|Apevia X-Telstar Black Aluminum Mid-Tower ATX Case|
|Reviews - Featured Reviews: Cases|
|Written by Jonathan Jessup - Edited by: Olin Coles|
|Wednesday, 29 August 2007|
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Closer Look: Exterior
Front of case
The model I got is the all black version. There are four solid color models and four dual colored ones. For many people I think it's going to boil down to a simple question. Is the case front appealing? It's a more squared off design than the X-Navigator series.
Front of case: Visual comparison and aesthetic analysis
When powered off here is what it looks like straight on:
I feel the need to express my subjective opinion. I'll come right out and say that I like this case, but the front isn't particularly appealing to me. Specifically, it's the large lower LCD circular panel that just doesn't fit my taste. Comparatively, Apevia's X-Navigator I find has a much nicer look. The front round LCD panel looks maybe like a 1960s car headlight or perhaps the navigational deflector array on the Enterprise-D from Star Trek TNG, or it looks a little like HAL-9000 from the movie Space Odyssey 2001 (alright the HAL-9000 similarity is cool).
When the computer is turned on, the LCD looks as follows:
The front LCD display is not as impressive as I had hoped for. The voltage readings are confusing to me, as it's not a numerical digital readout like the temperature.
Too bad the LCD doesn't have a single red light in the middle on an otherwise black background. That would really make it look like HAL9000.
The top chrome-like Apevia logo (led off) looks as follows:
There is an LED behind the Apevia chrome logo insert, and it lights when the computer is on and you've connected the internal wires correctly to your motherboard. The case comes with a two port connector but the motherboard I used has a three port power connector. I stole the old connector from the old case and that worked. The first thing I noticed is that the LED behind the Apevia logo is dim and also too is the power LED by the power button. Perhaps since there are two LEDs on this one circuit that there is not enough juice to power both fully? I'm not certain. Either way, both LEDs look dim on my setup.
Apevia's Response: The Power LED behind the logo is supposed to be a bit dim, with a slight glow rather than being brightly lit. Customers have been doing lots of complaining about LEDs being too bright to sleep with and whatnot! The other LED however should not shine dim. It doesn't on the models I've tested. With the HDD LED connector plugged to the motherboard, one way will cause the LCD to register HDD activity. Reversing the polarity of the lead will cause the yellow HDD LED located next to the PLED to register activity instead.
I could not get the traditional HDD LED to work (it is next to the power button). It seems that the HDD wires go to the LCD display HDD animation instead.
Besides the all the chrome work on the front, I do like the look of the case front. The vertically grained black metal on the left and the black plastic on the right are nice and I like the S curve between them. So it's just the LCD panel and fan adjust knob (more on this below) that I don't like. I like the idea of readouts on the front of cases, sure, but this one is just, not for me. Also if you are like me and keep your computer case on the floor, the LCD panel is far too low to see. Desk space is at a premium for many of us.
Front of case: Behind panel door #1
Opening the front panel reveals the power button and reset button besides the drive bays. The panel opens 180 degrees, no more. I like the power button but the reset button is designed to inhibit accidental pressing so much that just pressing it requires a pen or other object. My little pinky finger can *just barely* press it.
Each drive bay has finger slots on each side so because they are rail mounting bays. For example if you have a CD drive, you can remove the drive out easily using these finger slots. I like rail mounted drive bays. They save time and headache.
If you want to remove the front panel, you can if you use a screwdriver. There are eight screws holding it.
Front of case: Fan Adjustment
Also there is a chrome-like knob on the front of the case. It's not labeled and I think most people at first glance would think it is a volume knob for audio control or a power button since there is no power button on the front (without opening the front panel door). It isn't either. It adjusts the fan speed.
I'd rather a power button be on the front, and a fan adjust knob be behind the panel door. The knob sticks out too far for my taste and I think it may be knocked off in an accident, like when moving the computer or walking by the computer if its on the floor. I would prefer the knob at least be much shorter or embedded somehow, be black colored, and give some indication that it is for the fan (fan shaped?).
When the knob is turned, the fan readout on the LCD appropriately shows that the fan speed is changing. There is a little fan animation on the LCD and it either simplistically animates at one speed, or doesn't animate at all.