 2.0 / 3.0: 2 / 1 (Top Panel)
- HD/97 Audio: Yes (Top Panel)
- Card Reader: Yes (SD)
- Included Fans: 3 (120mm Rear; 2x Front LED)
- Optional Fans: Up to TWO (2) TOP 120mm
- Dimensions: (Chassis) 450(L) x 185(W) x 412(H) MM
- Weight: 17.19 lbs
- Warranty: 3 Years
Giving the specifications a quick glance, MSI classifies the Barricade chassis as a mid-tower chassis, also that this chassis only comes in one color and that being black. This chassis can support either a mATX/ATX motherboards, and that this chassis can only use up to three 5.25" drive/bay devices and only up to four 3.5/2.5" HDD/SSDs. MSI also includes a SD card reader with the Barricade chassis, so if those of us that have a lot of digital devices we do not need to go out and purchase a separate card reader, if we use this chassis. And finally, we get an idea of the size and weight of this chassis.
Like all mid-tower chassis there are certain things that I personally look for. One of them is room on the interior of the chassis, being that there are so many different configurations of computer components; every mid tower chassis needs to be able to handle a wide variety of different standard sized motherboard configurations and or video cards. The second major thing I look for in every mid tower chassis is having the basic capability of wire management, we can't keep our expensive computer components cool if we have a lot of wires blocking precious airflow. And the final thing I look for in all mid tower chassis' is build quality, this one is pretty much self-explanatory.
One of the best things is that the MSI Barricade can be purchased today for $59.99 USD at Amazon.com with free shipping. This price point is where a ton of cases get sold, so let's move along and see what the Barricade has to offer.
Unboxing the Barricade
Let's see how MSI packaged up the Barricade mid tower chassis before I jump right into the external/internal overview of this little chassis. MSI gives us a good idea on what the Barricade chassis looks like, and they inform us that this particular chassis carries a 3 year warranty. Both front and rear panels of the packaging have the same exact information imprinted on to them.
Rotating the box 90° to the left to one of the end caps; MSI gives us some general features of the Barricade chassis.
Turning the box 180° to the left brings us to the final end cap. MSI lists the general specifications of the barricade chassis here.
Looking at how MSI packaged the Barricade inside of the box. Pretty much standard packaging I have seen on previous chassis', but instead of using Styrofoam inserts MSI uses foam rubber to help protect the Barricade chassis from the rigors of shipping.
Since the chassis accessories were already out of the chassis I went ahead and laid out its contents to see what is included.
- User Manual
- Wire Ties
- MSI dog tags
- Rubber Isolators
- Small bag of screws that include:
- Motherboard Standoffs
- Motherboard screws
- 2.5' HDD screws
- Red Isolator washers
- PC speaker
- Various chassis screws
Here's what the MSI Barricade chassis looks like outside of the confines of the box.
Barricade Exteriror Thoughts
Starting off on the front of the Barricade, then making our way around the entire external portion of this chassis. MSI allows us to use up to 3 5.25" drives/bay devices with this chassis. The one thing that grabs my attention to this chassis is the rather large front fan intake portion of this chassis, I will have to investigate this a bit further. The entire front portion of the front bezel uses a fine metal mesh to keep air flow optimal and also to keep large particles from entering the chassis' interior.
Up at the very top of the Barricade chassis are the front IO ports/switches. Starting off from the right working my way left, is a Reset button, HDD/Power indicator LED's, a USB 2 port, Mic/Head phone jacks, followed by another USB 2 port, then finally the USB 3 port (designated as the SS for Super Speed USB).
This is something that we rarely see from chassis manufacturer's and that being the use of covers for the front IO ports, good call MSI
Like many other chassis to remove the front bezel all we need to do is reach underneath the front of the bezel and gently pull towards us or away from the chassis. Well I found out why the Barricade has such a large front fan intake portion and why this chassis only has 3 5.25" drive/device bays. MSI includes 2 120mm front fans.
Right behind the front intake of the bezel MSI includes a fine mesh sandwiched between a hexagonal mesh on the backside and the fine metal mesh on the exterior; making gaining access to this filter screen impossible.
I would like to have been given the option of being able to remove this front filter screen without having to disassemble the entire front bezel. Reason for this is because I have been in areas where there is a lot of dust/lint in the air with a relative high humidity which makes these unwanted items stick to the filter and requires us to physically wash them in soap and water. Basically making the can of compressed air useless.
Turning the chassis 90° to the right brings us to the left side panel. MSI includes a fairly large side window so that we can see all of our cool computer components inside of the chassis. The one thing we don't see is a side panel fan, I would have liked to have seen a side panel fan but it is not a requirement.
Making our way over to the backside of the Barricade chassis. As we can see the Barricade chassis follows a pretty much standard ATX layout
Starting from the top, then making my way down; to the very top of the chassis is 2 rather small water cooling access ports, and below these access ports is where MSI includes a 120mm rear exhaust fan.
