Installing the components in this case is, for the most part, just like installing components in any other case. There is no removable motherboard tray, however, I've never had a computer with a removable motherboard tray, so this doesn't really bother me. One thing about the paint job, however, is that some of the holes for the stand-off's seemed to have either been tapped wrong, or had some excess paint in them, because it was quite difficult to get the stand-off's in a couple of them.
Another item of note is that the hard drive mount is not able to be removed. This isn't necessarily a problem, and actually makes it so that the case can hold up to 6 hard drives if no floppy drive is installed, and have a bit more room between the drives than standard cases. It also makes it quite nice since air flows across all of the hard drive's, depending on the fan used and position of the drives.
The only other items of note during installation are the hard drive activity and power led leads. These, as stated above, are really quite short and were really difficult to get to. The power led connector is also a solid 2 prong connector, rather than 2 separate connectors, which means that it will not be able to be used with some motherboards since the positive and ground headers are not always side by side.
Testing and Useage
The following components were used to test this case:
Gigabyte GA -7VAX motherboard
AMD Athlon XP 1600+ CPU
OCZ Dominator 2 CU Heatsink
1 Gig PC2700 DDR
BFG GeForce FX 5200 Ultra
Lite-On DVD Rom Drive
80 Gig Western Digital Special Edition Hard Drive
Sound Blaster PCI sound card
The case was left in its stock configuration as far as power supply and fan configuration is concerned.
As stated before, the viper head on the LCD display pulses on and off. I don't see the need to have a video of the viper flashing, I simply have a picture of it on and a picture of it off above. Then there is the last picture showing the entire front of the case in the dark to show the viper head on the door, as well as the display panel.
I'm not sure what the purpose of the hard drive and power lights is on the LCD panel. I suppose the power light is simply to say that the machine is on. The hard drive light, on the other hand, never went off. So it obviously can't be a hard drive activity light.
Personally, I think that the viper window cut in the side and the red viper head on the door look cool. However, the pulsing viper head on the LCD is just a little too much for me. It might not be so bad if it just stayed on, but the pulsing is kind of annoying to me. This might not bother everyone, but I just think the display would have been just as well without the viper on it at all.
Also, as noted above, the door to the power and reset buttons doesn't always come open with the first try, which can be a little annoying when all you want to do is turn your machine on.
The included 500 watt power supply is a nice touch in my opinion. It isn't lacking at all in wattage for all but the most extreme systems. All of the cables are of ample length to get to all parts of the case, and it also includes 1 SATA power connector. All of the voltage levels were at their normal ranges during testing as well, so by all indications, this isn't a bad power supply.
The viper window on the side panel is UV reactive, however, there are no UV fans included in the case. If you stick a UV fan either in the side panel, or a couple for rear exhaust fans, the window would probably look pretty cool.
The temperature results were gained by allowing the computer to come to an idle temperature by sitting with no use for 20 minutes after start up. We then run folding @ home in the background, as well as Prime 95 for a period of 30 minutes, taking a temperature reading every minute, and then taking the average of the values. Also displayed is the maximum temperature reached during the testing period. As stated, the stock fan configuration was used during testing. Temperatures were taken from the internal sensors on the motherboard. Room temperature was kept at 23 degrees Celsius during testing.
Overall, these temperatures aren't too bad. Chassis temperature is only a little over 10 degrees over ambient, and the CPU isn't too hot for being under full load. Putting a 120mm instead of an 80mm fan in the front, and adding two exhaust fans in the back would probably help quite a bit, especially since the case does not come stock with any exhausting fans at all. Noise wise, with the included fans and the OCZ Dominator heatsink, the case was relatively quiet. In a room with a couple other machines, this one blends right in with the others, not making any more or less noise.
There are a relatively large number of things I found in the case that are listed below as cons. However, if you look at the list, they are mostly quite trivial things that do not effect the performance of the case in any way, but must be noted to ensure a thorough review. With the exception of the side panels being ungodly difficult to remove from the case, there are really no negatives to this case performance wise or aesthetically.
While the case is made entirely of steel, with a bit of added weight from the large handles on top, it isn't excessively heavy for a case of its size. The handles were very sturdy, and I didn't feel at all uncomfortable carrying the case around using them. This would make it quite nice for a lan party case, so long as you're not below average in your strength, and you don't have to carry it half a mile from your car to the party.
The LCD display is a nice touch, but its actual worth is questionable. It is nice information to have the uptime of your system, however, it would be more useful if it would list it in days, hours and minutes instead of just hours and minutes. The temperature probe is nice, but you can only choose one temperature to monitor.
Overall, this is a pretty nice case. If you're looking for a new case that's a bit different than the rest and inspired by the Dodge Viper car, the XG Viper case is worth a look. At around $99 at the time of this review, it is a great value, especially when you factor in the included 500 watt PSU and the cooling possibilities it affords.
Cool looking design
Status LCD on front nice touch
500 Watt Power Supply with enough leads, long enough to reach all parts of the case
Handles on top make for easy carrying, and look cool at the same time
Ability to have a 120mm fan mounted in the front
Nice paint job inside and out
VERY hard to get the side panel off
Power and Hard Drive LED's poorly positioned
Power and Hard Drive LED leads hard to get to, and just long enough to reach destination
Power LED connector is one solid connector, rather than separate leads for positive and ground, making it impossible to connect to some motherboards
Slightly overboard with the viper theme
Not made of aluminum
Top door needs to be open in order to use the front USB, Firewire, and sound connectors
Bottom Line: If you are looking for a cool looking case with a few features not found in most other cases, namely the lcd display on the front, then this is worth a look. While the case is a bit on the heavy side, it isn't that bad to carry around for short distances with the handles on top, which might make it a decent lan party case as well. While the list of cons is longer than the list of pros, the cons are really quite trivial with the exception of the major pain in getting the side panels off of the case.
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