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Xigmatek Spirit M Mini-Tower Chassis Review

Xigmatek Spirit M Mini-Tower Chassis Review

Today Chad checks out a new mini-tower computer case from Xigmatek, the Spirit M. We were quite surprised by what you get for the solid price.

@chad_sebring
Published Fri, Feb 13 2015 9:08 AM CST   |   Updated Thu, Jul 30 2020 4:20 PM CDT
Rating: 94%Manufacturer: Xigmatek

Introduction, Specifications, and Pricing

Xigmatek Spirit M Mini-Tower Chassis Review 99 | TweakTown.com
VIEW GALLERY - 33 IMAGES

You may or may not have seen the original Spirit chassis from Xigmatek, and we are sorry to say that we did not receive one for review. The original Xigmatek Spirit chassis was a stealthy looking mid-tower chassis, and for its time, it was very well-appointed, and offered plenty of room for all of your gear. However, something must have prompted Xigmatek to have another go at this design, because that is exactly what they have done. Xigamatek's second attempt at the Spirit keeps some of the styling from the original to make it easily recognizable, but the new design aims to be more compact.

Usually, when you think of a compact chassis design, you also think of goofy internal arrangements of the gear, but you will not find this in the new Spirit chassis. Of course, some of the original offerings had to be lessened in order to fit everything into this smaller version, but don't let your mind wander to what Xigmatek may have missed, as they did a very good job with this newer design considering the spatial constraints.

The chassis we are reviewing today is the Xigmatek Spirit M mini-tower chassis. This chassis keeps most of the stealthy appearance of its predecessor, but changes it up just enough to make it stand on its own. While the newer design is more limited in space, you may be shocked at just what can fit in this chassis alongside a Micro-ATX based system. Even if you are not in the market for a smaller tower, this may be enough chassis to inspire your next build. The Spirit M is very appealing to the eye, and offers enough room for the basic gear, and a bit extra.

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On the list of specifications that Xigmatek provides on their website, we see that the Spirit M is made of SECC steel that has been painted inside and out with black paint. There are also bits of black ABS plastic that match the black painted steel of the chassis. In this design, we have a single 5.25" bay, two 3.5" bays that also work for 2.5" drives, and another location on the motherboard tray to hold either a single 3.5" drive, or a pair of 2.5" drives. At the back of the chassis, we find four expansion slots with knock out covers. We also see the chassis will accommodate either Micro-ATX or ITX motherboards.

In this chassis, cooling is dealt with right out of the box by a single 120mm fan in the front of the chassis. Along with that fan location, there is another location in the front of the chassis for a second fan; there is even room for a thin radiator and fans for an AIO. At the top of the chassis there is also room for a pair of either 120mm or 140mm fans. There is also potential for a second AIO in this location. The back of the chassis has room for a 120mm fan, but the chart shows the fan should have been in the rear, rather than in the front as ours arrived.

The pricing is also right where we would expect for a chassis like this. No matter where you want to shop, the only real differentiation in price comes from shipping charges. With everyone asking $39.99 for this chassis, it makes your choice of retailer much simpler, and there is no way to deny the affordability of the Spirit M. This chassis is so widely available that not only can you order it online, but you can also pick one up at several brick and mortar locations. This early in the game, it is hard to have a definite opinion on this chassis, but with everything offered, and such a low price tag off, things are looking good for Xigmatek and the Spirit M mini-tower chassis.

PRICING: You can find the Xigmatek Spirit M for sale below. The prices listed are valid at the time of writing, but can change at any time. Click the link to see the very latest pricing for the best deal.

United States: The Xigmatek Spirit M retails for $39.99 at Amazon.

Packaging

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Packaging made of plain cardboard and black print is cheaper to produce, and still allows for images of the product, and a full list of features and icons at the bottom that expand upon the chassis features.

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The side panel is printed mostly in black, with the same icons shown at the top with plain cardboard. Below, Xigmatek offers another list of features in eight different languages.

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We assume this is the back of the package, but since both larger panels are identical, it really does not matter. Along with all of the things we covered before, there is also mention of the stealth technology used on the front bezel, and an address to find Xigmatek on Facebook at the bottom.

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This last panel only matches the opposing side in color. This time we find a rendering of the inside of the chassis, and a complete list of specifications shown below that.

