It has been quite a while since we have posted a review on a Xoxide product. For those of you who do not know, Xoxide is a company solely based around case modification and custom cases. After seeing the picture above, you may be saying to yourself ?they already reviewed this case,? which is partially correct. If you remember back to our earlier review a couple weeks ago, stock ? this case is known as the Nikao Union. When this case hits Xoxide?s doorstep, it adopts the name Xoxide X-40. Either way, since you have already seen what we think of the bare chassis, we?ll go through a quick recap, some pictures and then move onto the custom Xoxide mods.
From the bare chassis review, this case received a score of 8.0/10. The chassis itself is made of 1mm thick steel. With the sturdy construction on this case, I was able to stand on the top panel of the case without any bending, denting or transforming of the case. As you may already know, steel does have a couple disadvantages, one being weight. This chassis with nothing installed weighs in at 19lbs. This is quite a bit for a smaller ATX case, especially if you plan on lugging this piece of metal around town to various LANs. After we examined the inside of this chassis it became clear that there was a rear-pullout motherboard tray which allows the easy installation and removal of the motherboard and other components. We also noticed that inside the chassis itself has one intake 80mm fan hole (fan not included) and a rear 80mm exhaust hole (again, fan not included). As far as cooling goes, this chassis did midrange. The restrictive front panel prevents full functionality on the front intake fan since it pulls air from underneath the case. On a carpeted surface the front intake would pretty much be irrelevant. The core of this case would have to be the front bezel. Composed of plastic and Plexiglas, this chassis has a very appealing look as the entire lower portion of the front bezel lights up completely blue to act as the ?power? LED. This case came out strong from the beginning. Nikao, the original manufacturer of this case, did a great job designing everything from the easy access motherboard panel to the front bezel. To see the full review on the stock chassis see our previous review here. Let?s take a look at what Xoxide did to this chassis to make it even better.
Inside the sidepanel...
Xoxide is known throughout the modding community for their custom work on a full range of cases from Lian-Li to Nikao. When I first pulled the case from the box, I immediately noticed the appealing side window. Straight from the box, my first impression on the window was?. ?Not bad?. Although I am not particularly a big fan on pre-modded cases, Xoxide did a nice job with the window placement to allow maximum visibility inside the case. Just from looking inside the case, it was obvious that almost everything except the PSU and the drive racks would be seen ? perfect! No one wants to see your CD-Rom anyways :)! The cut itself had a straight top and bottom with a perpendicular left side. The right side of the cut was a slight curve towards the front. The corners, where the top and bottom met the left side of the cut were slightly round as well. To cover up the cut, Xoxide chose to use a low-profile black C molding. Rather than using a normal window kit, Xoxide cut the whole, installed the C-molding and later I found out they use a sticky black silicon to stick the window behind the panel. If you know me well enough, you have probably found out that I am not a fan of molding, but the molding on the Xoxide case was very low-profile compared to the typical H-molding which embeds the Plexiglas into the actual panel. When I got a chance to examine the window molding a little closer, I did notice that the curve on the right side and left side corners made the molding flare a little rather than stay tight towards the case. A quick dab of glue may be the trick to holding the molding tight to the case, but eventually the glue would grow old and wear off. When I usually think of molding, I think of an easy way out of a cut (no offense). With this in mind, I figured Xoxide had to be covering up something so I peeled back the molding a bit and noticed that Xoxide didn?t take the time to even de-bur the cut. While this is not a significant deal on the cases appearance, it does concern me with the time put into the mod ? a simple five minute filing would have made the edge smooth as a baby?s bottom.
When I looked through the case?s side panel window, I noticed something bubble wrapped and a folder. Inside the folder was an Xoxide custom etch Appliqu?. The appliqu? itself seemed fairly thick when I first got a hold of it. Since no instructions for installation were included in the kit, I assumed installation was similar to any other previously reviewed appliqu?. I removed the side panel, cleaned the outside with ?SprayWay? glass cleaner and then sprayed a fine mist of water on the window. Water is placed on the window to allow small movement and removal of bubbles during the smoothing process. I decided where I?d place the appliqu?, centered it in the window, and peeled off the cardboard backing. Once I had laid the appliqu? down on the glass, I pulled out my driver?s license and proceeded to run it over the appliqu? to try and remove bubbles if present. Once I had finished smoothing with the license, I carefully and slowly removed the paper which was left over the appliqu? and dried the window with a towel. The appliqu? came out great, but I was concerned with the number of bubbles in the appliqu?. Typically, the thickness and quality of the appliqu? reflect the number of bubbles, and I was somewhat disappointed with the outcome. It seemed as though my inference about this appliqu? being thick in the beginning was wrong, and it definitely showed!
The bubble wrapped product inside the case turned out to be a green cold cathode, also available on Xoxide?s site (but not included with the case). I could have sworn this was the exact same thing as the So-TrickComputer?s red ccfl. Everything from the switch, to the inverter cover and even to the actual ccfl tubing was the exact same. The switch itself was a circular two position switch which required a simple hole in an empty faceplate and it pushes right in. The inverter cover was a sleek black cover which kept me and other users from being shocked. Although I thought it would form a heat pocket inside the casing, I was wrong once again. After running the bulb for nearly 72hours straight, the inverter casing was no warmer than ambient room temperature. Aside from it?s blinding appearance, this may have been one of the ?greenest? green cold cathodes I have seen to this date. Rather than being a washed out green, it had a bit more color than my CoolerGuys green ccfl. Again, the heat put out by this ccfl was no warmer than ambient room temperature. With little temperature change between the inverter casing and the bulb, I would have no problem installing this in any case. I had no worries of case temperatures rising and was not surprised to see that not even 1 degree Fahrenheit was risen. These sell from Xoxide?s site for $19.99 which is a bit expensive when you consider that the same ccfl can be purchased from other sites for five bucks less.
The overall quality of the Xoxide X-40 chassis was satisfying. While I was not thoroughly impressed with the quality of the cut and time spent on the mod, the sharp edge of the cut was easily covered with Xoxide?s C-molding. Speaking of the C-molding ? Xoxide?s C-molding was fairly impressive. It stayed low to the panel unlike most other window kits and pre-modded cases which have that bulky foam H-molding. This case is normally prices on Xoxide.com for $99.99 which is a lot for a steel case, but the window and some nice lighting added would make this case look great! Currently, this case is on sale for $79.99 which is totally worth it for a modded case which already looks good without any add-ons. The case?s pullout motherboard tray and pretty front are just two of the many reasons to consider this case for an in-home chassis. If you are the LANning type, however, keep looking ? you won?t want to lug this thing around everywhere!
You can see the black silicon I was talking about here...a quick squirt on the bottom and top of the cut did the job!
See Page 2 for MORE Pictures of the actual Chassis
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