XFX Type 01 Bravo Review

hornybluecow - 2014-02-11 22:26:56 in Cases
Category: Cases
Reviewed by: hornybluecow   
Reviewed on: March 27, 2014
Price: $130

XFX Type 01 Bravo Introduction:

Today we take a look at the XFX Type 01 Bravo, which is the newest and first entry into XFX Chassis lineup. Established in 2002, originally as a video card manufacture, XFX has created a name for itself with respected prices for quality products. With a focus on video cards, XFX has branched out into power supplies and now the computer chassis market, in hopes to dash its competitors with its unique design and name.

Announced back at the start of February, I was eager to see what XFX has to offer when it comes to the chassis market. The Bravo is priced at $129.99 MSRP, which puts it under the higher price range for a mid-tower. The chassis itself is fairly large and offers a distinct look for anyone who wants a mixture of the 90s look with a present day appeal. The present day appeal being USB 3.0 ports, a bottom mounted power supply, and best of all, near silent fans. Without spoiling the rest, let's move on to the review.

XFX Type 01 Bravo Closer Look:

Looking at the pictures below, the chassis reminds me of a computer you would get in the early 90s with the grated front and sides. The major difference is, XFX adds a bit of its own ideas with features we come to expect in any chassis made in the last few years. Without spoiling the rest of the review, let me first give you a run-down of the exterior of this chassis. From left to right; the front has three exposed 5.25" bays covered by individual hinged doors. The back is more or less standard as it comes with a 140mm rear fan, eight expansion slots, and a bottom mount for a power supply. The left and right side panel includes a vented section over the main components followed by a solid red bar at the bottom with the XFX logo and chassis name.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Looking at the top of the chassis, there is space for a 120mm or 140mm fan along with the I/O ports aligned down the middle. On the bottom of the case we find a couple of things; an extended dust filter, space for the power supply to get fresh outside air, and a place for a fan. Unfortunately, there is no mounts for the fan inside the chassis, which is a bit of a missed opportunity.

 

XFX Type 01 Bravo Closer Look:

Taking off the front panel takes a bit of work, and once off, you have to make sure to disconnect the power button and lights before pulling it too far away from the chassis. Once removed, you can see the pre-installed 200mm fan. At this point you can install a drive in the 5.25" bay, which is easier than holding down the bay door and installing a drive. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


On top of the chassis, down the center, is a set of USB and audio ports one can expect to see in just about every computer on the market today. XFX took a different approach and instead of putting them on the front or facing forward, they are placed neatly down the center, which fits the Bravos grated look. Inside the chassis you can see below how the cables come out the center and has just enough space to clear without blocking the top 5.25" bay.

 


During my first few minutes after unboxing I noticed that the back piece of the top panel was loose. Further investigation revealed that it wasn't a loose screw, but it was broken. While I believe this damage came this way, I did manage to break another piece while moving it around. Since this chassis has no easy way to be moved, and old habitats of carrying by holding the top, it is obvious that the plastic is not strong enough to hold its own weight. The only option is to pick up the chassis and hold it from the bottom.


Below you can see a clear view of the chassis doing what it does best; looking like a dated computer chassis and hidden bays. Now this isn't a bad thing, just more of something different from the competition.


Inside the chassis was a box that included all the accessories. In the box was a manual, screws, 2.5" tool-less bays (covered later) and a bay faceplate for a 3.25" device.

XFX Type 01 Bravo Closer Look:

Removing the side panels was as easy as it will ever get. Held in place by two thumb screws, once removed, the panel can be taking off by pulling the notches at the end. Unlike most cases, these panels did not put up a fight and came off with minimal strength. Behind the panel you have the ability to mount up to three 120mm fans, but take note that the top two may interfere with the CPU cooler.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The XFX tool-less design is very effective and easy to figure out. The 5.25" bays have a simple lock-in mechanism, which you need to push down and slide to the right for it to lock into place. The hard drive 3.5" bays have cross support for either a standard drive, which snaps into place by plastic built-in pins, or a 2.5" drive that can be screwed in. Alternately, XFX included 2.5" bays that follow the same tool-less larger bays.

 

 

By default, the bottom 5.25" bay is used as a device bay for things like a media card reader, fan controllers, or even a temperature display. This can be removed if necessary, and finally, the top of the chassis supports either a 120mm or 140mm fan.

