The XPredator stands on large round feet which have a soft base to absorb vibrations.
The reusable expansion-slot brackets are meshed for better ventilation.
The screw-less installation system for expansion cards deserves our praise. It is compatible with any cards and ensures simple and reliable fastening. The only downside is that the plastic levers get in the way when you are installing the mainboard, making you hold your screwdriver at an angle.
The XPredator offers a lot of space for building a top-performance system.
The manufacturer claims it can accommodate graphics cards with a length up to 330 millimeters and our own measurements agree with that claim. That's enough for any modern graphics card except for the Radeon HD 5970.
Well, even the mentioned card may be fitted into the XPredator if you install it in the top graphics slot because there is about 1 centimeter more of free space above the HDD rack. Although the Radeon HD 5970 is somewhat longer due to its cooler's casing, the excess length will fit right into the unoccupied bottom 5.25-inch bays.
In order to remove the faceplates of the external 5.25-inch bays you have to first take off the right (it's on the right when you face the system case) decorative molding. The latter is fitted into a plastic guide without any locks and wiggles under your hand unpleasantly if you accidentally grasp it while carrying the system case.
5.25-inch devices are secured in their bays by means of a quick installation system which follows a popular design: moving a slider extends prongs that fix the inserted device in place. The downside of this system is well-known. The prongs are smaller than the mounting holes in the device (so that it was easier to align the latter with them), making the optical drive rather loose in its bay. If you don't like that, you can fasten your device with screws.
The top 5.25-inch bay lacks a faceplate but contains an adapter for an external 3.5-inch device.
There is a thick sheet of foam rubber behind the metallic mesh of the front panel. It will help suppress the noise from the working computer, but may have a negative effect on the performance of the front fan, especially at a low speed.
HDDs are installed into metallic boxes which are then inserted into the bays. An HDD is fastened inside a box with screws using the bottom mounting holes.
There is a rubber vibration-absorbing pad between the HDD and the box if you install a 3.5-inch drive, therefore the screws are somewhat longer than standard. No protection against vibration is provided for 2.5-inch HDDs which are compatible with the boxes in terms of the mounting holes. On the other hand, ordinary 2.5-inch HDDs are not usually installed into large system cases. The only exception is the Western Digital VelociRaptor series which features a heatsink that serves as an adapter for a 3.5-inch bay. As for SSDs, they do not vibrate because they don’t have any moving parts.
HDDs are placed rather densely, yet there are gaps in between them. They should be cooled sufficiently well if there is a strong enough air flow from the front fan.
The cable for the front-panel USB 3.0 connector can only be routed to the mainboard's back panel through one of the openings for the pipes of a liquid cooling system (there are as many as four of them here).