The barricade chassis can use up to a standard ATX sized motherboards that use up to 7 PCI expansion ports; this also covers mATX motherboards as well. To the right of the PCI expansion ports is where MSI includes vents to allow for more airflow with our video cards. The Blue cable you see dangling is a USB 3 extension cable from the chassis' front IO ports. This will be needed to be hooked up to a rear motherboard USB 3 header in order to use the front USB 3 port.
The PSU gets mounted towards the bottom of the chassis, and MSI also makes sure that we can use a multitude of different mounting configurations and types of PSU's with this chassis.
On the right side panel, MSI made it form outwards to help allow for clearances when we route our PSU wires behind the motherboard tray. Only time will tell if this shape is enough to make a difference.
Taking a quick look at the right side panel.
Time for me to look at the top of this chassis.
MSI places the on/off button direct to center of the top of the chassis. Then directly behind the on/off power button MSI includes a SD card reader. If you look to the top and bottom of the top of the chassis you will see 2 large switches, these are simple fan controllers. Right behind all of this; MSI includes a small digital tray so that we can place our portable devices, phones, small cameras, etc. here for when we are using this chassis.
A quick look at the SD card reader that MSI includes into this chassis.
Towards the rear of the top of the Barricade is another fine metal mesh covering.
To remove this covering MSI has it locked into place. To remove it so that we can install our fans simply push on both sides of this covering (at the same time) push down and it will be released from the chassis.
This is what I like about this chassis, MSI has us mount the upper 120mm exhaust fans on the top of the chassis instead of having us mount them underneath. This will give us more room inside of the main chassis with our large computer components.
MSI uses another fine filter screen here, this filter cannot be removed either if and when we do need to service it.
Turning the chassis over to the bottom so that we can see how MSI put this part of the chassis together.
MSI places a removable filter under the PSU mounting area. Also if we look at the bottom of the feet, even though MSI uses the main portion of these feet as plastic there are small strips of rubber to keep this chassis from marring any of the surfaces we may place this chassis upon.
Looking at the removable bottom 120mm fan filter.
Right in front of the bottom 120mm fan filter are some small holes that will allow better ventilation of our HDD/SSD's . I will go more into depth about this on the next page.
So far my overall impression of the Barricade chassis from MSI has been a pleasant one. The only thing that concerns me currently is the overall size of this chassis. But I will find out if this chassis is big enough to handle standard sized computer components during the installation portion of this review.
Barricade Interior Thoughts
Since I have gone over the entire exterior of the Barricade chassis, time for me to give the inner portion of this chassis a good look through. MSI uses a PSU power cable channel on the motherboard tray, this should help keep our power cables organized a bit better while still keeping the main interior of the chassis from getting too crowded with PSU power cables.
Starting off on the interior, I am going to look at the 5.25" drive/device bays. The Barricade chassis uses a tool-less design for these bays. Also these tool-less mounts can be moved to accommodate just about any type of drive/device we may place into these bays.
Right below the 5.25" bays is left open to allow more airflow to our computer components.
To the bottom of the front of the chassis is where MSI includes a HDD carrier group, we can use up to 4 2.5/3.5" HDD/SSD in with this chassis. I will have to say I kind of like the color scheme that MSI is using on this chassis.
Giving the front IO chassis hook ups a quick look at. There are 2 USB 2 motherboard headers, one is for the USB 2 ports, and the other one is used for the included SD card reader. MSI includes a front on/off HDD/power indicator LED's, and the front audio motherboard header.
Looking at the rear 120mm exhaust fan that MSI includes.
The upper 120mm exhaust fan mounts.
MSI uses a rather large CPU cutout on the back side of the motherboard tray. This should be large enough to handle various types and styles of motherboards on the market today.
MSI does include small PSU wire cutouts in the motherboard tray, these do appear to be rather small to handle some of the larger PSU power cables; again time will only tell if they are big enough. We are also looking at the front IO fan controller hook ups. If you wish to use the included fan controller switches, the fans will need to be hooked up to these fan headers. What is not shown is a 4 pin molex connector that will also be required to be hooked up as well, unfortunately it was not long enough to reach the internal portion of the chassis.
I removed one of the HDD/SSD carriers so that we can get a better look at them. These carriers can handle both a 2.5 and a 3.5" HDD/SSD's, also we have the option of mounting an 80/90mm fan to help keep these drives cool.
Time for me to measure the interior of the MSI Barricade chassis. If you look at the motherboards PCI expansion ports to the orientation of the chassis itself, we can see that the top or primary video card has quite a bit of room available to it. But I will have to add that if you plan on using multiple video cards or cards that are below the primary video card, you will be limited to only having 11 3/8" of room. So like always please double check your expansion cards length.
A quick measurement of the PSU power cable channel; there is not much room here at all. I am guessing roughly around 3/8" of room here, let's hope the right side panel form is enough to compensate for the lack of room here.
I do not consider 1/4" to be a lot of room. Again I am praying that the right side panel form is enough to compensate for the lack of room behind the motherboard tray.
