Apevia X-Telstar Red/Black Case Review

Sagittaria - 2008-03-14 17:54:08 in Cases
Category: Cases
Reviewed by: Sagittaria   
Reviewed on: May 12, 2008
Price: $159.99

Introduction:

Full towers, mid-towers, windowed, red, blue ... choosing a case can be extremely difficult. There are literally tons of different choices to choose from and surprisingly, affect a computer a great deal. Not only in looks, but cases determine cooling performance, the number of components, noise and the size constraints for hardware. I work on my computers on a daily basis - I do not want a case to fall apart or break when I'm pulling out my favorite game. Obviously, this is the point in a build where all the components come together - the backbone of a build is the case.

So today, I got my hands on the Apevia red and black X-Telstar, which is a larger full tower case. The X-Telstar is a slightly more expensive case, which comes with a windowed side-panel, three large 120MM fans, a removable motherboard tray and a good deal of drive bays - twelve to be exact. Apevia heavily advertises the large LCD gauge on the front of the case, which displays important readouts in a new retro format. I'm a fan of windowed cases with fancy gadgets, but only to a point. Unfortunately, these cases tend to be overly flashy,  poorly constructed and badly designed. Let's see how it fares.

 

Closer Look:

This is what I found at my doorstep. I was somewhat surprised at the size of the box - I bet the delivery guy was perplexed carrying this colorful thing. Unfortunately though, I picked it up and found that it was quite light, which is not a good sign in terms of quality for such a large case. Again, Apevia plastered gigantic pictures of the gauge all over the case. I certainly hope that the gauge doesn't take away from the rest of the chassis.

 

 

The X-Telstar was encased in standard packaging. It was inside a protective bag, wedged securely in between two styrofoam supports.

 

I wrestled the case out, and found the case in good shape. The window is protected unlike some of Apevia's other cases.

 

 

Inside a small box within the case, I found several packets of screws. More than enough by the looks of it and two pairs of keys for the locks on the front and side panel. The manual was sitting by the case when I first opened the box.

Closer Look:

The Case

I think it's a decent looking case. The front panel is definitely reminiscent of a Yin and Yang symbol. The panel also has standard front panel ports consisting of two USB connectors, one Firewire, a headphone jack, a microphone jack and a rudimentary fan controller. The large submarine window on the bottom is indeed the infamous gauge that I've seen so much about. The door covering the optical drive bay is lockable, but it's pretty much useless. The entire front of the case feels extremely cheap with very fragile plastic all over. It does have some brushed aluminum (red), but it is simply a cover and only covers half the front panel. Don't get me wrong, almost all cases have plastic front panels, but in this case, it simply looks and feels less than adequate.

The side-panel has a massive window, with a 120mm fan on the bottom. I'm not too fond of that fan grill though, as it does not fit the rest of the case - reminiscent of a sunflower really. The side-panel is also lockable, but it's plastic. I'm beginning to see a trend here.

The rest of the case is pretty ordinary. There are four swiveling feet on the bottom to help stabilize when needed (plastic), as well as a 120MM exhaust up top. At least the fan screen fits the rest of the case this time.

 

 

 

I reserved an entire section for the front panel doors. Just take a look at the pictures - note the small plastic latches. I had a case with a similar design in the Apevia X-Pleasure. Needless to say, the front panel door on that case literally fell apart after six months of usage. Chances are that this case is also destined to fall into the same fate with heavy, or even moderate use. Seems like a good whack at the door will probably do it in. Of course with many cases using plastic as the hinge material, this is not wholly unexpected. I also took a closer look at the front panel ports and gauge.

 

 

Here's the gauge in action, with the temperature probes on the GPU and CPU. I adjusted the fan controller which actually shows up on the screen! It does look pretty sweet.

