This time period has been deemed the information age. Everyone is looking for that extra bit of info that could take them over the top. Be it an interesting bit of info on a competitor's new product or in this case some extra info on how your computer is doing. Every little bit of information can help in today's computers. How hot it is running, how fast the fans are spinning, etc… This is one of the main reason multi-function panels have become so popular. They provide an easy way to at a glance determine some details on how your system is doing. The problem though, is that they do not always fit into the style of your case. They could stick out and not allow the door to close, or just be the wrong color or texture, and let's be honest; aesthetics do matter somewhat with your system.
Aspire may have a solution to this problem of continuity. They have taken an attractive chassis and combine it with the functionality of a multi-function panel. Thus making their deemed “ multi-functional Aspire X-Cruiser” case. The fancy gauges are not the only interesting part of this chassis though. Aspire also took a look at performance and have designed the case around Intel's recommended "Chassis Air Guide Design Guide" to hopefully provide better thermal performance. Let's take a closer look though.
Aspire X-Cruiser Specifications:
Model No.: X-CRUISER-BK
Case Material: Metal
Main Board: Standard ATX / Baby AT / Micro ATX
Drive Space: 4x5.25" / 2x3.5" / 5x3.5" (hidden)
Motherboard Size: up to 11" x 12"
Expansion Slots: 7
Front Panel Switch: Power / Reset
Front Access Ports: 2 x USB 2.0, 1 x Firewire, 2 x audio
Cooling Fan Space: Up to 4 x case fans: 2 x 80mm fan - front (optional), 1 x 80mm UV blue LED fan - top (included), 1 x 80mm UV blue LED fan - rear (included)
Front Thermometer: 1 x Temperature Gauge
Front Fan Controller: 1 x Fan Speed Controller (controls up to 5 fans) + Fan Speed Gauge
Front Volume Controller: 1 x Volume sensitivity controller + gauge
Led Display: Power / HDD
Shipping Weight: 19 lbs (w/o power supply), 22 lbs (w/ 420w power supply) Dimensions(DxWxH): 19.25" x 7.75" x 17" Cu'ft 2.47'
The front panel of the X-Cruiser is the main attraction to the case. It features three analog gauges that provide information on the case temperature, sound level and the fan speed. There is also 2 half-oval glowing pieces that provide a nice contrast the gloss black and chrome front panel.
Once you open the thick door there are four 5.25” and two 3.5' drive bays. Under the drive bays is a large plastic, ninja star inspired fan grill. One of the neater things about the case is that it looks just as good with the door open as it does with the door closed. To the right of the door is the front access connectors and the volume/fan speed controls.
The top of the case features an 80mm blow hole which comes preloaded with an blue led fan. The fan has a mesh back laser cut grill which has Aspire cut out of it.
The left side of the X-Cruiser has a large rounded rectangle window. The window has vent holes cut into it near the expansion card slot and an 80mm blowhole where the cpu is.
The rear of the case is a standard layout. The case comes pre-installed with an 80mm blue-led fan, but has the capability to mount up to a 120mm fan.
Inside the case is also fairly standard. The front features 2 mounts for 80mm fans (which are not included). I would have preferred to see a 120mm fan mount on the front, not only for better cooling but also noise reduction. Especially with the large fan grill on the front panel it would have been better to have the larger fan.
The drive racks have nice rounded corners and plenty of holes for drive adjustment. The X-Cruiser allows for a total of seven 3.5” devices to be mounted.
The X-Cruiser includes a removable motherboard tray which is a nice surprise. There is also adequate room around the motherboard to allow for installation of the devices. I had no problems installing all of my devices. Over all it was a smooth install, except for one thing, the front connector cables. The cables provided to connect the front audio and firewire ports are just too short to get to where they need to on the motherboard. If the cables were about an extra inch or two longer it would be fine.
AMD Athlon 1700+ @ 1.83Ghz
1024MB Corsair PC4000
Western Digital 250GB
ATI X800 256MB
Testing results were gathered using MBM 5. Results were taken after 30 minutes of full load and 30 minutes of idle. Shown below are the results in Celcius.
Thermalrock Full Load
|Thermalrock Cirlcle Idle
|Aspire X-Cruiser Full Load
|Aspire X-Cruiser Idle
As you can see the Intel chassis air guide design is not as good as it could be. Overall the temperatures were around 7 degrees above the Thermalrock case. This could be improved by installing a 120mm fan in the rear and adding in the two 80mm fans to the front, but that adds an extra expense to the case.
Aspire have released quite a multi-function enclosure. Overall the styling of the case is very nice. The three analog gauges on the front not only provide a good amount of information, but also a nice graphic feature. The blue black and silver color scheme really work, and the inclusion of the led fans provide a nice glow in the dark look. Feature wise the case is pretty average. Being a lower cost solution does not allow for a great deal of extra or more extreme features. Everything is fairly standard, and run of the mill. The only real unseen feature in this level of case is the inclusion of a removable motherboard tray. This is a welcome addition that will make this case a welcome addition to your system.
The X-Cruiser is not without its faults though. Performance wise it could be better out of the box. Even though the case features two 80mm fans, the cooling performance could be improved on. Adding a couple of extra fans should help out in this department, but it will also add to the cost of the case. My only other beef of the X-Cruiser is the front panel cables. Aspire has made the cables about an inch or two too short. In my case, and I assume most others, the cables will be too short to connect up to the motherboard, thus negating the benefits of front panel connectors. If aspire adds a couple inches to the cables, all will be well.
Pros: Front gauges, removable motherboard tray, overall design
Cons: Cooling performance, front panel cables, lack of front panel fans
Overall: Aspire have released a good budget case. The overall design, and interior features outweigh the lack luster cooling and front panel audio connectors.
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