Introduction

Aspire seems to be a company that does not mind marching to the beat of a different drummer. We have seen more boldly themed cases from Aspire than just about any other case manufacturer out there. This is not a bad thing at all though, as many, such as the X-Navigator we reviewed last year, actually represent a very good performance per dollar niche especially for the gamers out there.

Continuing in their tradition, Aspire has recently come up with a Micro-ATX form factor case dubbed the X-QPack, and let us be the first to tell you, this is by no means a case that only gamers should get interested in.

A quick search through your favorite engines on the web for "micro atx cases" will most likely yield droves of squatty-looking mid-towers with no real features separating them from their slightly-bigger mid-tower brothers. One has to wonder what the point is of getting a case that does not allow the use of larger motherboards if it really doesn't have much to offer over the nicer (not to mention only marginally bigger) mid-tower cases.

Well the X-QPack definitely aims to change all that. After a couple days of working with the unit, here is a brief summary of how we feel about the new chassis:

Aspire X-QPack

Included Features

- Excellent layout (good expansion)
- Removable motherboard tray
- LCD temperature monitor
- 420 watt power supply
- Good cooling design

Possible Improvement

- Rounded edges - Tool-Less Features (minor)


Much to gamers' delight everywhere the case comes in red, yellow, green, blue, and silver, and the model we received for review was of the blue variety.

More information on the X-QPack on Aspire's website.

External Design
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  • SilthDraeth - Sunday, July 03, 2005 - link

    In response to my above post, I simply mean to convey that if this case does well at heat disipation, and providing a well designed, thoughtful case for the microATX formfacter, then the only disadvanage you could say it has compared to say a microBTX or any other small form factor design, would be the inability to support those motherboards. In all things buy what works best for you. Reply
  • SilthDraeth - Saturday, July 02, 2005 - link

    Anyone that reads Porkster's comments knows he is anti AMD. But Porkster, if not micro atx, then what form factor? Reply
  • slashbinslashbash - Saturday, July 02, 2005 - link

    I agree, great review. I too have been thinking about building a SFF PC, and this case adds a lot of options. I especially like that it can handle extra PCI slots and 2 optical drives. The handle is pretty cool too :) Reply
  • Tamale - Saturday, July 02, 2005 - link

    I dunno man.. with cases this well designed and intel under so much fire I think atx is here for a long time yet to come Reply
  • NordicNINE - Saturday, July 02, 2005 - link

    #20, I was thinking of using that board for a Media Center PC since it has a DX9 video onboard.
    I had one earlier for a client and played with it a bit before hand. Plenty for a HTPC (MCE2k5) machine.
    I wish it had a DVI port though since I want to get a DLP TV later this year.
    Reply
  • porkster - Saturday, July 02, 2005 - link

    Pity it's ATX. It's a bit late int he day to be making ATX cases.

    .
    Reply
  • kaborka - Saturday, July 02, 2005 - link

    I've had my eye on the MSI microATX board with the RS480 chipset for building a HTPC. It has the onboard Radeon graphics + it's socket 939. This looks like it might be just the box for it. (Dunno if this board has 1000MHz HT, though.) Reply
  • NordicNINE - Saturday, July 02, 2005 - link

    I was just going to buy this case.

    I hope this review doesn't make it harder to find. :)
    Reply
  • Noriaki - Saturday, July 02, 2005 - link

    Hey, great timing. I've been thinking about shunting my current machine as is over to a Linux box and building a brand new gaming rig. My Athlon XP2100+ is a little slow these days ;)

    And I would love for it to be a nice compact case for LANing. This article couldn't be better timed.

    Are there any MicroATX boards that support 1000Mhz HyperTransport and the dual core Athlon 64s? I understand Via's chipset is a bit sketchy on A64x2s, and the K8M800 is 800 HT only I believe.
    Reply
  • Tamale - Saturday, July 02, 2005 - link

    lot of good questions here... I'll try to answer as many as possible..

    first off, yes, I wish I could've put in a more detailed review of the power supply itself - I'm currently working on getting a testbed that would be much more stressful to see how power supplies will stand up to it.

    as far as dimensions, stromgald is right that it has the right mounting hole positions but that it's just shallower.. if you had a particularly shallow optical drive and/or were careful with the cables you could probably use a normal PSU.

    I did have two hard drives installed at the end.. the seagate (sata) is behind the western digital (pata).. this was my attempt at putting as much of a load on the power supply as I could and seeing how the case handled the extra heat.

    my comment about the excess cable clutter was simply an attempt to say that if our motherboard had the headers for extra usb/firewire cables I could've routed those cables to the appropriate places on the mobo instead of just cramming them up front.

    I hope to get a system for testing power supplies in a much more informational manner very soon.

    Reply

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