Welcome back to Techspin, and we’re taking a quick look at the darkFlash DK431. It’s an ATX case with 4 ARGB fans- and we have a warning about connecting up the ARGB fans, see the TLDR chapter for that. It’s our first darkFlash review, so let’s see if they have an eye for quality manufacturing, and most importantly, how temps are, and the finished look.
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Quick Summary: darkFlash DK431
First, the WARNING UP FRONT: Do not connect the fan interface black end to another Molex, as you’ll fry your whole ARGB setup and quite possibly your motherboard. With that out of the way, the good points: this darkFlash DK431 is a well manufactured, good looking tempered glass panel case. It’s spacious for the latest long graphics cards and top mounted all-in-one water cooling radiators, easy to build in, and the metal case cool white matches the front plastic.
It has a full mesh front for good airflow, and comes with 4 mismatched warm white ARGB fans that have rich colors. The lack of USB Type-C for the I/O is a glaring omission here though. Temps are good, but that’s due to the open design, the number of included fans, and the CPU air cooler used in testing, forcing hot air out through the slower case fan. New cases on the market like this one are built longer specifically for the RTX 40-series graphics cards, so for gaming, this case… falls short.
Instead of using 4 pin PWM fans or even 3 pin DC, they’re using a special Molex daisy chain for both power and ARGB, yes that’s as terrible as it sounds. The fans won’t ramp up to the massive heat load from a new RTX GPU, quiet and oblivious as they don’t connect to your motherboard. In their attempt to save costs and perhaps create their own fan ecosystem, they’ve effectively eliminated this case from new production or gaming builds.
Media professionals and especially gamers really care about temps, something darkFlash needs to understand. You may be able to work around this with a top mounted AIO exhausting directly out creating a negative pressure build, but the case fans still need to deal with all that heat coming from a 40-series GPU. Unless you’re gonna strip out the fans, this case is for casual gamers or an office build only.
darkFlash DK431 Features & Specs
The darkFlash DK431 comes in black, or white, which we have here, however availability and pricing is different depending on your country. We’ll throw what we can find up here, it goes for about $130 dollars in the US. but it’s on sale in Taiwan, where we picked it up for just 1800nt, with black cheaper by 100nt.
darkFlash DK431 ARGB
US $130 UK £ —
CA $225 AU $ —
SG S$ — SA SAR755
NL € — AE AED961
PL PLN — SE — kr
JP ¥ — IN ₹ —
The darkFlash DK431 handles E-ATX, ATX and micro-ATX sized motherboards with a hinged tempered glass side panel and silk pull tab, GPU clearance is 400 millimeters to the front, and the actual side opening is 402, of course any AIO radiator solution mounted here will reduce the space. CPU cooling has a max height of 160 millimeters, and up to 200 for power supplies, still with a bit of room for wiring at that length..
darkFlash DK431 PC case
E-ATX, ATX, M-ATX motherboards
GPU clearance to front: 400mm
Side opening length: 402mm
This case is 470 millimeters long by 205 wide and 485 high, that’s 18.5 inches by 8.1 and 19.1. At 5.48 kilograms, that’s 12.1 pounds, a fairly light case, as say a TD500 Mesh is 15.3 pounds or 7 kilograms. Included is a screw bag, zipties and a manual.
darkFlash DK431 Case
407mm long / 18.5″
205mm wide / 8.1″
485mm high / 19.1″
5.48 kg / 12.1 lbs
darkFlash DK431 Design, Functions
The darkFlash DK431 has two spots for hard drives and SSDs- the drive caddy doesn’t come with rails so you’ll need to use a slightly easy to miss thumb screw to remove it and install the drives directly to the sides, though with a power supply in, undoing the screw may prove more difficult. The caddy has a spot for one SSD up top. An additional spot for an SSD is below the motherboard cutout, which is 158 millimeters wide by 135 high. Rear wiring clearance from the back of the motherboard tray to the right side panel is ok at 24 millimeters or almost an inch.
