Gigabyte GZ-X3BPD / GZ-X4BPD / GZ-X5BPD
If asked about products from Gigabyte, most of us would name mainboards and graphics cards. Then, some would recall optical drives and power supplies but only few people would say that this company also makes system cases. And today I am going to discuss one of them (or even as many as three – it depends on how to look).
The GZ-X series of system cases includes six models. And I want to note it right away that Gigabyte’s models covered in this review are cheaper than their opponents. So, let’s see by what means the developer managed to lower the price.
I won’t talk for the entire series, but the three models specified in the heading of this section of the article are so similar that I will only discuss one of them in detail. And then I will just point at the differences of the other two models. So, I will be talking about the Gigabyte GZ-X3 system case now.
It doesn’t look much on the outside. It is a kind of a workhorse that resembles many other regular system cases. There is nothing in the exterior design for your eye to catch at. Everything is standard. Even the faceplate with button in the top external drive bay is not an innovation anymore. The case comes in three colors: black, white and silver. Frankly speaking, I can’t prefer any of them. Each is rather boring visually, even though not ugly.
Almost in the center of the front panel, below the single external 3.5-inch bay, there is a block of buttons and indicators: a large silvery Power button is in the center, a small Reset button is on the right, and a LED indicator is on the left.
There are interface connectors at the bottom of the front panel. The audio connectors are on both sides of the USB ports, and the FireWire port is in the right corner. This placement doesn’t look right to me. You cannot plug two broad devices into the USB ports simultaneously (that’s a common problem of many system cases, though). Moreover, you may find it a problem to connect a headset with a common cord which splits into headphones and microphone connectors at the very end.
The side panels are perfectly standard. They are fastened with screws. There are two vent holes: the top one has a plastic funnel (I had to remove it as usual because it prevented me from installing the CPU cooler) and the bottom one facilitates airflows near the graphics and expansion cards. You can install an 80mm fan into the top vent, but no fan is included into the kit, of course. Such accessories can only be found with much more expensive products.
The back panel is standard, too. The only notable thing here is a 120mm fan with 3-pin power connector. It is the single fan preinstalled in this system case, actually. There is no fan at the front panel. It is good, however, that the manufacturer didn’t install an 80mm or 92mm fan instead of the 120mm one to cut the manufacturing cost as some other makers do.
Now that I’ve begun to talk about fans, I want to tell you about a special accessory included with this system case. It is a splitter that is meant to transfer power from a mainboard’s connector to two fans. Of course, one fan gets the two power-related wires only whereas the tachometer wire goes to the other fan. Running a little ahead, I should confess that this splitter proved to be practically useful. The system fan has such a short cable that I couldn’t connect it to my mainboard without this accessory. The other connector of the splitter must be meant for a side-panel fan (not included into the kit).
Like the above-discussed HEC 6XR8, the case stands on robust plastic feet.
The chassis doesn’t show any innovations, either. You can see the same chassis in many other system cases of this and cheaper price range. It doesn’t bend in under your finger as easily as in cheaper cases, though. The chassis is not as rigid as in the above-discussed HEC, yet it is sufficiently robust for you to not fear about rattle and vibration. You shouldn’t also be afraid of cutting your finger when assembling your system as all the edges of the chassis are finished properly.
The slot brackets are disposable. Once you tear them off, you won’t be able to put them back unless with scotch tape or glue.
The expansion and graphics cards are fastened in a screw-less way. The design is good for its simplicity: the cards are just propped up by a common turning plate. As you can guess, when you replace one card, the others lose their support. This design doesn’t prevent you from installing a dual-slot graphics card, but the fastening mechanism doesn’t look reliable to me. As you know, modern graphics cards are often very heavy. If you’ve got similar apprehensions, you can just remove the retention plate and use good old screws – the necessary screw holes are available.