If geeks love it, we’re on it

Aspire X-QPack PC Case

Aspire X-QPack PC Case

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.

case_ws

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.

x_qpack_silver

x_qpack_blue

x_qpack_green

x_qpack_red

Specifications

Model No. X-QPACK-AL/420
Case Material Aluminum 1.0 w/ ABS plastic front panel
Color Black/Silver
Main Board

Standard Micro ATX / Baby AT

Window

Acrylic window panel (3 sides)

Power Supply

ATX 420W power supply

  • High-gloss mirror finish
  • 1*80mm built-in UV blue LED fan
  • Wire management:all wires are sleeved
  • Size:116 x 149 x 87 mm
Power Supply Spec.
AC INPUT
115V/230V – 60/50Hz
DC OUTPUT
+3.3V
+5V
+12V
-12V
-5V
+5VSB
420W
Max
Combined
Watts
20A
25A
13A
0.8A
0.3A
2.0A
420W
Power Supply Connectors
  • 1 x Main Power
  • 1 x 12V (P4)
  • 4 x Peripheral
  • 1 x Floppy
  • 1 x SATA
Drive Space 2 x 5.25″ / 1 x 3.5″ / 2 x 3.5″ (hidden)
Motherboard Size up to 9.6″ x 9.6″
Expansion Slots 4
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.

case_handle_down

case_handle_up

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.

case_ecu_ports

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.

temp_display

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.

case_side_left

case_side_right

case_ws

 

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.

case_back

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.

case_cu_fan_area

The power supply exhaust area also features a wide open grill design. Heat can be vented easier and quicker.

case_psu_grill

There are three thumbscrews to secure the case cowling; two on the side lips and one on the top lip.

thumbscrew_bottom

thumbscrew_top

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.

chassis_sharp_edges

chassis_ws

 

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.

chassis_mobo_part_out

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.

mobo_tray

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.

chassis_cu_hard_drive

The drive bracket slides up to remove it from the PC case.

drive_cage_in

drive_cage_out

A removable hard drive cage is another convenient design feature to allow for easy installation of components.

drive_cage

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.

chassis_rear_fan

 

The two 5.25″ and one 3.5″ bay reveals the only problem area of the X-QPack.

chassis_optical_drive_bay

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.

bezel_screws

bezel_front_panel_connects

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.

bezel_clips

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.

bezel_chassis

The back of the bezel.

bezel_back

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.

psu_ws

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.

psu_ws_cover_off

psu_heatsinks

Specifications for the interior 80mm. blue LED fan were also not available.

psu_ws_fan

An interesting note is the inclusion of a small plastic strip on the fan.

psu_cu_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.

psu_brand

Installation

The removable motherboard tray and hard drive bracket make for easy installation.

install_mobo_tray

Two things to be cautious of; the height of the heatsink and cable management. Heatsink height is to be limited to approximately 80mm.

install_heatsink_clearance

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.

install_hide_cables

Cables can be secured to the chassis frame.

chassis_braces

Thankfully the PSU leads are half the length of a typical ATX PSU.

install_psu_area

EIDE ribbon cables are not as convenient as SATA cables.

install_side_left_ws

The front bezel USB and 1394 connections may not be as accessible as one would want.

install_front_connects

install_ws_no_cover

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.

install_ws_left

install_rear_ws

install_ws_on_right

install_ws_right_dark

Conclusion

case_ws

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.

install_ws_on_right

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.

Highs

  • 420 watt PSU
  • Lot of features
  • LAN party case

Lows

  • Fingerprint magnet
  • Needs a rheostat on exhaust fan

Scores Breakdown
Attribute Score Comments
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.
Total score 51/60 85%

Comments

  1. csimon
    csimon very nice ...I may have to try one! :thumbsup:
  2. GrayFox
    GrayFox Good review :)
  3. profdlp
    profdlp Let's see, 420W PSU, room for two HD's & two Optical Drives, decent cooling, and a stylish appearance. Four of those five items (style is subjective) address the reasons I would have previously considered an mATX system as a novelty. It looks like I've some rethinking to do, especially considering the price tag.
  4. csimon
    csimon but which mobo?
  5. profdlp
    profdlp
    csimon said:
    but which mobo?
    Probably this one. :D
  6. Unregistered
    Unregistered Great review with lots of pictures that most sites don't post.

    One question: How sturdy did the handle feel? Were you ever worried the rest of the case would crash to the ground with just a handle left in your hand?
  7. MediaMan
    MediaMan No....

    But I wouldn't swing it about your head like a monkey in a cage with a piece of luggage.
  8. supertone
    supertone Here are some current mods to my new X-QPack.
    System: ASUS K8V-MX, AMD Athlon 64 3400+, 1GB Hyper-X 3200,
    200GB WD SATA, XFX 6800GT, Audigy 2.
    Mods: Zalman 7700 CPU cooler, just fits!, NV5 Video cooler
    Plans are to add vent for video cooler and additional case fans.
    Current Temps at idle are CPU 35C, video 49C. :thumbsup:
  9. MediaMan
    MediaMan :eek:

    Wow...that's a REALLY tight fit on that heatsink. :cool:
  10. supertone
    supertone Added intake tube for 6800GT NV5 cooler also tried
    an 80mm fan in the same location, resulting in the same temps.
    (see image). I will add a fan guard to fill in the holes to keep kids
    fingers intact. ;D
  11. K-Bob
    K-Bob Just got one (silver) and am really liking it so far. Got a MSI RS480M2-IL mobo w/ a AMD 64 3000+, Seagate Barracuda 160GB 7200 SATA HDD, LiteOn DVD-RW...

    Installation was a snap. I think Aspire has corrected some of the issues mentioned in this review.

    - There's plenty of clearance on the stock AMD heatsink / fan; probably about 3/4 inch maybe. But I can see how it would be an issue w/ bigger sinks.

    - The rear fan is a bit noisy, but at a fairly low frequency whir.

    - All the wires from the front panel were labeled on mine, so no problems figuring out what went where.

    - I did not have to remove the front bezel to install my 5.25 optical drive. Not sure why the reviewer did.

    - The internal frame appears fairly strong. However the shell and windows are very thin; something could puncture / fracture them fairly easily. I don't think the case will fall apart, but don't bang it around either.

    - Handle seems OK too: good enough for basic carrying, but don't stress it too much.

    - So far the thing is running cool (26 cpu, 23 hdd) but i haven't pushed it at all.
  12. TheLostSwede
    TheLostSwede I just built a rig with this case and i forced in a XP-120 heatsink actually. I'm not sure if i can get it out though....lol.
  13. Wikipedia
    Wikipedia New Ways of Thinking...

    One of the newest and latest ideas......

Howdy, ! Got something to say?