Aerocool Xpredator Case Review
By Gabriel Torres on May 4, 2011


Introduction

Targeted to high-end enthusiasts with XL-ATX motherboards (such as the Gigabyte G1.Assassin) and three or four dual-slot video cards, the Xpredator from Aerocool is a huge case, with 10 expansion slots. Because of its size, the manufacturer is calling it a “super tower” case. Let’s check it out.

The Xpredator is also available in an “Evil Black” edition, where its motherboard tray, slot covers, and upper storage compartment are painted orange.

Aerocool Xpredator case
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Figure 1: Aerocool Xpredator case

Aerocool Xpredator case
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Figure 2: Aerocool Xpredator case

In Figure 3, you can see the left-side panel of the case, which is transparent, supporting four 120 mm or 140 mm fans, or one 180 mm or 200 mm fan.

Aerocool Xpredator case
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Figure 3: The left-side panel

The Front Panel

The front panel of the Aerocool Xpredator has six external 5.25” bays, all using meshed covers with air filters. The top-most bay comes with an adapter for you to install an external 3.5” device.

Aerocool Xpredator case
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Figure 4: Front panel

The Xpredator comes with three USB 2.0 ports, one USB 3.0 port, one eSATA port, two analog fan speed controllers, and the traditional audio jacks. We think a case targeted to ultra high-end users like this one deserved two USB 3.0 ports instead of only one.

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Figure 5: Buttons and connectors

At the bottom of the front panel there is a “230 mm” fan that glows orange when turned on. The fan, however, is a 200 mm model – 230 mm is the distance between the installation screws. We are always amazed how manufacturers can easily inflate the size of their fans (to Aerocool’s credit, they do report that the real size of this fan is 200 mm, but you have to read the fine print to understand this). This fan uses a three-pin power connector and, most likely, you will attach it to one of the available fan controllers. Its technical specifications include a speed of 750 rpm, air flow of 49 cfm, and noise level of 27 dBA.

Aerocool Xpredator case
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Figure 6: Front fan

The Top, Bottom and Rear Panels

The top panel of the Xpredator features an air intake that can be opened or closed manually by the user. See Figures 8 and 9.

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Figure 7: Top panel

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Figure 8: Air intake closed

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Figure 9: Air intake opened

Below this air intake there is another “230 mm” fan identical to the one available on the front panel, with the exception that it doesn’t glow orange when turned on. You will probably connect this fan to the second fan controller available.

On the bottom panel of the Xpredator you will find an air filter for the power supply fan and a mesh for an optional fan.

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Figure 10: Bottom panel

As already explained, the highlight of this case is its 10 expansion slots, allowing you to install up to four dual-slot video cards, if your motherboard supports this configuration, of course. All slot covers are meshed.

The Xpredator doesn’t come with a fan installed on its rear panel, but it supports either a 120 mm or a 140 mm fan there. The support for a 140 mm fan is unique, as most cases only support 120 mm models on their rear panel. The absence of a rear fan can be seen as the major drawback of the product, but the manufacturer may have assumed that users buying this case will use a liquid cooling solution with a radiator that is installed in the place of the rear fan.

The power supply is installed on the bottom part of the case, and the case comes with four holes protected with rubber covers for external liquid cooling solutions.

Aerocool Xpredator case
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Figure 11: Rear panel

Let’s now take a look inside the Aerocool Xpredator.

Inside the Aerocool Xpredator

Both panels are attached to the chassis using black thumbscrews. The motherboard tray has a huge hole for you to access the backplate of the CPU cooler without having to remove the motherboard from the case, several holes protected with rubber covers for you to route cables behind it, and several metallic clips for you to fasten cables behind the motherboard tray using cable ties. The motherboard tray doesn’t go all the way to the front panel, leaving you enough space behind the disk drive bays for you to route cables.

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Figure 12: Overall look

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Figure 13: A view behind the motherboard tray

In Figure 14, you have another overall look inside the case. Expansion cards are fastened individual tool-less plastic retention mechanisms, which proved to be of superior quality. The Xpredator supports video cards up to 13” (330 mm) long and CPU coolers up to 7.5” (190 mm) tall.

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Figure 14: Overall look

Note that the power supply can be installed with either its bottom fan facing up or facing down, so you can decide if you want the fan of your power supply pulling air from inside the case or from outside of it. There is a foam frame that goes between the power supply and the rear panel, which is a nice touch. As already shown, there is an air filter for the power supply fan available on the external side of the bottom panel.

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Figure 15: Power supply compartment

You can install a 120 mm or 140 mm fan on the bottom panel of the case. The case comes with an air filter for this fan.

The Disk Drive Bays

The Aerocool Xpredator has six 5.25” external bays and six internal 3.5”/2.5” bays. The top-most 5.25” bay comes with an adapter for you to install an external 3.5” device.

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Figure 16: Disk drive bays

All 5.25” bays come with tool-less installation mechanisms, but you have to use regular screws to install devices in the internal 3.5”/2.5” bays. Each 3.5”/2.5” bay is a small drawer, having rubber rings to absorb the vibration of 3.5” hard drives, a feature not available for 2.5” devices.

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Figure 17: Drawer

Main Features

The main specifications for the Aerocool Xpredator case include:

Conclusions

The Aerocool Xpredator can be a good option for users looking for a case that supports XL-ATX motherboards with 10 expansion slots. The main problem with it is availability and pricing, which are a big question mark.

Strong Points

Weak Points

Originally at http://www.hardwaresecrets.com/article/Aerocool-Xpredator-Case-Review/1264


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