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AeroCool XPredator "Evil Black Edition" Ultimate Gaming Case Review

Dark Mantis

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AeroCool X-Predator Evil Black/Orange Ultimate Gaming Case Review

by Dark Mantis






I was asked to review this case by QuietPC of Malton, North Yorkshire. They are a company of long standing and a good reputation and one I have had dealings with personally in the

past.





I was impressed straight away as they sent it by courier on overnight delivery so I figured it must be fairly special. First sight didn't fail to impress. I know it's only a cardboard box

at the end of the day but it is the first impression that you get and it looks the business.





This is a newly designed and marketed range. This is labelled as the "Ultimate Gaming Series". The next model down from this, just called the XPredator, is plain black but this one has a

little bit more to offer visually. It is named the "Evil Black Edition" and has highlights of bright orange.  This seems to be the latest popular colour and combined with the black

of the majority of the case it looks stunning! It has a feel of fire about it as soon as you set eyes on it. The main parts of the chassis are matt black with the motherboard tray and other

various highlights picked out in this fire orange.





This case is deserving of it's description of full tower as it is massive. In fact in certain  places I have seen it called a Super Tower. It will take just about any motherboard that you

can throw at it from  a micro ATX to an EATX and  XL-ATX such as Gigabytes massive GA-X58A-UD9, the newer Assassin and the soon to be released socket 2011 boards and offshoots. As well as large it is fairly

hefty weighing in at 13.5Kg without any components. Not the sort of thing you want to be lugging round to LAN parties! This is good though as often any case desribed as "gaming" is a

lightweight and doesn't take much in the way of hard use. Neither is it full of bright gaudy lights which is another usual gaming credential.





The chassis is made up primarilly of 1.0mm thick Japanese steel(SECC) with a few parts that are not needed to be so strong using 0.8mm steel. The manufacturing process of the metal parts of

this case are second to none and every edge is nicely finished by being rolled and even the ones covered by rubber grommets have been deburred and smoothed off first. The overall dimensions

are: 600(H) x 234(W) x 555(D). The front panel is made of injection moulded plastic as with the majority of cases and houses six external drive bays which are all made with dust  filters,

along with the bottom half which is just one big dust filter. This cannot be removed from the moulding though, for cleaning and will have to be done in situ. The drive bay covers are held

in place by a novel design that involves sliding the right hand plastic side cover off to reveal the clip holding the cover in place. Not the best solution I have seen to be honest but I

suppose it is not something that you will be doing every day. One of the bays will accept a 3.1/2" drive if required and comes with all the requisite hardware.





The right hand side of the case is just plain with no mounts or holes for anything. The left hand side is partially windowed with a CNC cut plexiglas area that takes up approximately 80% of

the whole. This is cut to take various sizes of fans from four 120mm or 140mm up to a single 180mm or 200mm fan. There is also an area of perforated steel plate coloured orange, let into

the steel side. The sides are sort of semi hinged in their fitting onto the main chassis.





On the top at the front is a small control panel angled downwardsthat has the usual power switch, three USB 2.0 ports, one USB 3.0 port, mic and headphone sockets and two analogue fan

controllers, one at each side. These potentiometers will handle a maximum of 10W each and come with cables to enable up to three fans to be connected to each. This lets you control a total

of six fans from the case front. Just underneath the controls is a small sign that says XPREDATOR that is illuminated. Well you have got to have some lights when it is a gaming case!





To the rear of the control panel covering the rest of the top of the case are five movable vents that are shifted by a slide switch on the top right hand side. They allow hot air exhausted

by the internal 230mm upper fan to be expelled. The only reason I can see for shutting them though is to stop the ingress of dust when not in use. They do look cool though!





Underneath there are two dust filters which cover the PSU intake and space for an extra 140mm fan if required. These dust covers are seperate and can be removed for cleaning quite easilly.





At the rear there is a space for yet another 140mm fan at the top next to the rear panel cutout for the motherboards I/O ports. Right above this there are four rubber grommeted holes for

use if you are watercooling. These will accept 3/4" OD pipe at a push. Below the fan and ports there are ten slots for PCI/PCIE cards which have the bright orange colour over perforated

steel. These are secured by a double lever type locking mechanism that seems to be very secure. At the very bottom is the cutout for the PSU. This is the best place for it as it keeps the

weight low down and makes the case more stable. One good thing about this case is that it has been given some thought over the decoupling of anything that could transmit vibrations. The PSU

is a case in point. A soft rubber gasket is glued to the rear panel and four rubber feet are used as standoffs for the base.





Well now we move on to the inside of the case. All the fittings are of a tooless design, mainly thumbscrews, and so entry is easy. The left hand cover, looking from the fornt of the

machine,  has two thumbscrews fastening it onto the main chassis from the rear. The door just swivvels on a semi hinge affair and then removes totally. It works well. Now we have access to

all the inner workings, there are the ten expansion slot covers on the left with the motherboard tray right infront of you with ample options for cable routing using the rubber grommited

access holes to the rear of the motherboard tray. There really is no excuse for cable clutter in this case. Even once the motherboard is fixed in situ, changing the processor should be easy

as there is a massive access hole in the motherboard tray to allow access to the rear of the motheboard and CPU cooler mounts. Gone are the days of having to dismantle the whole system just

to swap a processor. With this case being as spacious as it is it can accept very long cards such as some of the latest GPUs up to maximum length of 330mm so there shouldn't be any problem

fitting any of the cards manufactured at present. At the very front forwards of the hard drive bays is the front intake fan. This is a 230mm orange fan with matching LEDs.





To the right of the space is the housing for both the hard drives and the larger optical drives and anything else that requires and external bay. The hard drives are easy to mount or get at

as they fit on slide out trays that literally push in and lock in position. There are six of these bays so that should cater for most people's needs. Above these are the external drive bays

and again there are six of them. These use a tooless slide to lock the device in the bay into position. It really couldn't be simpler.





The whole box stands on four large circular plastic feet with rubber insets to help stop noise transmission. The ready connected wiring loom is a good length and should reach anywhere in

the case that is required although most of course will terminate at the motherboard. There is one thing here that really lets the side down though and that is the way that the USB 3.0 socket

on the front panel picks up it's connection to the motherboard. Someone has decided that using a flying USB lead will do and you are expected to pass the cable out through the rear of the

case, through one of the watercooling holes and find a spare USB port on the motherboard back panel to connect it to. Apart from being a very ramshackle way of doing it you lose a USB port

and a watercooling access point. Very bad. There are plenty of USB plugs that will fit directly onto a USB3.0 motherboard header and keep all the wiring internal.





This case is one of the best I have come across in a long time and considering the reasonable pricing there is little to find fault with. I award it 9/10. Were it not for the USB

connector and the immovable filters in places it would have scored a perfect 10.




Supplier: Quiet PC     http://www.quietpc.com      Price: £124.99

I would like to thank Ellen Brook from Quiet PC for arranging the AeroCool XPredator "Evil Black Edition" case for review and extremely quickly and Andrew Borkowski from Gigabyte for supplying their hardware.





« Last Edit: September 23, 2011, 02:33:45 pm by Dark Mantis »
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Dominators 1600 x6 12GB
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