Occasionally when samples arrive, they come from channels other than directly from the manufacturer. Such was the case with the Megahalems and is also the case today. While we are going to be featuring the Ikonik Ra 2000 chassis, I would like to thank Charles over at Logisys. Logisys has been a forerunner in the PC community for some time now, offering just about every way to make your PC stand out, whether in images on your favorite forum, or on a table at your next LAN event. PSU's, cases, remote controls, CCFLs, bay devices; you name it, Logisys has an answer. And if they don't, my guess is they are working on it!
Using a moniker like Ikonik on products, the bar is set high in my mind. Icon to me is something that is not only a trendsetter, but one of those things that you can remember back to years later with a smile and say, "I remember that, it was the bomb in its day". I haven't had a ton of personal experience yet with Ikonik, but the most memorable up to now was their Ra X10 Liquid Chassis I had the pleasure of looking at and using personally for a couple of months. Not only was the Ra X10 sleek and sexy, built from aluminum and offered software fan control, but of course it was fully water cooled from the factory. While not the best of the best in choosing the components of the loop, I was very satisfied with the results it offered.
The Ra X10 was quite the expensive full tower with all the accoutrement that is included, and many would pass it by simply based on their wallet not "feeling" the purchase. Never fear, Ikonik comes to the table with a new full tower offering that is a bit more "budget friendly". At first glance the chassis offers sleek looks, a windowed or mesh side panel choice and hopefully similar build quality as the last Ikonik chassis I looked at. Under the surface Ikonik offers a few more tricks to benefit buyers of the Ra 2000 Black.
Let's get a little deeper into the box and see just what Ikonik brings to the table in the newest of their chassis releases.
Specifications, Availability and Pricing
Just to settle any confusion, there are two versions of this chassis; the silver with of course a silver interior and the Black, which we are looking at today. The latter is an all black full tower chassis, in and out. The chassis is SECC steel, but offers 1.2mm thick parts over the more typical 0.8mm parts used in other manufacturers chassis builds. The exterior is a mix of shiny plastic, matte black paint and some mesh on the top and front of the chassis. With the Ra 2000, Ikonik proposes the option of a mesh side panel to allow for the addition of fans and an open side design. The alternative is, as you will soon see it, with the clear windowed side panel installed.
Inside the Ra 2000 Black you will find quite a bit of room; in fact, room enough for them to offer a full eight expansion slots and room enough for any triple GPU solution. In the front behind some easily removable 5.25" drive covers you can fit up to six optical drives, or any combination of additional fan controllers, bay reservoirs, or even a floppy drive mounted in the included removable tray. The 3.5" drive bays are spun sideways and allow access via either side panel. The rack utilizes "slides" that allow for HDDs to simply "lock" in or slide out for an easy swap.
Cooling inside the Ra 2000 is handled with a combination of four fans. First of all, there are two 120mm fans in the front that act as the main intake of cool air into the chassis. From there cooling moves back and up as laws of convection behind a fan or two dictate. That in mind, Ikonik equips the top and rear of the chassis with 140mm fans, one each to keep convection working at its best, cooling your products inside. Both the top and rear exhaust fans are equipped with blue LED lighting for a bit of added ambiance.
Searching the vastness of the world wide interwebs, I found that there is a similar chassis for sale in AU markets, but by specs and model numbers they don't correspond directly to the Ra 2000 I am looking at. However, through a couple of short conversations I was able to find out that it couldn't be the same. The projected release for this chassis isn't until sometime in June, so it has to be either mislabeled, or a misinformed early listing.
While discussing release timeframes, I was also able to gather that the Ikonik Ra 2000 Black as you are about to see it will have a MSRP of right around $150 US. If this chassis ends up being the solution for you, keep your eyes peeled as it is soon to hit the shelves.
There is no doubt that the bar is set high; "building icons for life" doesn't leave much room for error. A bright red splash across the top attracts the eye and leads you to an image of the Ra 2000 on centre stage.
On a much darker grey and purple background you will find the specifications listed. There are some modifications to the LED section to reflect what is actually included.
It's easy to tell the back panel from the front. If you see an image of the rear of the chassis, flip it around; it's backwards. At the bottom corner you see "Smart Platform", that denotes a lot of the features such as fan control, tool-less installation and many others under one header.
One last time, just to be certain, the last panel offers a place to denote which of the two chassis' are actually inside.
Shipping was handled well inside the high density foam ends supporting the chassis, while a plastic liner and some static mounted sheets keep scratches at bay. However, something is overlooked in my sample. Due to the way the drive covers mount, they somehow released during shipping. They didn't cause any visible or structural damage to the mounting, but a bit of tape down the front of the chassis would keep this from happening at all.
