Are you in the market for a new case? Are you possibly looking to water cool? Do you like new and innovative concepts? If you answered yes to two out of those three, this could quite possibly be the simplest answer for obtaining all three in a very sleek black or silver chassis from Ikonik.
Ikonik is a company that sort of snuck onto the market under the radar. This relatively new company that knows the PC components market is already flooded with many other major brands, but their goal is to give the user that extra bit more, hopefully surpassing your expectations of your purchase from them. With a name like Ikonik, they have set their own bar pretty high. Let's see what they have sent me to test out.
Today Ikonik has shipped the Ra X10 Liquid full tower chassis to our labs. The Ra X10 liquid is an all aluminum chassis with an incorporated water cooling system already installed. This liquid cooling uses a pump/reservoir combo, two aluminum automotive style radiators and an all copper, 268 pin CPU block, all included and pre-assembled. Ikonik estimates this system can handle removing up to 500W of heat from the loop and leaves you with options to add into the loop with additional water blocks (not included). Enough of the prelude, I think it's time to get some images up and onward to the testing at hand.
Specifications, Availability and Pricing
This all black water cooler chassis is made of 1.2 - 3.0mm (depending on which part) aluminum and measures in at 22.5" tall, 245.5"deep and over 9" wide including the doors. The front of the case opens to reveal the drive bays and its edges are left bare to accent the all-black facade. Speaking of the drive bays, the Ikonik allows for up to five drives to be placed in the front 5.25" bays; the bottom most bay is bracketed to accept a floppy drive right out of the box. As far as giving your hard drives a home, the Ra X10 Liquid allows for six drives under the optical drives, as well as an additional two drive removable tray, for a total of eight 3.5-inch bays. Buyers will be happy to see that the case allows for µATX, ATX, CEB and E-ATX motherboards, which should accommodate about 95% of home built systems.
The Ikonik Ra X10 features a magnetic cover that blocks the dust from entering the front I/O ports. Under this rubber mat you will find 2 X eSATA, 4 X USB 2.0, an IEEE 1394 port, as well as the 3.5mm audio and microphone jacks. The door of the Ikonik is shipped with two separate mesh panels, but the case also ships with clear Lexan panels for you to be able to swap out the mesh for a clear window if desired, or any combination of the two options. Last, but surely not the least, is the already assembled water cooling loop included with the Liquid version and the included SIM management system.
The short and fast version of the SIM system is this. It uses a software application in conjunction with the hardware module (that I will show later) to control all aspects of cooling the PC. The SIM controls all of the thirteen included fans in groups for a custom cooling solution, as well as controlling the variable speed pump. This system also can monitor temperatures via probes included. Just connect them to the module and secure them to what you want to cool. The application will give you fan speeds, with control over them, and up to six temperature readings, with an alarm option.
Availability at this time is slightly limited. Google shopping has only brought one hit to my attention and looks at this time to only be sold at Newegg. Digging a bit deeper, I found the Ra X10 Liquid to be listed for$419.99 plus shipping at Newegg. This price may seem a bit steep to some, but if you were to sit back and calculate a decent all aluminum chassis, then add your own water cooling, I'm sure you will see that Ikonik hasn't priced themselves out of the market at all. Rather, they have taken almost all the hassle out of water cooling and hands over a chassis that is ready to run, aside from the addition of the coolant.
Ikonik ships the Ra X10 Liquid in a colourful box, with a good look at the Ra X10 pasted on the front. At the bottom are the two predominant features of this chassis. They include the previously mentioned water cooling system that is pre-installed and the SIM controller that handles the fans and pump controls (more on this in the software section).
The right side has the Ra X10 Liquids specifications laid out in eight different languages. This chart is similar to the specs chart I used earlier.
The rear of the Ikonik packaging shows all the features that Ikonik deems worthy of being on the box. The top reiterates information on the water cooling and the SIM management. Moving down, they have placed three numbered cases images, while below that Ikonik explains what the feature is by numbers for easy reference.
The left side of the package is pretty plain in comparison to the rest of the packaging, but on this side Ikonik does show which color version of the Ra X10 Liquid you are purchasing, as the chassis comes with a choice of silver or black.
