Akasa Infiniti Zor Case Page: 1
Introduction
 
Gamers and manufacturers' are demanding more and more everyday from the humble computer case. As components get hotter, cases have to improve their thermal management whilst also maintaining an aesthetic appeal to consumers. Akasa feel it’s their turn to have a go, and sent their latest case up to the labs.

Akasa are well known in the UK for their vast range of products, including cases, fans, power supplies and various other pieces of cooling hardware. Their latest offering is the Infiniti Zor - the Zor notating that this is the ‘gamers’ version of the Infiniti. Akasa have a fair bit to say about the Infiniti Zor and here is a small extract:
 
Taking the gaming experience to a completely new level, the exciting Infiniti ZOR delivers exceptional cooling performance and plenty of user friendly features.

Hard core gaming stresses PC hardware; keeping cool is crucial for system stability therefore every element of the case has been engineered to provide maximum cooling performance. CPU, GPU, memory, VRM’s, chipsets and PSU all demand cool air. The aluminum front panel allows unrestricted airflow, 10 of the bay panels are full width mesh. Two 12cm intake fans can locate in any position on the front panel to direct cool air towards the hottest system components. The 12cm exhaust fan expels hot air from the case but if you think three fans are not enough than check out the ZOR top panel. A large mesh window prevents heat build-up and is able to accommodate two additional 12cm fans. With up to five 12cm fans even the most demanding systems will stay cool.
 
Boasting an impressive list of specifications, we will be taking a closer look at the case and finding out how it really performs.
 
 
Specifications
 
Here are the specifications from Akasa’s website:
 
Colour: Smooth black

Material: Steel body, aluminium front, mesh

Compatible motherboard types: ATX, Micro ATX & Extended ATX

5.25'' external bays: 11

3.5'' removable HDD bays: 6 (2x 3HDD cage)

3.5'' removable FDD bays: 1

Fans included: 3 blue-LED fans (120x25mm)

Fan Speed: 1200 RPM

Fan airflow: 47.98 CFM

Fan noise: 23.1 dB(A)

Dust management: 2 washable air intake filters

USB ports: 2

IEEE1394 ports: 1

HD Audio: 1x in/out (AC’97 compatible)

eSATA ports: 1

Dimension: 523 x 205 x 540mm (H x W x L)

Weight: 10.5kg

Product code: AK-BKINF-02
 
Let's head over the page to have a look at how the Akasa Infiniti Zor should arrive on your doorstep...


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Packaging and Contents
 
The front of the box is fairly bold, and hits on the usual blue/black combination we are so used to these days. It lists the top product features as well as a picture of the case itself. Down the left of the box you can also see a shot of the drive bays. The back of the case has a more complete specification list as well as a few shots of the case’s key features.
 
Akaks Infiniti Zor packaging_front Akasa Infiniti Zor packaging_rear
 
Our case came a bit battered; the courier had obviously given the packaging a thorough test. We were expecting the case to have some sort of damage or marking, but in fact it was fine. This is largely thanks to the 2 large pieces of stiff foam encasing the Zor and the plastic bag it is enclosed in.
 
Akasa Infiniti Zor out of box Akasa Infiniti Zor in plastic protective bag
 
Let's head over the page to have a look at the extremities of the Akasa Infiniti Zor...


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External
 
The case is a fairly simple design, and doesn't go over the top with giant grilles and fans, nor is the side window in a peculiar shape or the power button on the top panel. The rear of the case features the usual bundle of mounting holes and ports, as well as two tubing holes for water-cooling enthusiasts with external radiators.
 
Akasa Infiniti front view Akasa Infiniti Zor rear view
 
The ‘Infiniti’ Logo is located on the flip down-flap that conceals the front panel connectors. Behind the flap you will find the following ports: Firewire, SATA, USB and Headphone & Microphone Jacks. In the middle is the clip for holding the flap shut and the reset switch. Having the reset switch here means it cannot easily be knocked or pushed. Below the flap is the power button along with the power and HDD LED’s.
 
Infiniti Zor logo Infiniti Zor front panel connectors
 
The top of the case houses a grille, which at first seems to be there simply as a duct. However, on closer inspection you can see little tabs dotted around the inside, accessible from inside the case. This allows you to pull out the grille and screw in 2 120mm fans. This could also be used to house a dual 120mm radiator, although without one at hand we weren’t able to test this.
 
Fan grille Drive bay image
 
With the case having room for six hard disks and four 5.25" components, we’d best press on with discovering how the internals of this case are laid out.


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Internals and Bundle
 
Once you remove the side panel of the case, you are greeted with the internals. After you have removed the accessories box you are left with a case that seems quite bland. The internals are bare, and a fairly ugly affair.
 
Akasa Infiniti Zor internal case shot
 
The internals of the case are rather dull. It includes everything a case needs to, and little more. Because of this we will focus on the internals at the front of the case, where there is some genuinely very useful engineering going on.

We were a bit baffled as to how the front of the case disconnects and allows you access to the hard drive bays and the 5.25" drive bays. However, after a bit of discovery, it would appear you just pull it off. The panel came off a bit too easily for our liking though, and was a pain when lifting the case- we came close to dropping it a few times as the front panel simply ‘fell off’.
 