 

 

To continue the bay discussion, the Bravo has a removable cage, which can be converted into a 2.5" bay explained above. The other option is to remove the cage completely, to give more than enough space for any video card on the market. Also behind the tray is 20mm of space, which is enough to run necessary cables like the 8-pin and 24-pin CPU cables. There isn't a whole lot of extra space to hide the leftover cables, so you may have to pick and choose what goes behind the tray.

 

After everything is assembled you can see a bit of the components through the grated section. Installation of the components was fairly easy and for the most part, I just had to keep on eye on what I was grabbing while moving the chassis around. The main problem I've found, is installing fans on the side panel, because of where the mounts are. Basically, it is impossible if you have a CPU cooler around 160mm because it will bump into two of the three possible case fans. The solution is to either use a lower CPU cooler or get thinner fans.

 

XFX Type 01 Bravo Specifications:

Case Type
Mid Tower
Dimension
675.64 (L) X 330 (W) X 635 (H) mm (26.6 x 13 x 25 inch)
Side Panel
Vented
Color
Exterior & Interior : Black
Cooling System
Front (intake) :
1x 200 mm Fan (included)
Side (intake / exhaust) :
2x 120 mm Fan (optional)
Back (exhaust) :
1x 120 mm (included)
Top (exhaust) :
1 x 120mm or 1 x 140mm Fan (optional)
Bottom (intake) :
1x 120mm or 140mm Fan (optional)
Material
Metal / Plastic
Drive Bays
Accessible : 3 x 5.25’’
Hidden : 8 x 3.5’’ / SSD
Expansion Slots
8
Motherboards
ATX, Micro-ATX, Mini-ITX
I/O Ports
2 X USB3.0 / 2 X USB2.0 / 2 x HD AUDIO
PSU
Standard ATX PSU (optional)
LCS Compatibly
Limited; 120/140mm Rear Radiator
Other
Max CPU cooler height: Not Listed (Over 160mm)
VGA length limitation: 320/352mm

 

XFX Type 01 Bravo Features:

  •  Unique XFX floating case design
  •  Modern minimalist design style
  •  Seamless hidden disc drive bays with folding doors
  • Three(3) 5.25” External Toolless Drive Bays
  •  Eight (8) Internal 3.25“ Toolless Drive Bays
  • Support up to 8 fans from 120mm to 200mm
  • Up to Eight (8) PCI Expansion slots
  • Top I/O ports including Four (4) USB 3.0 and Audio I/O
  • Mic& Headphone HD audio ports
  • Open Mesh Bottom With Filter
  • Water Cool Ready
  • Isolated bottom mount PSU design
  • Solid and light ABS plastic construction
  • Standard Mid Size tower height
  • Full ATX motherboard compatibility

 

All information courtesy of XFX @ http://products.xfxforce.com/en-us/PC_Case/Type_1_Bravo/TY-PE1B-3000

XFX Type 01 Bravo Testing:

Testing a chassis requires the computer to stay at idle and load for one hour. Doing so will give you an idea of what your computer may be like under stress. Normally your computer will not be running this hot, but we do not all live in cold weather or do similar things. Therefore, a full stress test can give people the idea of what it can handle and whether or not heat gets trapped over time. The case is left with stock features to give you an idea of the temperatures without the need for extra fans. It's almost guaranteed to have a slight drop in temperature when more fans are added, but that will not be covered unless noted. I will be using Prime95 "small FFTs" for the CPU load and 3DMark Vantage "Extreme preset" for GPU for one hour. After an hour the temperatures are recorded using HWMonitor in Celsius (°C).

Setup:

Compared Cases:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As you can see from the charts, the temperatures are on the high side, which is to be expected with low speed fans for the sake of being near silent. Now don’t get me wrong, I have heard some high RPM fans on the quieter end, but the XFX fans at full speed are still very low on the noise spectrum. The way XFX has the chassis vented brings the question if the air is really moving throughout. When i put my hand on the sides, I didn't feel any airflow, which tells me that the chassis just has too many vented sections causing the fans to be less effective. By installing a fan on the top panel, you may see a few degrees drop in temperatures. The other option is to install up to three additional fans on the side panel, which should drop the temperatures a good mount.

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.

 

Pros:

 

Cons: