If XClio should be known for one thing with their chassis designs, it's that the fans and lighting concepts are always ahead of the curve from what other manufacturers are offering today. I remember a couple years back I got a chassis from them. I believe it was the 1000. Back then, this super tower delivered a trio of LED options, eight 180mm fans and the three on the front took things a step further. This is one of the first chassis' I saw that that not only offered a door for each fan, but they were filtered and each fan had an individual fan power switch for the ultimate in control at that time. It wasn't long after that we started to see this idea pop up in other manufacturers designs.
Since it seemed they had things under control with offering airflow in about every conceivable way, the next big thing I saw from XClio was the 256-Color fans. With everybody looking to build a chassis that won't look like everyone else's case, XClio kept up with filling the front, top, side, and rear of the chassis with fans to deliver huge amounts of airflow into their chassis with the Blackhawk I had with these fans installed. With a random cycle of colors to go through, you just stop the cycle at the desired LED color and it's set until you change your mind, or hardware. This is something that I have yet to see copied, but I am sure other manufacturers would love to offer the multitude of LED color options that XClio delivered.
As the title suggested, it seems everything is going to touch operation today. Phones have done this for quite some time; Kindle and Nook both have it and tablets storming the market for this Christmas season all have it. XClio just took the next logical step for any case manufacturer. They simply asked, what if we could put a touch panel on a case, make it super simple to use and deliver full control of the included fans with just a fingertip. I honestly think this is one concept that a few case manufacturers will see, like as much as I do, and plan to incorporate something similar into their future designs. Before that happens, just remember when you see it again, XClio brought it to you first! So let's have a look what the XClio Touch 320 mid tower chassis brings to the table or desk as it may be.
Specifications, Availability and Pricing
The XClio Touch 320 is comprised mainly of SECC steel that receives a coating of textured black paint inside and out. The front bezel of the chassis protrudes a bit more at the bottom than it does at the top, but otherwise the ABS plastic piece has square edges with diagonal notches cut from the corners as all four sides come together. On the face of the bezel XClio starts with the I/O panel at the top followed by three 5.25" bays with mesh covers installed. In a larger mesh panel at the bottom it slopes from the edge of the bezel, inward as it holds the touch control panel in the middle.
The interior of the chassis offers tool-less latches for the 5.25" bays we covered, but also has them for the eight 3.5" drive bays. In front of the hard drives, there is room for two 120mm fans, but XClio installs only one fan in this location. At the top of the chassis you will find another pair of 120mm fans. The chassis is tall enough to allow an ATX motherboard to be installed on the motherboard tray that is just loaded with wire management options. In the floor of the chassis there is a spot for the PSU to draw air in, and just in front of it, PSU length allowing, there is room for an additional fan to be added in the floor. In the back of the chassis there is a fan attached next to the rear I/O, right above the seven expansion slots with thumbscrews for securing the cards. The last pair of 120mm fans, so a total of six fans, are installed in the left side panel and all are controllable from the touch panel on the bezel.
Right off the bat I am seeing a mid tower chassis; let's say $50 is a fair going rate for a basic one. This one comes loaded with blue LEDs, 120mm fans, six in total, and let's buy cheap and say $5 a piece, that is already $80 worth of stuff. We haven't even added in the fact that it had to cost some time and time equals money to develop, engineer and implement the touch screen controls into the chase. I have no idea what this number is, but the point that I am trying to make is that one would automatically assume this must be a chassis that asks $100 or more. Truth be told, while I could only locate one place where the XClio Touch 320 can be purchased as I write this, I was quite surprised to see the pricing XClio is offering this for. In fact, the hit Google shopping turned up was a listing of $69.99 at Newegg.com and I have to say for what you get in the Touch 320, this pricing is more than fair!
To keep costs down, XClio uses the brown box with black printing that is becoming very common with manufacturers. From XClio the printing shows the front of the Touch 320 with a hand pressing the button and an arrow showing where you do it on the case.
XClio used this room to fill it with the large black circle with the Touch 320 and XClio name on top of a specifications chart.
The front of the chassis is repeated on the back of the packaging. This time the only difference is this side has what is left of the FedEx envelope that gets stuck to the box when they come from overseas.
This side exactly matches the other side panel, even down to the stickers at the very bottom. The one thing I forgot to mention in the last image of this information is the features are also listed on both sides as well.
XClio uses Styrofoam to surround the chassis and offset it from the cardboard keeping dings and small protrusions from causing a problem in transit. To keep the foam from scratching the case, as there wasn't anything moving freely inside the box, the foam and plastic combination worked like a charm as my Touch 320 is in perfect condition.
