X-Pider Aluminum Case ReviewFormer staff writer - February 23, 2004
A Closer Look
The case stands on four adjustable plastic feet.. what else do ya want me to say about plastic feet? :p
One of the nicest things about the case is the removable 3.5" bays. My Lian Li PC-70 case, has a removable bay that requires you to remove two thumb screws. Where as this case, you simply unlatch and remove. Much simpler. However, where the entire bay removes in a Lian-Li case, in the X-pider case, the support frames are still in the way.
You can see the removed bays in the image below. The lower bay from the case (on the left) has a plastic fan clip, which allows for easy removal of an 80mm fan - This is great if you mount your HDDs in this bay, as you can add a fan to cool the HDDs, and even if you don't mount your HDDs here, you can mount an extra intake fan. The other front and rear case fans, also have a plastic fan mount like this, making adding/removing fans much easier, and no more messing with screws. And, as you see in the 2nd image below, even if you wanted to mount the fans with screws, it's not possible, because the holes are squared for the plastic clips.
One of my biggest peeves when it comes to cases is not having a slide out motherboard trey. Cases have evolved so much over the past several years, adding more and more features and cool extras, but the sliding motherboard trey seams to have died off. This may not be a big thing to some, but when your in your computer every other day add/removing parts, a sliding trey is a godsend. While it doesn't include a sliding trey, the X-pider does have very nicely rounded edges.
Below you see the (nicely bound) connectors for the speaker, power/HDD LEDs, and other parts. Also pictured (and nicely bound together) are the connectors for the USB and Fire wire ports from the front of the case. Every case I've seen with extra USB/Fire Wire has required you to connect the extra ports to the headers on the motherboard. It'd be nice to see someone include an actual USB/Fire Wire connector (or adapter) to allow someone to plug the front ports into a USB/Fire Wire spot.
After I finally got my motherboard, video card, and hard drives installed in the X-pider, I noticed a slight problem. My GF4ti4600 ran right smack between my two HDDs that I mounted in the bay with a fan. I was able to twist my round IDE cable around enough to connect the HDDs, this wouldn't be a problem with smaller video cards, but for those with power, beware. - This might just be one of the few times a flat IDE cable would work better.. There are two options that would remedy this. 1- Mount the HDDs in the other 3.5 bay, or 2- Remove the fan clip and move the HDDs more inside the cage. Either option, is gonna remove the added cooling from the fan. Anyone making use of 6 IDE devices (using the onboard RAID, found on most motherboards) is going to find space a little cramped in here.
I mentioned before, the case comes with 4 fans. Two exhaust, one front intake, and one side intake located on the window. The fans are 12V DC Brushless, with Tri-color LEDs: Red, Blue, and Green. The fan on the window is almost perfectly placed in position with my GF4 cooler. That extra cool air to the GF cooler should help OC it just a tad bit more.
Here you can see the LEDs in action. The blue and green LEDs look great, where the red LED just sucks. Not only does the red LED get drowned out, but it's also a bit pinkish. While I don't have the fancy instruments to accurately measure the dB(A) level of the fans, I can tell you they are very quiet. What I found on the net suggested that the fans were about 30.0 CFM and about 27 dB(A). Again, that's a best guess estimate based on what little info I could find on these fans. If I'm off, sorry.