Xion Predator Gaming Series AXP 970 ReviewCompxpert -
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Finally to the guts of this beast. With the side panel removed we get a first glimpse of the internals. Just look at the space between the expansion slots and front of the case. A quick measure reveals this gap to be 13.75". Though no features list was given with this case on Xions site one such feature boasts that this case, "fits at least I'm performance graphics cards, like the ATI 5970." So they claim at least I'm which is very close to what I have. This case definitely has some room for any current cards and any potential new ones should they continue to get longer. So not only is this case sleek and stylish but it can contain newer and much more monstrous video cards. If you hadn't noticed already then take note that the entire inside of this case is painted black. Also take note of the tool-less solution for 5.25" devices. The knob is capable of moving backward and forward depending on where the screw holes for you device are and then once lined up with the holes you turn the knobs so they screw into the device. Moving on we have a closer look at the motherboard tray. I like the many holes I see here and especially the ones I don't see due to the grommets. Nice job Ion, finally a case manufacturer that knows wire management is important. Also of note is the biggest hole of all on this motherboard tray which is pictured next. This hole is very important because it allows you to swap out heat sinks or water blocks without the need to remove the motherboard from the case. Lastly, here we have our power supply fan filter. Should you choose to mount it upside down this is a nice feature to have to keep dust from your PSU.
Pictured here first we have the I/O board panel for the hotswap drive bays in the front. This board is powered by a single molex connection and allows two drive and two fans to be able to run off the panel. Once the SATA data cable is plugged in from here to the motherboard and provided you give the distribution board power with its molex connection, you are then able to swap drive in and out of the bay just behind it. Next up we have a closer look showing just how much space there is for all your 5.25" devices. Ion has kindly provided a solution for those of you moving onto Solid State Drives. Pictured here is a provided method to be able to mount up to four 2.5" devices. Of course you could be mounting laptop drives here as well but I'm sure you're more likely to have an SSD if your using these bays. Next up we have two 3.5" bays for hard drives. There is one other 3.5" bay not pictured which is just below the hot swap drive bay at the very bottom of the case.
Here is the left side panel of the case and of course what is behind that in the next picture. Notice the amount of holes leading to back here which makes for easy wire management. Onward we have the front of the case with the front panel removed. This clearly shows where the hot swap drive bays are at as well as the fan in the next picture which is on the back of the front panel. When I had to take this fan out to get pictures it wasn't very cooperative. The clips that hold the fan in place are very sturdy almost to a point where it hurts your fingers to try to pry the fan out.
Here we finally move onto a picture of our reading material and our box of hardware. Pictured next is our wires for our front panel LEDs as well as the accompanying Power and Reset switch wires. Further on we have more of our front panel wire connections. Here we have our USB and AUDIO headers. In the last photo here we have a close up shot of the expansion slot area. If you've noticed the only tool-less solution absent in this case is in the rear expansion slots. Not only that as a bit of a thumbs down the case has punch outs for these expansion slots and includes no expansion bay covers. I suppose however as feature packed as this case it's not so bad they cut here.
First up is a shot of a great feature this case has. Here is the top with the plastic cover off. To remove one must remove the front panel and then remove the top panel by removing two screws from the rear of the case and then sliding it forward. This top area is well clear of the motherboard area which I found to be a plus. You will be able to fit a push-pull configuration 120mm heat sink in anyway you wish and still have two 120mm or two 140mm fans. Next up is the panel that was detached in the previous shot with a view from the bottom side. Now on to fan specifics. There are a total of two fans included in the setup which is great for a minimum number of fans. Both fans are 120mm and the front fan is a blue LED fan. Other than those facts no other useful facts are to be seen in the picture or the specifications. Last but not least of the great features is the hotswap bay. Located on the front of the case just under the fan the hotswap bay has a door which when pushed in unlatches to reveal two drive bays. To the right on both the bays in the photo there is a tab which when punched allows the bay door to slide forward and you to pull the bay out. Simply swap in a drive and close it back up and when you need a different one you can easily swap in a different drive. Just a friendly note you need to enable AHCI settings in your bios for your sata chipset or you might have some trouble swapping drives.
Moving on to our last set of photos we have all our provided hardware. Ion included all the screws you will need to get going with setting up anything you need in this case. Also included are some zip ties and a speaker for motherboard beep codes. Also pictured here are your tool-less solutions for 3.5" hard drives. There are only two sets here though there are 3 total 3.5" bays but that is because the very bottom one does not use a tool-less solution. Moving on to some photos of the finished install we have the front of the case. The front fan glows a nice blue which goes along with the shade of the power LED. Last but not least we have the finished build picture. The build went flawlessly and wire managment was quite easy with the large number of provided holes as well as nice amount of space between the left side panel and motherboard tray. I could have probably gotten better with the wire management but I didn't really take my time with this one.
All in all this case seems to pack some awesome features. The number of holes in the motherboard tray allows easy access to specific areas so you can hide wires behind the tray and bring them right through where you need them. Not only that but the expandability leaves a lot of options for future add ons. This case may be feature packed but how well does it stand up to some others when under some testing? Let's find out.