AZZA Photios 250 Mid-Tower Chassis Review

AZZA's Photios 250 mid-tower computer case represents tremendous value for money when you look at the asking price versus what you get.

Published Fri, Jun 23 2017 9:40 PM CDT   |   Updated Tue, Nov 3 2020 6:58 PM CST
Rating: 93%Manufacturer: AZZA

Introduction, Specifications, and Pricing

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AZZA is one company, which every time we visit their product page online, we see that they are constantly trying new things and pumping cases out right and left. Most of their designs have been hit or miss, but one thing is for sure, with all the options they have in their lineup, it is highly likely they have something to suit your needs. It has been some time since we looked at an AZZA chassis, and if our recollection is correct, it was the ultra-compact AZZA Z. One thing we know through all of the cases though is that AZZA has done their best to stay current in the market, and are in no way afraid to try out new things.

The theme of the chassis they have sent to us most recently, its aggressive styling on the outside, throw in a large side panel made of tempered glass, and another on the top of the chassis, then add in a PSU cover, and try not to charge a lot for it. They have hit on many of the latest trends we see in mid-tower cases such as this one, and even go as far as to light up the interior with an LED fan and a name plaque on the PSU cover. While modularity is lost within this chassis, AZZA can deliver us a chassis which has plenty of room where it is needed and has an individual look many will appreciate. At the same time making life with this chassis appreciated, even if it is not as advanced as some other cases in its category.

Today we are showing of the AZZA Photios 250 Mid-Tower chassis. Let us start by clearing up something. We have noticed some confusion online, and on the packaging, where there is a mention of the Photios 250X, and we have not been able to verify that this chassis exists. Some are calling the chassis we are showing today the 250X, but there is no such case on the AZZA website. That being said, prepare your eyes for the feat that is the Photios 250. This may not be the most spectacular chassis you have ever seen, but with the associated pricing mixed into the decision, it can easily cure whatever sort of limitations this chassis may present to the individual reader.

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The chassis we are taking a look at from AZZA is the Photios 250, and again we see a mention of the CZAZ-250, and the CZAZ-250X, so potentially there is another version appearing later. This is an ATX mid-tower chassis which is black on the inside and the outside. The left side of the chassis is made from 3mm thick tempered glass, which has EVA anti-vibration material around the edges, inside of the glass window. CPU air coolers can be up to 155mm in height, and under the cooler, a Mini-ITX, Micro-ATX, ATX, or "Full ATX" motherboard can be used.

Inside of the Photios 250, there are seven expansion slots, and even with two bays, only one 5.25" bay is usable through the front bezel. There is room for up to five 2.5" drives, while also room for up to three 3.5" drives. There is an HDD cage which holds two drives of either variety, while the motherboard tray and the floor of the chassis offer more locations. The next thing on the chart seems petty but is seemingly what differentiates between the 250 and the 250X. On the chassis we have, there is a single USB 3.0 port, and a trio of USB 2.0 ports, while the 250X has a pair of each. The front I/O panel also contains the HD Audio jacks, the power and reset buttons, and the power and HDD LEDs.

Cooling inside of this chassis is handled with a pair of 120mm fans, but they are both different. The 120mm fan found in the front of the chassis is clear, as it is also red LED lit when powered. The fan found in the back is a black 120mm fan, and both fans are powered via 4-pin Molex plugs. Optionally, you have more choices. The front of the Photios 250 has room for a pair of 120mm fans or a pair of 140mm fans and is capable of supporting a thin radiator. The top of the chassis is made to use only 120mm fans, two of them, but is raised above the frame of the chassis so that it also can support a thin radiator there too. The back of the chassis is drilled for a 120mm fan only, so the radiator support is the same, and the floor of the chassis offers no options.

On paper, the AZZA Photios 250 seems to have a lot going for it, and with such a low price, it only sweetens the deal. At this time, we could only find links to the chassis via eBay or at Newegg, but the eBay link is to a system, not just the case. What we see at Newegg is that the AZZA Photios 250 is only $59.99 currently. With what is the most affordable case offering tempered glass anywhere on it, and styling we think many will like, it is hard to beat up on AZZA or the Photios 250. We feel this chassis may not solve all of your system housing needs, but it is for sure something worthy of a serious look.

Chad's Chassis Test System Specifications


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AZZA chose to use plain cardboard with black print on it to ship the Photios 250 inside of. All of the names are contained in the black bar which runs across the top, leaving much of the panel to show an image of the chassis. Along the bottom, mixed in with the artistic pattern, is the site address.

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The right side of the box shows the company name and mission statement first, and also provides check boxes to denote which case is inside. An identical list of specifications to that which we just explained is found to take up most of the panel.

