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XG Viper Enclosure XG Viper Enclosure: Form over function? Luckily, you do not always have to sacrifice one for the other.
November 24, 2004
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XG Viper Case

For most people, the case that houses their computer is of little concern to them. As long as all the parts are safe and secure and the machine comes on when the power button is pressed, they're perfectly happy with the machine. There are, however, a number of people who care about the way the case looks almost as much as the way the computer works. It is for those individuals that made the Viper case. The Viper case is a rather interestingly designed piece of equipment. Rather than just take any old case and add some fans, cut a window in the side, and paint it a different color, XG has done a few new things with the Viper case. The case I received is in the Blue/Black configuration. However, the Viper case is available in Black/Red, Red/Black, Black/Blue, and Blue/Black configurations. Read on to find out just what this case is made of.

The Viper Case


Quite obviously, you get the case its self. Aside from that, the case also comes with a 500 watt MGE Power Supply, a small instruction manual, a package of hardware, a power cable, and a wire guard. I honestly can't figure out what the wire guard is useful for because as far as I can tell, it doesn't actually do anything at all. The instruction manual didn't really have anything of use in it, but then a case also isn't that complicated an item either. The box isn't too shabby looking either, with a nice image of a viper on either of the larger two sides, and some nice images and information about the case on either of the smaller two sides.

The case comes with a blue led fan on the side panel, and also a led fan in the front. It has spaces on the back to mount two more 80mm fans, however, they are not included. The front of the case can either have a 120mm fan, or the included 80mm fan mounted in it. I find this to be a nice feature, especially if you have a few hard drives, as a 120mm fan would blow across just about every one of the hard drive mounting locations. It also appears as if you would be able to put a water-cooling radiator here, and mount the fan between the case and the plastic front. However, there isn't a great deal of clearance between the plastic front and the metal part of the case, so the fan would have to be one of the thinner 120mm fans.

Both of the side panels have viper written on them in red text, which is not too big and adds nicely to the look of the case. The back follows the nice, blue paint theme as the rest of the case with the exception of the power supply, which would be a little more aesthetically pleasing if it was painted in some way since it is included with the case.

One of the more interesting features of the case is the LCD display on the front. The LCD display shows a couple pieces of useful information, which are the duration in hours and minutes that the computer has been running, and also the temperature in Celsius being read from a thermal probe you can position inside the case. There is also the viper head, which flashes on and off. It looks a bit more to me like it just comes on and off, though if you watch it close enough, you can see that it actually pulses.

The outside of the door has another red viper emblem that shines a constant color while the machine is on. Behind the door we have 4 5.25 drive bays, and 2 3.5 drive bays. The door its self has a magnetic latch system on it, which I find to be quite nice since it keeps the door closed pretty well, even when you shake the case around (not that you would do that with components inside though). It also makes one less piece you can accidentally break off. However, the door its self doesn't appear to be removable. This could cause a problem if you have anything in one of the 5.25 drive bays that would require the door to be open all the time, as that would make it quite easy to break the door off.

The power and reset buttons, as well as front mounted audio, USB and FireWire connectors are hidden behind a door above the drive door. To open the door, you press it, and then pull it open. While it looks nice when it's closed by hiding the power and reset buttons, I found that it can sometimes take a few try's to get it to open. It also would be come a bit of a problem if you decided to use the USB, FireWire, or audio connectors in it since it would have to be open. Its placement, being at the top center of the case also makes it a bad spot to put the USB, FireWire, and audio connectors since the cables will get in the way of the drive door.

Also of note on the front of the case is the positioning of the hard drive activity light, and power light. As you can see in the image of the LCD display, these are positioned all the way at the bottom of the case. Unless you are sitting nearly eye-level with the bottom of the case, or the case is sitting above you, you can't even see these lights at all. I had the case sitting on the desk beside my monitor, and I was never able to see these lights unless I bent down. Anyone with their case on the floor next to their desk would never see these lights at all. The lead's for the hard drive and power lights were also a bit troublesome. They are just barely long enough to reach the headers on the motherboard, and just reaching them is kind of hard to do since they are jammed up behind the hard drive mount. They wouldn't have been quite so hard to get a hold of if I had been able to get both sides of the case off, but that just wasn't going to happen. It took me a good five minutes to get the windowed side of the case off, and I tried for at least ten minutes to get the other side off, but it just wouldn't budge. The problem in removing the side panels is that there is simply nowhere to get any leverage on them since they are completely smooth.

Another of the interesting features of the case is the vent on the top of the case. The principal of this vent is that heat rises, so this should allow warm air from the drive bays to rise up and out of the case. I'm not sure how effective this is, especially since I like to have my optical drives positioned at the extreme top of a case. Not to mention that the wires for the front USB, FireWire, Audio, power and reset buttons come through that vent opening as well, which does a decent job of blocking a great deal of the opening to the vent. The nice blue paint job is carried inside the case as well, giving it a nice, uniform look.


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