Just when my memory was failing to bring up if I had ever reviewed a chassis for Raidmax previous to this, I dug deep into the backups of older reviews and found I had in fact reviewed a chassis from them.
Hop in my "way-back machine" with me as it has been almost two years since I reviewed the Skyline from Raidmax and this is likely why Raidmax didn't auto-associate for me at first. Judging from what I just went back and seen with the Skyline, there are lots of things that Raidmax could have updated, upgraded and brought up to speed with today's case offerings. Just from what I can see on the packaging, most of the issues with the older chassis have been reworked and the latest submission has been updated and this chassis comes with a very unique front bezel design and an interior color combination that threw me off my game for a few minutes.
I don't want to give that surprise away just yet, but I will say that the latest mid-tower submission from Raidmax offers a fair amount of features, including native USB 3.0! Looking nothing like the last chassis I reviewed, this submission gets its name from either a car or a snake and since I don't see headlights, I'm putting my money on a snake. The front sort of reminds me of the expanded neck area of a snake ready to strike. The only issue with this theory is I don't see any eyes either, so your guess is as good as mine, I guess. The rest of the chassis has a somewhat dated layout, but it seems to work for this chassis.
The chassis I have been alluding to is the newest mid-tower from Raidmax, the Viper. Getting down to brass tacks right away with this chassis, it's pretty simple in what Raidmax is doing here. They are offering a seriously budget friendly chassis that is modernized to be more buyer friendly in its offerings. This means you are getting a chassis with some styling, enough tool-lees features to keep you happy and a color combination of parts that I have yet to ever see in any chassis design! Enough with the pre-game chatter, let's go over the specifications, so I can show you in full detail what the Viper is all about.
Specifications, Availability and Pricing
On the outside of the chassis I received you will find the front plastic bezel that is attached to the otherwise all steel chassis, which appears to be a Viper ready to strike if looking at the case head on. The top section is as if you are looking at the top of the head with orange accent lines at the top to possible be the eyes.
Below that you find six wider slots backed with mesh and a large orange Y shaped accent in the middle of them, representing the expanded neck of the Viper as it lifts off the ground to attack. The rest of the chassis is painted black both inside and out with a flat textured effect to match the black used in the ABS plastic front. On the side you do get a window, but it is tinted bronze like a 1985 Acura Legend. There is a fan in this side panel window and it and the front intake fan are both 120mm and both lit with blue LED lighting, the rear exhaust fan is a 120mm fan, but is not lit.
Inside of the Viper you will find four ODD bays with plastic tool-less latches to mount on one side with screws needing to be used on the back side to mount them securely. Below the ODD rack is the hard drive assembly that can house up to four 3.5" drives, but there are not any accommodations for a 2.5" drive anywhere in the chassis. The motherboard tray will allow for both Micro-ATX and ATX motherboards, but is set so far back in the case that there is no room behind it for wire management. In the back you will find seven expansion slots and three holes to allow for the passage of water cooling tubing, if you decide to go that route. The front I/O in the chassis I have does not offer any USB 2.0, but rather both of them are USB 3.0 with a native 20-pin connection for the motherboard. Lastly, the Viper can be delivered in one of three color choices, red, white and the black version we will be looking at over the next few pages.
From what I can gather, the Raidmax Viper is widely available and at a really reasonable price point. I know of just a handful of other case manufacturers that offer a realistic chassis to purchase in this price range, so that is something Raidmax has going for them. Looking around for the best total price it led me to the listing at Newegg.com for $69.99. There are places listing this chassis for as low as $56 US dollars, but once shipping is added, the deal at Newegg is the way to go with a to your door price of $75.98. We just looked at the Xigmatek Midgard II and seen what $100 can get you in a chassis today. So get comfortable as I show you what you get and what is possibly missing for the $25 difference in pricing.
The packaging is quite nice. Backed with shiny black, the image of the front of the Viper stands out amongst what looks like leaf litter and crop circles. I like the way the orange tracers curl around the bottom of the case and twist up the front of the chassis, it gives it more of that snake-like look.
The name Raidmax and there logo tops this panel. Below you can see the images of the three color choices available for the Viper with a basic specifications chart finishing off the available information on this side.
On the back the same design back the features as it backed the image of the front of the chassis on the reverse of this box. Here you can see inside the chassis and get your first glimpse at the odd color scheme and the ten key features listed by number on the left with close-ups and explanations on the right.
The side mirrors the opposite smaller side. Again Raidmax shows the trio of case options and a basic specifications list.