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Helping with saving money, so AZZA does not have to charge more for the Photios 250, we are looking at an identical copy of the front panel, but on the back of the box.

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The same could be said for the side panels on the packaging as well, but there has been one change made. At the bottom of this panel, we can see the first mention of the 6.3-kilogram weight of the Photios 250.

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Surprisingly, AZZA stepped up on the inner packaging. The tempered glass on the side has plastic stuck to both sides of it, but the top glass panel does not. The chassis is wrapped in a plastic bag to protect the paint and plastic parts, but AZZA chose to go with dense foam over Styrofoam which is better for protecting the heavier cases.

All of this packaging came together to ensure that even though the box was beat up, the chassis inside is damage free.

AZZA Photios 250 Mid-Tower Chassis

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The front of the Photios 250 is made of matte black plastic and is angled to either side from the high point down the middle of the bezel. An angled line crosses the bezel, which is where the AZZA name is and is where the steel mesh intake starts down the left half.

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The angle which breaks the bezel design is also where the door stops. This door is magnetically attached to the front bezel and offers a place to add in a 5.25" device, and the triangular shape below it is just a design element.

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The top of the chassis is just as aggressively styled, and the cover mimics what was seen on the front. This is also where the front I/O panel is located, with the bright red power button, USB, and HD Audio connections, with the LEDs and small reset button in another line.

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We also find a second tempered glass panel on the top of the chassis, but we are not so sure why it is here. It could offer a view down into the chassis, or, more common would be the view of a fan or an AIO radiator.

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The left side of the chassis is made of tempered glass, which is slightly tinted and uses thumbscrews to hold the glass to the chassis. However, there are no supports in the holes, so when the screws come out, the glass will fall to the table or floor. Keep that in mind.

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The back of the chassis has some passive ventilation at the top of the steel frame, with the rear I/O and exhaust fan just below it. There are seven expansion slots, which have a cover over the externally accessed screws, leaving the bottom wide open for the PSU.

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The right side of the Photios 250 is a well-fitting steel side panel. There is not any form of deflection in the panel to add wire management space, just a flat expanse of steel held to the chassis with a pair of thumbscrews at the back.

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Under the chassis, we find chunky plastic feet placed in the corners for support, and there is a slide-out dust filter under the PSU. Near the front, we find passive venting for the HDD cage, and it appears that there are holes in the floor for drive mounting.

Inside the Photios 250

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Inside of the bezel, there is no dust filter present, nor is one found on the front of the chassis. The front I/O wires are not attached to the bezel, which is nice, and we can see that the fan locations are drilled for 120mm and 140mm fans.

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The inside of the chassis is made with a PSU cover to separate the interior into two cooling zones. What we want to point out though, is that the manual is laid on the cover, the hardware is zip-tied to the ODD bays, and the wiring is bundled and attached to the motherboard tray from transportation.

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At the top of the Photios 250, at the front, there is a pair of 5.25" drive bays, but only one can be used through the bezel. We also see that the front I/O wiring will not impede on the use of the bay, as it exits quickly, and runs behind the motherboard tray.

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Below the ODD bays, there is an open area for cooling with fans or a radiator can hang here as well. The motherboard tray, just to the left of the clear 120mm fan, gives options to support a pair of 2.5" drives, and even a 3.5" drive could hang there instead.

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The front I/O wiring is attached to the top panel of the Photios 250, so you may want to add in any optional cooling here before you wire the cables. The roof of the chassis is mostly cut away, and the sides are bent to accept a pair of 120mm fans, and can also support a 240mm radiator.

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The motherboard tray has a medium sized hole for CPU cooler access but does offer seven places to pass wires. There are fifteen tie points, not all of the standoffs are installed, and there are three thin holes along the bottom of the tray.

Inside the Photios 250 Continued

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The PSU cover is squared off in its design, and the left side of it has a large plaque with the AZZA name in it. This will light up if powered. The top of the PSU cover has vent holes in two locations, one for the HDD cage, and the other if the PSU is installed with the fan on top.

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The back of the chassis has a black 120mm fan without LEDs, but like the front fan, it requires a 4-pin Molex to power it. The expansion slots covers do not have screws in them currently, and only the top slot is replaceable, the other six break out of the chassis.

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Behind the motherboard tray, we find a half of an inch for wire management. Under the CPU cooler access hole, you could mount a 2.5" drive there, making for a total of three locations so far for SSDs.

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Under the PSU cover, there is an HDD cage which is not removable. The cage will house a pair of 3.5" drives but is also drilled for 2.5" drives, but it will limit what PSUs can be used in the Photios 250.