As you can see, Ikonik ships the chassis in a protective bag-like covering, and uses high density foam to secure the chassis in the package. Judging by the looks of the box upon arrival, UPS had their fun with this box, and it all arrived safely to my door.
The Ikonik Ra X10 Liquid Full Tower Case
Removing all of the inner packaging shows, despite all the damage to the box, the Ra X10 Liquid having arrived in perfect condition. The outside of this version is a black brushed aluminum finish and has a windowed door panel that uses both these mesh panels as well as a set of Lexan panels I will show you later.
Looking through the two piece mesh panels, you get a large view of the inside of the case with more of the hardware showing and bits of drive rails and the side of the power supply. This is also the first glimpse of the included water cooling system Ikonik uses in this Liquid version of the Ra X10.
Looking at the top half of the rear of the Ra X10, the first thing I noticed is the PSU mounting is shifted to the right of the case. This is to compensate for the radiator I will show later. The rear I/O shield gets placed below the PSU to the left and next to this is the 140mm rear exhaust fan. You may notice the "push me" sticker that is to show the push in release for the side panel, once the thumbscrews are removed of course. The back panel uses two; one top and bottom, while the front panel only has the one central release.
The bottom half starts with eight expansion slots on the left side. To the right and at the bottom Ikonik has also added two water cooling holes that will easily allow for up to 5/8" O.D. tubing. Lastly, at the very bottom, the Ra X10 has a pair of 80mm rear exhaust fans as well.
The rear door of the Liquid version has two vented areas with plastic trim and the same mesh as the opposing panel. These cut-outs are to ventilate the eight, blue LED, 80mm fans used to cool the radiators. The clear plastic is just shipping protection I left in place as the rear ones are wrapped around the door panel and require removal of the door to get them off cleanly.
Moving up to the top, the Ra X10 takes on a more alligator-like texture, but still aluminum. In the front is the included, blue LED, back lit, flow meter that Ikonik places in the Liquid version. Behind the flow meter is a rubberized cover that stays in place via a magnet under the top of the case. This allows you to still use the power button without having to allow dust into the front I/O ports.
Removing the protective cover, we get a better look at what the front I/O panel consists of. On the very left is a tiny blue LED light for the HDD activity, this is followed by the 3.5mm audio and microphone jacks. Next to those are the four USB 2.0 ports, the IEEE 1394 (firewire) port and two e-SATA ports. That leaves the large blue LED, backlit system power button. With all of this facing directly up, I can appreciate the included cover.
The Ikonik Ra X10 Liquid Full Tower Case - Continued
Laying the Ra X10 on its back gives a much better look at the tops overall design. The top is the thinnest piece of material used on the chassis, but Ikonik does add a bar across the middle for added structural support. The top is vented with what Ikonik refers to as Ferrari-like vents, to allow for natural airflow out the top of the case.
Back to the front of the Ra X10, this time with the aluminum door open to expose the six optical drive bay covers. The top one also has a "push me" sticker, this is to show that with a push on the left side, the spring releases and the panel pops out on the left side for easy removal. The bottom third of the front is ventilated, again with the same mesh, to allow airflow into the two front, blue LED, 120mm fans.
I wanted to get a bit closer to the front to show off a few things. The inside optical drive covers are a very shiny black plastic in high contrast to the dull, brushed aluminum outer. The "push me" sticker is just to the right of the tab that gets released and the other end is tabbed as well, so be careful removing the first one. And lastly, is the rubber coated magnetic catch for the door. It grabs onto the head of two screws in the back of the door, as well as keeping it isolated from any vibrations.
The last place I found the "push me" sticker was on the front foot. This one is here to make the user aware that the feet, while adding more support with a bigger footprint, isn't a mandatory thing.
With a gentle push, until it locks into place, the feet will virtually disappear under the chassis.
Inside the Ikonik RA Z10 Liquid Full Tower Case
Inside the Ikonik Ra X10 Liquid Full Tower Case
Removing the door to get a look inside the Ra X10, I thought it was a perfect time to show off this side of the door. The outer plastic trim is held into place with seven screws, then the mesh or optional clear Lexan panels are held in with eight screws each. To the right of the door is the other half of the easy release mechanism I addressed looking at the rear of the case.
Once the door is removed, you can really get a feel for the layout and included water cooling system.