Drivebay shot Front panel connectors
 
It’s also worth noting that if you don’t like where the USB, Firewire, Power switches etc are, you can simply move them using the modular drive bays. Another clever idea is to have all the cables that go into the back detachable. Presumably so you can remove the front of the case and not have to keep it just next door. However, since most, and not all of the cables do so, it’s useless. Each cover is attached by 2 screws, one of each side, and is easily removed
 
rear of front panel connectors Drivebay dust covers
 
Below the usual drive bays, you come to the hard drive enclosures. These have four clips at the side, which you simply press in and slide out the enclosure. Removing the enclosure is certainly a two hand affair- the clips are quite far apart. Each enclosure has a 120mm fan, which is situated just behind a removable dust filter  which would certainly help keep things dust free.
 
HDD caddy HDD caddy pulled apart
 
Below is a picture of all the accessories included. There are the drive rails (for hard drives and 5.25” drives); various screws for installation and a user manual. Also included is an adapter for using a floppy drive or something of a similar size in the modular drive bays.
 
Accessories displayed floppy drive adaptor
 
Let's head over the page to see how the installation of the testing hardware went...


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Installation
 
First of all we set about trying out the hard drive enclosures. Initially we were a bit baffled as to how you attach your hard drive to the rails. However, it seems you simply push some pins in the screw holes on your drive. It seemed to hold it fairly securely, but it’s certainly not the strongest hold in the world.
 
WD Raptor WD Raptors in HDD caddy
 
Next up, we tried out the removable motherboard tray. This was simple to remove and it only took a couple of moments to install our motherboard onto the tray. However, we hit a bit of a problem when installing it into the case. There are anchors which slide into slots on the case to hold in the motherboard tray. Getting these lined up perfectly isn’t easy, especially as you cannot see them under the motherboard. Unless you get these perfectly lined up first time, you end up bending them (they are incredibly flimsy) and unfortunately the tray will not attach.
 
Motherboard tray Components installed on motherboard tray
 
After three attempted installs of the motherboard tray, we still couldn’t get it right. In the end we had to leave the tray installed and install the pc in the usual manner. It was then that the next problem presented itself- cable management. There is barely anywhere for you to hide your cables, and it took longer than usual to get the cables looking decent
 
Components installed in Akasa Infiniti Zor Components installed and case door shut
 
Let's head over the page to see how we're going to test the Akasa Infiniti Zor...


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Testing
 
In order to test the Akasa Infiniti Zor, we used the following hardware:

Intel Quad Core Q6600 @ 3ghz,
Nvidia 8800Gtx,
4gb Crucial ballistix @ 1066mhz 5-5-5-15,
Asus Maximus Formula SE,
X-fi Extreme Gamer Sound card,
730w Hiper Type-R PSU,
Cooler Master Z600 CPU cooler,
2x Raptor X in raid 0 and 250 GB Storage drive.
 
Cooling
 
Load testing results were taken by running HD benchmark within Everest Ultimate, 4x Prime 95 runs for the CPU and ATI tool artefact scan for the GPU.
 
During testing it became apparent that with the cases default configuration the cooling power really wasn’t there. Even running Crysis for 10 minutes or so left our Northbridge temperatures hitting the shut down temperature of 70 degrees, whilst the GPU was hitting as much as 85! It became obvious that getting a full 20 minute torture test from the case was going to end in broken hardware or the pc shutting down half way through.

With this in mind, we decided to fill the top two 120mm fan slots to improve cooling performance. We used Akasa fans that shift around 40cfm virtually silently, meaning they are close in spec to the pre-installed fans provided. With these installed, we managed to get the following results:
 
Idle temperature chart
 
Load temperature chart
 
As you can see, the temperatures are far from impressive. The CPU temperatures may look fairly good, but considering the size and power of the cooler used, they are pretty poor.

Noise

Unfortunately this case cannot be considered as a hub for a quiet PC. While the fans may be quiet, the lack of rubber to absorb hard disk noises meant that the PC was very loud. This is partly down to the use of the Raptor Hard disks, however when testing the A+ Black Pearl, which uses rubber, they were much, much quieter. The second point to note is the side panel; which is not a very secure fit. Even though the case was mounted of a desk, walking across the office would cause the side panel to rattle- an annoying disturbance.


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Conclusion
 
From the specification sheet, this case looked like an absolute steal. Out of the box, it also looks fairly impressive, with the modular drive bays, removable motherboard tray and water-cooling ready mountings.

However, once you get to installing the system and getting the case up and running, the story changes completely. The case is one of those products where you feel it was well designed, but then poorly implemented. The rattle of the side panel, easily bent motherboard tray and overheating components don’t fill us with excitement.
 
Using PriceGrabber, we found the cheapest price for the Akasa Infiniti Zor - Gamer Edition Case to be £76.07 including VAT from Tekheads.

The Good
+ Very well designed modular drive bays
+ Water-cooling ready (untested)

The mediocre
* Motherboard tray is difficult to install
* Front Connector removal is innovative, although flawed

The Poor
- Poor cable management capabilities
- Very poor cooling
- No hard disk vibration absorption
- Side panel rattles with movement
 
 
 
Overclock3D would like to thank Akasa for providing the review sample
 
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