Supplied by Aspire
The X-QPack PC case from Aspire is compact, lightweight and comes with, of all things, a carrying handle. The X-QPack comes in five colors, features windows on three sides, a 120mm. cooling fan, removable motherboard tray and a 420 watt power supply all of which are uncommon in a mATX PC case design. The X-QPack is described as a “grab and go” PC case. It’s not much larger than a toaster oven.
Aspire are no strangers to the PC case market. Aspire presently has 73 models of PC case to choose from but many of these are different only by color. The X-QPack PC case is one design that comes in five colors; silver, blue, green, red and yellow.
|Case Material||Aluminum 1.0 w/ ABS plastic front panel|
Standard Micro ATX / Baby AT
Acrylic window panel (3 sides)
ATX 420W power supply
|Power Supply Spec.||
|Power Supply Connectors||
|Drive Space||2 x 5.25″ / 1 x 3.5″ / 2 x 3.5″ (hidden)|
|Motherboard Size||up to 9.6″ x 9.6″|
|Front Panel Switch||Power / Reset|
|Front Access Ports||2 x USB 2.0, 2 x Audio, 1 x Firewire|
|Cooling Fan Space||
1 x 120mm – rear (included)
|Front Thermometer||1 x LCD|
|Front Fan Controller||N/A|
|Led Display||Power / HDD|
|Shipping Weight||10 lbs|
|Dimensions(DxWxH)||13.8″ x 11.2″ x 9″|
|Cubic Feet||1.52 (Container: 20′-680 units, 40′-1386 units, 40’HQ-1559 units)|
The small size, lightweight design, carrying handle and the three windows target the LAN party goer. The X-QPack will also serve those that desire a PC case with a bit more style for small desktop or bookshelf locations. The drawback for some may be that the X-QPack will only support mATX motherboards and not the more plentiful ATX styles.
Grab and go
The Aspire X-QPack is described as “grab and go” and this is because of the built in carrying handle.
On the front bezel are 2 USB ports, 1 1394 port, mic and headphone jack. The LCD displays hard drive and CPU temperature measured by user-placed thermistors.
The CPU temperature probe can be placed in the heatsink fins or taped to the side of the heatsink. The hard drive temperature probe can be taped to the hard drive. This isn’t the most accurate reading but a convenient feature.
The case has a window either side and on top. This has pros and cons depending on how tidy the installation is. A view of the interior can be quite appealing and Aspire accents that with a 120mm. LED fan. The addition of optional LED or neon lighting can further accent the looks but be neat and tidy with the cables otherwise there’s high potential for a view of a rat’s nest of cables and wires.
The cooling design of the X-QPack is top-notch simply for the thought process for airflow. Both the fan and the PSU have grills that offer the least amount of airflow resistance.
Grills are often an overlooked feature. A grill that is as structurally open as possible allows for easy airflow and a reduction in noise. The lower noise level may be subtle but every little bit helps.
The power supply exhaust area also features a wide open grill design. Heat can be vented easier and quicker.
There are three thumbscrews to secure the case cowling; two on the side lips and one on the top lip.
The cowling removes easily. Be aware of the tabs on the bottom edge of the cowling that must slide over top of the vertical edges along the bottom of the chassis when putting it back. These edges also do have the potential to cut skin if a person runs their finger along the edge. The stamped aluminum edges aren’t razor sharp but it is something to be aware of.
The chassis actually has many features for its small size. There is space for two hard drives, two optical drives and one floppy drive. That’s quite a lot of equipment in a small space. One of the best design features is the removable motherboard tray.
Two screws must be removed to allow access to the tray. The cowling will prevent the motherboard tray from sliding out if a user forgets to put the screws back. That’s a design feature with wise forethought. It would be rather embarrassing to forget to put the screws back then pick up the X-QPack by the handle only to have the guts slide out and dangle by cables.
A removable motherboard tray allows for easy installation of the motherboard, processor, heatsink, PCI cards, video card and RAM.
The drive cage, or rather, bracket will hold two 3.5″ hard drives. The screw at the bottom middle of the following image must be removed first.
The drive bracket slides up to remove it from the PC case.
A removable hard drive cage is another convenient design feature to allow for easy installation of components.
Remember that, as with all PC cases, drives in close proximity to each other will run warmer but there is the 120mm. LED cooling fan to compensate. No dBA specifications were available on the fan. Subjectively speaking on a scale of 1 (silent) to 10 (loud) this fan rated a 5.
The two 5.25″ and one 3.5″ bay reveals the only problem area of the X-QPack.
Installation of the 5.25″ and 3.5″ drives is a task. First there are the screws to remove. There are screws on both the left and right side of the inside of the front bezel area.
The USB and 1394 connector wires must also be removed. Next there are four clips either side of the chassis that secure the front bezel to the chassis. These must be gently pushed towards the edge of the chassis then forward to remove the bezel.
The bezel can be removed entirely but there’s no need to pull all the wiring free from the chassis. Disconnecting the bezel from the chassis need only be done to remove or install a 3.5″ or 5.25″ device. The plates blocking the drive bays simply twist off.
