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Titan Robela Water Cooler Case Titan Robela Water Cooler Case: Titan dives into the water cooling case game. Do they finish the race, or sink like a rock?
Date: September 28, 2005
Manufacturer:
Written By:

Water-cooling has gotten very easy to setup these days, especially with the explosion of turnkey solutions from various manufacturers. The benefits of water-cooling are simple to grasp; they run relatively silent for the same performance (and often better) when compared to extreme air coolers, and are significantly cheaper than phase-change solutions. When properly installed, they are extremely reliable and require minimal maintenance.

On the flip side, even the easiest to assemble water-cooling kit is more complicated than most traditional heatsinks. Furthermore, some planning is required as not all cases are water-cooling friendly. Most performance kits require 120mm fans for their radiators, and right now, I'd say it's a 80/20 split between cases with 80mm rear fans and cases with 120mm rear fans. What this means is modding is most likely a requirement to prep a case for a decent water-cooling kit.

Going back to our intro, we mentioned the term "turnkey", which in simple terms means that as far as water-cooling goes, some kits are as close to plug-and-play as we can get. Some installation is still required, but the real work such as pump and radiator placement is done for you. In some kits, we see PC cases with pre-assembled water-cooling kits, and in other scenarios, external water-cooling kits that sit outside of the case.

falls under what we would consider turnkey. With everything you need to get into water cooling out of the box, this case has the potential to be the easiest water cooling setup on the market. Is it though? More importantly, will the performance be enough to sway enthusiasts away from more traditional setups?

The Titan Robela - The Case

There are a few versions of the Robela, though all of them are from the same base. The Robela we received is model number TWC-A88/BS, which is the silver model with the plastic front bezel. There is an aluminum version of the same colour as well as the same two models in black.

If there are two words that best describe the Robela, they are big and heavy. Simply put, this case is not something enthusiasts are going to want to build a LAN party rig out of. The case alone is already quite hefty, and loaded to the gills, including the liquid, the scale will top off in excess of 45lbs(!).

While the size of the case contributes to some of the weight, the main reason for the back aches is the steel chassis. Since steel based case designs are much cheaper than aluminum, we can understand Titan's reasoning for the material choice, but this will impact the decisions made by potential customers.

Thankfully, there are two handles on top of the case that aid greatly in transporting it, and both handles are sturdy enough to support the chassis. Located between the handles is a small push down door. Pushing it down releases it and exposes the extra peripheral connections for user access.

The case design is similar to Chieftec and Antec in some respects when it comes to functionality. There is a swing out door to hide any unsightly beige optical drive faceplates, as well as swing-out feet to stabilize the chassis and keep it from tipping over. Again, given the weight, knocking it down is very unlikely if it's placed on a stable surface.

The key for the bezel will actually lock or unlock two parts of the front bezel. As pictured above, the door opens to reveal the drive bays. Pulling on the bezel itself reveals the the steel frame on the front of the case. This step is required to pull out the punch plates for drive installation, but once that is done, there probably won't be much of a need to do this again except for routine fan cleaning. There are a total of five external 5.25" drive bays and two 3.5" external bays.

Undo a couple thumbscrews, and pulling off the side panel reveals the interior of the case. Normally we'd be critical of not having a removable motherboard tray, but there is plenty of room to maneuver around the inside. One nice touch is Titan's information stickers scattered throughout the interior of the case. For example, the sticker located where the motherboard clearly indicates where to place the standoffs based on the form factor of the board.

Despite the size, we were quite surprised Titan went with 80mm fans (one included) for ventilation inside the case. 120mm fans would move more air at less noise, but we suppose it'll save the user some money if they need to buy additional fans.

No PSU is included with the Robela, and Titan recommends to use those whose lengths are 140mm to 145mm from the rear of the case to the front. The reason is those in excess of 150mm would be a tight fit and the user will not be able to close the side panel. This will be addressed in a future revision, but you're best to inquire before making the purchase.

Installation of peripherals is very easy with the Robela. Tool-free is the name of the game, and once you put in the motherboard, you can pretty much do away with the screwdriver. Drive rails for both hard drives and optical drives are used here, and these don't even have to be screwed in. Simply push them into the device (there are small bars that go into the holes of the device), and slide them into the chassis.

Video and PCI device installation is also a tool-free affair. You begin by unlocking and lifting up the tabs (they do not come off), installing the device and sliding the tabs back into place. Lock them in and you're done. The tabs are quite secure and there should be no worries of these devices coming loose. In terms of "tool-free" cases we've worked with before, the Robela is among the easiest to setup.

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