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Raidmax Viper GX II Review

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Raidmax Viper GX II Closer Look: Working Components

This is where we get into the meat and potatoes of the case. A great looking case from the outside can be ho-hum on the inside, and vice-versa, so let's take a closer look. First, up front and center of the optical drive access door is the RAIDMAX logo flanked by two bright orange plastic accents. The contrast is such that they almost glow. The door swings open to reveal three bays for your 5.25" optical drives. At the top of the front panel you can see the opening for the hot swap bay, which we will cover shortly.

 

 

The three 5.25" optical drive bay covers each have a section with a reverse D shape that, when depressed, releases the cover and allows it to pop out. Over the years I have accumulated so many drive bay covers that I could start my own museum. Anyway, a really nice feature on each side panel is a small handle that folds in to help hide it. The handles really make removal of the side panels easy and controllable. Have you ever tried to use your fingers to try and find some sort of grip point on a stubborn side panel? Followed by that wonderful crashing sound as it finally lets loose and hits the floor... Not with these panels with the handy handles.

 

 

Here we have a close-up look at the 2.5" hot swap bay on the top front of the case. This is really a great feature. Need to format a new SSD or just transfer data? Not a problem with this integrated hot swap bay. There is a protective plastic cover that has to be removed in order to use this bay. You can pop it off with your fingers, but this plastic cover is not retained so if you remove it, make sure not to lose it. It would be nice if this was a spring-loaded door that would just push out of the way when you insert a drive. The next picture shows the cover removed and I was able to angle the light just right so you can see down into the bay where sockets for the SATA and power connectors live. After I got the cover off, it was a little cumbersome getting it back on, so I just left it off.

 

 

After I popped the front fascia off, you can see the single lower front 120mm fan and that there is room just above it for a second fan if you would like some extra cool air drawn in from the front. The included front fan uses a 3-pin connector that also has a Molex connector tied into it, so you have two options for powering the fan. This fan also has orange LEDs in it and a little later you can see it lit up. You can also see the lage opening for the three 5.25" drive bays. If you look behind the front fascia, you will see a fixed mesh filter panel to help keep the dust from making it inside the case.

   

 

The top cover of the case is made from a heavily contoured plastic section with the I/O panel toward the front. The the rear section is louvered for air flow. The louvers are in two sections and look to be very narrow. I wondered about airflow, but if you get at the right angle, you can see through the slots.

 

 

The I/O panel on top is split into two sections with the power and reset buttons along with the power and HDD activity lights on the left side, and two USB 3.0 ports and the microphone and headphone jacks on the right side. The case comes with anti-dust rubber covers in the USB and the audio jacks. I have them removed for these pictures, but I did get a shot of them that you will see a little later.

 

 

The top cover section of the case pops off for access to the top radiator and fan mounts, which is of course important if you plan to use a top mount radiator. All of the lights and I/O connection are mounted to the case chassis and not the top cover. With the top cover off, you can see that the SSD connector port is located between the USB 3.0 ports and the red and green LEDs.

 

 

Overall, the case can handle up to six 120mm fans, which includes two 120mm fans on top (optional), two 120mm fans in the front (one is included), one rear 120mm exhaust fan (included), and one optional 120mm fan in the bottom. The layout is fairly standard, with the motherboard tray having clearance behind it for cable routing. The large opening in the motherboard tray facilitates access to the rear of the motherboard for easy CPU cooler installation. Motherboard support includes ATX / MICRO ATX and MINI ITX.

 

 

Looking at the bottom of the case, there are two vents; one for the intake of the PSU on the left and the other has fan mounts for an optional bottom fan. Looking at the other side toward the front of the case, there is the lower hard drive cage. It can hold up to three 3.5" hard drives and this cage is fixed to the chassis. The front fan brings in fresh air and pushes it through the hard drive cage to keep the hard drives cool.

 

 

The three 5.25" optical drive bays are toolless, which makes the optical drive installation a snap. The I/O cables come down from the top and can be easily hidden behind the motherboard tray. Toward the front of the case is the modular hard drive rack that can hold up to four 2.5" drives. The side panel is adjustable for two positions - one being narrow for the 2.5" drives, and the second position moves the panel out to accept 3.5" drives. Two thumb screws secure the panel from the top and two fixed fasteners lock the panel in position at the bottom. The panel can also be completely removed in case you have long video cards up to 415mm.

 

 

Here is the rear exhaust fan. It is the same style used in the front, but without the LEDs and it also uses the same 3-pin plug with the Molex connector tied in so you have a couple of options for powering it. From left to right, the I/O cables include: HD audio, Molex power plug for the hot swap bay, SATA connector for the hot swap bay, USB 3.0 cable, and finally the motherboard controls.

 

 

The four little plugs shown below are called Anti-Dust Rubber Covers and they keep foreign material out of the USB ports and audio jacks. While this is not a bad idea, these items are small and can be easily misplaced, so be careful.

    

 

In the hardware box, you will find the hard drive mounting rails, motherboard installation screws, a system speaker, and some velcro straps for cable management. The Viper GX II uses Rail Slide HDD Technology for hard drive installation. It comes with enough slides to install a total of seven hard drives (four 2.5" drives and three 3.5" drives). The rails have small pins that locate on the existing mounting holes in the sides of the hard drives. They then push into the hard drive rack and lock into position. This is a nice design and requires no tools. Nothing really holds the rails to the drive until you slide it into the hard drive cage, which is where everything is sort of squeezed together and held in place.

 

 

Now it is time to get the motherboard installed and ready for the Noctua NH-D14 CPU cooler. There appears to be plenty of room above the motherboard for a liquid cooling system and the offset mounting at the top of the case takes advantage of the recessed area under the top cover. The top mounting at the top of the case is a great place to put a couple of 120mm fans to push the heat out through the vents at the top of the case. These mounts will also accept a 240mm dual-fan radiator. There is not enough room to use four fans in a push / pull configuration, but two fans should get the job done.

 

 

Now we have the test system assembled and ready to go. The Viper GX II has enough room for a nice gaming rig, including the monster Noctua D14 CPU cooler. As large as the D14 cooler is, it doesn't look crowded or over-stuffed. I like the side window, but I would like it even more if it were a little larger, as I like to show off my hardware when I can. There is enough room behind the motherboard tray for decent cable management, and it is even better if you have a modular power supply that allows you to use only the power cables that you need.

 

 

Here we have my OCZ Vertex solid state drive shown plugged into the hot swap bay. You may need to enable the proper SATA port in your BIOS in order to use this bay. Finally we have a nice shot showing the lower front cooling fan all lit up. It may look red in the picture, but it has a nice orange glow that accents the orange trim on the front of the case. The front fan is lit up whenever your system is on, so there is no switch for LED control. After seeing the internals, I would have to say that it looks good inside and out - definitely not a ho-hum case. Now let's fire the system up and see how well it can handle the heat with some stress testing.

 




  1. Raidmax Viper GX II: Introduction & Closer Look
  2. Raidmax Viper GX II Closer Look: The Case
  3. Raidmax Viper GX II Closer Look: Working Components
  4. Raidmax Viper GX II Specifications & Features
  5. Raidmax Viper GX II Testing: Setup & Results
  6. Raidmax Viper GX II: Conclusion
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