Chieftec used to be one of the biggest names in the UK chassis market, but a snag in their distribution efforts meant the company had to pull out of the market for a few years. This isn’t to say they failed, as the company has being going strong ever since in global markets, but this year marks their return to the UK and to celebrate we’ve decided to grab hold of one of their current popular chassis to see what all the fuss is about. Now some of you may know already that the DX-02B full-tower that we have here today isn’t a new product, it has been on the market for a year or two now, albeit not in the UK until now. So while this may not be their latest and greatest, it should get the ball rolling and you can expect even more great Chieftec reviews from us in the coming weeks and months.
“DX-02B –An unpredicted story of success continues with Chieftec´s new model DX-02B. A whole generation of gamers and modders will remember the legendary CS-601, better known as the Dragon DX. Hundreds of thousands of people have grown up with this case in the last decade. With the DX-02B you are receiving a case, which convinces with its design, and its high-end quality finishing. Besides the integrated fan controller, the case also has an elegantly conceived Hot-Swap solution for hard drives.” reads the Chieftec website
Targeted at the enthusiast system builder market the DX-02B packs in plenty of features that tailor it towards high-end systems. There are style points that will no doubt appeal to the gaming and modding scene, but from what I know so far, it also looks heavily tailored towards those who require high-performance systems for professional use, so think rendering rigs, work stations and networking. Ticking so many boxes is no bad thing and I’m eager to see what this chassis has to offer, so lets jump right to it and take a closer look at what Chieftec have to offer.
- Ergonomically positioned front interfaces
- Rubber inlets pre-installed, allowing for water cooling system
- Patented locking mechanism for drives
- Two low-noise 200mm cooler fans in the case ceiling for optimised air flow
- Support up to 340mm VGA Card
As you can see from the specifications below the DX-02B will hold anything from mATX right up to EATX motherboards, loads of storage bys, hot swap bays and plenty of fan mounts; well take a close look at them all in just a moment.
The packaging is nicely designed, a few logos at the top and bottom with a huge and clear image of the chassis on the front.
Around the back we have a technical break down of the major features as well as the full specifications (see above) on the side.
In the box you’ll find a user manual, molex Y-splitter adaptor, SATA cable, screws, cable ties, pull ties, front panel 5.25″ to FDD adaptor and 5.25″ to FDD drive bay adaptor.
The left side panel features a raised section which increases in horizontal clearance within the chassis, handy for those wanting to pack in a large air cooler or a side panel fan with a wider GPU design. There is a 200mm optional fan mount as well as two small viewing windows.
The right side panel features a huge recess to allow extra cable management space; it’s also nice to see a little style added to this panel, as most often they’re just flat and bland.
At the top of the front panel you’ll find the main I/O, which features dual USB 2.0, HD Audio, a single USB 3.0 and eSATA. One USB 3.0 port is a bit poor, but that’s clearly an indication that this is a slightly older model chassis.
There are five 5.25″ drive bays at the top with easily removable ventilated covers, under that you’ll find a heavily ventilated bottom section for the front mounted cooling.
Two 120mm blue LED fans are pre-installed in the front, the fans mount directly on the front panel door for an easy installation, and feature two 120mm clip-on dust filters.
The door mounted fans means that the front panel space is available for six slide out drive bays, each of which can support either a 3.5″ or 2.5″ drive.
The chassis extends fairly high above the motherboard, giving plenty of clearance for top mounted cooling solutions. There is a single 120mm rear exhaust fan pre-installed, eight expansion bays, and four rubber grommets to allow cable / water pass through.
Near the top you’ll find two switches for the fan controller, it’s a little basic, but it’s better than having no fan controller at all.
The top panel features fixed fins that allow airflow to any top mounted cooling, while also adding an extra bit of style to the top of the case.
The vents are quite large too, so there should be no problem with getting heat out of the system, especially since there are large fans pre-installed on the interior, but we’ll get to those in a moment.
On the underside you’ll find four chunky feet that provide great ground clearance and extra stability to the case. The extra clearance is perfect as it allows lots of airflow under the case for the bottom fan mount and PSU in take, both of which feature slide out and washable dust filters.