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The Spirit M ships incased in short Styrofoam end caps to protect it from major drops and punctures to the outer box. Inside of that, the chassis is wrapped in a plastic liner to protect the front bezel, and keep the paint from rubbing off in transit. Although our sample is still squared off and relatively unharmed, there are a few places where something rubbed against it in the factory, but it's nothing that we could not clean up on our own.

Xigmatek Spirit M Mini-Tower Chassis

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The front of the chassis has a rubberized, textured application that gives it this matte finish. At the top is a single bay cover, a flat expanse of plastic, and diagonal venting to allow this chassis to breathe as easy as possible in style. We also find the Xigmatek name indented just below the venting.

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The I/O panel is at the top of the chassis, and the steel section of the roof provides an offset area that is suitable for optional fans or water cooling support. The offset helps prevent the obstruction of the memory and motherboard coolers, and allows the gear to hang in front of it with little potential for conflict.

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In the I/O panel, we find that the Spirit M offers a pair of USB 3.0 ports on either side of the 3.5mm HD audio jacks. To the right of those ports is a pair of LEDs; the red LED is for HDD activity, and the blue LED is for power. The LEDs are followed by the power and reset buttons on the right.

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The left side of the chassis offers a bump in the panel for video card wires, or for attaching fans to the angled slots off to the left. We also see louvered vents in the bezel, which will direct any sound up and away from the user.

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The rear of the chassis is simple in design, offering the rear I/O and the exhaust fan location at the top. Below that, we find four expansion slots with some venting to the right, and an opening at the bottom for a power supply.

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The right side of the chassis offers a bump in the panel to match the other side, and even has the same venting in the bezel. This bump is also designed to house any wire management.

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Under the chassis, we found round plastic feet to give this chassis some height. At the rear we see a removable dust filter for the PSU, and aside from it saying "Made in China," there is nothing going on near the front of the chassis.

Inside the Spirit M

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The bezel is easily removable, and behind it we see the cover is held by a pair of tabs. The mesh behind the venting is screwed in place, and can be removed for cleaning. The front of the chassis has the I/O panel; the front section also has an installed fan, and another fan can go in just below it.

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Looking inside of the chassis, we see an open expanse of black steel. The wiring is tended to in the ODD bay, and we also spot the hardware and paperwork in the HDD cage.

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You can mount whatever device you choose in the single ODD bay using screws. However, if you have no need for the ODD bay, it is removable. Removing the ODD bay provides room for things like radiator headers in front, and opens the top so you can fill both holes there with more than just fans.

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Along with the DCP branded fan hanging in the lower section of this chassis, we also find a rack that holds 3.5" drives with rails, and has holes in the top for mounting a drive there as well. Removing a pair of thumbscrews like the one at the bottom allows this rack to be moved completely out of the way.

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Not only does this make mounting drives much easier, but it also opens up the front for access to additional cooling installations. With mounting options on the motherboard tray as well, we could leave this out altogether.

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There is a very large access hole in the top of the motherboard tray that will hold either an ITX or Micro-ATX motherboard. There are also five tie points to go along with the four wire routing options at the top, and down the right side.

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The HDD cage can limit the length of the PSU, but the floor offers four supports to hold the PSU slightly off the floor, and in position for installation. In the tray there is a large hole to use, but the cramped space there really limits anything other than a flat-cabled PSU kit.

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This is where the specifications say that fan should have been, and this location is a bit more common for fan placement, but as you can see, there is no fan in this location. We also do not see screws in the expansion slot covers since they are break-away style.

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The right three-quarters of the tray offers a millimeter or two of room; the bump in the side panel is really all of the room you have to work with. To the left, there are holes for hanging a pair of 2.5" drives, or a single 3.5" drive, and this is the only place with room for wiring.

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The chassis wiring that comes from the front I/O panel is designed to go in a thin space. The USB 3.0 cable is the thickets, and both the HD audio and the connections for lights and buttons are on the end of black ribbon cables, so they stay flat behind the tray.

Accessories and Documentation

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The hardware is pretty basic, but contains everything you need to get a build completed. Xigmatek provides standoffs, four screws not shown as usable in the manual, and five screws to mount the PSU. At the bottom, there are a handful of M3 screws for drives and the motherboard, leaving the set to the right for use in the ODD bay.

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This kit also contains a vented slot cover to fill any broken out slot you may have. There are also four drive rails to install 3.5" drives with, eight fan screws to help fill optional fan locations, and a group of five wire tie straps to help manage what wiring will fit behind the motherboard tray.

