AZZA Genesis 9000W Review

Waco - 2012-06-27 07:52:33 in Cases
Category: Cases
Reviewed by: Waco   
Reviewed on: August 9, 2012
Price: $149.99

Introduction:

Are you in the market for a new computer case? Do you want to keep your components cool? If the answer to either of those questions is a yes – keep reading. Today I'll be taking a look at a new offering from AZZA, the Genesis 9000. AZZA has been around for quite a while (since 1996) but in 2009 it spun off into a standalone company that focuses on uncompromising performance, functionality, and value. One thing I did not know about AZZA is that it donates a minimum of 50% of the net profit to the One Vision, One Mission program, which is a part of the World Vision charity. This program is dedicated to sponsoring underprivileged children who are in need of help, nourishment, and education. So, should you decide to keep your component cool with an AZZA case, you can also feel good about the fact that you're helping those in need.

The AZZA Genesis 9000 is a full tower case with an imposing stance and a more imposing feature list. One of the key features is that you can mount your motherboard in the traditional ATX fashion as well as the cooler-running reverse ATX style. With seven fans included stock, a front-mounted PSU mount, and the unusual cooling setup this case should be rather interesting! Keep reading to find out just what this case has in store.

Closer Look:

Before talking about what the box for the AZZA Genesis 9000 looks like let me just say this: it's heavy. It's also huge; there's no mistaking that this is clearly a full-tower case and not the more common mid-tower form factor. Thankfully AZZA has included hand-holds on each side of the box to make it easier to lug around before unpacking. The box itself is extremely colorful and boasts loudly about the various included features and specifications. The front side shows a nice front view of the case itself both in the black/red and white/blue color combinations. Spinning around to the side reveals a very long specification list that is also mirrored on the other side of the box. The back side of the box shows an exploded view of the white version of the Genesis 9000 with key features highlighted quite clearly. I'm not usually a fan of overly colorful (and expensive) packaging on cases, but this box is sure to catch people's attention if they see it in a retail store and it gives a good representation of the actual chassis itself.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Slicing away the tape on the top of the box reveals the case hidden below hard packaging foam and a plastic bag to protect it from dust and dirt in shipping. The front of the case stares upward at you when you open the box just screaming to be let out. Granted, pulling a case this size out of the box isn't as easy as a smaller case, but it slid out just fine. The foam packaging was actually crumbled a bit (look to the bottom right of the second photo) when I removed it from the box but considering the terrors my local delivery men tend to incur on packages this isn't surprising. Soft foam would have held together better but the case arrived without damage, even if the packaging didn't. Move on to the next page to see what this behemoth looks like out of its shipping clothing!

 

Closer Look:

Finally we meet the AZZA Genesis 9000 head-on. This case, to put it simply, is large. The front of the case is dominated by a slew of no fewer than nine 5.25" bays along with a vented panel near the bottom. There's a secret lurking behind that panel that I'll explain in a bit. Two blue strips adorn either side of the front panel and I have the sneaking feeling that they'll light up when I power my system up. Spinning around to the backside of the case you'll find that the white paint continues all around. The usual position for the power supply has a plate over it along with a female PSU plug on the bottom right - could this be part of the secret to the front panel? The rear panel has a large black handle on it but be warned: do not lift or move the case with this handle. It is for the removable motherboard try and you're likely to snap it off if you try to move the whole case with it. A few cutouts for water cooling tubing are included as well but as you'll see in a bit they're probably not going to be very useful to you.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now, as you look at the pictures below, keep this in mind. My camera certainly isn't the best in the world but the mismatched coloration between the side panels, frame, and outer plastic panels isn't a trick of the camera. The side panels and frame are a slightly different color that is obvious in the pictures and nearly as obvious in person. The plastic cladding for the top, front, and bottom of the case is a warmer color temperature than the painted metal of the case itself. This effect isn't terribly noticeable in normal light but with the fluorescent lighting of my photo booth it stood out rather painfully for the pictures. If that's something that will bother you once you notice it (as it did me) perhaps the black/red version of the case will be more your fancy.