I really like the inner packaging as well. Raidmax could have shipped this in Styrofoam, but instead chose to use cardboard frames with high density foam pieces glued inside of it to secure this chassis in transit. To keep the paint and front bezel protected from minor abrasions, a simple clear plastic liner is used. I like that the packaging is stepped up, I just hope too much wasn't wasted on the pretty and secure packaging that made Raidmax leave things out of the chassis to compensate for the low cost of this chassis.
Raidmax Viper Mid Tower Chassis
After you take a good look at the bright orange accents on the rounded front bezel and how well it plays against all the black and the venting at the bottom, squint your eyes a bit and tell me you can't sort of see the snake looking right back at you. I can see where the Viper name comes from.
The head of the snake opens to reveal the four removable bay covers as well as the 3.5" bay for a floppy drive mixed in with the front I/O panel. The lower half of the bezel is ventilated to allow the 120mm, blue LED fan to glow through the vents while they supply the fan fresh air to intake.
Zooming the camera lens in, we can get a much better look at the I/O panel. On the left is the power button with the green LED to indicate system power. Below the floppy drive bay there is a pair of USB 3.0 ports with 3.5mm headphone and MIC jacks between them. This leaves the right side that has the reset button and red HDD activity light.
An odd octagonal shape is what is chosen for this bronze colored window, which even has a 120mm fan strapped to it to provide air flow through the window and directly onto your graphics card or cards. The rest of the panel is flat and receives a textured, flat black paint job.
The first look at the back of the chassis shows off some of that blue in the fan exhausting next to the rear I/O shield area. Moving down you can see the seven blue expansion slot covers and the trio of holes with grommets in them next to it. Of course the large hole at the bottom is for the PSU.
The right side of the chassis if looked at from the front offers not much more than blackness and a finger pull area indented into the steel. The back however offers plastic handles that were folded in on the last image, but here I extended them out. They do make the door removal much easier.
The bottom of the chassis appears to have large chunky feet, but in reality the case rests entirely on the four tiny rubber pads. The do keep the chassis in place and will not damage the surface the chassis is sitting on. In between the rear feet is a removable dust filter for the power supply and it is removed by pulling it out the back of the chassis for cleaning.
Inside the Raidmax Viper
Removing the side panel I could see there is definitely a side fan installed even though the specs show it as optional. I left the static-cling plastic on to show you how far Raidmax went to keep everything protected. Both the inside and outside of the window have this applied before the liner goes over the chassis.
The first look inside shows off the odd color combination I mentioned earlier. The wiring was tied up as to not flail about in transit and the hardware is found in the hard drive area in the light brown box and I use the term box lightly.
At the top of the chassis you get four blue tool-less locks to keep the four 5.25" bay devices secure if you are keeping the chassis in one place. If you plan to travel with this case, I suggest using screws on the other side as well. The lowest bay is for the 3.5" floppy drive the cover alluded to.
Temporarily the wiring is run through the hard drive bays, but it will be re-routed for the build. The four hard drive bays also have blue tool-less latches on them. The one thing I couldn't find in this chassis is a place to mount a 2.5" drive, like the OCZ SSD I run on my build rig.
The motherboard tray is pretty basic, but still offers a large access hole along with a pair both of large wire management holes with rubber grommets in them and wire tie points. There is also a section next to the hard drive bays that is open and allows you to pass wires there to hide them.
The floor of the chassis has just the hole for the power supply and oddly holes spaced for a 120mm fan in front of it, but no hole! Also the chassis serial number is added to the chassis on a sticker found here.
Inside of the back of the Viper you can see the blue, seven bladed, black framed fan exhausting the chassis and its 4-pin Molex power connection. The seven blue expansion slots are held in with hex-head screws for secure mounting of any card.
Behind the tray there is no room for wiring really, in fact a little bump at the bottom left corner of the tray is all you are given to pass wires to the motherboard at the bottom of the case. The real space is found next to the hard drives and I will be stashing things here myself.
The wiring included with the Viper is basic as well, but gets the job done. You get a 20-pin USB 3.0 connector and a HD Audio connection from the front I/O. Then you just connect the power, reset, HDD activity and power LED connections and all of the cabling is long enough for any build.
Accessories and Documentation
I broke the hardware into two groups, the screws and do-dad's and the wire management gear and here we have the latter. There are three large loops for managing wires that you can stick anywhere in the case you need them with the foam tape on the back of each of these. You also get five zip tie straps to help manage the wiring as needed.
The screws and do-dad's include a four piece set of fan screws and ten red washers to isolate the some of the thirteen motherboard screws next to the washers. The seven thicker screws are for hard drive mounting and ODD mounting while the eight hex-head screws are for the PSU and HDDs. They also include three extra brass risers and a motherboard speaker for basic diagnostics.
The user manual is presented well with the all black cover and Raidmax name and logo on it. In reality it is a very basic guide with average images that just cover the essentials for those who have never seen a case before.
