Viper Lair
Sponsor
Menu
Latest Stuff

 

PC Power & Cooling Silencer 750 Quad
OCZ Rally2 4GB
MSI P7N SLI
Gigabyte 8800 GT
AMD Phenom X3 8750 Triple Core
Hitachi Deskstar 500GB
Cooler Master CM690
MSI X48 Platinum
Patriot DDR3-15000 2GB Kit
MSI K9A2 Platinum 790FX
Latest Stuff
Search for lowest prices:


for 


Price Search:    for    

Aspire X-Plorer Case Aspire X-Plorer Case: We look at a case from Aspire that, like many others, comes pre-modded. Is it more of the same, or do they bring something new to the table?
Date: October 26, 2005
Supplied By:
Written By:
Price:

Cases are a very personal thing; there are some that cross the divide of basic unit and edgy design thus attaining mass market appeal, however these are very few. Over the years I have reviewed many cases, some of which I enjoyed very much while reviewing. Several of these I no longer care for. Very few maintain the glitter after several months of use as they did when shiny and new out of the box.

Today I am unpacking an case, my first venture into a review with their product. The X-Plorer case has definite curbside appeal, with edgy lines and mesh front grill, yet some classic design as well. Does this give the X-Plorer lasting appeal? Only time will tell...

Before we can delve deeper and determine what is what, let’s look at what the Aspire X-Plorer has to offer you and I on day one out of the box.

Specifications

Size: ATX Mid Tower
Construction: Metal
Drive Bays: Four 5.25” (Exposed)
Two 3.5” (Exposed)
Four 3.5” (Hidden)
Power Supply: Not Included
Available Colors: Green, Black, Blue, Silver, Red or Yellow W/ Black or Silver W/Silver
Fan Configuration: 2 80mm Front intake / 1 120mm Rear outtake.
Front I/O Interface: USB 2.0/1.1 x 2 / IEEE 1394 / Temp Probe LED / Fan Control
Miscellaneous: Multifunctional Thermally advantaged chassis / Removable motherboard tray

Although I am not a huge fan of swinging doors on the front of my cases (it gets bothersome when inserting CD's, powering on/off etc.), the aesthetics of the X-Plorer overcome my objection immediately. As you can see, the front grill of the X-Plorer is a metal mesh, giving the case its edgy look. Also up front are the USB, Firewire, Fan control knob and LCD temperature readout. The 4 corners are wired with UV Blue LED's to finish off that edgy look they are going for. Behind the door are the 5.25” and 3.5” bays as well as the power On/Off and reset buttons.

The top of the X-Plorer case sports a single blowhole with a nicely done laser etched fan grill that sports the Aspire logo.

The left side of the X-Plorer case has the defunct standard window, however they have precut a hole for breathing with a flared air-duct and the same laser etched Aspire logo fan grill Removal of the side panel is easily accomplished by removing the two thumbscrews on the rear flap. The thumbscrews are of sufficient diameter that you can actually grip them and torque them fairly well. Now that the side panel is off, I can look closer at the internals of the X-Plorer case.

A few things show up that are not on my favorites list as far as case attributes. Numero Uno is the USB / Firewire leads are individualized or in other words they are not in block format and you must match each particular connector to its appropriate match on the motherboard header. I don't care whose motherboard you have or how small your fingers are, this is not an easy task (and one I will not be attempting in this review). Secondly the internal Hard Drive cage faces front to back instead of right to left. Although this is personal preference more than a better solution, believe me, someone who has to build many different machines over a 1 or 2 month period, the ability to quickly pull out hard drives is a nice feature. Staying on this line of thought, the 3rd glaring issue is that there are no mounting rails for either the 3.5” or 5.25” drives. This is unacceptable in this day and age; there are just so many better solutions to choose from...

Installation

Removing the right panel requires you to take out the tools as it is held in by 3 Phillips screws. The removable motherboard tray is held in place by a 4th that does not hold the right panel on. The motherboard tray slides out easily once released; I set it aside to install the motherboard on once ready.


I proceed to start installing the AeroCool Power Supply. There is one support bracket for the PSU and it feels as though it is a sufficient support for pretty much any power supply you choose. I slide the PSU in and my mouth opens in shock and horror, the top mounted case fan is in the path of the PSU. The fan edges are 6” from the rear of the case (15.3cm for those of you in the metric world). My shortest PSU that supports any current motherboard is the AeroCool at 6.25” (15.9cm for the impaired), without any cables attached mind you. The only PSU that MIGHT fit in with the fan installed is an old 350W for a P-III I still have lying around, and its a tight fit. The only thing I could do was remove the fan assembly, which is what I ended up doing.

I won't bore you with the details of installing the drives as it was mostly swear words...

Installing the Motherboard took little as is the case with most removable motherboard trays. The panel slips back into the case nicely, even with a rather large mounted HS/Fan combination. The front panel connectors were labeled well and had plenty of slack to reach most any motherboards choice of FP header position (I have seen some winners :P). I bypass the USB / Fire wire connectors and proceed to position the temperature probe. The probe comes well shielded and has plenty of stretch to reach across the case to measure a temperature pretty much anywhere you see fit.

Now its time to install the add on cards (well, card), I usually don't go over this, but the design of the rear tabs on this case is border line unacceptable once again. These tabs are connected to the case via metal standoffs and you must bend the tab down, and then move the tab back and forth until the friction heats up enough to break it off. All in all a tedious effort and a very high chance of cutting yourself on the tab.

With all of the hardware installed I can now reinstall the right panel (motherboard side), oh wait, make sure there are screws on that side of the drive mounts, grrrr. Next we can reinstall the left windowed side panel. Notice on the side panel that the precut air-duct does not line up with the CPU fan. This is not Aspire's fault however, as DFI is one of a very few who actually position the CPU in the middle of the motherboard. Most motherboard manufacturers, this air-duct would be positioned properly to feed cooler outside air to the CPU fan.

The initial fan placement on the X-Plorer was one 80mm fan in the back pulling air out, and one 80mm fan on top pulling air out. I added an 80mm in the front, and moved the rear fan to the front for 2 side by side 80mm. I put the top fan on the outside of the case (not as pretty, but at least functional). I also added a 120mm to the rear of the case for outflow. The noise level increase with my setup was slightly higher than original; I figured the added air flow was worth the slight increase in noise by the extra fans.

NEXT

Copyright 2001-2006 Viper Lair. All Rights Reserved.

AMD CPU'S
Intel CPU'S
ATI Video Cards
NVIDIA Cards
Memory