Chieftec Dragon Case Review
By Gabriel Torres on June 1, 2009


Introduction

Cases from Chieftec usually have a very “formal” looks and we were kind of surprised when we saw that Chieftec was going to release a case with more aggressive looks – by their standards, of course. Featuring four 120 mm fans and one big 220 mm fan, Dragon also supports a total of seven hard disk drives (if a 5.25”-to-3.5” adapter is used; otherwise the maximum number of hard disk drives you can have is six) and features a meshed design for improved airflow. Let’s take a look at this new mid-tower case from Chieftec.

Dragon is available in black with two color options for the top, front and side meshes: red (CH07B-R-OP, which was the model we reviewed) or black (CH07B-B-OP). The top, side and front fans glow blue when turned on.

Chieftec Dragon
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Figure 1: Chieftec Dragon case.

Chieftec Dragon
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Figure 2: Chieftec Dragon case.

The front and top panels used a meshed design, which improves airflow inside the case. The front panel can be seen in Figure 3. Dragon has four external 5.25” bays, with the lower one coming with a 5.25”-to-3.5” adapter. One 120 mm fan is available on the front panel, cooling down the hard disk drives. As mentioned, this fan glows blue when turned on and it has a dust filter, as you can see in Figure 4. To access this dust filter you need to remove the whole front panel and unscrew it, which is far from being practical. All fans from this case come with a three-pin power adapter, so you can install them on the motherboard in order to monitor their speed. They also come with adapters so you can install them directly on the power supply, if you wish. The manufacturer, however, doesn’t say anything about speed or noise level.

Chieftec Dragon
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Figure 3: Front panel.

Chieftec Dragon
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Figure 4: Front fan.

Introduction (Contíd)

In Figure 5 you have an overall look from Dragon, where you can also see its top panel, which features two 120 mm fans that glow blue when turned on. These fans don’t have dust filters.

Chieftec Dragon
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Figure 5: Overall look.

The panel containing the usual buttons and connectors can be seen in Figure 6. Dragon features an eSATA port, which is great, but its two USB ports are too close to each other, what prevents you from installing two “fat” USB devices at the same time. The right USB port is also too close to the eSATA port and you may have trouble installing devices there while an eSATA cable is attached, depending on how “fat” is your USB device.

Chieftec Dragon
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Figure 6: Connectors.

The rear panel is shown in Figure 7. It uses the traditional ATX layout, with the power supply on the top and seven expansion slots. The covers for these slots are meshed, which improves the internal PC airflow. This case also has two holes for water cooling systems and a rear 120 mm fan, which does not glow when turned on.

Chieftec Dragon
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Figure 7: Rear panel.

Now let’s take a look inside Dragon.

Inside Dragon

The right panel is attached to the chassis using thumbscrews, however the left panel uses regular screws. This is not a problem as since the motherboard tray is permanently attached to the chassis, this case doesn’t have holes for routing cables behind the motherboard tray and it has screwless mechanisms for holding disk drives, you will need to remove the left panel almost never.

The right panel comes with a 220 mm fan attached to it, which also glows blue when turned on. Our big surprise was to see that the fan was really a 220 mm fan. As you may be aware by reading our reviews, several manufacturers add big 230 mm fans that are actually 190 mm fans with a bigger frame around them. This fortunately isn’t the case with Dragon. This fan also features a dust filter.

Chieftec Dragon
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Figure 8: Side 220 mm fan.

You can have an overall look inside Chieftec Dragon in Figure 9.

Chieftec Dragon
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Figure 9: Overall look inside Chieftec Dragon.

Although this case uses a good internal construction, we think that Chieftec could have painted the interior from this case black, especially when you see the price tag from this product. More on this later.

Daughter boards are fastened to the case using a steel screwless mechanism. This mechanism is definitely better than those cheap plastic mechanisms that easily break found on competing products; however we have our doubts if it would be better if the manufacturer used thumbscrews instead of this mechanism here.

Chieftec Dragon
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Figure 10: Screwless mechanism to fasten daughterboards.

In Figure 11, you can see the two top 120 mm fans. As already explained, they glow blue when turned on and do not have dust filters.

Chieftec Dragon
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Figure 11: Top 120 mm fans.

The Disk Drive Bays

This case has four external 5.25” bays and six internal 3.5” bays. All 5.25” bays use screwless mechanisms that look very differently from traditional mechanisms used by other brands, but they work very well, holding 5.25” devices very tight. The lower 5.25” bay comes with a 5.25”-to-3.5” adapter, allowing you to install up to seven hard disk drives if you don’t have a floppy disk drive or memory card reader and won’t be using all 5.25” bays.

Chieftec Dragon
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Figure 12: Overall look of the disk drive bays.

The hard disk drive cage can hold up to five hard disk drives, using a screwless mechanism based on two rulers that must be installed to each side of the hard disk drive. A small toolbox comes installed on the top bay and can be used to store screws and other small parts. A sixth bay is available between the hard disk drive cage and the 5.25” bays, but this bay does not have any sort of screwless mechanism.

Chieftec Dragon
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Figure 13: Hard disk drive cage. Note the toolbox on the top bay.

Chieftec Dragon
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Figure 14: Toolbox.

Chieftec Dragon
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Figure 15: Rulers used to install hard disk drives.

Main Specifications

Chieftec Dragon (CH07B) case main specs include:

* Researched at Newegg.com on the day we published this review.

Conclusions

Chieftec Dragon is a mid-tower case targeted to the enthusiast that wants a mid-tower case with lots of fans and hard disk drive bays.

Strong Points

  • Five fans (four 120 mm and one 220 mm).
  • Side 220 mm fan that is really a 220 mm fan and not a 190 mm one.
  • Impressive number of hard disk drive bays (six or seven, if you use the 5.25”-to-3.5” adapter).
  • Excellent screwless mechanisms.
  • Dust filters.
  • Meshed bay and slot covers.
  • eSATA port.
  • No live edges where you could cut yourself while building your PC.

Weak Points

  • Too expensive.
  • For the price could have the interior painted black.
  • No speed control for the fans.
  • No anti-vibration mechanisms for the hard disk drives.
  • The two USB ports are too close to each other, preventing you from installing two “fat” USB devices at the same time.

In summary, we were very impressed by Chieftec Dragon. The only real drawback from this product is its price (USD 150), especially when we have CM Storm Scout, a case with an outstanding overall quality being sold for USD 100 (which doesn’t provide the side 220 mm fan though). And for only USD 10 more you can buy the newest full-tower case from Zalman, GS1000 SE. Chieftec needs to lower the price from this product a little bit if they want to stay competitive and improve the cost/benefit ratio from this case.

Originally at http://www.hardwaresecrets.com/article/Chieftec-Dragon-Case-Review/724


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