External Design

From a styling perspective, the X-QPack manages to find a nice compromise between 'extreme' and 'professional' through the use of classy, straightforward lines on the front of the case and a triple-window removable piece.


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Aspire ships the case with plenty of protection for all this plexiglas - there's covering on the inside and outside of all three windows and also a small piece covering the LCD display on the front.


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Looking at the front in more detail we can clearly see the carrying handle as well as the LCD readout display, USB 2.0 / Firewire / audio ports, power LED, HDD activity LED, reset and power buttons. Our only complaint with the layout here is that the Firewire port might be difficult to use if you have a larger usb device plugged in at the time, but this is a rather common problem when it comes to front port-clusters.


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Another quick glance confirms the unit's claim to being able to fully support two external 5.25" drives and one external 3.5" drive. Only a very few other cases this compact have the ability to hold two 5.25" drives, and this is one of the first areas where the X-QPack begins to strut its stuff. Speaking of size, the chassis is definitely in a class all its own. It's larger than pretty much any shuttle XPC in both width and height, but not by much - certainly not enough to be looked over in situations where an XPC might be considered. It is primarily this unique size of the X-QPack that allows it to get so many things right.

Here is an angled shot of the third window, the one on top of the case. Here we can start to get a better idea of how the case's internals are laid out.


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It's not too easy to tell from the pictures, but the front of the case is a rather normal plastic whereas the sides are a textured metal that resists fingerprints quite nicely. In spite of all the glory that super-gloss, car-paint style jobs get, there sure is something to be said for a case that does not need to be kept immaculate to look good.

Here we can see the right side of the case again as well as the back of the unit.


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The HD cage as well as the beam that supports it is visible through the window, and looking at the back we can see the nice large 120mm exhaust fan as well as the motherboard tray. Here's another shot of just the back, with the three thumbscrews that hold the top/side panel cover all removed.


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Now we can clearly see just how carefully the layout of the back of the unit has been planned. The 120mm fan fits with just enough room underneath to make the removable tray a possibility, and while the included power supply does not have the same depth as a standard ATX one, it does have the same height and width. We can also see one of the main benefits of choosing a full-fledged micro-ATX board over smaller alternatives: four PCI slots.


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Looking at the bottom of the case we find that the X-QPack uses four dark gray rubber feet to keep the unit from sliding on any surface. Let's pop the hood and take a look at what's underneath.

Index Internal Design
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  • dderidex - Thursday, July 21, 2005 - link

    Came across this and was wondering on this one...

    Anyone know if a 7800GTX can *fit* inside it? I know that was a problem with a lot of the Shuttle boxes.
    Reply
  • jndietz - Tuesday, August 16, 2005 - link

    I barely fit my 6800 GT in my X-Qpack. Granted, I had to put the card in while the motherboard tray was half in, half out, I did get it in. You would probably have an even harder time getting the 7 series in there. Great case though, power supply is a lot more solid than people believe it to be. I've got juice going to my DVD+/-RW, 36GB Raptor, 200GB Hitatchi, floppy, BFG 6800 GT. Great case, great buy. Reply
  • Gioron - Saturday, July 09, 2005 - link

    "Power Supply Spec.
    +3.3V +5V +12V -12V -5V +5VSB
    20A 25A 20A 0.8A 0.3A 2.0A "
    66W 125W 240W 9.6W 1.5W 10W
    Straight addition of the watts on the +3.3, +5 and +12 volt rails makes for 431 watts. With the incidentals added in its around 450W. There's no way this thing can actually give 420W total at any one time. Definately a dodgy power supply since the straight addition is too close to the specs. I'd guess its more along the lines of a 350W power supply, and I consider the fact that they're lying as a bad sign for reliability.

    However, that being said. You're not likely to ask this thing to put out 420W, especially on a small case like this. Its probably a servicable power supply if you only ask for 300W from it, and thats what most people need. I'd rather they didn't lie about the specs, but thats all too common recently.
    Reply
  • Jynx980 - Friday, July 08, 2005 - link

    That carpet makes me want to ralph. Put it on a table or something. Reply
  • stromgald - Wednesday, July 06, 2005 - link

    Although I haven't done or seen a comparison between the Aria and the X-qpack, from this review and reviews of the Aria, I think that the Aria can be quieter but generally runs hotter. The Aria is slightly smaller and also has a custom strangely shaped 300W PSU that probably cannot be swapped out. Some users have also complained that the Aria PSU ramps up pretty loud under heavy load. But that may be compensated by the special double aluminum/plastic case material which dampens sound very well. I found an old review of the Aria which reports 50ºC idle and 65º under load. Reply
  • leousb - Wednesday, July 06, 2005 - link

    Has Anand released any mATX MoBo review (shootout)?? Thx (links appreciated) Reply
  • SonicIce - Tuesday, July 05, 2005 - link

    1st!!!!!!!! wait aw man :( Reply
  • ElFenix - Tuesday, July 05, 2005 - link

    all that cable clutter really makes one wish it came with a set of cables.

    anyone else think case windows are getting played out?
    Reply
  • JNo - Tuesday, July 05, 2005 - link

    I agree on needing to know more about what microATX boards are out there, which was one thing that made the Aria uninteresting when it came out (no NF3 mATX boards existed so what was the point if you wanted decent A64 setup?). That's the major drawback in fact - even if the Foxconn is a decent mATX NF4 board now, when the next socket type comes out, owners of this and Aria will be probably be waiting 6+ months before they can upgrade - how frustrating.... Reply
  • IronChefMoto - Tuesday, July 05, 2005 - link

    Commenting on mATX motherboards -- it would be nice to know if and when Socket 939 mATX motherboards are going to become a wee bit more abundant. Or are manufacturers holding off on mATX models in anticipation of changing socket setups next year?

    If I wanted to build an mATX setup with the Socket 754 processor I have now, I'd be fine. If I wanted to go to Socket 939, however, I'd be hard pressed to find a decent selection of Socket 939 motherboards.

    IronChefMorimoto
    Reply

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