Ikonik Ra 2000 Black IC-RBDAB-C000 Full Tower Chassis
The front of the Ra 2000 Black is shiny and easy on the eyes; no bold accent colors here, just a name plate at the bottom to detract from all the black. The 5.25" bays are covered with a removable mesh panel that you simply push in on the left and it pops out to be removed. At the top you can see the floppy drive tray that also ships with the Ra 2000. Other than that, at the seam above the name plate there is a little notch that allows for the power LED light to show just a bit.
The main body of the chassis and subsequent panels are all painted in this matte black textured finish. This side of the Ra 2000 Black offers a windowed side panel with a support bar across the middle displaying the Ikonik name. The position of the window is perfect. It shows everything you would want to see and hides all the drives and things you don't want to see.
Things start to get interesting in the rear of the chassis. Ikonik offers top or bottom mounting of the PSU; all you have to do is swap the plate, or remove it all together if you might need a dual PSU solution. In between you will find the rear I/O area next to a blue LED 140mm exhaust fan. Just below are eight expansion slots and room to be able to pass some 3/8" tubing through the rear easily; ½" may require enlarging the holes.
The opposing side is very plain, and it can be in my house. The only time I see that panel is when I'm working on it; otherwise it's against a wall.
Looking at the top of the Ra 2000 (front of the chassis is up), we see that mesh carries right over to include the front I/O panel. This is surrounded again by more mirror-like black plastic. As you move down (to the rear of the chassis) you run into the other included exhaust fan of the blue LED variety.
The front I/O consists of a large field of mesh with holes for all the connections. From the left, we start with a tiny reset button, followed by the HDD activity light. Then you run into the 3.5mm front audio jacks and four USB 2.0 ports. Finishing things off, we have the FireWire connection, fan speed controller knob and the large power button.
Inside Ikonik Ra 2000 Black IC-RBDAB-C000 Full Tower Chassis
With the windowed panel out of the way, you get a glimpse at even more black. This time you can see a few of the tool-less mechanisms, whereas the front drive covers are a bit more stealth in design. The paper taped to the tray shows two things; the flow of the air inside the chassis and the fact that with the removal of one screw the motherboard tray can slide right and be removed for easy assembly.
Next to a rather large bundle of wires there are all the drive bays. The 5.25" bays use tool-less clips. These clips function with a simple push of the round button to lock the drive in place. Just slide the oval shaped black piece to unlock the drives; pretty simple. Now for the 3.5" dive bays, they have been rotated to keep them out of play with GPU alignment. These bays use simple "slides" that set in the mounting holes of the drive and allow it to slide in and out with ease.
Did you notice the four thumbscrews on the 3.5" rack? Removal allows for not only easier installation of the hard drives, but also allows access to maintain the front two 120mm fans. Things are a bit tight in there for a radiator, but with some creative modding it is possible.
Just to the left of the 5.25" bays you will find that thumbscrew in the top right corner of the motherboard tray, by the E10 designation for Extended ATX motherboards.
The motherboard tray has been removed before this image; that is why you now only see the two support rails. Ikonik even routes some of the fan wiring to be sure there are no issues getting the tray in and out with them still connected. The eight expansion slot covers are vented and held into position with thumbscrews, leaving us with the two holes with grommets for water cooling tubes.
The included wiring is clearly marked and plenty long enough to get where they need to go. On the left are all the standards; power reset, USB, FireWire, all that jazz. To the right is part of the fan control system. The end closest receives the power and controls both the top and rear exhaust fans.
With the rear panel and the motherboard tray removed we see the skeletal remains of the structure. With all the mainboards material gone for support, I now see the need for the move to thicker steel to support the design. There are holes in the top rail to support wire management a bit and room next to the drive bays and behind the hard drive rack to hide a little more if needed later. Even in this "skeletal" state, the Ra 2000 is very solid in feel and it isn't flimsy as I whirl it around to install things.
Laying it down, I wanted to show three things. One, the rubber isolated aluminum banded feet that keep vibrations away from the users desktop. Second is the ventilation in the floor of the chassis. If you choose a bottom mounted PSU, Ikonik provided a way for the fan to breathe cold air from the floor. If you use a top mounted position there is room for fans and possibly a radiator here; again some modding may be required.
Last, at the other end of the chassis we finally get to see just how well the top mesh is ventilated and the accompanying fan included in the chassis.
Accessories and Documentation
Remember that white box with the Ikonik label on it stashed in the hard drive rack? Inside that you get a couple thumbscrews to replace two regular screws in the door panels, a bag full of risers and motherboard screws, a pair of both wire management stick-on clips and tie straps, an Ikonik cleaning cloth and a set of power supply mounting screws.