darkFlash DK431 Case
Cutout: 158w x 135h / 6.2” x 5.3”
Rear wire clearance 24mm / 0.94”
The darkFlash DK431 comes with four 120 millimeter ARGB fans- the front has three and can support three 140 mil fans or a 360 mil radiator. The top does three 120, or two 140 millimeter fans, and can take a 360 mil AIO here also, with a spacious 55 millimeters from the top to the motherboard edge. The rear has the other included 120 millimeter ARGB fan with 15 millimeters of vertical travel, and three 120 fans can mount on the PSU cover, and two 120s can mount beside the motherboard.
darkFlash DK431 Case
Front: 3x 120/3x 140mm/360mm AIO
Top: 3x 120/2x 140mm/360mm AIO
Top clearance to mobo: 55 mm
Rear: 1x 120mm fan (15mm travel)
PSU cover: 3x 120mm
Beside mobo: 2x 120mm
Apart from handling 2 more fans, this spot can take up to 4 more hard drive caddies, as shown in the graphic here, however the caddy design really restricts lateral airflow and your drives will get pretty toasty with a lot of read/writing, so this unfortunately won’t be a case for a NAS build.
The same page also says a Cable Grommet is included, and shows a closeup of a hole, also called… a cutout. For reference darkFlash, a grommet looks like this: and there’s none included with the case. The top of the motherboard tray has 3 wiring cutouts which are easily accessible thanks to the headroom, but just a little too small.
darkFlash DK431 Build Quality
For filters, the top magnetic filter covers a very nice open type honeycomb. The additional magnetic filter is inside the right panel, it sits behind a restrictive hole pattern, but the right panel does have captive thumb screws. Setting the glass to the side for safety, we took off the front, pulling from the bottom, it’s a bit harder than normal to remove. The double mesh pattern inside the front should filter out dust fairly well, however there’s 5 small openings either side with absolutely no filter. There’s no wiring attaching to the case front, which is great.
The case rear has 7 PCIe slots however they have these lazy stamped bend-off-type covers, which should be screw-removable covers instead. The biggest problem we have with these is that they require you to remove your motherboard completely, otherwise you’ll scrape components off your motherboard if you try with it still there. Early days I almost took out the audio caps of a board myself trying to avoid removing the board. Remove these immediately.
The darkFlash DK431’s glass side measures 431 millimeters wide by 465 high, with metal strips left and right where the glass hangs and contacts the case. Black borders top and bottom are 15 millimeters, and left and right covering the under-metal at 30 millimeters and 22 millimeters. The panel keeps closed with two small magnets, but there’s no way to fasten it, guess they expect you never to transport your PC.
The case I/O is located top right side vertically, and it’s noticeably lacking any kind of USB Type-C port here. The power and reset have a good tight response when pressed. With two audio jacks and LEDs, the case has dual USB 2 and a single USB 3 port.
On the DK431’s bottom there’s rubber feet in plastic shrouds, about 14 millimeters of clearance to your surface, and the dust filter is fitted quite well and won’t come out easily when moving the case. Inside the PSU area are little rubber feet for your power supply to sit on.
darkFlash DK431 ARGB fans
Good points about the fans: they are quiet, have a rich ARGB color and move a decent amount of air. The embedded fan controller does detect when connected to your motherboard so you have software control over the lights. The warm white plastic of the fan shroud however does not match the cool white case metal by several shades.
Again, a warning that this fan and ARGB implementation is non-standard and can fry your other ARGB components and even your motherboard if you’re not careful. Unlike all recent cases we’ve tested where fan speeds are controlled because they’re connected to motherboard headers, these fans are solely powered by Molex.
This means there’s no speed control at all in BIOS or software, and they won’t speed up to help push out heat when gaming or rendering. There’s no ARGB connector daisy chain or fan hub, instead the bottom fan has an internal hub with 14 modes, a few of which show ARGB. This is the single point with a standard ARGB lead and can be controlled by the Reset switch which is already plugged in.
However, the ARGB chain connects back through the Molex connectors, to this daisy chain. You connect the orange end into a normal Molex for power, and do not connect anything to the open other end. There needs to be a plug discouraging people from trying this. This is dangerous, using standard connectors for a custom wiring solution; and the only warning is on the connectors, with nothing in the printed or online manual about this hazard.
