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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  • Dustin Sklavos - Friday, July 13, 2012 - link

    Personally I'd probably be fine with the 3"-4" of clearance. Reply
  • BlueHighway - Friday, July 13, 2012 - link

    Thank you, and a follow-up question I forgot to add in earlier:

    According to the NewEgg video describing this case, there's a button at the top of the case that turns on/off the LED strips AND the two bottom fans. In your review, you say that the "high" fan speed setting on the controller turns on the LED strips, but imply that the controller turns all fans on high. Which is it? I guess I'm confused whether there's a separate fan speed controller and a button to turn on/off LED strips and the two bottom fans.

    Operating without the bottom intake fans would just leave the side fans for intake, which could be problematic with so much left-over exhaust, unless the top fans can be flipped upside down for more positive pressure.
    Reply
  • BlueHighway - Friday, July 13, 2012 - link

    Edit: someone posted a correction comment under the NewEgg black Genesis listing, so I understand now -- the LED button lowers the top/bottom fan speeds, but does not turn off the bottom fans. Reply
  • SunLord - Saturday, July 14, 2012 - link

    The intro a paragraph for this article says you can put a atx and min-itx motherboard in this case at the same time. Does it actually have a second motherboard mount point or is it something you have to rig up on your own? Reply
  • ShieTar - Saturday, July 14, 2012 - link

    Actually it says that the "Fusion 4000" by the same company has the capability of mounting an additional mini-itx board. And according to the manual of that box, it does not only have the mount points for the second board in its "top unit", but also offer space for a second power supply for that system. Reply
  • ShieTar - Saturday, July 14, 2012 - link

    "Still, you can do it, and that's how you can install a massive radiator to the top of the case."

    Could you quantify this in a little more detail? I have just made the mistake of buying the "ideal for water cooling enthusiasts" Shinobi XL (according to the Bitfenix Homepage), only to realise that the two options for 3x120 radiatiors allow a maximum height of 75mm (top) or 85mm (front). Not enough for a 65mm radiator and 25mm fans.

    So how much combined height does this case allow for radiator and fan?
    Reply
  • BlueHighway - Sunday, July 15, 2012 - link

    Ok, you can laugh at me for this question, but I can't figure out if the LED strips on the white case are teal or more light blue. On promotional photos, they look like a pale teal color, but then on some photos and videos they look plain light blue with no green... What color are they actually? Reply
  • ViperRCR - Monday, July 23, 2012 - link

    I realize that the bottom supports the 140mm fans/rads.
    Does anyone know if the top can support 140mm fan/rads?
    I am interested in mounting a 3x140mm (420mm) radiator up top and was wondering if the mounting holes are already there for the 140mm width.
    Reply
  • nleksan - Monday, October 08, 2012 - link

    I am a believer in former following function, especially with things that are so critical to the entirety of a system (not just completed computer systems, but everything from cars to, I don't know, refrigerators)... But surely I can't be the only person who thinks that this case could have been made to look infinitely better?
    As it stands, I find the Genesis 9000 to be a truly ugly case. Plain and simple, it is the absolute opposite of "good looking" in every possible way. I am so, so, so sick of the "G@m3rZ" cases designed to look "high tech", futuristic, and tend to have thirty-bazillion "lines" (visual lines) that go up, do, wn, all-around, and still manage to intersect one another at the worst possible places. Now, I am appreciative of the fact that, unlike many of the cases geared towards 14-18yr olds who subsist entirely on Mountain Dew, Taco Bell, and Cheetos, this is not covered in strobing LEDs, useless (and terrible) "temperature sensors", and countless "features" that exist solely to pad the Case Features list on retailer's sites yet in practice actually serve no purpose but to take up space (at best) or even impede performance/function (far worse and, unfortunately, more common). I get memories of the first case I ever used to build a custom PC in, the Thermaltake Xaser V, which was (is) actually an extremely nice case with a level of build quality that is hard to find today for less than 3-4 Benjamins, and at the time the teenage me thought it was a "wicked" case with its fancy digital display and other doodads. The fact is, the Tt Xaser V is an ugly, ugly case, and while far from the worst, I have never bought a "gamer" case again.