As I mentioned, to install a 3.5" hard drive you simply set the rubber nubs into the screw holes of the device. Holding them on the side while sliding the drive in, you eventually hear a click as the drive locks into place. The top of the slides are sort of spring loaded to keep them in position on the rails, while the rubber bits that hold the drive further isolate the vibrations.
With the drive locked in place, simply slide the assembly back in the chassis and replace the four thumbscrews to secure the rack in place.
The Build and Finished Product
Removing the front panel requires just a tug at the bottom and the spring loaded clips release from position. Underneath you will find steel plates blocking the extra optical drive bays. For best air flow, I would remove them, as the front cover works as a dust filter. Speaking of, the 120mm fans at the bottom also have removable dust filters to make maintenance a breeze. The red and black wire you see connected powers the power LED light and it can be removed completely, but for my purposes there was no need.
Since the motherboard tray is essentially a flat plate with mounting holes, I went ahead and put the Foxconn on it for a size comparison. The nicest feature about this style of motherboard tray is that no matter the size of the air cooler, it can be mounted first and still go into the chassis. One thing I would have loved to have seen, though, a nice access hole for cooler back plates would have been awesome, but I guess if the motherboard has to come out to swap a cooler, the tray is handy to have.
As I usually do, I set the optical drive in the second position as I chose to do this build with a top mounted PSU. Again, this is just a little trick to leave room for extra PSU wires. Like I said earlier, all black is hard to beat and even with the drive in place, it doesn't detract from the overall look and feel Ikonik was going for.
Installing things inside the Ra 2000 Black couldn't have been much easier. With all the wiring run and ready to boot the system, both Ikonik's wiring and that I had to run can be cleanly done, and for the most part hidden from sight.
The rear of the chassis fills out nicely once all the components are in. Notice the plate that was at the top is now covering the bottom. All you have to do is turn it upside down and reinstall the four screws.
Everything in its place and double checked, just about ready to power up the Ra 2000. I was able to install pretty much everything including the PSU before I put the motherboard in place and mounted all the essential wiring. As you can see, even with a full ATX motherboard and a good sized GTS 250, there is a ton of room for extra goodies like pumps, lights, you name it!
Once the panel is put back in place most of the clutter is gone, what is left is a terrific view of all of the motherboard, cooler and cards.
With 120V going through her, the Ra 2000 Black comes to life. Had I not removed the panels behind the drive covers, the rear exhaust fans light would not be shining through and the only discernable lighting is the slight hint of a blue LED near the bottom.
The top lights up with a blue LED activity light, a blue LED, backlit power button and of course the glow of blue from the top mounted 140mm fan.
The LEDs of the fans add a very nice glow to the inside as well as offering more ambient LED lighting to the surrounding walls of the room. At this point I played around a bit with the control knob for the fans and to be honest, aside from feeling more flow behind the fans, the noise levels did not go up on the system. In essence, even if the fans are at full speed, they aren't as loud as either an idling Intel cooler or a NVIDIA GPU fan at 40% fan speed.
Again I'd like to thank both Logisys and Ikonik for allowing me the opportunity to look at another terrific product. While there are quite a few differences in the chassis, the Ra X10 and the Ra 2000 share quite a few features as well. Both are built tough as nails. I would suggest standing on the Ra 2000, but even in the open (no panels or motherboard tray) condition it would have no problems supporting a growing boy in his early teens. It is just that solid. Aside from the structural integrity of this chassis, Ikonik really delivered a subtle yet sharp looking exterior and didn't skimp on the interior either.
Tool-less drive bays, eight expansion slots, completely painted interior and oh yeah, the removable motherboard tray! These are just the features inside that stand out the most. More subtle tricks like pre-wiring the fans to keep them out of harm's way, adding holes in the support rails next to the drive bays to better manage wiring, dust covers for the intake and a control knob to acclimate the interior as you see fit. In my mind all of that is enough to make me feel good about a "budget minded" chassis, but Ikonik keep on with the features. It just goes on and on and I for one love all of it.
All things considered, I can only pick at a few things I would have liked to have seen, but in no means is necessary. The expansions slots; all eight of them are nice, but for an almost fully tool-less chassis, why not some sort of tool-less mechanism here as well? The second and final thing would have to be the drive bay covers. As they did tend to come loose during shipment to me, I can see them coming loose in most deliveries and possibly ending up badly, even though mine arrived unscathed. Just a bit of food for thought!
Like I said, the Ra 2000 Black isn't on shelves yet, but expect them soon! I was told sometime in June and with April almost over that leaves just about 30 to 60 days till we should start to see them. I know there are quite a few chassis' on the market around the $100 mark that can offer quite the package, but in all honestly, they don't offer all of what the Ra 2000 Black puts in front of you. All these features and attractive looks and presentation of the hardware are said to come in right around $150 USD. At that price I can't see where Ikonik took any miss-steps in delivering us one really superbly designed chassis.