Anyway, on to the side panels! As you may have noticed the window on this case seems to be on the wrong side. This is an artifact of the reversed ATX mounting that the case ships with by default. You can swap the panels to the other sides if you either don't like the window or you want to run the standard ATX mounting position. The majority of both side panels is bumped out by a good amount to allow for a lot of cable management room. The base of this case isn't very standard either, with a large plastic piece holding up the weight of the case. This piece does have venting on either side and should allow for good airflow through the bottom of the case even when being used on carpeted floors.

 

 

Taking a look at the case from an angle you can see how it all ties together. Personally it reminds me rather strongly of the Tron movies with the angular lighting and "modern" styling. It makes a bold statement so those of you who like their cases to sit unobtrusively in the corner should probably look elsewhere. On the other hand, if you're a Tron fan or if you like your case to speak something about your personality, this is definitely a case that'll attract attention! Continue on to find out what makes this case special on the inside.

Closer Look:

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!

Specifications:

Type:
ATX Full Tower
Color:
White/White(inside chassis)
Material:
.8mm SECC
Side Panel Window:
Yes
With Power Supply:
No
CPU Cooler Compatibility:
Up to 200mm
Motherboard Compatibility:
XL-ATX, E-ATX, Full ATX, Micro ATX
Power Supply Locations:
Rear Bottom or Front Bottom, Supports Dual Power Supply
External 5.25" Drive Bays:
9
Internal 3.5" Drive Bays:
5+1(up to 9)
Easy Swap 2.5" SSD Slot:
2 (up to 5)
Easy Swap 3.5" HDD Slot:
2 (up to 5)
Expansion Slots:
9
Front Ports:
2xUSB 3.0, 2xUSB 2.0, e-SATA, HD Audio, Mic
Cooling System:
2x230mm top, 2x140mm bottom, 2x120mm side, 1x120mm back
Dimensions:
25.1" H x 9.8" W x 23.2" D
Weight:
36 lbs

 

 

 

Features:

 

 

 

 

All information courtesy of: http://azzatek.com/csaz-9000.html

Testing:

Testing the AZZA Genesis 9000 full tower case required pushing my hardware to heat things up! Testing involved recording temperatures for the CPU, GPU, chipset, hard drives, and overall system during idle and load phases.

Load was simulated by running Prime95’s small FFTs while also running 3Dmark Vantage for one hour. The maximum temperatures were recorded using HW Monitor. It is important to note that each case is tested from its factory setup, including location of fans, unless otherwise noted.

 

Testing Setup:

 

Comparison Cases:

 

 

Results:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Well there you have it. This case, to put it simply, rocks at cooling. There is a downside though – the stock fans are pretty loud. So while the AZZA Genesis 9000 does put up a good fight to the other cases (the exception being chipset temperatures) it's being compared to it is also easily the loudest of the bunch. That's not to say it's going to make your ears bleed like the Vantec Tornados of yesteryear but it's definitely not a silent case. Switching the fan mode to low speed (which also turns off the LED lighting) transforms the case into a quiet beast but temperatures are affected by this enough to take away most of its commanding lead on GPU and CPU temperatures. All in all a good showing by the Genesis 9000!

Conclusion:

The AZZA Genesis 9000 is not without its flaws. The fans on full speed are quite loud and the requirement to remove a fan to install a front-mounted PSU is annoying. The hot-swap bays are of dubious usefulness since they require you to remove the side panel to use. The slight paint mismatch between the metal and plastic parts of the case is also a bit disappointing. The styling, straight out of Tron, is definitely going to be a "love it or hate it" type of affair. Personally I think it looks good, but not something I'd want sitting next to my computer desk. It will definitely turn heads at a LAN party with its stark white finish and blue lighting (or, if you so choose, black finish with red lighting).

However, even though it has its faults, this is still one heck of a case. The large size allows for easy installation of nearly any hardware you can buy. The removable motherboard tray is well designed, easy to use, and allows for orienting the board whichever way you desire. The cooling, though a bit loud, is top-notch in almost every category and will definitely keep your hardware cool even under the most intense stress. There aren't many cases on the market with this kind of cooling delivered from the factory nor many that can house 480mm radiators without any modification at all. With a competitive price and outrageous styling the AZZA Genesis 9000 is definitely worth your consideration.

 

Pros:

 

Cons: