We'll start off by getting right down to it. The front of the case shows that it not only gives a very sleek appearance, but it also means business. The first thing I'll point out to you are the pair of fan vents located toward the bottom of the front bezel. As I'm sure you'll recall, a natural airflow starting from the lower/front and working to the upper/rear of the case will give you optimal cooling potential. It is nice to see that this has been taken into consideration when this enclosure was designed. You'll be able to fit not one, but two 80mm fans into the front portion of the case.
The case is designed to handle up to four optical devices. While there are bigger cases available, any more than this is most certainly overkill. This should be more than enough to handle all but the most avid of power users.
One nice feature that I'd like to mention is the ease of removing the aluminum cover plates for the drive bays. Generally you have to remove a couple of screws and then pry out the cover plate. This isn't the case with this model, as you'll just need to poke the tip of a screwdriver through the side to push in a small notch. Then the cover plate just slips right out. This was a refreshing change of pace to what I am used to.
Next in line are the 3.5" drive bays. Customarily, you'll get two drive bays that are externally accessible, but this particular breed gives you three. This will allow you to install a floppy drive, a ZIP drive AND another removable storage device. I have been seeing some small drives lately that allow you to read digital camera media, so this might be just the ticket if you're already using two devices requiring 3.5" access.
Also of note here are the two lights below the Power and Reset buttons. These suckers are BRIGHT! The right shows a steady bright blue when the system is powered up. The left one handles the HDD activity. It is normally a more modest blue coloring than the Power, but when the HDD is showing activity, it starts burning at a powerful red color. This can be an awesome sight when you're messing around with your toy at night.
Remember above when I told you that you could fit two 80mm fans behind the front bezel? Well you can also control their fan speed by means of this built-in switch. Common sense says that the faster the fans spin the greater the noise, so this will give you the opportunity to have some control over that aspect of your case.
There are just too many needs for USB nowadays. I generally use a USB optical mouse and have a USB Compact Flash reader to handle my digital camera needs. Considering that a standard motherboard only comes with two USB ports on the board itself, you can see that we have just run into a problem. Or at least we did before things like front-mounted USB ports came into existence. This pair of USB ports allows you to hook into the additional USB pinouts on your motherboard to give you access to two more ports. This should be enough to handle most needs and also give compatibility for newer mainboard designs since it supports USB 2.0 as well.
Here we get to take a peek at the first of the Xoxide modifications. The window unit installed here opens up over half of the interior for your viewing pleasure. The advantage to this is that it makes the case look bad to the bone, especially if you decide to add some additional case lighting effects. But of course, it also means that you actually have to take some time and thread the wiring into little hiding places so that everything looks the best it can look.
Another Xoxide modification is the addition of two fans to the side panel. Not only does this add some extra airflow to the cooling equation, it also makes the unit look wicked in the dark. Oh, did I forget to mention that these fans are equipped with blue LED lights? Silly me.
It should be noted here that since this aluminum case has that real brushed finish, it will require some cleaning on a pretty regular basis. This has been a fact of life for aluminum case users for some time now, but I wanted to make sure that this was understood right up front. If you have plans on taking this beauty to your next LAN party, then you had better be prepared to have a cloth and mild cleaner available. You'll need it.
The back of the enclosure is pretty standard fare as far as what you'll see, but there was one very welcome addition present:
THUMBSCREWS! Everywhere you look you'll see thumbscrews. This is especially handy for those who are always tinkering inside the case. You can just loosen a couple of thumbscrews and you're inside. They are even utilized for the plate that surrounds the PSU.
And speaking of the PSU plate, it is reversible. What this means to you is that no matter what type of ATX power supply you have or how you want to mount it, you're covered. This gives you a lot more flexibility in choosing just the right PSU that you'll need for your power hungry rig.
The backplate included with this case offers the standard ports that are used for an ATX motherboard. In the event that you use a motherboard with a strange layout (like the recently reviewed Asus P4S8X), you can simply remove the existing plate and install the required one. There will be no problems in this since it is easily removed.
WOOHOO! Here goes another Xoxide sponsored modification, the top fan. While the standard Lian-Li PC60 offers you a simple 80mm blowhole on the top of the case, the Xoxide folks decided that this just wouldn't do. So they decided to get out the power tools and enlarge it just a bit. How big you ask? How does 120mm sound to you?