GMC X-21 Trinity - Quiet Computer Casing

Many of us spend the majorioty of our spare time trying to squeeze every last drop of performance out of our computer systems. Why not consider your flat mate or partner for a moment and think about the bonuses of completely silent or near silent computing? If this is something you've been considering, you should really take a look at Shawn "Toxic" Bakers review of the GMC X-21 Trinity computer case which we promise your flat mate or partner will thank us for!
Published Sun, Aug 10 2003 11:00 PM CDT   |   Updated Tue, Apr 7 2020 12:25 PM CDT
Rating: 90%Manufacturer: GMC

X-21 Trinity - Introduction

IntroductionA computer case is something that everyone should have - while some enthusiasts may go through a transition with no case, eventually you find yourself back in one. Over the last couple of years a lot has happened in the casing market. It all started with a simple decision like a beige midi tower or a beige full tower, from there we saw the introduction of mini towers, then the more expensive aluminum cases hit the market and from there we had colors to choose from and now we have the choice of cases with windows and what not. Recently something that has become important to people is the noise factor of their computers. In the past, one of the only items that use to make a decent amount of noise was the processor cooler. We are now finding other items within people's cases which are quite loud. It may be the extra cooling that you have on the inside or your video card cooler may be slightly louder then the norm, but no matter what, there is now more and more items affecting the volume of our cases in the upward direction.The X-21 Trinity case from GMC has just hit the Australian shores and is aimed to please one particular sense....your hearing. Inside the case we find a lot of items that are designed to help reduce the overall noise of your computer which we will go into deal slightly later on. If you didn't hear your case before chances are you do now so let's get into it and see how we can reduce the noise of that beastie computer of yours.

X-21 Trinity - Specifications and The Outside

SpecificationsDimension: 200 X 510 X 440mm (Width X Depth X Height) Disk space: 4 X 5.25", 2X3.5"(internal: 5 X 3.5") 10 Drive Bays 5.25 External X 4, 3.5 Internal X 5, 3.5 External X 2 Color: Black Form Factor: ATXWeight: N.W.:10.5kg, G.W.: 11kg I/O Slots: 7 Slots/AGP expansion slots The Outside- First Glance and The FrontWhen first pulling the case out of the box you notice how different it looks from anything else we have seen before. One of the first things you notice on the front of the case is the mirror like strip that runs straight down the left side of it. Opening the front door up you notice the bays where your optical drives will sit.
One very cool item on the front is the little temperature display that sits on the strip running down the front of the case. We will have a look at this in more detail when we open up the inside of the case. Moving down to the bottom of the case you notice a very nice looking power and reset button which is surrounded by an LED.
The thickness of the door and the particular material chosen helps keep the noise inside the case. When you compare this case to something like the Antec Sonata which is also aimed to keep noise down, you notice instantly that the X-21 case has gone those extra steps to make it even better.
- Side PanelsThere isn't too much at all to say about the Side Panels, the material that helps keep noise to a minimum is on the inside of them which is something that we are going to be looking at later on in the article.The side panels, like a lot of other cases, have little indents on them so you can easily pull them on and off with ease.- Moving around to the backMoving around to the back of the case you see nothing out of the ordinary, the case simply has room for 2 X 80MM fans which we see on a lot of other cases these days as well as 7 slots at the rear of the case so you shouldn't have a problem fitting most motherboards in to your case.Overall the exterior of the case is quite nice yet it's not until we look on the inside when all the features of the case shine.

X-21 Trinity - The Inside

The Inside- All the goodiesOpening up the side panel we instantly find a nice little package hidden inside.Inside the package we find something that looks like blue stickers in the shape of a power supply as well as a load of colored screws. All the screws are labeled and when it comes to setting the case up with all your hardware it is a lot easier as you don't have to fiddle around trying to find the right screws for the right piece of hardware.Included in the case is an instruction manual, unfortunately the manual isn't in English so it is going to be pointless for the majority of you.
- Those blue stickersAs we just mentioned, the case comes with something that looks like stickers. The stickers are used to help dampen the sound that your power supply makes. You simply have to install them onto the rear of your power supply and then mount your power supply as you normally would. The pads help prevent noise from vibration by absorbing it.
- No TrayOne feature that a lot of people find handy on cases is the inclusion of the removable motherboard tray. The best feature of the tray is that it makes it a lot easier to install your motherboard.Thanks to the case being slightly larger then a midi tower you find that there is quite a bit of room on the inside and the installation of the motherboard was very easy.- Front of the caseLooking at the inside of the case you don't see nothing to out of the ordinary, at the front of the case 2 X 80mm fan spaces can be found. If you wanted to install two fans we would highly recommend choosing two slower spinning fans that are installed to simply move air through out the case. If you went for something like a 50 CFM Sunon you would be defeating the purpose of a quiet case as the fans are quite loud.Two fans are included within the case from our friends at PC Case Gear in Australia - one at the front and one at the rear, it is up to yourself if you want to take advantage of all the spots or simply just make do with the two already included.
At the front of the case is your hard drive cage which can be removed for easy installation of your hard drives. Another reason why the hard drive cage is made removable is to keep it separate from the case and to help prevent noise from the vibration that hard drives make when spinning. It is little things like this that makes the case stand out from others that are aimed at the silent market which seemingly neglect the tiny, yet highly important, things which this case does not.