On the inside it starts off with a message to the buyers and kicks right into the build showing you where the PSU goes and where the screws line up, then shifts gears over to the motherboard.
It then goes right into the expansion cards and moves into case to motherboard connectivity. They show a USB 2.0 connection which this Viper doesn't have and the HD Audio connection along with wiring diagrams for each.
Flipping the paper over it moves into the four wires for the LEDs and buttons on the front of the Viper. I do like that it says which is which and also offers the colors in the description with which wire is positive and negative. It also shows the basics on how to work the ODD bay tool-less latches. Like I said, not much going on in here, so if you are looking at how to remove fans, or get the front panel off, or anything of that nature, you are just going to have to do some investigating to figure these things out with some trial and error testing.
The Build and Finished Product
For instance, if there had been an image of the front panel removal, I might have seen that the front I/O was connected to the plastic bezel before I wired the chassis for the build. I don't know why I add the ODD last, but I am going to have to start changing my routine it seems.
I managed to wiggle the front panel enough to work in the DVD drive. It doesn't really matter much how the drive looks in here, as it will be covered by the door panel most of the time. It's just too bad case manufacturers make doors that don't open away from you on cases with windows in them.
Like I said; what DVD drive? Once the door is shut and the magnetic latches click together, the front of the chassis regains its original looks hiding the drives behind the flat black panel with the Raidmax name at the top of it.
The build went pretty well even though most of the wiring does have to stay inside of the main area from the PSU to the various components. The case won't accept long video cards, especially ones with power plugs at the end of the cards rather than the sides. The only thing I really found lacking was a secure place for my SSD, but I managed it with some Velcro in the floor of the 5.25" bays.
I wasn't really fond of the orange on black exterior with the light blue on black interior, but I do like the way the expansion slot covers make the three stripes around the two GPUs. Just something that looked cool to me is all.
As you can see, the area behind the tray is not capable of even running the 8-pin EPS back here. I did use the area next to the hard drive bays to the best of my ability to hide whatever wiring I could get into some sort of managed condition.
Powering up the Viper I first noticed the subtle blue glow that comes out of the venting in the Vipers neck. While I usually don't gravitate to cases with lots of LEDs, I like the effect this puts off with the Viper.
I changed the fan on my Enermax cooler to match the theme of this build. Through the bronzed window you can see it glowing above the blue LED fan they have mounted in the window to add cool air to the sides of the GPUs.
This is going to be the last look at the Raidmax Viper in all of its powered up and bled LED lit glory. I just thought you might want to see it all together so you have this image in your head as I give the Viper its final once over in the final thoughts on the next page.
First off let me start with what I know. I know that Raidmax is trying to deliver a wallet friendly price with a chassis that is up to today's needs in a case. I also know that not every buyer will have a native USB 3.0 port on their motherboard, rendering the USB connectivity of the front I/O worthless as there is no adapter provided for them.
Since I am on a roll, let me cover what else I think this Viper lacks. It doesn't have any top exhaust options, the option in the floor is oddly missing, but has holes for a fan there and I couldn't mount my SSD without some creativity. I didn't even get into the lack of space behind the motherboard tray, or the fact that the front access door swings the wrong way for easy accessibility. Isn't that what the door is made for, accessing things?
On the positive side, it is pretty simple to work with, the tool-less feature work as advertised and for those well enough equipped, it does offer native USB 3.0. I do like the exterior styling and the 80's bronze window doesn't look so bad once the bright blue LEDs shine through it. The interior may have a slightly dated concept and layout, but it still allowed for me to fit everything I needed into it. On top of that, the three included fans do a really good job of keeping temperatures at average levels with the GPUs running a few degrees cooler thanks to that side fan provided mounted in the window. All in all for the price point that the Viper is selling for, it really offers enough to get by, but do your homework, there may be an adapter purchase for the USB 3.0 connection in your future, too.
Since you can find the Raidmax Viper mid-tower chassis pretty much anywhere, where you get one is really up to you. The best deal I could locate was at Newegg.com for $77.98 shipped to your door. For what I did find missing, the Viper makes up for in wallet friendly savings for those that need it. I just wish I had seen a worse case just before this one than looking at the Xigmatek Midgard II. I mean for $25 more you can really get a lot more case for your money. I know there are plenty of people that need the price friendly solutions so that you can spend more on hardware. If you are looking for a case for a Half Life mod, or you are a Detroit Tigers fan, this case very well may be for you. For the smarter shoppers out there, I think this chassis will be overlooked as it just doesn't seem to that that "it factor" for me personally. This in mind, the scores will reflect the sections and not my personal taste, but I am having a real hard time fitting it into any sort of award category.
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