The back of the bezel.
The front bezel was most likely a design compromise. The act of removing the bezel is rarely done and the only annoying part of this for some may be having to disconnect and reconnect the USB and 1394 wires. A simple label on the PCB and wires would have assisted in clarifying what went back where. It can be figured out by matching the boots with the pins.
One of the drawbacks of smaller PC cases can be a limited power supply. This is especially true with mATX style cases where power supplies typically range from 180 to 240 watts. The lesser wattage worries most PC users who know today’s components are power hungry. The Aspire X-QPack delivers a robust 420 watts.
There are power leads for 4-pin and 20-pin, single SATA and two leads with two 4-pin molex and a single 3-pin molex each. Aspire should have included a dual SATA lead when the case can support two hard drives. Two SATA drives would require seeking out an optional 4-pin Molex to SATA power adapter. This power supply does not have extra leads for convenience.
There are two sizeable heatsinks in the PSU considering its overall smaller size.
Specifications for the interior 80mm. blue LED fan were also not available.
An interesting note is the inclusion of a small plastic strip on the fan.
Our guess is that this plastic acts like a deflection strip to direct air towards the exhaust grills of the PSU. When the cover is back in place this strip runs lengthwise nearer to the non-grill side of the PSU.
The PSU is made by Young Year. There are no 420 watt models on the Young Year website so it’s obviously a specialty item for Aspire.
The removable motherboard tray and hard drive bracket make for easy installation.
Two things to be cautious of; the height of the heatsink and cable management. Heatsink height is to be limited to approximately 80mm.
Cable management is another task for the user. Be wise and purchase a quantity of smaller cable ties to secure cables to each other and the frame to tidy up the appearance. Read our tech tip guide on cable and wire organization for creative ideas. There are places to hide cables such as behind the hard drive if only one hard drive is installed.
Cables can be secured to the chassis frame.
Thankfully the PSU leads are half the length of a typical ATX PSU.
EIDE ribbon cables are not as convenient as SATA cables.
The front bezel USB and 1394 connections may not be as accessible as one would want.
The Aspire X-QPack accommodates a lot of PC components for its size. The 120mm. blue LED exhaust fan and 80mm. PSU blue LED intake fan provide for a cool effect day or night. The three windows will allow for anyone to view your tidy…or messy cable management.
The Aspire X-QPack first target market is LAN Party goers. That’s self-evident due to the carry handle and three windows. The second target market are those with different space requirements such as a small desk or bookshelf and who also want a “flashier” case design and color. The X-QPack has convenient front USB, 1394, mic and headphone ports. The included blue LED fans light up the rear area of the PC case very well. The most desirable option for LED fans is to have an on/off switch for the lights.
The front bezel was a little bit inconvenient to remove but its a rare event thus a non-issue. The USB, audio and 1394 cables could have had idiot labels on the cables and the bezel PCB. Aluminum is a fingerprint magnet. Anyone will realize this after a few moments of handling the bare chassis. Remember to use a small amount of glass cleaner on a cloth then wipe down the chassis and cowling after installation before replacing the cowling. Don’t spray glass cleaner all over the components. Also be cautious of the chassis edges. They are sharp enough to possibly cut skin. We have worked with other cases that are much worse.
A word of caution is the X-QPack is a lightweight aluminum case. The chassis and its removable features can be bent. The X-QPack is sufficiently strong for a PC case but don’t be using it as a footstool.
The Aspire X-QPack is not silent. The 120mm. exhaust fan produces fan noise that is, subjectively speaking, very audible but due to the lower frequency it is not overpoweringly annoying. If the floppy device is not installed then there is room to add a 3.5″ rheobus however the rheobus would waste two of it’s three controls. Aspire may consider adding a chrome knob fan rheostat next to the LCD temperature display.
Overall there is appeal to the mATX Aspire X-QPack. High points of the X-QPack were the removable motherboard tray, hard drive bracket and the 420 watt power supply. The X-QPack packs quite a lot for such a small case.
Our thanks to Aspire for
their support of this and many other sites.
- 420 watt PSU
- Lot of features
- LAN party case
- Fingerprint magnet
- Needs a rheostat on exhaust fan
|Design & layout||9||Very good design for such a small case. Front bezel access would be hard to improve but still could use some tweaking.|
|Documentation||7.5||None came with the review sample. The Aspire website has adequate installation instructions though this reviewer doesn’t totally agree with the ease of installation Aspire states of the 5.25″ devices.|
|Features & options||9.5||LCD Temperature display, well-placed ports, a carry handle, removable motherboard tray and hard drive cage, thumbscrews….a lot for the money.|
|Modding possibilities||8.5||A pair of small NEON or LED lights could be added. 60 or 70mm. fans could be mounted in the side windows to provide enhanced cooling.|
|Overclocking features||8||Includes 1 x 120mm. exhaust fan|
|Price / value||8.5||$90 USD for this case including fans and power supply is a very acceptable price.|