Antec VSP5000 Mid-Tower Chassis Review

Introduction


Antec has a long history of creating durable, competitive and affordable products. Of course, they also make high-end products, but it’s their budget ranges that have long dominated the market and that’s a trend Antec seem eager to continue with the release of their VSP5000. The new chassis has a big focus on silence, and it comes with sound dampening materials in the side panel, side intake vents, a sound blocking top panel, triple channel fan controllers and more! If you like a system that barely makes a whisper, this certainly “sounds” like the chassis for the job.

The Antec VSP5000 isn’t immediately striking as the most beautiful box in the world, but it’s certainly far from ugly. The left side panel has a raised section, which serves little to no purpose, but it does match the right side panel; a little symmetry never hurt anyone.

As I was saying, both the left and right side panels are of the same design. Of course, on the right side, this panel is more practical as its shape allows extra cable routing space behind the motherboard.

The front panel is neat and tidy, although admittedly nothing fancy. There’s an LED light strip at the top, although why this is included is beyond me, as those who want a silent build, likely aren’t too keen on a front panel light either; I personally never connect the power or HDD LED on my own chassis for this reason. On the top half, you will find 3 x 5.25″ drive bay covers, one of which has a 3.5″ pop-out.

From the top, there’s a slide lock for the top fan panel cover, two rubber routing grommets, a pre-installed 120mm exhaust fan and seven expansion slots. Unfortunately, the expansion slot covers are a snap-off design, but that’s not exactly uncommon in sub-£40 chassis.

The top panel features two pre-installed fans, which are slightly recessed behind the top panel cover. This cover also features a sound-proofing layer, albeit with cut-outs for the fans, to help reduce unwanted noise from the chassis.

The front panel is very well equipped, with three separate fan controllers, that feature both low and high settings, but most interesting of all, a stop function; you’re not going to get your fans any more silent than that! Also of interest, the USB and HD audio jacks have rubber caps, which helps keep debris out.

Xigmatek Nebula C Mini-ITX Chassis Review

Introduction


I’m a big fan of Xigmatek chassis’, time and time again they’ve shown they can make cool products with a good range of features, but most importantly, they’ve always done it with a fiercely competitive price tag, making them very attractive products to system builders. Their latest effort, the Nebula C is another welcome entry into the increasingly popular cube-type chassis market, which make great solutions for HTPC and LAN gaming systems.

  • Includes pre-installed high performance silent (black with black blades) Xigmatek XOF fan with FCB (Fluid Circulative Bearing) for optimal exhaust capabilities.
  • I/ O panel includes 2 x Super-Speed USB 3.0, HD Audio In/Out jacks, Power/Reset.
  • Capable of mounting Mini-ITX Motherboard.
  • Innovative 2 X 3.5” HDD can be converted to 2.5” SSD for easy mix and match.
  • Included 1 additional 2.5” SSD mounting holes inside chassis
  • All 3 side panels are tool-less and designed with quick release mechanism for easy hardware mounting.
  • Can install full sized power supply
  • Innovative Intake system from base of the tower.
  • Motherboard tray perforated with holes for free flow air into chassis and option for cable tie-down
  • Can mount up to 230mm Gaming Graphic card
  • Angled power/HDD light giving visual depth.
  • Polycarbonate side panels for alternative feel.
  • Baseless construct for sleek compact appearance.

As you can see from the specifications, the Nebula C may be small, but it packs just enough features for a decent gaming rig, with room for a dual-slot graphics card, ATX PSU and a few hard drives.

First impressions of the Nebula C are very good, this is one gorgeous looking chassis, its understated clean exterior and very modern design are a far cry from the usual chassis designs we see. The exterior is finished in white polycarbonate, giving it a glossy, yet soft looking finish that gives it a premium look and feel. The bottom left corner is cut away, with a small orange light fitting, a nice touch that will provide a soft glow when powered up.

There’s really very little to see on the exterior of the chassis, which is great for those who want a clean-looking system for their AV setup.

The I/O panel is a little simple, but all the basics are taken care of, offering a pair of HD audio jacks and dual USB 3.0 ports.

The glossy top panel appears to float above the side panel and in one corner, you’ll find a large power button.

The orange LED trim around the recessed button really draws your attention on the white background, its design makes you want to push it.

Front the front of the chassis, you can see the button LED cutaway, as well as a nice Xigmatek logo in the bottom right.