X-21 Trinity - The Inside Continued

The Inside Continued- Temperature ProbeAs stated, the front of case has an LCD display to show you the temperature of the case. Inside you find the temperature probe that the LCD gets its reading from.The temperature probe can be placed anywhere inside your case, some people may choose to get the temperature of their hard drives or maybe around the northbridge/CPU area. Thanks to it being so thin you shouldn't run into any troubles when trying to place it somewhere for an accurate reading.- Silicon CoatingSilicon coating is used throughout the case to help prevent the transfer of noise. The silicon is able to absorb noise and this teamed up with such other items as the absorption pads used on the power supply the case is truly capable of being completely silent.- Absorption PadsThe inside of the case is totally covered in pads to help absorb even more sound. With most cases the noise would bounce off the top, bottom and side due to there being absolutely no absorption. On the X-21, you can clearly see the absorption pads professionally installed through out the case include the top, bottom and both side panels.
The particular pads used through out the case use 2 layers; one layer is used to absorb the sound which helps initially quiet it down, while the other layer helps to prevent the noise from traveling outside the case. In the event that some noise does come out of the case the dampeners should help reduces the noise level so you wouldn't hear much at all. - Plenty of roomAlthough the case isn't that big, you find that there is plenty of room on the inside to make working on it easy. Thanks to the 10 drive bays included, you shouldn't have any trouble fitting in all your devices.

X-21 Trinity - Installation and Testing

InstallationAs we just mentioned there is plenty of room on the inside of the case which makes installation of devices a breeze. The hard drive cage can also be removed which makes it easier to install. Other items like the temperature probe take absolutely no effort to install since you can really place it anywhere you like. One good position may be on top of your hard drive, all you need to do is simply place the probe on top and place a bit of sticky tape over the top to prevent it from moving. Motherboard installation is a breeze since you simply place it on top of the screws on the back plate and grab the screws labeled motherboard and proceed to screw it in. The pack of screws make installation so much easier as when it comes to installing a 5.25" drive you simply grab the labeled screws needed and install it. Most cases come with screws but you find yourself spreading them across the table trying to find the particular one to screw in one item, then you have to find another type for a different piece of hardware. TestingA case aimed at silence can only be tested one way and that is with your ears. We processed to install an Epox nForce 2 motherboard, Athlon XP processor with stock cooler and a Gigabyte Radeon 9800 Pro. The northbridge fan on the motherboard along with the processor cooler and the video card cooler all help to produce a decent amount of noise. When it comes to building a case you either don't mind the noise or you want none at all and these components teamed up with the fans that come with the case would help your average case push a few decibels. Once everything was plugged in we proceeded to turn the case on, we instantly wondered if it was in fact turned on or not. It wasn't until we saw a picture on the screen that we knew the computer was on - quite honestly. The case does exactly what it's supposed to do and exceptionally well.

X-21 Trinity - Conclusion

ConclusionIn the past, to have a quiet case, you had to install the case with slower spinning fans. While this will reduce the overall noise of the case, in return, you are losing valuable airflow which unfortunately increases case temperature. The X-21 Trinity gives users the chance to use high-end coolers and louder fans which increase CPU overclockability without having to put up with the normal volume increase it causes. Even if you have no interest in overclocking, who can say no to a silent operating computer?There are a lot of features within the case and a lot of them haven't been seen before in a retail package. While we have seen such items as sound dampening material, it has always been a DIY job. The X-21 gives users the chance to purchase a stylish looking, quality build case that has all the equipment needed already installed to get your PC as quiet as possible.Due to the case being made of steel its heavier then various aluminum cases which we have grown accustom to, yet you can tell it's a sturdy case and could probably handle a little beating if that's the type of thing you're into. PC Case Gear has the case available for a very reasonable $195 AU (about $125 US) and while it doesn't include a power supply it is very good value for money and does exactly what it is intended for - silent computing!Pros- Silicon Coating- Sound Dampening built in- Very Sturdy case- Very good package- Temperature probe is handy- Does exactly what it's suppose to do- Very nice black paint jobCons- Steel- No removable motherboard tray- Non-English ManualRating - 9/10 and TweakTown's Editors Choice Award

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Shawn takes care of all of our video card reviews. From 2009, Shawn is also taking care of our memory reviews, and from May 2011, Shawn also takes care of our CPU, chipset and motherboard reviews. As of December 2011, Shawn is based out of Taipei, Taiwan.

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