XFX Type 01 Bravo Reviewhornybluecow -
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XFX Type 01 Bravo: Conclusion
Let us recap my reasoning and scoring method before diving into my final words. First I look at what the company is saying it offers. For example, say the company states the case supports large / long graphic cards or ten quiet fans. In this example, I examine what is advertised versus what is actually offered. Most of this becomes uncovered as I take pictures to document the product. If the company does not stay true to its word, then it loses points because no one ever wants to be sold on false advertisement. Next I look at what the product is marketed for and put it into perspective. An example of this could be trying to overclock a CPU in a Mini-ITX case and expecting a low temperature. This would contradict its target market and something I try to catch so it does not affect the score. The last bit is my own interjection. What could the case offer in its price range, and what do other companies offer. This category may include an extra fan, cable management, different color paint, or support for larger video cards. This list is endless so let's move on to the conclusion.
At first, the news that XFX was jumping into the chassis market was a surprise to me, but then I realized it was the next logical step in such a competitive market. No longer is a computer only dealing with one market. Most of these companies have a power supply and or CPU cooler division. Loyal fans will jump at the opportunity to have a decked out XFX computer, but with the market as it is, it may be not enough to warrant an XFX logo on that new computer.
As for tradition, I like to start with the negative things about the chassis before ending on a good note. XFX has dropped the ball in a sense. This is because of how weak the plastic is and how "inviting" it is to pick up the chassis from it. The simple solution is to not touch the plastic, but then it becomes very hard to move it around and install components. While I don't have a clear solution for XFX, I think either a stronger plastic or handles under the round top would be a great addition. That way it could keep the look and appeal, without having it crack or break.
Next, I would like to point out that this chassis has little to no support for water-cooling. That's why I chose to write "non-modular" as XFX never said it was aiming for the higher end market. But because it's $130, just keep in mind, you get what you see.
Last up is the airflow; while I think XFX did a great job at keeping the computer near silent, I do however, think that marketing it as a gaming chassis implies decent airflow to keep the computer cooled. The heavily vented chassis doesn't help the airflow as it has no real positive or negative air pressure. By adding fans to the side panel however, you will see a good drop in temperatures and high amount of airflow. Similar to other companies, XFX is allowing the customer to add their own fans, rather than adding them itself. This would not be an issue if the chassis had good stock airflow, but because of the highly vented style, the air just doesn't move throughout the chassis in its present state.
Like it or not, XFX has brought a truly unique design to the table. I haven't seen this since the early 90s and I'm not a fan of it. No less, it's by far not ugly, just different and something you have to have a taste for. Next is a warm welcome and something I also haven't seen, which is tool-less 2.5" bays. I think it's great XFX decided to try something different and now you no longer have to find a bunch of screws as SSDs become prevalent in today's computers. Maybe the next step will be to make motherboards using thumb screws, and a screw driver will no longer be necessary.
To conclude, XFX has done a decent job with its first chassis and the box even has a check box for an "Alpha" next to the "Bravo", which I can only assume is a white version of the same chassis since XFX website doesn't even mention it. Mysteries aside, I think the flaws in this chassis makes a dent, in what could be, a great chassis. I would advise to get this only if you know what you are getting into and really like the look. In short, to get the full amount of value, you will have to invest a bit of money into buying extra fans if you want the best temperatures.