It seems like it has been quite some time since I have looked at an Azza product, but in reality it has only been since February when I took a look at the Fusion 3000. Well, they are back and this time with an over the top design and layout that really strides to deliver everything found in case design today.
While this new release is categorized as a full tower, let me warn you early, this is a massive entry for a full tower and more along the lines of what I would consider a super tower chassis. That being said, in the white variation that I was shipped, this new chassis has bold styling, but there is just something about all white cases that make things so right aesthetically.
I know you have heard before that cases I have reviewed have pretty well appointed feature sets to them, but with Azza, as I said, they really tried to cover everything, from every angle. The chassis we will soon be looking at goes beyond the grommets, management holes and tool-less features. Here we get easy swap HDD bays, room for two power supplies, lots of fans, lights, eSATA, VGA support system and room for internal water cooling. I am sure I am leaving things out too; Azza really has stepped up their game since I had a look at the Fusion 3000 earlier this year.
The full tower chassis we are going to be looking at from Azza today is the Genesis 9000. Azza has looked beyond silence, beyond the basic square design, beyond the "usual" features and is offering a case that really went through a no holds barred design process. Hopefully at the conclusion of this review, you not only understand just how versatile a chassis designed like this can be, but I also hope you can fathom the amount of things you get in this chassis, at what I consider a very reasonable asking price. While the exterior aesthetics are a touch on the bold side, it is subtle enough to win me over overall.
Have a look for yourself and see just how well you like the new Azza Genesis 9000.
Specifications, Availability and Pricing
Here stands a 25.1" tall steel chassis that when completely empty weighs in at 36 pounds. The top, front and bottom of the steel chassis get some design love from the use of ABS plastic. On top, there is the front I/O and louvered venting down the bulk of this section on the chassis. The front, of the white version specifically, uses white plastic down the sides surrounding nine black 5.25" drive bay covers. Under the row of bay covers there is a separated section to allow the power supply, if you choose to put it there, a place to ventilate out of the chassis through a black mesh panel. Both side panels are structurally enhanced with the use of pressed designs as the steel is stamped adding to the design flair and the bottom of the chassis is completely encased in a tub-like shaped piece of plastic to smooth out all of the basic squared edges, except for the rear of the Genesis.
Internally there is a lot to discuss. This chassis has a reversible motherboard tray. Not only is this tray removable, but you can flip it 180 degrees to take what is a left handed chassis as shipped and make it right handed. Along with the motherboard tray swap, the doors are also reversible, so that the better looking door is the one you always look at.
Back to the guts; down the front of the chassis there are nine 5.25" drive bays. Under that there is one of the PSU mounting areas that also offers room for two more 5.25" devices, but they won't show through the front. In the roof of the chassis there is room for a triple 120mm radiator with relative ease and a quad if you feel like playing around a little more. To cool the system there are a total of seven fans included. There are two 230mm fans in the top, two 140mm fans in the floor, two 120mm fans on the door and a single 120mm fan on the removable motherboard tray as exhaust. Keep in mind this is just the basics, there is a bunch I just want to show you, as it is discussed more throughout the review.
Shopping around for the Genesis as I received it, in the CSAZ-9000W model, Amazon has the best deal at $169.95 which seems to be the going rate for both the CSAZ-9000W and the CSAZ-9000B. Looking through the couple of pages of links I saw listings for ten places with this chassis at $150 just to realize that Newegg is actually running a huge sale on this chassis right now. While they had $189.99 as their hot linked price, when you actually go to verify it, they are listing it for $159.99 with $9.99 to ship it. I am not too sure how long this offer will last, but there is also an additional mail in rebate offer knocking the pre-shipped price down to $129.99.
At $159 I was going to say you get quite a bit on this chassis, but at $129.99 the feature to dollar ratio goes way up.
Azza ships the Genesis 9000 in a packaging to cover both models as they are seen on the right. The left side, surrounded with a green highlight, covers that this chassis has a reversible layout, the vertical air movement created inside the chassis, along with the three icons noting dual PSU compatibility, easy swap out drive bays and that this chassis can house a 480mm radiator.
On the side you get two tiny images of the chassis from the same angle as the front. This gets followed up with a specifications chart like we just covered on the last page and a list of features found in the Genesis with detailed explanations.
On the back only the white version of the chassis is shown and with the right side panel off the chassis. Around this image Azza covers the tool-free bays, the back planes for the easy swap bays, the fans on the door, the fans on the floor, both places for a PSU, the huge amount of video card room, the motherboard tray and the top ventilation.
While the two case images at the top are now switched out for the Genesis 9000 naming at the top, the specs and features are the same as we looked at on the other side.
The Genesis 9000 made a pretty long trip to arrive at my door. It seems that the thick Styrofoam enc caps and the plastic liner are sufficient to allow the Genesis to arrive dent and damage free.