Getting up close and personal with the Ra X10's motherboard tray, you can see Ikonik ships the water block mounted to the removable tray during transport. Simply unscrew the four screws and the block will get out of the way for now. At the top right of the tray is a thumbscrew that holds the tray in a locked position. Undo the screw and slide the tray to the right and it will lift right out.
Moving down, we run into one of the two aluminum radiators that are placed on the back wall of this chassis. In front of the radiator, to the left, is a removable dual hard drive rack. On the right side is Ikonik's variable speed pump/reservoir combo unit, housed in a clean looking aluminum box. As I mentioned, this loop is all pre-assembled and ready to go once your components are installed.
Here is the other aluminium, automotive grade radiator. These are both cooled by the lines of four 80mm fans I showed you through the back door of the case. Ikonik uses automotive grade versus the typical refrigerant type radiators, as Ikonik claims there is superior performance to be had using the automotive type.
On the side of the 5.25" bays we find another "push me" sticker. This can be used as a completely tool-less installation for your optical drives. The oval button to the left is for releasing the lock, and of course, the round button is the lock.
Below the six optical bay drives, Ikonik uses a removable 3.5" rack that can accommodate up to six hard drives. These bays, as well as the additional rack at the rear, all use tool-less rails. I will show you in the build how easy they work. Just in front of the rack is where the two 120mm, blue LED fans are placed for the intake of air to the Ra X10.
The power supply is laid on three rubber pads and screwed in with rubber grommet in the holes, both to aid in silencing any vibrations. As with all the fans inside this chassis, they are white housings with clear fan blades; this just happens to be a 140mm version Ikonik uses to exhaust the top half of the case.
Inside the Ikonik RA Z10 Liquid Full Tower Case - Continued
Inside the Ikonik Ra X10 Liquid Full Tower Case - Continued
At the bottom half, I'll start with the tool-less expansion slots. There are eight in total with the last one being below the motherboard. This is a nice feature, as now a fan controller or light switch doesn't have to take up valuable space within the motherboards slot layout. To the left is not only the water cooling holes, but a look at the inside of the door panel lock, Both the front and rear panel have locks on the Ikonik. Below all of this are the two 80mm fans that exhaust lower case air and aid in cooling the drives if you choose to use this rack in your build.
The front I/O panel wires are routed instantly out of the bay area to maximize usable drive space. You can see all of the fan wiring up top as well as the plumbing for the cooling system is secured and well routed, leaving an overall clean look inside the case.
This is the inside of the 5.25" bays. Notice Ikonic has already set adapters into the bottom most drive bay. Removing a thumbscrew on either side of the drive rack allows the adapter to be removed to allow easier placement of an SSD. Also you get a look at how well the wiring is tucked out of the way of sliding in a DVD burner or Blu-ray drive.
Removing the back panel gives you a much better idea of how the cooling is done. The coolant goes from the pump to the top radiator, which is cooled by the four 80mm fans at the top. It then travels up to the flow meter in to front of the Ra X10 and down to the bottom radiator, cooled by the lower set of four 80mm fans. The coolant then goes up into the block to cool the CPU, and of course, back to the pump/res.combo.
Here we have the SIM module. This is the heart of the cooling system inside the Ra X10 Liquid. Out of the box the SIM module is wired to correctly control all the fans, lights and the speed of the pump. On the left you can see six, dual pin, "T1-T6" labeled plugs. These are for included temperature sensors to plug into the SIM which then allows the Windows application to display vital temperatures along with the fan speeds and alarms. The only thing the SIM requires to function out of the box is a 4-pin Molex power lead connected to the bottom right corner. This is enough to prime the pump on startup.
The wiring from the front I/O panel is relatively short in comparison to most cases, but they are plenty long enough to reach the appropriate headers. From left to right, we start with the case speaker, power LED and power switch wires. Next to those there are the AC' 97 and HD Audio connectors. We then run into the two USB 2.0 connections aside the IEEE 1394 connections. This leaves us with the two e-SATA leads on the left.
We can't forget the workhorse of the cooling system aside from the SIM itself, can we? This is the all copper, 268 pin, water block that Ikonik includes. The base isn't milled to a mirror finish but is very level and true. One last thing to point out here is that the mounting hardware is adaptable to LGA 1366 and AMD as well.
Accessories and Documentation
Packed right atop the case during shipping is a rather large bundle of included hardware and goodies. In the back are the well protected, still plastic wrapped, clear option panels. In the front is obviously the "accessory box" with all the needed hardware, and lastly a bottle of coolant to be added to the systems loop.
This is the contents of the "accessory box". At the very top is the bundle of six temperature probes which are to the left of the optional USB extension cable to power the SIM with a rear USB if the motherboard doesn't have enough headers. Next is the AMD bracket that can be used on the included water block. To the right is the bag of screws, risers and wire ties. Moving right once more you will see the AMD and LGA 1366 backing plate. Continuing down to the next row, we have a 4-pin to 4-pin extension cable, the front plate for a floppy drive sitting on a polishing towel, both of which are surrounding the set of included keys for locking the chassis up tight.
This leaves us with the added bits to the right. There is a set , both male and female, of quick connects and clamps for the addition of another block into the loop, such as a Northbridge water block. Ikonik also includes an easy fill top of the bottle of coolant, and lastly a couple applications worth of their self-labeled TIM.
Ikonik Includes a fold-out quick reference guide, as well as a thick instruction manual explaining the nuances of the Ra X10 Liquid. They also include the software disk that functions the SIM module, which also includes instructions if needed.
As I mentioned, the motherboard is removable, so the first step is to add the risers and install the motherboard.
Continuing on with the preparation, I removed a few of the hard drive rails so I could install my drives. The inside of the slide has a little rubber tip that sits in the screw holes. Just hold them into place and slide the drive in until it clicks into place.
Fast forward through a lot of wiring and assembling leaves me with this as the almost finished product. At this point of the build, if you haven't already, you'll want to consult with the manual on the pump filling procedure.
Something I found a bit strange is the fact that the tool-less expansion card holder isn't designed to hold a VGA card in place. The Instructions state if using a single slot or dual slot video card, that all the screws need to be used instead of the tool-less lock.
Since I opted not to use the bottom mounted dual drive bay, I removed the thumb screw and slid the drive forward and removed it entirely. I figured this would allow for better airflow to the bottom radiator since the top one is half blocked by the PSU placement.
Not having a modular power supply at my disposal has made wiring at the top a bit messy. The only solution I could find to house extra wires, was to strap most of the wires to the top support bar and rest the excess above the DVD drive.
Fit and Finish
Just about ready to fill the reservoir, I figured it was a perfect time for the last volley of exterior images. With the power supply and motherboard installed, you can see there are no alignment issues, or any issues to speak of. Something to note is that I set the key in place to accentuate the position of the rear door lock. While you can still remove the screws, the release won't engage in the locked position.
Nothing really out of the ordinary going on down here either, except the addition of the black bit of plastic now protruding from the case. This is the locking end of the now defunct tool-less lock for the expansion slots.
Turning the Ra X10 to view the wiring is another thing I think Ikonik may have overlooked. With all the included wiring and plumbing already in the case, there isn't much room for hiding the wiring without it looking like a nest, although it does all get in there somehow. Something I didn't mention in the first viewing is that the rails have rubber pads on them to keep the vibrations of the rear door to a minimum as well.
After carefully following the instructions for filling the reservoir by removing the cap on top of it and doing a series of boots, the loop filled right up and bled itself with no effort on my part. With no control over the system, at this point all of the LED's are on and the fans will ramp to full speed.
Here is the last look at the front of the Ra X10, after I slid the drive into position and locked it into place. No other screws are needed and as you can see it fits flush to the panels and looks clean when installed.
With the system powered up and the water loop functioning, I wanted to get an action shot of it for you. Notice the blades of the fan are no longer visible as the flow is spinning them here. There is a bit of a glow that can be seen as well; this is due to the flow meter being back lit with a blue LED.
Finally we have the side of the case with the "windowed" door in place. I chose to swap out the top mesh panel for the clear Lexan panel to show the comparison. As you can see, the mesh is darker, the internals are still visible and it adds ventilation, while the clear panel only offers a completely unimpeded view of the components. The choice is up to you!