The XClio Touch 320 Mid Tower Chassis
We finally get a look at the front of the chassis to see what all the fuss is about the touch control panel is about. Along with the I/O at the top and the trio of covered 5.25" bays there is the large, shiny, control panel staring you right back in the face.
The front I/O has a pair of USB 2.0 ports, a microphone and headphone jack, a tiny reset button, and the odd shaped power button on the right.
The touch control panel offers control for all six of the included fans in the chassis. From here you can turn the fans off or on, turn the LEDs off or on, or you have the option to use the high or low speed fan buttons. For those who wonder, yes you can stop the fans and still have light!
The left side of the chassis offers a pair of 120mm fan attached to the mesh area to the rear of the chassis. Note this pair of locations will accept a 140mm fan, but the connections of the included fans is not typical, so rewiring is in order to keep using the touch panel if you do replace them.
The rear offers the I/O area next to a 120mm fan to blow out the back. Below you find seven expansion slots with pop-out covers, or once removed they don't go back in, next to a pair of water cooling holes. At the bottom there is the PSU location backed with a foam gasket to keep vibrations at bay.
The right side of the chassis has only this large expanse of black painted steel to offer, but this is likely against the wall of the desk anyways.
The bottom of the chassis has large rubber padded feet screwed into the chassis for support. Under the PSU there is ventilation to allow it to be installed in the fan down orientation, and just in front room for an additional 120mm fan, but neither have dust covers.
The top of the chassis has the last pair of 120mm fans installed in it, and again you can replace these with any 140mm fan as well, but remember what I mentioned about the wiring.
Inside the XClio Touch 320 Mid Tower Chassis
The fans mounted inside the left panel both come with fan grills on the inside to keep wiring out of them, and are connected with the pair of 4-pin connections on roughly fifteen inches of wire to reach the controller unit inside the chassis.
Our first view into the Touch 320 you can see that the hardware is tied to the optical bays and there is a strange box above all of the tied wiring lying on the floor of the chassis.
These clips on the optical bays release with a tab under each clip, they then swing out allowing the drive to slide in. once the drive is positioned properly the clips will snap back into their locked positions.
The eight 3.5" drive bays have tool-less latches as well, and on both sides of the bays! To remove these you simply twist the red handle and it will unlock and pull out. With the drives slid in from inside the chassis, you align the holes and lock these back in place.
With six large holes and eighteen places to tie to, wire management behind the motherboard tray is going to be easy. There is a large CPU back plate access hole and in the bump below it, there is text explain riser positioning.
Just above the management hole which will be right in front of the PSU, there is the Touch 320's brain for a lack of a better term. This box takes 12V power and since this wiring is split, it powers the front as well as offering a centralized point to plug in all of the included fans. The empty pair of holes at the top of it is where the pair on the door plugs in later.
Inside the XClio Touch 320 Mid Tower Chassis - Continued
The expansion slots are break-away. So once removed, that's it, they will always be gone, but I do like that there are thumbscrews! The choice of screws along with removing a part of the rear support rail should make mounting expansion cards really easy.
XClio tries to pre-wire the chassis, but there are two issues as I see it. One is that they left no slack at the left side, and you will soon see the wiring attaches to the bezel. The second reason is it's just too sloppy for me, I have to redo this!
The way all of the wiring is tied it makes a mess of connecting the Molex power source for the "brain", the USB, HD Audio, and the power, reset, and HDD activity connections. This is another reason a re-wire is in order when you get yours.
There isn't really a huge spacing behind the tray, but at its thinnest points, like where the bump on the left is, there is at least 15mm of spacing, more in other places if there isn't structure encroaching on that space.
As the case was shipped to me, the wiring done in the chassis makes it so that I have to pretty much cut 75% of what they did lose, just to get the bezel off, to remove the cover and place in an optical drive.
Without pulling off any padding or attempting to destroy the panel, here is what can easily be seen. I just realized that the small red and black wires must be the pulse wire to control the brains functions. Aside from the four strand power wire, there is nothing connected to control it any other way.
Accessories and Documentation
All of this hardware comes in another larger bag that is all rolled up and tied to the optical bays with a twist tie. Dumping out its contents, you get the bag on the left that is the smaller screws for mounting optical drives if you don't want to use the tool-less clips provided. There is a pair of wire ties, a Kensington lock loop and screw, four PSU screws, a riser installation socket, and four fan screws. On the right there is a motherboard speaker and a bag with the larger screws to mount the motherboard or hard drives.