Giving a quick measurement behind the motherboard tray with the side panel installed to give me a better idea on how much room there is behind the motherboard. As we can see there is just right at 1/2" of room here thanks to the bump out that was stamped in the side panel.
The MSI Barricade chassis interior corners were rounded off enough to keep me from cutting my hands, arms, and fingers while I made my way throughout the entire exterior/interior of this review. Also this chassis did seem to have a solid build quality to it.
Barricade Computer Installation
Time for me to go ahead and start installing my computer components into the Barricade chassis and see if it is big enough to handle a moderately sized computer system.
So far the Barricade chassis is more than capable of handling moderately sized computer components. I have not run into any major fitting problems with the motherboard or the PSU.
The HDD carriers also use a tool-less design to them. Installation was pretty straight forward, just slightly bend one side of the carrier away from the HDD and slide in the HDD into the carrier and let go of the HDD carrier.
It almost looks like the HDD carriers are too small for the 3.5” HDD's.
Installation of the smaller 2.5" HDD/SSD's in to the Barricade chassis is pretty straight forward as well. Just need to align the center holes to the HDD/SSD and find the proper screws and secure it to the carrier.
As I said on the previous page, we have the option of mounting 80/90mm fans to the carriers to help keep our drives cool. But if you wish to use a fan on these drive carriers, you will lose a lower drive carrier in the process due to the fan thickness.
Looking at the backside of the motherboard tray with all of the computer components installed into the Barricade chassis.
This is where things got interesting for me when I was trying to install the right side panel onto this chassis. As I feared, the right side panel did not have a large enough of an outward form in it to allow me to close that side panel without me having to put a lot of pressure on the right side panel to close it. MSI should have put an extra 3/8"- 1/2" more room back here to make hiding the PSU power cables easier while installing the right side panel.
The CPU cut out is large enough to handle various types of and designs of motherboards.
If you are going to be using a non-modular PSU, you will not be able to install the bottom 120mm fan here.
Even after fighting the right side panel to go back on with all of the PSU wires, I still managed a pretty clean look to the interior of the Barricade chassis. If I would have used one of my non modular PSU's, I would have been in trouble.
What the MSI Barricade mid tower chassis looks like running at night.
MSI Barricade Final Thoughts
The MSI Barricade chassis is a type of chassis that will accommodate just about anyone who is constantly on the go. It is fairly light weight, and has a small enough footprint to make toting this chassis from house to house quite easy. MSI has also included some features that we have seen only in full tower chassis'; that being the dual 120mm front fan intakes, and adding the ability of installing the top 120mm exhaust fans to the top of the chassis, instead of the underside of the interior, which will allow us computer users to use a multitude of different motherboard configurations while using the MSI Barricade chassis. Another thing that gets my attention about this little chassis is that MSI includes a 3 year warranty, which is a rare commodity to have in the computer industry, especially when it pertains to chassis'.
As I recently discovered, I have a nephew that will take/carry his computer anywhere he goes. Even if it means he just going to visit friends and family members just for a day or two, he will always drag his computer right along with him. These types of people need to have a computer chassis that is light weight enough to make moving their computers from house to the next easily and effortlessly, while at the same time remain compact enough so that the computer system does not take up a lot of space at the same time. While not having to make a lot of sacrifices on what these types of portable gamers can use with their computer systems, they can retain portability, and have a powerful computer at the same time, so that the only thing that is limiting them on their gaming sessions, is themselves.
There is one area that MSI needs to work on with this particular chassis, and that is the wire management capability behind the motherboard tray. I feel that MSI could have added some more space behind to the backside of the motherboard tray area. Lets face it, not all computer components are getting any smaller; in fact, some keep getting larger. That also includes the length of the power cables from our power supplies. This makes it tough on case designers as we need a chassis that can handle variety of different sizes and configurations of PSU power cables. Whether these PSUs are modular or non modular, a chassis should be able to give us computer some flexibility on how to hide these power cables and keep them from blocking precious air flow with in the chassis it self.
Now myself, I prefer the use of non-modular PSU in my chassis, and the reason for this is because when my computer configuration changes (as it does quite often) the last thing I want to be doing is scrambling around trying to find that ever elusive power cable I need to run my new computer; while a non-modular PSU all of my power cables are right there at the ready when I need them. I can see that using a non-modular PSU with a ton of connections would be tricky as you'd have to hide all the cables.
Looking over at Pricegrabber for a pricing for the Barricade chassis, Amazon lists this chassis for $79.99 USD with free shipping. Not a bad price for an enthusiast oriented case, but with a $20 rebate right now that bring this case down to $59.99 shipped and for that price it is a pretty good deal. When your biggest gripe about a case is about half an inch of space behind the motherboard tray then you got a solid case. There are over 100 cases in the $50-$80 price range, but not all of them have a 3-year warranty, side panel window, SuperSpeed USB 3.0 ports, fan speed controls, an SD card reader and good build quality.
Legit Bottom Line: The MSI Barricade is a nice case that has the key features you need at a price that is hard to beat.