The ARGB connector end doesn’t have a standard female with male pigtail, only this weird dual pin one. If you have a motherboard with only one ARGB connector and also wish to connect more ARGB for a CPU cooler, darkFlash expects you to have another solution, and this isn’t very build friendly, especially since the pigtail doesn’t cost much at all.
darkFlash DK431 Build Tips, Testing
So for build tips, set the glass and right panel to the side first, then remove the rear PCIe bend-off slot covers. Check the pre-installed motherboard standoffs match all holes in your motherboard and install. Plug in CPU 8-pin wiring, power supply, motherboard 24pin, install the CPU cooler, then DDR4. A warning to be careful to connect Molex power to the orange side only of the daisy chain for the ARGB. Last step is always GPU and final wire management.
So for the darkFlash DK431 we’re using our testbed, an MSI B660 Mortar WIFI DDR4 with an i5-12600K and Cooler Master Hyper 212 LED Turbo ARGB though only with a single fan. Our graphics card is an Asus RTX 3070 O8G Gaming at 300 millimeters long. At a 24 degree celsius ambient temperature, with the 4 stock fans, we’re idling at 30°C for the CPU and 39.3°C for the GPU.
We ran the torture test with Blender classroom and Unigine Superposition together 3 times, and the CPU maxed at 80°C and the GPU was at 72.4°C. Case noise was 37 decibels at 51cm or 20 inches, and the internal Hyper212 was the only fan speeding up, so that’s it for case noise. You can see the fast cool down in the graph though, so at least the case is dumping heat fairly well.
Half well-done, half questionable
I think darkFlash has a bright future, and the DK431 is on the road to getting it right. The case is spacious and easy to work in, with lots of room for the latest graphics cards up to 400 millimeters and 55 mils clearance for top mounted all-in-one water coolers from the top of the case to the motherboard edge. The case is sturdy and well-built , the fans are vibrant, case whites mostly match, magnetic dust filters and the power supply filter are well done, and you can go crazy with up to 12 case fans.
The price in your country will either make or break this for you. In Taiwan at 1800nt or 58 bucks US, it’s a decent looking spacious cheap case, with ARGB and tempered glass, so I wasn’t expecting a lot, though I would have given up a rear fan for fans with standard wiring. And a lot goes into these reviews and I forgot the stamped bend-off PCIe covers I mentioned before testing. So yup, I had to remove the motherboard to bend off the covers, reinstall the board and finally the RTX 3070, wasting my time.
New gen length, last-gen fans
On Amazon US however, the darkFlash DK431 is going for $130, so it’s no longer a 60 dollar case, 80 or 100, but 130, pitting it against cases several tiers up. Here, we expect to see a Type-C Gen 2 at 10 gig speed minimum, standard would be a Gen 2×2 at 20 gig speed in the front I/O. Also we’d need rubber grommets for the main cutouts beside the motherboard, and hard drive caddy rails with a more open shell design to allow much better airflow.
Speaking of airflow, back to the ARGB fans. First, they’re Molex powered, so there’s no speed control and won’t ramp up to get extra heat out, though the fans are quiet. If gaming or video editing, you would have to use an AIO radiator mounted at the top to combat this, though I doubt this setup can handle an RTX 4090.
The non-standard fan Molex interconnect is dangerous, and there’s no ARGB pigtail if your motherboard has only one header. Having one fan with the controller and other fans slaved to it means if the main fan dies, you’ll have to buy a 3 pack to make your other fans work, and time troubleshooting to verify if it’s the master that’s actually the problem. This is a really horrible solution.
Playing devil’s advocate for a moment, it’s true that new components have ditched Molex for SATA power connectors, but what if someone is ONLY upgrading their potato case right now? This thinking relies on all other components either being new or zero user error. You can’t guarantee all new products don’t use Molex. The problem is it introduces the possibility of frying parts of your system if you’re a new builder, or if you have experience working with Molex.
So darkFlash, going forward, ditch your proprietary fan control wiring solution, and fix international pricing, and you’ve got a winner. If you pick this case or are looking at another one, shopping through our affiliate links below will help us here with no extra cost to you. And follow us on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook at techspinreview, and there’s companion posts to our reviews on techspinreview.com.
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