Xigmatek Elysium Case ReviewBluePanda - December 21, 2011
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The back comes with a standard pre-mounted 120 mm fan. The size of the fan really gives you perspective on exactly how large the CPU cut-out hole in the motherboard tray really is. You’ll have near full access to the back of most boards – no more losing access to the back plate behind your motherboard anymore. To attach your drives, the case uses tool-less clips – they each have a nice Xigmatek “X” to rotate and clip onto whichever drive you install. For double the security, you can install a clip on each side of the drive. The X is pointy and a little hard to turn, though I think it just needs a little use to wear in. Each clip, so to speak, has two points to hold in both long and short bays, so even those with half-sized water bays will be in luck. In the worst case that you find these insecure, you can also simply pop these off and use some screws!
Taking a closer look at the fan modules from earlier, it seems they’ve already got a couple fans plugged into them. Luckily for you, the two can communicate with one another, so you’ll only need to provide power to one module. Strangely, that information isn’t provided in the instructions, so you might want to take some notes. Otherwise, the modules themselves aren’t very pretty, so I’m not sure why these couldn’t be on the other side of the case. I suppose you could move them if you really felt motivated.
The front I/O panel cables are about the same as any other case – you’ve got a SATA connector, HD Audio, power/reset switches, and a molex connector to power the hot swap bay (this feature is coming up). The only unusual thing is the two USB 3.0 connectors sitting in the mess. These don’t have the header for the motherboard, which means you’ll need to find a way to route these out the back to your motherboard if you want to use them.
With the side panel off, you can get a closer look at that side panel monstrous fan and how it just makes that window look even bigger. You can see the three bumps at the bottom of the panel – these are the key to getting this panel to close properly. These will later become your best friend or greatest enemy in getting things closed up – they are fairly tough to line up given the size and weight of the panels.
Mentioning the I/O panel, we’ll finally get a look at it. Most noticeable is a neat little door for the HDD swap, which works much like the door slot on your front door. Basically, you just push it down with the hard drive until it plugs right in. The SATA, 2x USB 2.0, 2x USB 3.0, audio, and reset buttons are all hidden under a “dust-protecting” panel. It’s really just a little piece of plastic that slides up and down – this seems really nifty until you move it, at which point you begin to wish it just wasn’t there. In actual use, the panel was hard to move up or down, as one side was easy to move without the other. As a result, you just end up with a crooked cover and access to nothing. It’s not one-hand friendly so to speak.
A closer look at the front panel finds the nice and large XIGMATEK logo. The bolts on the aluminum strips give the case a slight industrial feel and break up the plain front. Pulling the front off reveals a couple more fans that blow directly across the HDD bays. They each have white LEDs, which should look pretty cool at night with the subtle mesh covering. Looking at the back of the panel, you won’t see much else aside from the filters for each bay cover. These can be a little hard to remove, so be careful!
The top mesh comes off with a little thinking. A small notch on the back of the front I/O panel can be unlocked and allow you to pull the entire mesh off. It might take a couple tries, but if you unlock it and slide the panel towards the rear of the case, it should easily come off. The mesh panel looks pretty cool with a honeycomb pattern and easy-to-rinse mesh.
The case comes with a little user’s manual, but I didn’t find it to useful as far as pulling things apart or putting things in. I think it’s just one of those required parts of any product. That aside, the case includes a bag of screws, a few zip ties, and four swivel wheels to push the beast around. I decided against putting the wheels on, since our hardwood floors aren’t exactly level and for the fact that you have to tear up the bottom of the current feet to put screws in for the wheels.
For such a massive case, it took a lot longer to install all of my hardware – it didn’t even look too pretty when I finished. The radiator ended up having to go on the top, since the fan on the side panel blocked the case from closing when the radiator fans were mounted. Otherwise, the hard drive wires didn’t look too pretty either, though there wasn’t anywhere else to put them. With the fan wires hanging from all over the place, this just wasn’t a clean build in my opinion – but one without many other options as to cable management. The USB 3.0 cables had to have been the worst to route. Beyond draping them across all other components, the best option was to reroute them out the back through the holes at the top – effectively using up one of the PCIe slot covers – and pushing them out the back to plug into the motherboard.
When the build was finished, I was surprised that although there was much space remaining in the case, it still looked cluttered with wasted space. Perhaps it just isn’t quite the right case for my particular hardware. I wish more of my hardware could have at least been shown off with the big window and I could have definitely dealt without all the cabling hassles. The motherboard connecter reached for me, but it was just barely long enough – I was disappointed to not see a 4 pin or an 8 pin extension included.
Like I mentioned, HDD installation looked a bit sloppy – the SATA cables had to go right out the back panel, just to come back in two slots over. They didn’t really want to bend that way, but we all know how to motivate non-cooperating cables, don’t we? Another key thing to note is that this case does not have any way to mount a 2.5" HDD or SSD – I had to lay it on top of one of my HDDs.
Below, I’ve taken a picture of the issue with the side panel fan hitting my radiator. I’ve got a modified ECO ALC radiator that has two fans rather than just one, though even removing one fan didn’t give me the clearance to close the panel. The red line shows the extent of where the fan reaches. I don’t think you could get an H60 – let alone an H80 – on the back of this case with the side panel fan on. My radiator ended up on the top panel and still worked, but it just wasn’t my first-choice location.
All powered up with everything working, the build started to look better – putting on the side panel really cleaned up the deal. I just didn’t like looking at the innards of this one for very long. It was just disappointing that it looked like it did, given the space available.