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The provided manual is printed on this folded bit of paper; it opens up to a six panel section of instructions. While the provided text is simplistic, they use actual photographs in black and white to guide you through the process from beginning to end.

Case Build and Finished Product

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We did opt to leave the HDD rack out to allow us to use a longer PSU, and we found plenty of room in the chassis to fit our build. The only concession we had to make was to use the CPU cooler with a pull fan, as the memory would make the fan too high to fit with the panel in place.

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The dust shield snapped right into place, the video card aligned without us having to force the chassis inward, and the PSU lines right up for the screws that lock it into position.

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Wiring had to be kept simple, and using any more than the front I/O wiring is asking a lot from the standard PSU leads. This is also not how you are supposed to install the SSD, but the motherboard and its connections blocked our access to the standard cabling orientation.

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With everything packed up and ready for testing, the only thing we have to complain about is that the textured front bezel is slightly rough, and you can see that we left some DNA on the bezel and the venting slits handling it.

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Once the system is powered up, there is a slight audible hum coming from the 120mm fan. Other than that, the only way to know be certain it is running is to look for the blue LED at the top. There is also an occasional flicker of red that we missed in these images.

Final Thoughts

While this chassis is not going to be the chassis that offers every conceivable notion of what makes a great chassis, and comes with all of the goodies to make that happen, Xigmatek has put together a chassis that is better than decent; it's actually sort of impressive. Many Xigmatek designs before this seemed somewhat dated, and were either hard to stomach aesthetically, or just not our cup of tea. However, with the Spirit M, we find Xigmatek has really thought things through, and delivered quite a bit of bang for your hard earned buck. With removable dust filters, black flat ribbon wiring that is easily managed, the removable ODD bay and HDD cage, optional locations for storage drives, and even more great features, the Spirit M is quite the little chassis.

Along with the modularity, the chassis is also sleek and simply designed. Additionally, it would fit in any user situation, whether it be gaming, web surfing, or for use as a larger home theater box. Of course, since it comes with only a single fan, the cooling is not the best out of the box. However, with plenty of spaces to fill, and room for two dual radiator AIOs in this compact design, the feature set is up to speed with everything else out there.

If we had to pick out one thing to complain about, it has to be the motherboard tray offset. Since there is no window, wiring inside isn't an issue, but seeing all of the holes and tie points, then finding only the front I/O wiring can fit there was sort of a downer. Nonetheless, we overcame that disappointment and were pleased with our results.

It isn't every day that a budget-friendly chassis runs through the lab and actually earns a high recommendation from us. We can only think of a select few chassis that have earned our recommendation, and they are mostly NZXT offerings. With the Spirit M, you can start simple with a build and a low budget for a chassis of just $39.99, and be on your way. Also, since this chassis provides so many options, you will definitely be saving up for an AIO or two, and maybe even a pair of SSDs. No matter how you look at it, and even if you don't trust everything you see in print, the Xigmatek Spirit M is too affordable not to give it a go for yourself.

PRICING: You can find the Xigmatek Spirit M for sale below. The prices listed are valid at the time of writing, but can change at any time. Click the link to see the very latest pricing for the best deal.

United States: The Xigmatek Spirit M retails for $39.99 at Amazon.

TweakTown award
Performance89%
Quality including Design and Build93%
General Features94%
Bundle and Packaging92%
Value for Money100%
Overall94%

The Bottom Line: Xigmatek's Spirit M packs quite a bit into one sleek and compact mini-tower. We had a lot of fun with our build and all the options it offers, and at less than $40 to obtain it, you just have to try this chassis; it almost begs you to.

PRICING: You can find products similar to this one for sale below.

USUnited States: Find other tech and computer products like this over at Amazon.com

UKUnited Kingdom: Find other tech and computer products like this over at Amazon.co.uk

AUAustralia: Find other tech and computer products like this over at Amazon.com.au

CACanada: Find other tech and computer products like this over at Amazon.ca

DEDeutschland: Finde andere Technik- und Computerprodukte wie dieses auf Amazon.de

After a year of gaming, Chad caught the OC bug. With overclocking comes the need for better cooling, and Chad has had many air and water setups. With a few years of abusing computer parts, he decided to take his chances and try to get a review job. As an avid overclocker, Chad is always looking for the next leg up in RAM, cooling, as well as peripherals.

We openly invite the companies who provide us with review samples / who are mentioned or discussed to express their opinion. If any company representative wishes to respond, we will publish the response here. Please contact us if you wish to respond.

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