Raidmax Quantum Review

airman - 2009-11-15 09:02:13 in Cases
Category: Cases
Reviewed by: airman   
Reviewed on: March 23, 2010
Price: $69.99

Introduction:

A brand that many computer enthusiasts may have heard of is the manufacturer Raidmax. We have published quite a few reviews of some of their products and each have done well. Raidmax is known more particularly for their budget "gaming" cases, for example the ones with windows and extra lighting. Some people may state that you get what you pay for, but in most cases the price to performance ratio of their less expensive products exceed that of other manufacturers budget cases. Raidmax has more recently been producing some upper to middle-end cases in the $70 and $80 price range, one of these being the recently reviewed Raidmax Skyline, which outperformed all of the comparison cases in 4 out of 8 tests. The Skyline lacked a little bit of stability, but that is what made it lightweight. I do slightly expect to revisit that again with the Quantum, but I'm not making any hard assumptions yet. As with any case, I do look forward to seeing what it has to offer and how well it performs, and with the Raidmax Quantum, I don't expect any less!

 

Closer Look:

The Raidmax Quantum is packaged in a brown cardboard box with red writing. It is quite plain actually, and the only way I knew what it was, is because of the UPC code on one side that said "Quantum". This box was actually shipped inside what looked like another box that was turned inside out, which I was a little confused about, but I didn't judge it on this. Other than that, there isn't really much else to day about the box that it's packaged in. Just about the only other text on it is "Made in China", and a few symbols referring to the contents, like "this end up", a trash-can with an 'X' through it, and others. The case itself is in a plastic bag that is sandwiched between two blocks of foam and arrived undamaged.

Through the plastic bag I could see the front of the case, which was all mesh. The front of it kind of reminds me of the way a high-end full tower would look. However, I did notice that about half of the drive bay covers had come loose and were "pushed" into the bezel. On the inside behind the bezel was a strip of masking tape that looked like it was there to hold the covers in place. The original pictures that I had of the un-boxing process were lost due to my camera's memory card getting corrupted, so I had to retake them. I had misplaced the bag that it came in, which is why it does not appear in the picture below. I have further determined that the box that I received the case in is not what is being sent out retail, as I saw a picture of the box on the Raidmax website. The Styrofoam blocks that it came with did seem pretty obvious that they did not belong with this case. They were, for lack of a better word, "shoved" into the box and gave it a little bit of bulge. The loose drive bay covers can be seen less dramatically below.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Anyway, the case is packaged with a manual and a bag of screws and other mounting hardware. The bag of screws there are what was left over after putting the computer together. This is for the same reason about how the original pictures were lost, so I just put what was left in the picture. Anyway, I didn't come across any tool-less drive rails, but after discovering that this case was indeed tool-less, I looked it up and saw that it supposedly is. At this point, I assumed that the tool-less mechanisms are part of the case itself. This will be explored on a later page, but now that the case is out of the box it's time to take a closer look at the exterior and what features it has.

Closer Look

The front of the case is mesh from top to bottom. From the looks of it, there is a foam backing behind each drive bay cover. This is a nice feature, considering it blocks out a small amount of sound, but more importantly they act as a filter for the two 120mm intake fans behind them. The front of the case does not have any buttons, as the I/O and control panel is located on the top of the case. A large majority of case manufacturers are catching on to this trend, as it makes the cases a little bit easier to use for those who have their computers on the ground. It doesn't force the users to bend all of the way out of their chair to turn the computer on or plug in a USB flash drive. The left side of the case has a small Plexiglass window that is tinted blue. The window itself is an odd shape, which is kind of like a backwards "C". Smaller windows usually make it easier to hide any extra wires that could be seen from the outside, which technically aids in wire management, at least visually. There is no side intake fan on this case.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The rear of the case shows an upper 120mm exhaust fan with blue blades. The amount of restriction on the case for the fan looks minimal, which is good to see. I was surprised to see that the actual expansion slot covers were painted black in the same finish the the rest of the rear of the case has on it, but I then realized that they are tear-outs and part of the way the case was stamped. It is smooth and pretty tough against scratches and doesn't seem like it would chip. I didn't mention it above, but the side panels are painted with a little bit more texture. The rivets on the back are painted to match the case as well, which in turn make the unpainted screws that hold the 120mm fan in place stand out quite a bit. To the right of the expansion slots, there are large perforations (my caliper says 5mm in diameter, which is the same as the holes on the exhaust fan port) that allows heat to passively escape. The motherboard I/O panel has a tear-out plate there, complete with openings for a parallel port, serial ports, and a game port. I'm not sure why they decided to put this there, as most cases just leave a hole. Nevertheless, it only reminded me that I'm getting older, since I can tell what ports they are just by looking at their shape. Anyway, the power supply mounts on the bottom and has raised support dimples beneath it, which alleviates some of the weight from the mounting screws holding it in, especially for the heavy monsters on the market today. The placement of the power supply does allow for about 3/8th of an inch beneath it, in case the orientation of the power supply means the fan would be on the bottom. There isn't much to be said about the right side of the case, besides the fact that it looks just like the left side, minus the window.

 

 

The top of the case shows the I/O port, the power and reset buttons, and the two fans on the top. The exhaust fans are placed below the same type of mesh that appears on the front drive bay covers, just without the foam. Besides noise blocking, there is no need for foam here since the fans are blowing air out. The fans on top have blue blades just like the exhaust in the back, so I'm sure at this point they are going to have the same ratings. The bottom side of the case has four gray plastic feet, which stand over a half an inch tall.

 

 

A frustration with this case that I discovered is removing the front bezel. While it isn't 100% necessary to do this, it can make the process of installing optical drives (at least as far as removing the drive bay covers goes) and hard drives much easier. I will be demonstrating the hard drive installation process on the next page once I get inside the case. In order to remove the front bezel, six screws behind it have to be removed. Screws are no problem, unless they're hard to reach such as the ones in about three of the six locations. The case implements a tool-less system, that kind of got in the way of some of the screws. Luckily, the individual components of the tool-less system can actually be removed, and made it a little easier to remove these screws. Upon removing the front panel, I discovered that one of the wires that power the LEDs in the four corners of the front was hanging loose, not connected to anything. I did happen to find where I believe it goes - there was heat-shrink around one wire that looks like there is room for another. There is a 2-pin header that belongs to these wires, which plugs into a supplied adapter with a 4-pin Molex on the end. To make removing the front panel easier later on, I only put two screws back in the easiest location, the middle on either side.

 

 

With the exterior of the case evaluated, I will be diving into the inside of the case to see what things it has to offer the user, as well as how the tool-less system in this case works.

Closer Look

I always enjoy seeing the inside of a case that is painted. It shows that the manufacturer took the extra step and money to make in my mind, a finished product. The drive bay holders run from the top to the bottom as one piece. The large bundle of wires hang from the top of the case, and unfortunately stand out visually due to the contrast they create on the black paint job on the inside of the case. With the right side panel off, the case is quite open and will assist me in routing the cables. Aside from the motherboard tray and the drive holders, that's about it as far as inside surfaces go.

The motherboard tray does not have a heatsink mount access hole, which I repeatedly moan about because of how simple it is for manufacturers to implement one and how convenient they are for the user. Not having an access hole will require the user to completely remove the motherboard to change or upgrade their heatsink that uses a direct bolt-on method, which is a large part of the coolers on the market today. Anyway, the tool-less system can be seen in more detail here. The expansion slots also use a tool-less system, which snap into place and hold the PCI brackets securely. Unfortunately, these will not work well on graphics cards with large coolers and is why they usually end up getting removed and replaced with a traditional screw, which will be seen in the picture of the computer assembled.