The SIM Software Installation
Once the PC is all hooked back up and ready to boot, get into Windows and simply insert the disc. Here we have the opening window of the SIM software for version 1.21. You have the option at this point to open the manual folder and read through the included PDF files or jump right to the software installation.
If you chose to go the route of reading up first, you are greeted with these eight PDF files. Each pertains to a different aspect of the SIM's controls.
When you start up the software installation this is the first screen you are greeted with. Simply click next and you are on the way to gaining control of the entire cooling system.
After clicking next on the previous window the Install Wizard wants to verify your information (the name of my PC was already in the top box, I removed it to lessen any confusion).
Verify the correct destination for the software and tick the next button again.
At this point the application just wants to verify all the information in the box is correct before you continue.
After that last click of the next button, you just sit and wait for the Install Wizard to do its thing.
Once everything is installed, you get a new desktop shortcut icon labeled "IKONIK_SIM" and you are one click away from completion.
The SIM Software
Be sure to reset the PC before you attempt to use the software. As you can see, opening it prior to a restart leaves the window blank with no idea of what's going on.
After the system restart you can see the SIM software now recognizes all the fan systems. It not only gives numbered reading for the RPM of the fans, but there is also a gauge to monitor speeds as well. In interest of time and wiring, I did not use any of the supplied temperature sensors. This is why the fans read 0 and the gauge is bottomed out. One last thing to note is the on/off switch for the LEDs in all the fans. Just a simple click will eliminate or illuminate the four separate fan systems.
When you first activate the SIM software, all the fan profiles are set to the "Silent A" setting. From the main page, you simply click on the controls button at the bottom of the window, which brings you to this screen. At this screen you can click on which "F" group you want to change and set them to the appropriate profile.
Here is a look at the "F1" group of fans. Notice in the top left corner, the front two 120mm red fans that that stand out on the image. These are the fans I am currently changing to "Performance" for testing. The performance setting delivers a constant 12 V to the fans versus the ramped settings for Silent A and B settings. There are two settings I haven't addressed. 0dB Start is a startup with no fans, but once a set temperature is reached, the fans run off a ramped fan setting. Last is the "Fanless" setting, which is very self explanatory; this runs the PC with no current supplied to the fans in that group.
Continuing on with the groups of fans, you can see "F2" controls a set of 80mm fans along with the 140mm rear case fans, again with all the same options.
"F3" controls the four 80mm fans used to cool the top radiator, which is capable of eliminating up to 250W of heat.
It only makes sense that "F4" should control the four 80mm fans that cool the lower radiator. Combined with the fans at full speed, Ikonik states this cooling system is capable of handling a total of 500W between both radiators.
This leaves us with the "F5" settings. This is what controls the variable speed pump. All of these settings allow each user to define his or her own comfort levels of cooling and noise. The "F6" tab is there for you to add another fan to the SIM controller and have control over its settings as well.
Ikonik includes an alarm feature with the SIM system. You can set each fan speed alarm individually and set the temperatures individually as well. This is in place for those who can't see into their rigs all the time. Even if the flow meter is spinning it doesn't guarantee the fans or temperatures are good.
Testing and Procedure
The procedure for this testing is a bit different from the normal cooler testing I've become accustomed to. This time I started the testing with my Intel E8600, cooled with a Xigmatek Thor's Hammer using two Antec Tri-Cool fans at full speed, housed inside the SilverStone Raven Chassis. Testing is done by booting into Windows and allowing the PC to settle in and calm down for ten minutes. Once the ten minutes was up, I opened Real Temp to get a minimum reading for my processors temperature; then I started the one hour run of OCCT on a medium data set with normal priority. After the one hour test was completed I captured an image of everything still in action for validation. The same procedure was used to attain my numbers with the overclocked CPU on air cooling.
For the second set of tests I used all the same parts, just this time inside the Ikonik Ra X10 Liquid chassis. With my DFI and CMOS Reloaded, I saved the 4 Gigahertz overclock profile and just reloaded it for this testing as well. I have included images of all four tests as well as getting it all together with a couple of charts.
This is the stock clocked E8600 testing with the Xigmatek cooler and SilverStone chassis. At this point we are left with the lowest temperature of 39° and a high end temperature of 52° Celsius.