Azza Genesis 9000 Full Tower Chassis
The front of this tall and slender chassis offers thick white plastic sides with almost the look of Tron with the blue stripes that illuminate down the sides. In the middle there is a stack of nine black bay covers that remove from the outside. At the bottom is the mesh area that will allow the PSU to exhaust through it.
The front makes a gentle curved transition into the I/O panel and the rest of the top surface is covered by louvers to allow good airflow, but directing the sound away from the user. To match the front, the top has the blue inserts and yes these do light up too.
The front I/O panel offers a LED and fan On/Off switch and the power button with the triangular shaped buttons and the activity LEDs are under the fan switch with the reset under the power. For connectivity you have eSATA, USB 2.0, HD Audio jacks and USB 3.0.
The left side of the chassis as it is shipped from the factory offers you a solid door with a structural and stylish bump out on it. Near the front of the chassis, there is a place that has meshed punched out of the steel, to offer a place for an optional pair of 120mm fans.
On the back of the Genesis 9000 the top offers nine expansion slots with grommets to the left of it for water cooling tubing. Moving down you run into the exhaust fan venting, the rear I/O area and another grommet and all of this is contained as part of the removable tray with use of the large black handle on the right. You can install a PSU at the bottom here, but you have to pop out the plate seen here.
The right side of the chassis offers a door panel that has not only the 120mm fans at the front, but it offers room for a 140mm fan for the video card behind it and lastly a tiny little blue window.
Under the chassis, the plastic "tub" gets screwed to the steel chassis in the outermost corners. Then four large rubber feet are applied to the chassis for anti-skid purposes. Both sides of this panel are well ventilated so the fans on the floor can draw a good supply of fresh air.
With the plastic out of the way you are now looking at the underside of the steel floor. There are removable dust filters for both the front and the back of the chassis. These will cover a PSU or two, or a single PSU and the two fans installed above this.
Inside the Azza Genesis 9000
Inside of the right door panel there are two 120mm fans mounted to keep the drives in the front as cool as possible in that long stack of bays. Both fans are 4-pin Molex powered, even though there are cool little fan headers just inside where these sit.
The first look inside the Genesis 9000 shows the long stack of bays on the left, a VGA support bracket hanging in the middle and an otherwise open and ready to pack full of parts space.
There are in fact nine 5.25" bays, but the first four are intended for 5.25" drives where the other five have hard drive sleds in them. The top two hard drive bays have back planes to allow for two of these to have the easy swap feature.
Moving in closer, you can now see that these back planes are Molex powered, contain SATA connections to make life easy and have the three pin fan headers on them. These are where I would have liked to have plugged in the door fans. There is also a RED activity LED to show if the bay is working.
Below these nine bays are two more 5.25" bays that have PSU support pads at the bottom of them. There is also a long extension power cable to allow you to use the cord on the back of the case.
The top of the chassis is removable to gain access to the 230mm fans that are already in there. You can remove them and replace them with four 120mm fans and of course a 480mm radiator.
Inside the Azza Genesis 9000 Continued
The motherboard tray has nine various sized holes for routing the cabling, with the largest two having grommets in them. Even though the tray is removable there are still thirteen places to tie up wiring to the tray. As for the support, it will house mini-ATX, ATX, E-ATX and XL-ATX motherboards.
The bottom section contains a pair of 140mm fans with something like an Air Penetrator fan grill on them. These can be removed and you can install a second power supply here. The rail along the front edge is where the motherboard tray would be supported if you were to flip it and reverse the layout of the case.
As I mentioned, this section is attached to the motherboard tray, so when it is removed, the nine slots, water cooling holes and the 120mm exhaust fan all go with it.
Behind the tray you can see there is plenty of room for the thick bundle they have strapped in back here. The straps allow you to easily remove the wiring and allow the tray to go in and out. I will be doing the wiring in this chassis as if I have no intentions to remove it once I have it built.
There are some fan connections and power leads that are run back here that connect to that LED and fan switch I mentioned. Besides those, you also get an e-SATA lead, native USB 3.0 connector, USB 2.0 and HD Audio connectors and the power, reset, HDD activity and power LED F-panel connectors.
Accessories and Documentation
This shot of the removable motherboard tray is just to satisfy me that I was showing you that with the amount of the case that is removable, most CPU coolers and video cards can all be installed, making the time you have to spend deep inside the Genesis much less.
If you need to install a floppy drive or a 3.5" device like a card reader, there is one set of adapter plates included to allow you to do just that.
In the hardware box you will find and extra pair of plastic support plates for the VGA support system. You also get ten wire tie strips, as set of PSU pads for the back PSU mounting area and a motherboard speaker.
Along with that, in its own bag, you find the extra risers, backer plates for the VGA support system and the thumbscrews to use with these and the support plates and a bunch of the HDD bracket screws. On the bottom row you get motherboard screws, 2.5" drive screws and the 3.5" drive screws.
The front of the manual is very bright and should attract your attention, at least just to leaf through it to see how the Genesis works.
Even if you just open the manual up, you are greeted with a fully exploded diagram of all of the components and they are individually labeled. Numbering from one to 22, you can check the listing at the bottom for the terminology so you can follow the text easier in the manual.