The user manual reminds me of a car owner's manual, but instead of various sections being tabbed for reference, the multi-colored tabs denote the languages of those instructions. Inside you will find the included parts list along with images and text to walk you through the build.
The Build and Finished Product
Before I went anywhere I put about twenty minutes into regaining control of the case wiring. Now with everything routed cleanly, I know where everything is, so let's get this thing full of components!
I know the specs don't say that an E-ATX board is supported. Placing in my 990FXA-UD7, I found out the hard way why it isn't listed, but that doesn't in any way mean it doesn't "fit" in the Touch 320, it's just that you need to adjust the wiring a bit.
Back outside of the chassis we are ready to take a spin around again and see what it looks like finished. The tool-less latch on the DVD drive does leave it recessed a bit past the mesh covers, but I would rather that than have it sticking out. Other than that the front of the chassis is relatively the same.
The lack of 2.5" drive support made me get creative in the optical drive bays, but it left the bottom open and ready to allow the flow of air into the chassis to go unimpeded. The rest of the hardware, and yes even the oversized motherboard were no real issue for the Touch 320 to take on. There is even some room left over.
The rear of the chassis is as we would expect to find it at this stage. All of the holes are filled with I/O plate, cards, and the PSU with the gasket between it and the case.
I mentioned that some places only offer 15mm of room, while others are deeper, like the left edge of the motherboard tray, and the area next to the hard drive rack. Even so, with a bit of time and patience, wiring can be controlled and it still allows the side to slide right over it.
Power up is a bit odd. The light you see in the case is my CPU cooler. As the panel lights up on the front booting the PC, there is a five second delay for the case fans to react.
When the fans do kick in, the blue ring of the high speed setting goes away. Even if you shut the case off in high speed, it always boots in low speed mode.
In low speed the case was audible from the three feet the tripod is away from the case, but once I touched the high speed fan button, it was "bring on the noise" loud! I have had many vacuum cleaner-like cases in my day, but this thing was louder, just know this isn't designed with silence in mind in any way.
Look close, the fans are stopped, yet the blue LEDs continue to glow! I do like this option for those who want to sleep with this case in their room. You may like the glow, but being able to silence the chassis is a huge plus in my book.
This last image in the series shows all of the lights active now, including the ones at the bottom of the bezel, now lit, indicating the hard drives activity.
To tell you the truth, I really like the touch panel controls and the way the two halves work together. Having control of fan speeds, whether they are on or off, or if the LEDs are on or off all at the lightest touch of your finger is really cool. I know there are those who want a fan controller for more finite control of the noise levels, but this design can't just be overlooked that easy. I know I have another of the Touch cases waiting to have a look at as well, and this implementation just makes me sit and wonder what if. With the Touch 320, it seems we may be just breaking into a new concept of user control that will definitely be looked at by other manufacturers, but has a ton of possibilities that could be later added to this design giving us even more control at the touch of a finger.
The build went really smooth considering I am using a board larger than what is said to fit in the chassis. I do have to give the Touch 320 its dues for this as it took the larger board, a pair of graphics cards, managed all the wiring neat and cleanly, and had room for plenty more inside of this well ventilated mid tower chassis. Ventilation is something that was definitely addressed in this case. The six included, pre-installed and pre-wired 120mm fans all have blue LEDS to brighten up any room. In low speed the noise emitting from the chassis is tolerable, but again, once the high mode is switched on, the noise really increases. To put it into perspective, fully load a Fermi GPU on a stock cooler and put your ear next to the leaf blower. Now that noise is what I was hearing at about three to four foot away from the chassis. You need a good set of head phones to game with this chassis on your desktop! On the plus side of all of that noise, there is a huge amount of airflow flushing through the chassis in high mode.
Considering everything included, we did the math earlier and I was at $100 before we even added the touch features and the novelty charge associated with something new or revolutionary. Revolutionary may be a strong word, but I would love full touch control on a case; less buttons and knobs means less room for dust to build up, and less cleaning. If you want the XClio Touch 320, it isn't widely available as I looked for it earlier. On the lighter side of that news, it is sitting in warehouses of Newegg.com for $69.99 and there is free shipping currently. I know the case lacks USB 3.0, but is still very feature rich and offers very cool control with its touch controls for this price range. I really like what XClio has started with the Touch 320 and I can't wait to see how this all evolves in the future.
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