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The PSU sits on four raised sections of steel, and we like the slot style ventilation offered under it. The PSU can be 210mm in length with the wires attached, and from the mess of wires coming out of the AZZA plaque, there is a Molex connector at the end of it.

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While the pair of USB 2.0, HD Audio, and the native USB 3.0 leads are sleeved black, but the button and LED wires are not. We can also see the Molex connection from the AZZA plaque, but we did not put the pair from the fans into this image.

Hardware & Documentation

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The hex head screws on the left are to be used when it comes to mounting the power supply and are also what is used to support expansion cards. Keep in mind; there are not enough screws to fill all of the slots. The M3 screws to the right are to be used for motherboard installation and the various drive locations.

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AZZA also send a motherboard speaker, which is something we do not see often. They also send a pair of silver screws to lock the HDD trays into the cage, and we also get the other three standoffs missing from the motherboard tray, but no socket to help drive them.

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The manual is nothing surprising, but it does provide users with most of the information needed to get through a build inside of the Photios 250. The directions are handled mainly with renderings, accompanied by statements which are as brief as possible.

Case Build & Finished Product

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We could have a DVD or BR drive installed in the Photios 250, but since it is behind a door, the front of this chassis looks as good as it did when we first got it out of the box. Keep in mind, it does present itself a bit better once powered, but we are happy with the looks from this angle.

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The motherboard is set down a touch to allow for water cooling potentially above it, but we chose to hang our AIO from the front. We did have to force the back of the chassis inward to mount the card, but there is virtually no sag in the card. The PSU cover does the job covering the mess, and we were able to run the GPU power leads through it.

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The dust shield went in without much hassle, but we are over externally mounted expansion slots, we do prefer them to be inside. The PSU slid in under the cover and aligns perfectly with the chassis to be mounted on it.

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There is much going on when it comes to wiring the Photios 250, and it shows with this mess of cables. Without a ton of room to bundle wires, we were left having to use nearly all of the tie points, and having wires running just about everywhere behind the scenes.

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Once we put the panels back onto the Photios, we almost forget the struggles as we appreciate its looks and the view through the tempered glass panel. The tint of the glass has little effect on the view inside, and once it is powered on, the view is even better.

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Now that the Photios has power and the motherboard has booted up, we see the blue power LED on top, but missed the blue HDD activity LED next to it. The front of the chassis shows the red LED fans to light through the gap in the plastic, and slightly illuminates the AZZA name there. On the inside, we can see the white lights of the AIO and the video card, which also happens to match the lighting on the AZZA plaque on the PSU cover.

Final Thoughts

The Photios 250 has shown well. While it isn't the latest and greatest of what you may find in a mid-tower chassis built recently, there is plenty in this design to be relevant. The look of the Photios 250 works well in our opinion, as we are a fan of the angular styling, and more and more we like tempered glass, even with the hazard it may present. The chassis is barely audible at 28 dB with both fans spinning at full tilt, and the LED lights aren't bad either. We found plenty of room for all of our components, yes we feel the kit was missing a few screws, but we managed to put together what the average builder would. It very well may not be your cup of tea, but we feel everything about the Photios is sufficient and hard to slam it for any particular reason.

We are giving the Photios 250 a bit of leeway here too. We could be harsh and slam AZZA for not using helpers of any sort for the tempered glass panel, but we won't we could mention having to fiddle with the back of the case to mount the GTX 970, but as level, as the card sets, we have a hard time complaining here too. We like modularity in cases, and the Photios 250 offers none. Although with 220mm for a PSU, there is no need to remove the HDD cage, we would have liked to have the ODD bays removable. Then, there could be additional cooling and radiator support, but considering the low cost of this chassis, we are willing to overlook a few minor details like this, and none of them are detrimental to the use or functionality of the case.

With everything we have seen, learned, or discovered along this route, the largest selling feature of the Photios 250 is the price. You too can have an aggressively styled, aesthetically pleasing, mid-tower chassis, and it will only set you back $59.99. This being the most affordable chassis with tempered glass, and not just one section of it either, we feel that many of you will also look past the minor details when it comes to housing the next PC build with a budget in mind.

With cases like the AZZA Photios 250, you can make a customer really happy with the finished build, you can be the envy of others who spent much more, and still come off with both a slick looking chassis as well as a fatter wallet, all at the same time.

Chad's Chassis Test System Specifications

TweakTown award

The Bottom Line: AZZA's Photios 250 delivers in spades! The chassis is quiet, attractive to look at, laid out very well, but best of all, it has a tempered glass side window to see inside. For the limited amount you need to spend, this chassis is hard to pass up on.

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Chad joined the TweakTown team in 2009 and has since reviewed 100s of new techy items. 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.

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