AeroCool X-Predator Evil
Published: 31st October 2011 | Source: AeroCool | Price: £124.99 Inc VAT |
Testing & Conclusion
The XPREDATOR is as is easy to build into as a great many cases on the market, and considerably easier than some others. The ample space given behind the Motherboard for routing cables combined with the CPU cut out and well placed, plentiful grommeted cable management holes makes for a pleasant build experience. The size of the case permits the installation of the biggest Motherboards on the market, and the generous 10 PCI-E slots at the rear open up the potential for Quad SLI. On the subject of Graphics the internal dimensions also permit the use of Cards up to 330mm in length, so again, there shouldn't be any problem dropping the biggest the GPU manufacturers have to offer. Build quality is high here and try as I might I couldn't find any manufacturing defects of any description. I say this as I find it particularly annoying when you take delivery of your new case only to find there's a blemish on the paint, perhaps a small scratch on the acrylic or maybe a moulding defect on the injection moulded plastic. Perhaps not enough to warrant a return, but you know it's there! I'm pleased to say there's none of this here. Choice of materials is good, with an eye to detail being shown in the choice of knobs for the fan controller (how easy would it have been to use a cheap plastic jobby). AeroCool certainly seem to have one eye firmly fixed on QA.
Cooling wise the case performs well, with the two supplied 230mm fans able to shift the warm air from inside the case with ease. The fans being on the large side they are able to do this at relatively low speed (750RPM) and as such relatively low noise levels (27dBA). The fans are of course audible, but not in way intrusive, emitting a low whooshing sound rather than the higher pitched whine of that a lot of smaller fans can be guilty of. Cooling is good, with these two fans providing a good cross board airflow. If however you crave more cooling then the options are certainly there, with positioning points for no less than 6 additional fans should you so desire, and with every single one of those points able to accept 120mm or 140mm fans. OK so opinion is mixed on the benefits or otherwise of side mounted fans, with even those in favour of them being unable to decide on whether intake or extract is best, but the option's there if you want it. Unsurprisingly this being such a large case, there's also room in here for a simple Water-cooling loop, with space at the top for a 120.2 or a 140.2 radiator. I'm also pretty sure you could get a 120.1 or 140.1 dual thickness rad in the bottom of the case. The most obvious choice for placement of reservoir and Pump is to use a bay type res pump combination. If the thought of that makes your skin crawl then I'm pretty sure the innovative amongst you could find a place for a separate reservoir and pump within the cavernous interior of this case.
Aesthetics wise, well it's well worn phrase but beauty is in the eye of the beholder so you will have to make your own minds up on that (if you haven't already). For my part I actually quite like it. I say actually as I'm quite surprised that I do. Let me explain. They say first impressions are important, that it is within the first few seconds that we form an opinion. That makes the first few seconds of any encounter very valuable indeed. With that in mind my first impression of this case was not an entirely favourable one. In this case my first impression of the case was from the artwork on the box, something I've deliberately not shown for exactly this reason, I didn't want your first impressions to be polluted in the way mine were. If you're desperate to know what the artwork on the box looks like, follow the link at the start to the AeroCool website. The artwork there will give you something of an idea of what i'm talking about. I have to say the impression I got from the box was that inside I would find a gaudy case made from poor quality flimsy materials, full of low quality fans and flashing lights. This as you'll know by now is simply not the case. In essence the style and content of the art on the box does not portray the quality of the item within. In the days of e-tailing I find it hard to understand why manufacturers feel the need to make the packaging of their wares stand out to such a great extent, it's not like a PC gaming case box has to have great "shelf presence". So why do I like it? Well it's everything the box suggests it isn't, it's well built, it's well put together and it's easy to build into and use. I also quite like the Black and Orange Combo, but anyone whose seen my Mods will already know I have something of a penchant for those colours.
So is it perfect? Well no it's not, but then I've yet to see the case that is. The niggles are minor, limited only to the opportunities missed rather than outright failings. I would live to have seen braided cables, Orange braided cables would have looked fantastic, heck even black ones would have been fine. The side window is a bit too busy for my liking, perhaps an option to just have a windowed panel rather than one festooned with fan mounting holes and airflow slats, not because I have an opinion on whether side fans are a good thing or a bad thing, but because I like my windows to be just that, windows that allow a clear and unrestricted views of the goodies inside. After all, that's what they're there for isn't it, and unfortunately the effect of all the slats and holes is to severely break up the view of the interior in the same way that a Venetian blind breaks up your view through a window. And finally in a case as big as this I would like it's water cooling compatibilities to have been greater, the ability to get a decent sized Rad in the front without modding would have been a great feature
So it's a good case with a few very small and perhaps insignificant failings. Good airflow, good cooling, good build quality, good storage
As it stands on it's own it's a pretty good case. Unfortunately it doesn't stand on its own, it stands amongst a throng of other cases each vying for your attention. It doesn't let itself down in any particular area, but then neither does it stand head and shoulders above the rest in any of those areas. OK, the Louvred top vents are fairly unique, and I do quite like them, but they don't really add anything of substance. Don't get me wrong, this isn't a bad case at all, I would quite happily have one as my own, it's just that it could have been that bit better, and probably not for that much more money.