AZZA Genesis 9000W ReviewWaco - August 9, 2012
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Glancing into the insides of the AZZA Genesis 9000 is nearly blinding when under bright lights. Inside and out this case is brilliantly white. Removing the side panel takes nearly zero effort thanks to the simple thumb-screw mounting. Peeking out from the business side of the case is something long-overdue in high-end cases: a functional GPU support bracket. Also visible are the nine tool-less drive bays and large CPU cutout for easy heat sink mounting. Spinning the case around reveals quite a few wires and the other side of the lower dual 140mm cooling fans. Note that the wiring on these fans is not braided or sleeved and looks like it might take some effort to keep it tidy. AZZA has generously included dual 120mm fans on the primary side panel as well – though they do connect via a Molex connector.
A surprise lurks towards the front of the case: SATA hot-swap bays! I've always liked the addition of these to a case as they make troubleshooting misbehaving drives extremely easy. Five of the lower 5.25" bays have black steel mounting frames for 3.5" and 2.5" HDDs. The hot-swap bay circuit boards use, oddly enough, Molex connectors for power instead of the expected SATA power plugs. I'm not sure why AZZA did this because the circuit boards themselves look to have pads already in place for the more standard SATA power connectors. Obviously they are still just as functional but the extra wiring mess from Molex connectors always frustrates me.
You can also catch a close-up glimpse of the VGA support brackets included with this case. Two are pre-mounted by default although there are provisions for up to four total brackets included in the accessory box. This solution may look simple but it is fairly well thought-out with a single thumb-screw securing the sliding bracket to the VGA support frame. It allows for you to support your heavy GPUs quite easily and doesn't get in the way with the exception of possibly making power connections harder to get to. I've had cases in the past with similar attempts at VGA brackets but they were usually more trouble than they were worth; thankfully this isn't true for the Genesis 9000!
Looking a bit lower we can see something that finally reveals what was hiding behind the front panel – a front power supply mount! This forward mounting allows for the two 140mm intake fans on the bottom of the case to blow cool air directly onto your CPU (if mounted reverse ATX) or GPU (if mounted standard ATX). There is, however, a drawback to this approach. With most reasonably sized power supplies you will have to temporarily remove one of the 140mm fans to squeeze your PSU into the front of the case. My test PSU isn't overly large and still required this somewhat annoying segue. The included internal PSU cable is of a decent gauge but if I was running a very high-powered PSU I'd look into replacing it with something more heavy-duty.
Moving on to the rear of the case you can see the rear 120mm exhaust fan hanging out above the blanking plate for the rear PSU mount. The rear panel is designed to handle extended-ATX motherboards with nine expansion slots available for cards and accessories. Quad-SLI plans in your future? This case can handle it without breaking a sweat. Also seen here are the various cutouts in the rear panel for cabling and heat sink mounting. The cable holes aren't covered by rubber grommets, which unfortunately means you'll have to do a bit more work to keep your cabling nice and tidy.
Also at the rear of the case you will find an easily removable fan filter for one of the bottom fans. It slides out easily and doesn't rattle, buzz, or otherwise annoy. The mesh is fine enough that capturing dust won't be a challenge – just don’t forget to clean it out occasionally to avoid clogging!
The back of the chassis has more than a few thumb screws sticking out. Removing the six that hold on the motherboard tray is a simple matter (you don't need to remove the handle like I did) and the tray simply slides smoothly out. The ability to mount the motherboard, cooler, and video cards outside of the case is a welcome addition as it makes the build process go much more quickly. The actual tray itself is surprisingly sturdy even with no hardware. The case looks quite empty without the motherboard tray but at the same time it opens up a ton of room for work. Adding a 480mm radiator to the top and/or a 240mm radiator at the bottom will be a piece of cake with everything else out of the way and because of that I don't see those rear water tubing ports getting any real use.
Up top the Tron theme continues with brilliant white and ocean blue trim. Even the power button on the right is adorned in blue! The leftmost button is not a reset button as you would expect though – it's actually a simple fan controller! When toggled it switches from a low speed mode to full speed on all of the case fans via the internal fan controller. It also controls the LED lighting though – so you get to choose between quiet and dark or loud and bright.
Lurking beneath the plastic top panel is a pair of 230mm cooling fans set up as exhaust. The top of the case worries me slightly though because there's not a whole lot of ventilation. All of the air from those two huge exhaust fans has to travel through small slits in the plastic that are not even .25" wide. Will this affect the cooling in any substantial way? That remains to be seen but I would have liked to see a design more focused on flow than style here.
Pulling off the panel for the front PSU is quite easy and reveals yet another dust filter. With the filter buried behind the panel I have the feeling it won't get cleaned as often but it is a simple matter to remove the two thumb screws holding the panel in place. The front panel pulls off with a few well-placed presses on clips and reveals the nine 5.25" bays along with the included five HDD/SSD bay adapters. The top four bays are covered with the usual breakaway plates that inevitably cut you when you remove them. Thankfully I didn't slice my hand on them; the red would be easy to see on the brilliant white case!
The 5.25" bay adapters for HDDs and SSDs slide out with a simple press on the tool-less clip inside the case. This locking mechanism does hinder the usability of the hot-swap bays a bit though as it requires you to have the side panel removed to add or remove drives from the bays. That said, the steel bay adapters are quite sturdy and should act as an additional heat sink on whatever HDDs you happen to be using.
Moving around to the bottom of the case you can see the gigantic rubber feet that are sure to keep the Genesis 9000 planted firmly where you want it. There are holes in the feet to allow for the removal of the bottom of the case without peeling up any rubber, which is something that I abhor on cases with rubber pads that cover mounting screws. Pulling back a bit you can see the motherboard tray mounted in the standard ATX position, but fear not, I did test this case with the default reverse-ATX mounting to take advantage of its unique design.
Last but not least we have the accessory package. Included within are extra feet for a front PSU mount, a bundle of zip ties, a motherboard speaker, two more video card support brackets, a hefty bag of screws and motherboard standoffs, an extra 5.25" to 3.5" HDD adapter set, and a fairly well-written user manual. The extra 5.25" to 3.5" HDD adapters bring the usable HDD bays to a total of six. AZZA certainly didn't leave anything out!
Building a system with the AZZA Genesis 9000 wasn't a difficult chore at all. Thanks to the large size and removable motherboard tray installation was a breeze - with one exception. My PSU isn't exactly long but due to the design of the case I had to temporarily remove one of the lower 140mm intake fans to make room to slide it into the front of the case. Because my PSU is smaller I expect that most everyone will have to follow suit. The rest of the installation went quite smoothly and without any undue hassle or hiccups. If you mounted your board in the standard ATX position instead of the reverse ATX position you might run into issues with your PSU cables reaching due to the front mounting though.
Now that my hardware is installed and the case is lit up like Jeff Bridges let's get to testing!