The tool-less system works on both sides, which allows for a mounting that is a little more snug. Similar tool-less systems involve a slider on only one side of the device, and would usually cause it to wiggle on the opposite side. I don't expect to see that happen with this case. On the right side of the case, there is a structural rail that runs from the front to the back, and is in the way of one of the tool-less clamps at the bottom, so there is one missing there.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The top 120mm fans can be clearly seen from the inside of the case, and what looks like the underside of the plastic on the top of the case. By this, I mean that they slightly are recessed into the top. A sticker with the case serial number is loosely stuck onto the top of the case, which I removed shortly after taking this picture because I didn't want it to fall on anything later on or get sucked into a fan. Looking closer at the drive bays, there are other components inside where the hard drives will be housed. These "blocks" as I'll call them, house three 3.5" hard drives and have a 120mm blue LED fan attached to each. Unlocking the three tool-less clamps on either side of a "block" will allow it to be removed. With the front of the case removed, these will simply slide out the front without any hassle. They will do the same towards the inside of the case, but this would not be possible without removing the graphics card or the power supply due to their size. This is what I mentioned earlier - although removing the front of the case is not the easiest, it may be easier to perform some than disassembling of the computer itself, just to remove a hard drive.

 

 

Installing a hard drive is pretty simple. The hard drive is loaded into the rear of the block, and screwed in from both sides. Due to the design construction to the drive holders, a magnetic screwdriver may make life easier during installation. This is because of the inability to hold the screw with a finger while placing it in position. This is a little more clear in the picture of the hard drive block by itself. Each hard drive block may then be reinstalled the same way that it was removed - sliding it in through either the front or from the inside of the case, and fastening the three tool-less clamps down on either side will lock it into position.

Due to the way that the fans are positioned directly in front of each hard drive and the lack of restriction around it, I expect to see low temperatures reading from the hard drive once the case is on the testing bench. Some cases put front intake fans on cases for what seems like just show, and it's nice to see a little more "function" to the "form" in this case. As far as the actual tool-less clamps are concerned, they are easy to operate. To unlock one, the clamp slides away from the front of the case, which will unlock it and cause it to swing freely. To remove the actual clamp itself, the small metal tab on the outside of it can be depressed and the whole mechanism will slide out. Those who want a traditional screw method altogether may remove all of the clamps relatively easily. The hard drive holders, as well as the regular optical drives, may also be secured using screws. I like the fact that Raidmax has given users the choice here.

 

 

 

Getting the hardware installed into the case was a little difficult since the case is indeed a mid-tower. There was enough room for the GTX260, but room for little else. The GTX 260 is a 10.5" card, so the larger cards today will not fit. The wiring wasn't too difficult, but since each fan had its own 4-pin Molex with auxiliary output, I had to daisy-chain them together and ended up with a lot of Molex headers floating around. However, this makes the case less proprietary and allows swapping out different fans and using the stock ones for something else without any additional work. Everything else worked out and no cable was too short to route them in a way that was more appealing and less obstructive to airflow. Once turned on, the blue LED corners add a good looking accent, and the blue LED fans behind the mesh drive bay covers added a nice glow. Too bad that I only had a white optical drive, and it stands out hideously like a sore thumb. The case itself operates nearly silently, and shouldn't cause anyone to develop a headache.

 

 

I try to be as honest as I can in my reviews, and here comes an honest part. When I first opened up the box that the case came in, and saw that some of the drive bay covers had fallen out, I was a little discouraged. I was even more discouraged when I discovered a strip of masking tape running from the top of the front panel to the bottom in order to hold them in place, due to how easily they fall out. Upon reaching the point where I had to remove the front panel, I became frustrated with how difficult to remove it was. Six screws later, let alone several hard to reach ones, I discover that the wiring wasn't even complete, or wasn't done well enough that a wire had become completely disconnected from somewhere.

Raidmax has improved the construction of their cases and turn out better products. I remember from their earlier years, their affordability subtracted from their rigidity. I can recall being able to make the rear of a Raidmax case flex significantly just by poking at it, which doesn't happen here luckily. I measured the material's thickness at 0.66mm, which isn't bad, but isn't necessarily great for a $70 case. One thing that surprised me about this case, and still baffles me, is that at one point when I went to remove the side panel (after already replacing it once or twice), I found that the case did not want to release it. I looked on the inside of the case through the front (luckily I had the front panel off), and discovered that all four of the metal tabs at the top of the side panel had been curled downwards somehow. Again, I cannot explain this phenomenon, as I have never had this happen to me in the hundreds or probably thousands of times I've replaced and removed a side panel from a case. I had to reach in through the front and straighten these tabs out so that I could remove the panel. This may be related to the 0.66mm steel they've used, as it took very little effort to bend them back into position.

