New chassis manufacturers are few and far between these days, there are so many great brands out there stamping out new products year after year, that it’s actually pretty hard to find a bad product these days, especially when your budget is north of £100. Of course, that is great, but also part of the problem, most cases are quite literally stamped out on a big production line and in the process, they lose some of the magic that chassis modders look to inject into their builds. The chassis we have today, the Hex Gear R40, looks to address this by creating a chassis by modders, for modders.
Hex Gear are quickly growing in popularity, with the team behind the chassis having a lot of passion for creating custom modding components, so they already know a fair bit of what people would like. I’ve been eager to get my hands on the R40 for some time now, especially since I’ve seen some of the incredible modding work that has been done with it prior to the chassis’ release. I won’t be doing any modding today, but we’re certainly going to get a real good look at what this chassis has to offer. At £199.99 each, it is expensive, but it makes a lot of promises too, so let’s get right to it and check it out!
“The R40 is built with the ideology that less is more. We have aimed to make a solid case without a tonne of fancy features. Focusing on making a simple, easy to customize construction instead of implementing a lot of “tool less” “quick disconnect” features that often create more harm than good for the end user. We decided to use heavy grade bolts and nuts to keep everything together, this also means no rivets to drill out, no plastic latches that break off etc. But don’t worry, all the tools you will need to put your R40 together is supplied in the box.”
Check out the teaser trailer for the Hex Gear R40 below.
The box for the R40 is a whopping 15KG, that’s a hell of a lot heavier than any other Micro-ATX chassis I’ve ever heard of. All the components are well wrapped and packaged to keep them safe in transit.
In the box, I found 25 meticulously wrapped components, each with various amounts of bubble wrap, protective film, foam padding and more.
So, let’s go through them all one by one and take a look at what you get for your money. The first item I opened was one section of the front panel. It has the Hex Gear logo cut into it and surprise, hexagons are cut into it. There’s also a circular cut-out at the end for the power button.
For thick and incredibly heavy rails, the will run the length of the chassis; two at the top, two at the bottom.
They have grooves cut into them to slide them over the fixing bolts.
As I said, these are quite thick and durable, weighing in at 3KG combined.
Three thick plastic strips, each covered with protective film.
Two long metal strips.
A blank plate, which will be used for hiding your cable management behind the motherboard.
The metal section of the rear of the chassis. Again, more hexagons and a very cool 120mm fan mount cut-out, as well as air intakes at the top and bottom.
The motherboard I/O and expansion slot add-on, this mounts onto the back of the part above.
Each expansion slot is fitted with a thumb screw and a reusable solid cover.
The hard drive mounting tray. This panel supports three configurations;
- Two 3.5″ drives & one 2.5″ drive
- One 3.5″ drive & two 2.5″ drives
- Three 2.5″ drives
This is an interesting panel, it’s blank, but it’s designed to be modified. You can cut and drill it to suit the needs of your components, such as water cooling pumps. Don’t worry if you lack the tools for this, Hex Gear sell pre-customised mounting panels to suit your needs; how thoughtful!
Two clear plastic mounting stands. These act like a display mount and give the chassis a little ground clearance.
This can be the top or bottom panel, as this chassis can be used inverted! There’s a universal fan/radiator mount, with room for up to a 240mm radiator. There’s also a few small cable routing cut-outs as well as the mount for the PSU.
Another panel for the top or bottom. This time with room for up to a 360mm radiator and another two cable routing holes.
The right side panel, it’s a big blank panel but comes with the same lovely powder black finish as the rest of the components.
The motherboard backplate, pre-drilled with holes to mount the motherboard stand-offs, as well as a good size cut-outs for the CPU cooler, cable routing and more.
The left side panel, which has a huge cut-out for mounting the side panel window. Everything is in bits here, so you’re going to have to install that window yourself, but building this chassis should be half of the fun!
The top and bottom cover are cut with lots of ventilation for any fans/radiators you wish to install.
There’s a range of perspex inserts with the chassis, one each for the front and back, one more for the side panel.
Hex Gear made us some rather gorgeous eTeknix blue panels, which have been cut to support the chassis in an inverted Micro-ATX setup, which the ones above are for the non- inverted setup; don’t worry, you’ll see them with the protective film removed shortly!
There’s a step-by-step manual.
Instructions look quite complicated at some points, bu all pretty well laid out in the manual, nothing I shouldn’t be able to manage.
Finally, the stack of fitting components, just the usual assortment of nuts and bolts really, as well as some single sided foam tape (anti-vibration padding) and a rather lovely Bulgin switch for the front panel. Now, let’s start putting this beast together!