This test run was at 4GHz, and as you can see the temperatures start with a minimum of 41° and a maximum of 61° Celsius on the second core. These are very acceptable temperatures for the parts and accommodations of this test.
After swapping over the system, I again made a stock run test inside the Ikonik Ra X10 Liquid chassis using the included water cooling. For the stock run I ended up with a degree higher temperature at idle of 40°, but when loaded it maxed a 52° Celsius, which is right on par with the Thor's Hammer testing at this point. All the fans in the Ra X10 Liquid were run on "Performance" settings for these results.
Last but not least was the 4 GHz testing under Ikonik's water cooling. This time the minimum temperature was a touch lower than the stock testing, but what's a degree amongst friends? The maximum temperature with 4GHz testing shows a 2° drop in temperatures over the Xigmatek. To be honest this is about what I would expect from a pre-assembled water cooling system. Again, all the fans in the Ra X10 Liquid were run on "Performance" settings for these results.
I thought I should throw a graph together to make the temperature comparisons a bit easier to comprehend. This way you don't have to flip back and forth through the previous images to get it all straight.
The sound testing favors Ikonik as well, even with ten 80mm fans humming along inside the Ra X10. I know the Antec Tri-Cool fans are in no way the quietest fans on the market, but they are a fair take on the average fan one would buy. I think Ikonik did a wonderful job of giving good airflow with all thirteen fans and still being able to keep sound levels at bay at the highest settings. To attain the idle numbers for the Ikonik I used the "Silent A" setting. Both sets of results were obtained by using the sound meter used in my cooler testing, just this time the meter was held about a foot from the opened side of the case.
I know I didn't really hit on the components of the included water loop as much as some would have liked, but to be honest, with everything already set and ready for liquid, there isn't a lot to discuss. The setup is attractive and very carefree and simple to get going. Literally, all you need to know to get this water cooling in motion is how to remove and replace some caps and how to squeeze a bottle. The rest is all done with the push of the power button a few times, and bam, you have running water cooling at your disposal. All of this is packaged inside of a sleek, black, brushed aluminum chassis. What more could a beginning water cooling enthusiast need? - Lastly, I really liked the additional included water cooling pieces that allow you to add a GPU or other blocks into the loop. With a total of 500W cooling capability, my testing of just the CPU is the tip of the iceberg.
There is a short list of what I would consider slight misses with the Ra X10 Liquid chassis. First, the windowed side door, even when locked and screwed into place, still is loose at the top right corner. I'm not real sure of the cause, but it does allow for the door to pick up a bit of vibration. Next, and on a similar note, the flow meter in the front of the case has a slight ticking to it. Turning up the fans a bit does drown this out a bit. With the addition of the SIM module, Ikonik leaves very little room for any wiring for the user. I didn't have a modular PSU to test with, but did manage to hide all the extras, but in no way cleanly. The thing that sticks out to me and bothers me the most is the use of the tool-less expansion card lock. It's great in concept, but why even have it there if the only reason is to hold the slot covers in place during shipping. Even the instructions state this feature is defunct when you use a graphics card. It just seems silly to have it at all in my opinion.
With the images, building and testing, I have had the opportunity to use the Ra X10 Liquid for just over a week at this point, and to tell you the truth, it's growing on me the more I use it. Most of the issues aren't "real" problems that can't be worked around, just more of an annoyance. Let me explain my take on this. While Ikonik does offer a completely user friendly, water cooled, sleek looking chassis, they also demand top dollar, which is $419.99 at Newegg. If I was in the market for a case like this, I would expect these things to have been sorted through already, especially the door issue and the tool-less piece I mentioned.
The way I see it, you have to look at the Ikonik Ra X10 Liquid for exactly what it is; this is that the chassis itself is all-aluminum and of good build quality. This isn't just the average $150 - 200 aluminum case, though. Ikonik takes things a step further and includes a completely pre-assembled water cooling system where all you have to do is add water and hit a power button. How tough is that? Ikonik, however, doesn't just stop there. They include the SIM module and software that takes all the work out of wiring the thirteen fans and divides them up for superior management of case airflow. What does all this mean? If I wanted a hassle free water loop and a sexy and appealing case, I would definitely look into Ikonik's liquid offering, as they do offer good bang for the buck with this complete Ra X10 Liquid system.