Around the back, we get a break from the sea of glossy whites, swapped out for a soft matte black finish. There’s a single 120mm exhaust fan pre-installed, with water/cable routing grommets directly below it. Aside from a little extra ventilation, there’s really little else to see here, just a standard ATX PSU cut-out and the fixtures for a Mini-ITX motherboard.

Fractal Design Define S Full-Tower Chassis Review

Introduction


Fractal Design is one of the biggest names in the chassis industry. Time and time again they’ve delivered premium quality products for the enthusiast market and today they’re promising us a repeat performance. The Define S is their latest and hopefully one of their greatest chassis’, bringing all the support for high-end hardware you could hope for.

The Define S is equipped with all the usual high-end features that you would expect from a Fractal Design product. We’ve got sound-dampening materials, an innovative internal layout, extreme air and water cooling support, ModuVent fan vent covers and high-quality Dynamic Series fans.

Everything you need to get you started is included in the box, such as this nice collection of high-quality screws and fittings.

The first impression of the Define S is very good indeed. It clearly borrows heavily from the Define series in terms of external design, although that uniform look has become quite the norm for most Fractal Design products. As you can see, we’ve got the side panel window edition, although there is a solid panel edition with extra sound dampening material on the interior for those who favor silence over appearance.

The right side panel is a solid panel and both side panels are held in place with a pair of fixed thumbs screws at the rear; this allows quick and easy access to the chassis interior.

The front panel is very similar to other Define series chassis’, however, the front panel is no longer a hinge door design, as the optical bays have been completely removed to allow more room for cooling components.

Around the back, you’ll find a 120/140mm fan mount at the top, with a Dynamic Series 140mm fan pre-installed. There are seven expansion slots, each fitted with a high-quality reusable cover.

The top panel has a nice clean look thanks to the ModuVent fan vent covers. These are removable for those who want to install top mounted fans or radiators;  those who want to leave them in place can benefit from improved sound dampening.

The main I/O is neat and tidy, with all the basics in place and a pair of USB 3.0 ports. Interestingly, the port connectors are black, not the usual USB 3.0 blue, which helps keep the front panel looking nice and uniform.

The underside has four small feet, which have rubber grip pads on them to help reduce vibration, whilst also providing ground clearance for any bottom mounted cooling.

The bottom filter is magnetic fitting and washable, which should make maintenance nice and easy.

SilverStone Kublai KL06 Micro-ATX Chassis Review

Introduction


Silverstone is one of the greatest and most established names in the chassis industry, in fact, they’re not exactly lacking in other parts of the market either, with extensive product ranges that cater to power supplies, cooling and much more. Silverstone have a lot of technical knowledge when it comes to what makes a great system and you can see that knowledge being put to great use across their entire range; something we hope to see once again in our latest review.

Today I have the latest entry in the Kublai series and this one is particularly special, as it is the first Micro-ATX form factor product in that range; no doubt to address the increased system capacities required by many of today’s high-end components, such as RAID arrays and long graphics cards.

“Being the first Micro-ATX chassis in the Kublai series, a line of cases famed for layout efficiency with classic styling, the KL06 fills the role perfectly. Equipped with dual 120mm quiet fans for cooling multiple drives and high-end components, it retains SilverStones’ signature positive pressure design for effective dust prevention.” – SilverStone

The chassis caters well to modern hardware, dropping support for lots of 3.5″ drives, favoring a setup for 8 x 2.5″ drives and just a single 3.5″ drive on the interior. Storage bays are removable to make way for water cooling, there’s room for a large graphics card, high-end PSU and a whole lot more; so let’s get right to it and take a closer look at what the KL06 has to offer!

The Kublai is a fairly simple looking chassis, but none the less, one that is very nicely designed. The left side panel is a solid panel, cut from thick steel that should help greatly reduce unwanted noise and vibrations from your system.

Another thick panel on the right side of the chassis. Both side panels are mounted with two thumbscrews at the rear, providing you with quick and easy access to the chassis interior.

The front panel is really nicely designed, with two 5.25″ drive bays at the top and a semi-transparent front panel mesh, behind which you can see the front fans.

The main I/O panel has all the usual ports and switches while also being another of this years chassis to drop the older USB 2.0 ports entirely.

The front cover can be easily removed via clip at the bottom, allowing you to easily clean the filter and maintain your fans.

