Cases are a very personal thing; there is no shortage of styles and flares to choose from when looking for that “Show” case. Over the years I have reviewed many cases, most of which have either been a basic case that’s built for performance or one with a little bit of an edge to it.
Today I am unpacking the case, my first venture into a review of a case that arrives modified to the hilt and designed to be your LAN party “show” case. Is the XG Dragon all show and no substance?
Before we can delve deeper and determine what is what, let’s look at what the has to offer out of the box.
Size: ATX Mid Tower
Construction: Aluminum / High Grade Plastic
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
brings to market their line of cases, cases built to inspire while at the same time designed with the tweaker in mind.
This is one case that actually comes with a manual, no not a piece of paper that says it's a manual, but an actual manual. There is also a separate box (located inside the case when you receive it) that has all the included parts you are going to need to put this puppy together. Not that you are going to need many tools; one Phillips screwdriver, as most everything is done by hand in this little gem.
Also note the packing, I don't believe I have ever received anything electronic protected this well, yes that’s ever.
Starting at the front you can see a swinging front door; I am not a huge fan of swinging doors on my cases (it gets bothersome when inserting CD's, powering on/off etc.), however I understand it is becoming the norm. The front panel has grown in popularity probably two fold; no longer are we required to purchase Black or Tan cover CD / Floppy units as our door will cover those nicely for us. There is also the ability to dress the front panel up with designs and lights. The XG Dragon has a nicely done swing door made from aluminum with an etching of, and then the word, “Dragon” with frosted white plastic behind it. This lights up Blue when the system is powered on giving you a nice flair immediately as you use it.
A variation to the “standard” once you open the door, there are four 5.25” bays and two 3.5” bays, and nothing else. The power and USB / FireWire / Audio ports are on the beveled top front of the case, alleviating at least a couple of scenarios when you would need to open the swing door. This is a good thing as it is already apparent stress has taken a slight toll on my new case. Opening the door and looking at the edge you can see the thickness of the door, a necessity to allow for the internal lighting but also the reasoning for the strain taken by the mounting brackets and Plexiglas.
The top of the XG Dragon case sports not only the power button, lights and flip door concealing the USB/FireWire/Audio ports, but a flowing handle made of high grade Plastic to assist you on carrying your gear to that next LAN party. This handle not only flows with the design of the case but is comfortable to use when carrying the wide case from home to the car to the table you will be LAN'ing on.
The left side of the Dragon case has the defunct standard window; however they have done a new play here. The XG Dragon's side window is not square by any means, it has a nice flow to it as well as a dragon etched into it. There is also a blow hole for directing air to your CPU intake fan as well as an added ventilation below this to aid in cooling of any add-on cards. The design is “sports car-ish” once again giving the case a look that it is moving even when standing still.
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. The panel itself is easily removed and installed without having to slide it with an exact amount of pressure to finish the job. There is also a sturdy finger pull to assist you in removing the side panel.
Now that the side panel is off, I can look closer at the internals of the XG Dragon case. A few things show up that are not on my favorites list as far as case attributes. Numero Uno is the FireWire leads are individualized, 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). Interesting enough, the USB header cables are in block format, what gives?
Second issue I have is 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 and not fight motherboards or cables is a nice feature.
Removing the right panel requires you to take out two additional thumb screws. The removable motherboard tray is held in place by four more of these thumb screws that do not hold the right panel on. The motherboard tray slides out easily once released, notice the quality build on even the motherboard slide channel... I set the tray aside to install the motherboard on once ready.
There are three possible included Power Supply models for the XG-Dragon case, this one was shipped with the MGE500WP, a 500W unit. Opening up the PSU exposes a quality build and design with efficient cooling in mind.
Although the PSU is built with cable connectors (it comes with them all installed), I can not see any similarities with this design to others I have installed. It does, however, include a 4/8 pin and 20/24 pin hard cabled main power connectors, giving you expandability into the latest motherboards power requirements.
When it came to installing the Hard Drives and the removable drives, I had to actually sit down for a second and read the instructions. I had never come across the type of bracket they used in this design in all of my cases. I proceeded to install with a little trial and error until I finally got it installed correctly. I must admit, when I first saw the brackets and how they were to be used, I thought this was going to be a lousy system of securing your drives. It turns out to be a rather quick and sturdy solution once done right.
Installing the Motherboard took little as is the case with most removable motherboard trays. The only thing I ran into was one of the tray's brackets had either been missed or the rivet had fallen out.
The tray 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 bypassed the FireWire and installed the USB connectors, and then proceeded 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.