    The most recent build of mine, and the first foray into custom water cooling since it has become much closer to mainstream (and not dependant upon Bonneville heater cores), has been in what I have to say is perhaps the absolute best case under $200 or even $250, for water cooling. I was originally going to be purchasing a CaseLabs TH10 with White Powder coating, the 85mm extended + ventilated top, XXL MB-side and XL PSU-side Windows, 6 total drive cages (a mix of Flex-Bay and regular), the entire Extended Pedestal with Reinforced Casters, USB3.0 I/O panel, 6 Flex-Bay fan mounts, 2x 4x140 Rad Mounts, 3x 4x120 Rad Mounts, 1x 3x140 Rad Mount, 1x 2x120 Rad Mount, 4x Accessory Mounts (2x Extra-Large Horizontal HD and 2x Extra-Large Vertical HD), 8x HDD Bay fan mounts (blow air up through HDDs), 6x 90deg 120/140mm Fan Mounts (for behind HDDs, and spot cooling), all fan holes replaced with Hex-Mesh Grills, PSU Support (Magnum), 8x SSD Mounting Kits, and lastly full anti-vibration kit (HDD/MB/Fans/everything) and full-case filtration. The wonderful people at CaseLabs were actually giving me a good price for buying it all at once, and I was extremely close to purchasing when...
    I saw the Switch 810 for the first time, and instantly fell in love. I was originally facing the dilemma of "CL TH10 + IVB" vs "no-CL + ultimate SB-E", and I instantly changed to the latter (although I will still be purchasing the TH10 when I add GPU's 3+4).

    The NZXT SWITCH 810 is the preeminent example of how to design a case that is:
    - Elegant and Understated yet Subtly Powerful (Aesthetically speaking)
    - Cuts NO Corners in Function or Features
    - Makes the Absolute Most of the Space Inside incl E-ATX MBs, 200mm PSU's, 10+ 140mm Fans, 7x 3.5" or 13x (up to 15) 2.5" drives, 4x 5.25" Bays including the Hot-Swap Bay and Stealth ODD bay, and insane amounts of room for water cooling (420 + 280 + 140 + 120 rad config possible)
    - Does not sacrifice airflow when you go with H2O for CPU/GPU's, unlike the majority of cases
    - Assembled entirely with SCREWS instead of Rivets (the sole exception being 3 of the 5.25 bays) making modding as easy as possible
    - Removable and easily cleaned fan filters for all intake areas
    - Almost a full inch of space behind the MB panel for cable management, with 10x cable routing grommets

    And I don't feel like a dork showing it off, in fact it fits the modern black/white/grey/blues style of my house so well that most people ask if I had it made custom.

    I guess my point is that there is absolutely no excuse for building ugly cases! It is ALWAYS possible to make an equally functional, if not more functional, case that looks GOOD, grown-up, and mature than it is to make a "Uber-L337 GamerZ Dude Mega-Ultra-TechPlus eXtreme Ultimate Gaming Case" filled with pointless ugly trash.

    The tech community has grown up (at least the gamers/tinkerers), and most of us want mature cases, we don't want stuff we have to hide under a desk because it's embarrassingly childish or tacky.

    I sincerely hope AZZA recognize this and start, at the very least, producing a line of cases with far more upscale designs. Just follow NZXT's lead (and Fractal Design's Arc/R4/etc, Bitfenix's Shinobi/XL/Prodigy, Silverstone's FT02/TJ04/TJ07/TJ10, the exterior of Lian Li cases (they are masters at making "it was so close to being perfect but it falls short" cases because they have a truly horrendous internal design philosophy which seems to be "let's make this as bad on the inside as it is good on the outside"), and of course the PREMIUM case manufacturers such as CaseLabs (by far the best enclosures ever built, ever, by anyone), Little Devil, XSPC, Mountain Mods, and Phobya).

    I promise, we are waiting...And "us" is many....
    Reply
  • DeepFrydFreedom - Wednesday, July 24, 2013 - link

    i have a question about the front mounted psu, im not gonna bash it or anything im looking forward to building my first pc soon. and im very interested in this case, but about that psu it takes in air at the bottom of the case and exhausts out the front. but my question is when you have that front panel on and the psu is exhausting air to me i looks like the only place for it to go is up or down. is the being exhausted out of the psu into the bottom part and being sucked back in a endless cycle plz reply this going to greatly effect my choice for my first pc. Reply

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