Closer Look:

Working Components

I popped off the side panel and found a surprisingly nice interior - probably because I was so livid from the front panel. The motherboard tray is removable and the case looks quite spacious. There's a gigantic amount of drive bays, both optical and HDD, to satisfy 95% of the enthusiast crowd. All bays seem to have quick access drive rails, including the visible 3.5" bay. Be warned though, as all the rails still need to be screwed into the device. The 3.5" drives have built-in rails, but where are the rails for the optical drives? The build quality seems decent, no sharp edges that I can see at the moment. I also caught a glimpse of the fan controller Molex connectors, which is fairly simple. Case fans, at the users choice, are daisy chained and connected to the fan controller output, which is fed power. Pretty spartan, but nice.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The other side of the case is fairly traditional. The only thing I wish to point out is the power supply mount on top, which is mounted farther away from the roof to allow room for the top exhaust fan. This may seem trivial, but I've had to remove the top fan on numerous occasions, as my large power supplies always ran into them. Not so here. The front panel connectors are also self explanatory. The X-Telstar has all the normal motherboard headers for the switches and lights along with the audio, FireWire, and USB connectors. The two white wires are temperature probes for the front panel gauge. Unfortunately, they are too short for my tastes to reach any vital components easily. Slightly more interesting is the fact they are not labeled and will show up as "Temp 1" and "Temp2".

 

 

Then, I popped off the front panel found myself slightly puzzled. There was no intake fan, something that is present in almost all cases. However, there appears to be a fan mount (blue acrylic device) for an 80mm fan. Well, that's interesting, but, I found my missing drive rails, which were cleverly hidden behind the drive covers. Now that's pretty handy! Unfortunately, while replacing the cover, I found that the top right plastic tab would not lock. As a result, that corner was slightly loose. Again, inexpensive plastic tabs at work.

 

 

That's about it. Now I'm going to see how this case performs after taking a brief review of the specifications.

Specifications:

Model No.
X-TELSTAR-RD
Case Material
Aluminum
Color
Black/Red
Main Board

Standard ATX / Baby AT / Micro ATX

Window
Yes
Power Supply
N/A
Drive Space
5 x 5.25" / 2 x 3.5" / 5 x 3.5" (hidden)
Motherboard Size
up to 12" x 11"
Expansion Slots
7
Front Panel Switch
Power / Reset
Front Access Ports
2 x HD Audio(Azalia), 2 x USB 2.0, 1 x Firewire
Cooling Fan Space
Up to 3 x case fans:
1 x 120mm UV blue fan - top (included)
1 x 120mm UV blue fan - rear (included)
1 x 120mm UV blue LED fan - side (included)
Front Thermometer
1 x LCD
Front Fan Controller
1 x Fan Speed Controller
Led Display
Power / HDD
Shipping Weight
18 lbs
Dimensions(DxWxH)

19" x 8" x 21.25" (Including front panel and case feet)

Cu'ft
3.2'

 

Product Features:

Testing:

I'll put the X-Telstar through its paces by throwing in some high-end, heat guzzling hardware and measuring cooling performance in comparison to another full tower, the NZXT Zero. I'll be taking temperature measurements from the CPU, with Core Temp 0.97.1, and the 8800GTS, with Nvidia's Ntune, at both idle and load. The processor will be loaded with Orthos .41 (Blend) and the video card with ATI Tool's artifact test.

Testing Setup:

 

 

 

 

The temperatures are ok. The X-Telstar does not have the sheer number of fans that the Zero does. At full speed, the fans are noticeable, but not too loud.

During testing, I noticed that my power LED was not working. It was not the motherboard pins, I tested the motherboard with a spare LED, which worked. I took apart the front panel to check to see if the power LED was hooked up correctly and found that the top Apevia circle logo also had an LED, which is hooked up to the power LED line (in parallel). Apparently, that logo was also supposed to be lit. Interesting that both LEDs would not work.

Conclusions:

I'm somewhat at ends after using this case. The front panel door mechanism is flimsy and fragile, a front panel tab is already broken and the front panel overall just looks inexpensive for the amount of money spent. I'm also disappointed with the lack of a front intake fan and the side panel fan design is something that was less than ideal for the look of the case - it really reminds me of a sunflower. However, the gauge and built-in fan controller are quite nice, but it looks like you're paying for the gauge and the front panel went out of the window as a result. Now that I think about it, the gauge is not particularly useful - only for looks. The analog dials are too small to be of any use and the only things really readable on it are the temperatures.

Honestly, I cannot recommend or mark this case as poor. On one hand, this case does have a nice window, gauge and an interesting design. Yet on the other hand, the case front panel is definitely not the greatest of quality. So, if you like the design, size, looks of the case and don't mind spending a bit more, then the X-Telstar is for you.

 

Pros:

 

Cons