Assembling the AZZA Genesis 9000

Actually building a system in the AZZA Genesis 9000 is actually a bit daunting, due both to the weight of the enclosure and to the staggering amount of customization that can be done with it. Realistically if you just leave the motherboard tray in and build your system without actually playing with the Genesis 9000, it's not any more difficult than any other enclosure. It's going to be pretty hard to resist doing that, though.

Taking the motherboard tray out doesn't just involve removing the six thumbscrews in the rear; you also have to unwrap the cable ties behind the tray. The tray is on a pair of rails, and those rails are mirrored on the other side of the enclosure. Take it out, and you'll have to screw in some of the motherboard standoffs yourself; the Genesis 9000 only comes with the Mini-ITX ones installed by default. The back of the tray also flexes some, but that's to be expected and is actually more useful than a mark of poor build quality. Getting our testbed motherboard in was easy enough, and AZZA included the necessary mounting holes for a high end Micro-ATX board, holes which have actually been lacking in some of the other cases we've reviewed recently.

Installing our video card was also made much easier by the flex of the back of the tray. Aligning the I/O brackets with the screwholes in the back of a case can actually be difficult, but this is ameliorated by the give in the Genesis 9000's tray and lining up our GeForce GTX 560 Ti proved to be much simpler as a result.

Installing drives in the Genesis 9000 is for the most part just as easy, but it bears mentioning that the Corsair Link kit we ordinarily use for testing couldn't be installed; the steel drive trays used for mounting 2.5" and 3.5" drives bottom-mount them, and the Corsair Link box has no bottom-mount holes. These trays are sturdy as all getout, though, and they line 2.5" and 3.5" drives alike with the two hot-swap backplanes that come preinstalled. Those backplanes are also removable and can be placed behind any of the 5.25" drive bays, and you can buy more from AZZA. The trays themselves have rounded bumps in the front to make them easier to grip, too, and the 5.25" drive bay shields pop out just by pinching the sides. While mounting drives to the trays isn't toolless, virtually everything else is, and the toolless clasps are in place on both sides of the drive cage as opposed to just one (as is typical of most modern cases). The result is a very secure, very flexible mounting system.

Getting the power supply in is only slightly more difficult. You need to snap the fan duct off of the centermost bottom intake fan to slide it into the front bay, but the real trouble lies in the front cover. There are two thumbscrews which hold it in place, but the plastic snaps are too thick and snug, and as a result I actually damaged one trying to remove the front cover. That's not a huge deal since the thumbscrews do most of the work, but it's worth mentioning.

Maybe the biggest problem the Genesis 9000 has is cabling, and that's due to the front-to-back instead of lateral orientation of the drive bays. AZZA has done their best to simplify this, but routing data and power cables for drives behind the motherboard tray is a little less sensible in this case. Everything else routes fine for the most part, although it seems AZZA intended the motherboard tray to be used in the "inverted" default orientation instead of the standard ATX orientation due to where the top I/O cables are routed internally and the placement of the connectors on the hot-swap backplanes. Getting the rest of the cables in is basically child's play, though, if a bit messy due to the sheer number of cables coming off of the I/O cluster in the top of the case. Note that their fan controller has six 3-pin connectors in it, all occupied and all powered by a single 4-pin molex connector.

I appreciate that for the most part AZZA went whole hog with 4-pin molex instead of just using it a little bit here and there. If you're doing a minimal drive installation, you can actually get away with just not using SATA power leads from the power supply; it's a little more archaic, sure, but I prefer to use as few cables from the modular power supply as possible.

Honestly the AZZA Genesis 9000 is an intimidating piece of work due almost entirely to just how much you can do with it, the scope of which unfortunately can't be explored in this review. Build quality is pretty stellar, although I feel like the finish needs just a little more attention; the white plastic and white painted steel don't quite match up in tone, although going with black would probably fix that. The drive trays are incredibly sturdy, though, and the case seems to have been designed to take a bit of a beating. I can get behind that. If you're prone to tinkering endlessly your interest has probably already been piqued, but we still have test results to get to.

In and Around the AZZA Genesis 9000 Testing Methodology
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  • Grok42 - Saturday, July 14, 2012 - link

    I too agree that it would be nice to see cases reviewed with min and max setup options, I can only imagine this would take forever. I work on a social site and we have a guy that does reviews which we participate as additional testers. It takes an enormous amount of time to test and this is for simple things like specialized towels and other non-configurable equipment.