I also like to see some sort of parts checklist with a chassis. This allows buyers to verify before you even get started, whether or not you have everything you are going to need to get through any build in the chassis.
The VGA support system is mounted to the motherboard tray with thumbscrews at the end of each leg. The edge nearest is where you align the black support plates with the VGA and screw the thumbscrew into the square white plates to keep the cards from sagging. This system supports four cards total.
The bottom five 5.25" bays have these sleds in them. Now you can use the tool-less clips on the side or you can screw them into the bays so they don't come out. For both 3.5" and 2.5" drives, you use the holes in the bottom of the drives to secure them here.
I grabbed the SSD and mounted it so they you could understand what I meant. The drives don't attach the sides of the sled, just the bottom of it. Of course the four holes I didn't use will support the 3.5" drives.
The Build and Finished Product
The Build and Final Product
Removing the front bezel and the PSU cover, you can see the lighting around the edge and it is wired to the chassis, so be careful. Behind it you see that all of the 5.25" bays have knock-outs still in place and you can see the five sleds and the PSU mounting area.
Slightly disappointing is the fact that when I went to install the power supply I realize two important things. Not only do you have to remove the fan to allow the installation, but you have to remove the entire base of the chassis to gain access to the screws. This is quite a timely process for something that should take two minutes.
If you are using the front mounting for the PSU, once you have it installed, be sure to plug in the extension cable and turn on the switch if you have one. While the cover is removable, you don't want to have to get in here all the time.
Now we are getting somewhere. I was able to install the motherboard, the AIO cooler for the CPU and the video card all without having to deal with the chassis at all. Now I just need to slide this in and wire things up.
The front of the chassis doesn't change much. Even with the drive poking its ugly head out the front, it isn't too distracting from the design of the Genesis 9000. The tool-less clip alone is very secure, but if I were to travel with this, I would consider a screw or two.
With the ATX motherboard, the long video card and the large presence of the CPU cooler, the chassis looks virtually empty. There is a lot of room to do quite a bit with loading it full of components, or going all out with custom water cooling. You can see there is quite a bit of room at the top for that radiator.
Everything in the back of the case goes in really easy. The dust shield for the rear I/O snaps right in, the whole tray assembly goes in like butter and the thumbscrews all line right up with the chassis too.
I figured I could have loosely bundled the wiring like it was shipped to me, but where is the skill in that?
I chose to go ahead and use what was given to me to route the cabling and tidy things up. Even back here things look empty and I had no issues with the side panel fit.
With the Genesis all buttoned back up and ready for testing, the one thing I realized is the pointlessness of the blue window. While the accent of color is nice, in this configuration I get a good view of the PSU mounting area through the blue tinted Lexan.
With the chassis powered, the noise levels are definitely audible, but not too annoying that you need to tone back the fan speeds. With all the blue accent strips now active, you get why I made the Tron reference. It is a really sharp looking case nonetheless.
While there are a couple of very minor things that I would have liked to have gone a little different in my time with the Genesis 9000, only the PSU installation sticks in my head as a real bummer, making what should take two minutes turn into a 15 minute adventure. I like that the motherboard tray and enough of the back of the case come out to give you the opportunity to install the board, CPU cooler and cards all outside of the case and there aren't clearance issues when you go to return the motherboard tray into the case.
It has also been a long time since I have seen a chassis that offers users the option to flip the motherboard tray so that the chassis can offer the motherboard in the upright position as well as the inverted layout. You can reverse the doors to move the window to the top and even the length of the wiring is taken into consideration. You saw I had to loop the wiring and bundle others, so there is plenty to make it to the other side of the chassis and still make all of the connections to the motherboard.
The cooling provided in the Genesis 9000 creates a really good flow of air inside the chassis. Without looking at the bay fans mounted in the door, or the optional door fans on the other side, the design here is to force air from the floor with the pair of 140mm fans, while the 120mm exhaust just sips some of the heat of the inside of the case. The air forced up from the floor is mainly taken up and exhausted through the pair of 230mm fans at the top. There is definitely some audible levels of noise coming from the 120mm and 140mm fans, but with the push of a button, you can disable the fans along with the blue accent lighting on the outside of the chassis, for what I will call a "sleep mode". Aesthetically, structurally and functionally, this chassis is one of a kind in today's market. For the money, you will be very hard pressed to find anything that competes in features, customizability and that offers this much room.
If you like what you see, I say you should act fast. I don't know how long the Newegg sale and mail in rebate offer are going to last. If you can get in before the lock, you are getting an amazing deal for the Azza Genesis 9000. At $129.99 and an additional $9.99 to ship it, there is no reason a sane buyer shouldn't be looking at this chassis. While there is plenty of competition in this segment, if the exterior looks is up your alley, it just gets better the deeper you go.
As I said, with the release of the Genesis 9000, Azza has really stepped up their game and is offering some really serious competition for the much larger companies out there.
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