Chieftec AEGIS Mid Tower Review
Reviewed by: Propane
Reviewed on: January 20, 2009
All computer cases are created equal, right? Actually, wrong. When you are building your own computer, most people just skip over the case and get one that is cheap or one that they think looks cool. This isn't always what is best though. A computer case has many functions beside the basic "sit and look cool." For instance, a computer case can drastically change your temperatures on all your components: hard drives, RAM, CPU, and GPU are the big ones. Also, a computer case can have a large effect on how much noise you can hear from the internal components like fans and hard drives - pretty much anything that spins. Since the case is used to house your components, the size of the case and how many expansion slots it has available is something that needs to be taken into consideration. Pretty much any self proclaimed cooling expert or modding expert out there will agree, all cases are not created equal.
Now this is where the Chieftec AEGIS mid tower case comes in. With Chieftec's promise of "always bettering themselves," I expect a case that preforms well in all areas. The feature list is amazing, and hopefully it all works, as I will be testing each and every piece. I'm pretty excited to give this case a shot at glory, so lets get right into the testing.
The box that the case in is very busy. With a lot of information packed on both the front and back, along with images of the two color options, there is defiantly a lot going on. The features that are listed on the box are pretty basic, but appear to be helpful. There is also a large "IN THIS CASE YOU CAN TRUST" along the bottom.
The case, which was protected with foam, comes out easily. Chieftec sent me the black version of the case, which I am assuming is identical to the silver version except in color. The removable side of the case has a large mesh window that allows you to see inside the case, as well as air flow. This unfortunately means that if I used the case for an extended period of time, I would probably get a lot of dust inside as there is no filter over the mesh. The reverse side has openings to allow for two 80mm fans that blow over the hard drive cage area, as well as the front I/O ports.
The front of the case has a door, sporting the same mesh material as the side of the case. The back, which is a lot busier than the front, has seven expansion slots, the I/O block for your motherboard, the opening for a power supply, and a hole for a 120mm fan. For a case of this size, that is pretty standard.
The top and bottom of the case are pretty normal. Just flat, and the bottom has black "feet" that can be rotated in case you want them angled differently. This is kind of nice, because it allows me to use the top of the case as a small table surface that I can store things on.
To get to the optical drives or any addons that go into a 5.25" drive bay is as easy as swinging the door that is on the front of the case open. Here there are several different things, including three 5.25" drive bays, one 3.5" drive bay, power and reset switches, and a power and hard drive activity LED.
While the case itself looks solid, there are also many small details that show up once the case gets opened up. While this case actually has less gadgets on the inside, sometimes simplicity is key. The first thing I will show you here is the inside of the case. This case supports all ATX and E-ATX motherboards, so there are plenty of places to put your standoffs. If you have really good eyes, you might be able to see the labeling in the picture, but if you cant, all that the labeling involves is a small letter which is engraved next to the whole. It shouldn't be too hard to figure out which holes correspond to your motherboard.
Next, I'll take a look at the drive bays. Again, there are three external 5.25" drive bays, as well as one 3.5" external drive bay. Additionally, on the inside there are six 3.5" drive bays. These are pretty standard drive bay slots, this case gives you the ability to install two fans to allow for extra hard drive cooling. However, the case came with no extra fans, so I will not be testing it with any.
Now, if you paid close attention to the features part of the review, you might remember a little bit being on there about screwless design. Well, for both the hard drive bays and optical drive bays, Chieftec came up with a system that allows you to not need to screw anything down. Instead of having screws with threads, brackets with studs using a knurled surface are included. All you need to do with these is push them into the holes on your respective device, and you are done! Pretty slick and a lot faster than having to take the time to screw in up to four screws per device.
One final neat features that the AEGIS sports is the screwless expansion slot solution. Where the screws normally go there is instead a piece of metal that snaps into place. This seems like a great idea and I was excited to try it out, but with my two slot video card, I was no longer able to snap the bracket into place. However, Chieftec still drilled places to put screws so I ended up screwing my PCI devices in.
2.8', 350/20', 710/40', 830/40HQ'
3x5.25" + 2x3.5" FDD + 3x3.5" HDD Installed
- 10 Drive bays deliver maximum expandability
- Front mounted ports for easy multimedia connections
- Fits all standard ATX and E-ATX motherboards up to 12"x13"
- Spring added to hold HDD/FDD for anti-vibration support
- Patented screwless rails help install HDD easily and stable
- Cooling capacity protects your valuable components
- Sliding side panel opening with handle for easy handling
- Ventilation cools CPU and extra ventilation for graphics cards & drives
- Optional side panel in "see-through" or "stylish mesh" window.
All information courtesy of Chieftec@http://www.chieftec.com/
If you are going to spend your hard earned money on a computer and a case, you probably want to know that what you are getting is a good buy and that it will keep your other (hopefully) good buys safe and cool. To figure out how well this case preforms, I will install my OCC standard test system into it and then measure the temperatures of several components. This should give me a good idea of how well the air flow in the case is. I will use a combination of HDTune, SpeedFan, and CoreTemp to read the sensors.
- Processor: Intel Q9450 Core 2 Quad 333x8
- Motherboard: Gigabyte X48-DQ6
- Memory: Mushkin XP2 Redline 8000 2 x 2GB 5-5-5-12
- Video Card(s): MSI 9800GT
- Power Supply: Mushkin 800 watt Modular power supply
- Hard Drive: 1 x Seagate 750GB SATA
- OS: Windows Vista Ultimate
- Cooler Master Cosmos
As you can see in the above charts, the AEGIS is a lot warmer than the Cosmos. However, there is the ability to add several fans to the AEGIS, which would probably help bring down temperatures. As it stands, however, these temperatures are what you can expect to get in a chassis without the additional airflow additional fans bring.
Overall, the Chieftec AEGIS was slightly disappointing. With a name like Chieftec, I would have hoped for a product with more cooling ability (they didn't include any fans), and better noise / vibration dampening. Every time one of my hard drives had to make a seek, I could hear it. Also, the fans on my CPU and GPU were much louder than in the Cosmos. This of course could be a side effect of not having the additional fan noise to muffle these sounds. All these little things combined together made me not really enjoy using the case. However, there were some cool features, like the screwless design of the expansion slots and drive slots. Also, there are a lot of places for fans to be placed which would make the biggest of the negatives in with this case disappear. If you want a case that can easily be modified to your liking, then this wouldn't be a bad choice and has cooling potential. Potential in that the case should flow a decent amount of air once there are fans installed to manage the airflow through this case. It's a shame that the fans are optional, but on the flip side, this allows Chieftec to keep the cost of the case down and allow the end user the option of adding fans that meet their own criteria (LED Color, CFM, noise level). The position of the fan mounts offers a look into just how this case might cool your components. As it sits, the temperatures that the case delivered were higher than a case with fans that is to be expected. Pricing is right at $99 dollars, which puts this case squarely in comparison range with mid-towers such as the Antec 900 and NZXT Tempest at $109 bucks, that include all the cooling you could ever need for the advertised price. Even so, the Chieftec Aegis is a good looking case with potential. Just add fans.
- Lots of drive bays
- Lots of places to add fans
- Screwless design
- Passive cooling
- Fans optional