    I not exactly sure of your exact point about 5.25" bays Vs 3.5" bays but I think you and I are of the same opinion. I posted a long screed about this in the last case review that wasn't very popular. Basically 5.25" bays are pretty useless. There are almost no internal 5.25" accessories on the market anymore other than CD/DVD/Blue-Ray drives which you pointed out you only need one of. Other than possibly using one for an optical drive, the rest of the bays, while providing plenty of room for cooling, are also a waste of space.
    Reply
  • lwatcdr - Tuesday, July 17, 2012 - link

    "Basically 5.25" bays are pretty useless. There are almost no internal 5.25" accessories on the market anymore other than CD/DVD/Blue-Ray drives which you pointed out you only need one of.
    Actually you are mistaken their. I admit that the huge number of 5 1/4 "drive bays in this case is a bit odd but they are used a lot in custom rigs for water cooling which this case looks like it was really set up for.
    For example here is a page of Bay reservoirs for water cooled rigs.
    http://www.frozencpu.com/cat/l3/g30/c97/s168/list/...
    Some come with pumps as well.
    With this case you could put a rather large rad in the top and an smaller one in the bottom for a dual loop set up. Two large pumps and reservoirs would take up 4 bays.

    You also have something like this http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N8...
    Which lets you mount 31/2" drives in two 5 1/2 bays and have them be hot swappable so one could in mount 16 hot swappable drives in this case for a storage server. Or any combination of or drives you could want.
    There you go . I am sure you can see ways now to fill them with a high end water cooled rig.
    Reply
  • Dustin Sklavos - Friday, July 13, 2012 - link

    You seriously can't tell that the hard drives are going to be spaced well apart? Even after I specifically mention that the drive trays actually kind of waste space because it's basically one drive per 5.25" bay?

    We're a long, long way from the old days of horrible 3.5" hard drive cramping.
    Reply
  • P5-133XL - Friday, July 13, 2012 - link

    The vast majority of internet reviews are non-critical specifically designed to sell the product. Is because there is a potential problem with HD temps and that's why they didn't include them? We don't know, for they didn't test.

    There are lots of cases where that info is known so there are lots of alternatives so this case is not needed but if they want to review a case then they should do a good job and include important data such as this.
    Reply
  • P5-133XL - Friday, July 13, 2012 - link

    Sorry about the grammar/editing error.

    I wish to reword the sentence "Is because there is a potential problem with HD temps and that's why they didn't include them?" to be "Is there a potential problem with HD temps and that is why they were not included?
    Reply
  • MilwaukeeMike - Friday, July 13, 2012 - link

    "Bottom-to-top cooling can be very effective, but the motherboard isn't rotated ninety degrees here the way it is in SilverStone's more efficient designs, so air travelling through the Genesis 9000 unfortunately just doesn't have a very efficient default path to work with."

    If I remember right, some website did a compare of Silverstone's alignment to other cases rotated at 90 degress and found that rotating your case (or mobo inside it) made no difference in temps.

    I'm surprised this case isn't quieter, I wonder if the fans could be replaced by slower/quieter fans. As the results show, increasing the speed doesn't help much, so maybe it could be lowered.
    Reply
  • Dustin Sklavos - Friday, July 13, 2012 - link

    The point I was making wasn't that the convection design isn't what makes SilverStone's designs work, it's the fact that the coolers for the CPU and GPU are completely unobstructed in their 90-degree rotated designs. There's just a straight shot from the fans right into the coolers, while here either the CPU fan or the GPU fan is being prioritized. Reply
  • MilwaukeeMike - Friday, July 13, 2012 - link

    Found some other pics online of this case... the top looks very cool, you should throw in some pics of it. Reply
  • Sabresiberian - Friday, July 13, 2012 - link

    Very nice to see another case acknowledging the fact that larger mainboards exist, and multiple-GPU rigs need space to support them all. I would have preferred to see a 10-slot capability over 9-slot, but definitely a step in the right direction.

    ;)
    Reply
  • BlueHighway - Friday, July 13, 2012 - link

    I've been considering this case since I noticed it about a week ago. I was hoping for good results in this review, but now I'm not so certain... For one thing, my video card is the hottest component in my case (GTX 580), so I'll have to rotate the motherboard to the normal position - and I was under the impression that this alternative "flipped" design was supposed to be superior for GPU cooling!

    A minor thing I'm disappointed about is that the blue-teal LEDs will not be illuminated except when fans are at maximum speed, which I will probably never have... Unless maybe I can replace the stock fans with my Noctuas and keep them running at high speed.

    Quick question - 25" is the maximum height of the case, and as some of us keep computer cases under our desks, how much of an impact would a 3"-4" clearance above the case have on the overall airflow? I assume 25" is the maximum height, as the top is rounded, and the lowest points are maybe 23", so there's going to be more clearance in those areas.
    Reply

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