Articles: Cases/PSU

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AeroCool XPredator



The XPredator seems to be only different from the above-discussed Thermaltake in a few details such as the side window, the scaly armor on its top, and the more generous selection of front-panel interfaces. Otherwise, it is quite a typical mainstream system case.


The difference in size is more conspicuous, though. This recently released XPredator from AeroCool is a big tower and offers as many as 10 expansion slots. Besides people who have mainboards of the rather rare XL-ATX form-factor (the XPredator is perfectly compatible with them), this should be appreciated by those who build multi-GPU subsystems out of several graphics cards and also need one or two free expansion slots below the bottom PCI-Express x16.


The XPredator comes with a set of fasteners, single-use cable straps and a user manual.


The scales on the top panel are a distinguishing trait of the XPredator which seems to have been borrowed from Alienware. Besides adding an aggressive edge to the exterior design, they serve a practical purpose as a vent grid. You may want to open them for the top fan to work efficiently but you can also close them when you don’t use your computer to keep off dust which is a plague of most system cases with a top-panel fan. The scales are opened/closed by moving the plastic slider on the top of the XPredator.


The XPredator is more robust than the Thermaltake Element G. Its chassis is 0.8mm steel whereas the side panels are as thick as 1 millimeter!


Still, we can’t say that the XPredator is perfectly rigid. Like with the Element G, there are no complaints only when the system case is fully assembled. But if you take the side panels off, the whole arrangement wobbles under your hand, even though not as much as the Element G does.

The plate with controls and front-panel connectors can be found in the same location as on the Element G: the slanting top of the front panel. It seems to be made from aluminum at first but that’s just an illusion. The appearance of rough metal is created with the help of a trivial sticker which isn’t even fastened neatly. On the other hand, the sticker allows highlighting the name of the system case when it’s turned on. This looks quite effective, we must confess.


The selection of controls and interface ports is quite impressive, too. There are two knobs of fan controllers (each of which can be hooked up to three 3-pin fans), three USB 2.0 ports, one USB 3.0 and one eSATA, headphone and microphone connectors. The Power button is not accompanied with its traditional companion Reset although the latter may still be occasionally necessary.

To the sides of the plate with controls and connectors there are two decorative orange highlights that do double duty as HDD activity indicators (the orange highlight is accompanied with white). Behind that plate, on the top panel of the case, there is a depression with a soft rubber base for storing various small things. There is an AeroCool logo there. The rubber base has a rough surface which is hard to clean.

Overall, the top part of the XPredator looks attractive, representing a nice digression from the commonplace design solutions that have become as boring as the gray boxes of over a decade ago.

As opposed to the above-discussed model, the XPredator doesn’t show any signs of its maker’s trying to cut the manufacturing cost. The front-panel brackets are not reusable, but it’s the same even with more expensive products. The feet and expansion-card brackets, which are the most common details to be made cheap, are blameless here.

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