Around the back, you’ll quickly notice that the motherboard mounting is inverted, with the I/O at the bottom and the PSU mounting at the top. There’s plenty of ventilation here, an optional fan mount at the bottom and a screw on protective cover for the four expansion slot mounts.

The top panel has a large ventilation section for the PSU air intake.

It has a magnetic dust filter attached, which is far easier to keep clean than most PSU filters that are located on the underside of the chassis.

There’s four rubber feet on the bottom of the chassis to help keep it firmly in place, even on hard surfaces.

Raijintek Triton AIO CPU Cooler Review

Introduction


By now you have probably heard of Raijintek, established in Europe in 2013 they have gone from a small emerging company to a rather big name in a small amount of time. They already have a range of air coolers, such as the TISIS and the EREBOSS, a range of cases such as the AENEAS and the beautiful METIS and are looking to expand into power supplies and other products in the coming years.

Today we are going to look at the Triton, Raijinteks expandable AIO CPU cooler which has a few tricks up its sleeve. The Raijintek Triton supports all the popular socket types from both Intel and AMD. You can also see that we have a 12v pump, an aluminium radiator and a copper water block, all in the hopes to keep temperatures as low as possible.

The box for the Triton is really nice, it is quite “aggressive” with its font and an excellent picture on the front; it certainly makes it stand out. It has all the information you need about the cooler such as which sockets it fits and some nice pictures showing you what to expect inside.


Inside the box we get a nice bunch of brackets and fittings to allow us to mount the CPU cooler, the fittings are for both AMD and Intel. One of my pet hates with certain manufactures is giving a sachet of thermal paste rather than a syringe. The sachet can only be used once, meaning if you need to re-attach the cooler to upgrade the CPU or anything else, then you will have to purchase more separately, unfortunately Raijintek have opted to give us a sachet. It’s great that they do actually supply some paste, I just prefer to have more than one application.

You might also have noticed the 3 little coloured bottles, we will go into these a little later on, but they certainly make this cooler stand out from the crowd.

The two 120mm fans for the Triton are very simple looking indeed, this is excellent as they will fit almost any system, too many colours can put people off fans if they don’t match the rest of the system, so keeping to black and white is a great idea. The 1000 – 2600 RPM fans should work great with the 240mm radiator as they’re designed to provide a good amount of air pressure.

Raijintek have thought about this product a lot and to make sure you can balance between performance and noise, they have included this excellent little fan controller. When I opened the box I didn’t expect this and I wish I could get a box of these to work with other fans that I use; Such a simple idea makes a huge difference.


Before looking at the pump/rez combo, I want to show you the contact plate for it, this is a rather nice nickel plated copper which will ensure an excellent heat transfer from your processor to the fluid inside the cooler.

Now, let’s get onto this units party trick shall we? a new level of customisation for an AIO. As you can see below, we have a warranty void sticker over a G1/4 thread cap. This is to allow the use of the 3 dyes that are included with the Triton. I have been reliably informed that this sticker is to prevent novice users from opening the system, it will not void your warranty unless signs of misuse or excessive modification are detected, so using the dyes won’t instantly mean you cannot return the product. You will also notice from this picture that the inlet and outlet also have G1/4 threads, this is a very common thread size in custom water cooling, so this will allow you to easily expand the loop.


As you can see Raijintek give you 3 different dyes with their Triton cooler, Red, Yellow and Blue. This allows you to make a range of colours including green, purple, orange and more.


I chose the blue dye, and it is as simple as just adding as much as you like into the available port, less dye will give you a lighter blue, the whole bottle will give you the blue that you will see throughout this review.


With the full bottle we can see a really nice dark blue that really does change the whole look of the cooler; I really do like the idea of these dyes.

Another way that Raijintek make this cooler aesthetically pleasing, is by adding an LED into the CPU block, I can’t honestly say I saw it make too much difference, but I did test this cooler in the day time, after dark, it could change the look completely.

Installation for the Raijintek Triton is very easy, you just add the back plate to the motherboard using the screws and thumb nuts provided, you then add the front plate. Once you have done this, add the thermal paste and just simply attach the cooler to the front plate; simple!

When the cooler is in place there is plenty of space in between the RAM and the Triton meaning you can use RAM with large heat sinks if you like. So, we have seen how this product looks, let’s see how it performs!