A picture of what this looked like and the bare disconnected wire are shown below, as well as a picture of what happens to the drive bay covers when the front panel was dropped from about 18". I saw the destruction, and decided to take a picture. I've concluded that the main force holding these drives bays in place is the compressive forces they exert outward on one another. If you take one out, pretty much all of the ones in the middle will fall out.  It's almost as if they made the front panel about 2mm too wide, or the drive bay covers about 2mm too short.  I can literally use my breath to dislodge these things.

 


 

Specifications

I couldn't really navigate the Raidmax site so well, so I pulled these specifications from the Newegg product page. However, the features I've listed are directly from the Quantum's product page on the Raidmax website. I have cited both URLs appropriately.

Type
ATX Mid Tower
Color
Black
Case Material
SECC
With Power Supply
No
Power Supply Mounted
Bottom
Motherboard Compatibility
Micro ATX / ATX
With Side Panel Window
Yes
External 5.25" Drive Bays
3
Internal 3.5" Drive Bays
6
Expansion Slots
7
Front Ports
2 x USB2.0, 2 x Audio, 1 x eSATA
80mm Fans
No
120mm Fans
2 x 120mm Top Fan
2 x 120mm Blue LED front fan (Intake)
1 x 120mm Rear fan (Exhaust)
Dimensions (L x W x H)
21.00" x 9.00" x 19.00"

 

 

Features

Information provided courtesy of Raidmax http://www.raidmax.com/product/quantum.html and Newegg http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811156241

Testing:

To test the Raidmax Quantum, temperatures will be recorded for the CPU, GPU, chipset, hard drives, and the overall system temperature during load and idle phases. Load will be simulated by Prime95 small FFTs and HD tune for one hour, with maximum temperatures recorded by RealTemp. The GPU load will be the maximum value recorded by Rivatuner after five loops of 3DMark06’s Canyon Flight test. Each case is tested as is from the factory, including the fan configuration. As stated earlier, the fan configuration for the Quantum is front intake with top and rear exhausts.

Testing Setup:

Comparison Cases:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So just as I expected, the hard drive temperatures were great. In fact, they didn't even budge when the drive was loaded. As far as the other temperatures, they weren't too far off from where I expected them to be. I decided that this was going to be due to the lack of a side intake fan, which seems to be supported by the chipset and GPU temperatures. Overall, this case performed right about where most other mid-range cases with no side intake fan, would fall.

Conclusion

As I've discussed, the Raidmax Quantum came with several construction issues. The main frustration was with the drive bay covers, which were literally taped into place when I received the case. They would fall out with little or no force. The covers at the top and bottom held in pretty well, it was mainly just the four or five in the middle that couldn't get any grip. The rigidity is marginal, as I experienced with the inexplicable occurrence where the side panel tabs decided they wanted to eat themselves, and twist down inside the case while replacing the side panel. Along with that, one of the wires that powers the front LEDs was disconnected. Aside from these frustrations, the case is actually pretty well put together. The fully painted interior is a nice touch, the hard drive cooling is excellent, the overall look to the case is good, and provided acceptable temperatures even without a side panel fan.

As far as the large amount of frustration that the case drive bay covers caused me, I'm actually going to give Raidmax a break about it. I wouldn't expect one of their products to fail so much in one area, so I'm thinking I may have gotten a case that turned out to be an exception. I haven't been able to find anyone else who has complained about this issue on this case on the web, so that supports my thinking here. Overall, I would recommend this case to a friend if I knew that Raidmax has revised the loose drive bay covers. From Raidmax, I did expect to see a little flimsiness, so I'm not going to say that it was anything new. Due to the unlikelihood that the side panel tabs actually did this, I wouldn't expect to have it happen again.

 

Pros

 

Cons