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Xigmatek Utgard

The Utgard is the largest system case in Xigmatek’s model range. It doesn't differ as much (in millimeters) from the Midgard as the latter from the Asgard, though.

 

However, the Utgard is visually much larger than the Midgard due to the massive top panel. The main design concept is the same, with meshed 5.25-inch faceplates occupying the entire front. Xigmatek seems to be getting closer and closer in its products to the Antec Nine Hundred, one of the originators of this style.

A whole dashboard can be found in the front part of the top panel: a Power button (it lacks its regular companion Reset in this system case), LED indicators, two fan speed controls, and a large selection of I/O connectors including four USB ports, two eSATA and two audio connectors.

Each fan speed control can manage up to three fans, so you can control up to six fans in total. We were only perplexed that turning a knob clockwise reduced the speed rather than increased it. That's just the opposite of what you may expect, but we guess one can get used to it.

Right behind the dashboard there is a small depression in the top panel that might be used for the various external devices you may want to connect to the front-panel interfaces. And next goes a large vent grid.

Taking the grid off, we can see a large compartment above another grid behind which a 170mm fan with nine aggressively bent blades is located. The manufacturer doesn't reveal the purpose of that compartment, but we guess it is meant for small radiators of liquid cooling systems. There are two plastic brackets inside: you can fasten radiators of different sizes by changing their positions.

 

The back panel (with two pairs of openings for the pipes of liquid cooling systems) and the right panel resemble the Midgard model. Someone may call this consistency but for others it may look like excessive conservatism. As a matter of fact, the use of a single platform for different products help lower its manufacturing cost without affecting quality.

The bottom panel hasn’t changed, either. It has two pairs of different feet and a removable dust filter on the PSU vent grid.

The left panel is different from the Midgard's, though. It now has a large meshed window stylized like the letter X. You can install as many as four 120mm or a single 200mm fan on it!

The Utgard has common traits with the Midgard in terms of interior design, too, but the HDD rack is different. It is a single-piece thing consisting of nine 5.25-inch bays, each with a screw-less fastening mechanism.

The back and bottom part of the interior is the same as in the Midgard with all its highs and lows.

There are a few facelift changes to the back panel: the screw-less fastening of expansion cards is new. Although the cards are now fastened more firmly, the mechanism is too complex. For example, we couldn’t install the graphics card when the mainboard was already in the chassis: the graphics card would hitch on the screw-less fastener with its mounting bracket. As a result, we had to install our mainboard with the graphics card already inserted into the graphics slot.

As we've written above, the front rack is a set of 5.25-inch bays one of which can be transformed into an external 3.5-inch bay by means of an included guide.

HDDs are installed into a four-disk cage which is inserted into three 5.25-inch bays and has a 120mm fan on its front panel. We like this solution because the HDD cage can be set in any part of the front rack. The distance from the back panel to the rack is 300 millimeters, which should be quite enough except for the most advanced graphics cards. Even if the graphics card is opposite to an installed HDD, there will still be 270 millimeters of space for it.

 

It was quite easy to assemble our configuration in the Utgard, but we have to note a few unpleasant things. First, we don't like that the compartment for hiding cables is too narrow. We couldn't put the 24-pin mainboard power cable in there, for example. The rest of the cables had to be laid very carefully, avoiding overlaps.

Another problem is with the HDD cage. It is inconvenient to insert it into the rack from the inside because the rest of the components get in the way. Removing the front panel doesn’t help much because it takes too much time to replace one disk, for example. Moreover, the 5.25-inch faceplates do not sit firmly in the front panel and are prone to fall into the chassis when you put it back.

The third problem became clear when we turned the assembled Utgard on. The 12V CPU cable was too close to the top fan and produced an unpleasant sound when it would occasionally fall into the fan’s impeller.

 

One more thing we can find fault with in this system case is that the fan highlighting is too dull and doesn’t make the plastic contours of the interior of the front panel look any better. We guess the problem is that the fan doesn't face the viewer with the right side. For example, the fan on the back panel looks much prettier.

 
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