On the interior we can see there are loads of cables lying around for the multitude of fans and connected features within the case. There is an extra wide CPU cooler mounting cut-out on the back plate, as well as a range of large, high-quality rubber grommets for cable routing.
Here you can see a molex connector and cables used to hook up and power fans from the fan controller, below that we have a pre-installed 120mm exhaust fan.
The eight expansion slots are fitted with ventilated and reusable covers, each held in place with quick release thumb screws.
All of the 5.25″ drive bays come fitted with a tool free locking mechanism.
Two of the front hard drive bays come with hot-swap PCB’s at the back, making them plug-and-play ready.
In the top you’ll find two powerful 200mm fans setup to pull heat out of the chassis.
Four rubber pads on the PSU mount will help reduce vibrations within the chassis.
There is loads of space behind the motherboard for cable management and there are plenty of cable tie loops to help keep everything in check.
Total build time on the DX-02B was a breezy 20 minutes, the chassis has a vast interior that allowed the components to be easily dropped into place without issue.
Normally the CPU cooler leaves little room to connect cables to the motherboard, but there is significant headroom here to get hands on with the motherboard.
Airflow around the CPU is nice and clear and with room for an EATX board, you’ll have no issues with dual socket motherboards and dual coolers here.
Cable routing is a little rough around the edges, but it’s more than competent to keep airflow unrestricted within the case and there is enough space behind the motherboard to handle all the cables from a multi-GPU setup and fully saturated storage bays without any issue.
Even our not so small Sapphire R9 270X fit with plenty of room to spare, even with the hot swap PCB’s at the back of the top two hard drive bays stealing up another inch of space.
Side panel back in place and we get a sneaky view of the CPU cooler from the top window, the GPU from the fan mesh and the right window doesn’t really show anything other than cables.
the chassis is a little heavy on the plastic fittings, but the mixtures of aggressive angles and shapes does love it looking pretty cool overall.
The Chieftec DX-02B isn’t cheap, clocking in on average at around £90 here in the UK. This puts it along side some tough competition from the likes of NZXT, Coolermaster and Corsair to name but a few, but as an alternative it does offer all the major features for around the same price as its competitors.
The Chieftec DX-02B ticks a lot of boxes, it is packed full of features that make it ideal for a high performance system, be that gaming, rendering or any other professional use. It’s a little rough around the edges compared to some rival brands, but overall it’s still a rock solid case for the money and that’s no bad thing for those who want something that looks unique compared to the current range of high-end gaming chassis.
A few minor gripes with the case would be that it only features a single USB 3.0 port, the side panel windows are a little odd, the side fan mount should be filtered or come with a cover for those who don’t need it and the internal cables are a rainbow of colours that break up the otherwise smart black interior. They’re all minor issues and while I picked up on them, they many not be issues for your own build.
Build quality is rock solid, all the panels are chunky and tough, so I’ve no doubt it’ll take a few knocks and bumps in its stride.
The real winner here are the extras, the fan controller is a welcome bonus; even if it is pretty basic, there are easily accessible dust filters on all major intakes, there are five good quality fans pre-installed, which is way more than you’ll find in most other chassis on the market, all the hard drive bays can be accessed from the front panel and two of them being hot-swap ready is a big win, internal space is vast and ideal for large graphics cards, coolers and motherboards. If you’re looking to build a monster mining or rendering rig, then the DX-02B is going to reap big rewards for you.
There is clearly room for improvement here, but I do like what I have seen so far and it’s a promising start for Chieftec as they return to UK shores. It just misses out on an award this time around, mostly due to the price and the minor details listed above, for this price I would like to see it a little more presentable and organised, but the chassis is still a great solution regardless. For those thinking about buying one, I doubt you would be disappointed with it, and personally I look forward to seeing what Chieftecs upcoming new range of products will contain when they hit the market over the coming months.
- Durable build quality
- Built-in fan controller
- 5 pre-installed fans
- Dust filters
- Hot-swap drive bays
- Support for EATX motherboards
- Room for large graphics cards
- Plentiful cable routing space
- Brand is fresh to market and the name will no doubt be unfamiliar to many (for now)
- Price is a little high
- Minor tweaks to internal cable colour and left side panel would go a long way
- Exposed PCBs and cabling for fan controllers looks messy