The desire of manufacturers of computer components and peripherals to equip all their products with RGB lighting has received a full response from companies producing cases. After all, if there is now backlighting on fans, coolers, RAM, the motherboard, video card, and even on the power supply (except that hard drives have bypassed this misfortune), then what is the use of it in a completely closed chassis? And if earlier this issue was solved by installing a mortise acrylic window, then over time, following the example of In Win, manufacturers began to make chassis with solid side glass or even completely transparent. Aerocool, which never lags behind modern fashion, first tried to simply add plastic sides to its products, and then released a full-fledged standalone model with its own lighting system and tempered side glass instead of a steel panel. And so the body from the experimental Project 7 series called Aerocool P7-C1 was born, to which this review is dedicated.
|Type of shell||Midi-Tower|
|Dimensions, mm||550 (H) x 245 (W) x 462 (D)|
|Material||ABS plastic, steel (0.6 mm), glass|
|Form factor||ATX, MicroATX, Mini-ITX|
|Devices 3.5″ external||–|
|Devices 3.5″ / 2.5″ internal||2 / 4 (2.5″ drives fit in 3.5″ baskets)|
|Supported number of expansion slots||7|
|Fans||front – 3 x 120 mm / 2 x 140 mm (optional)
upper – 2 x 120 mm (optional)
rear – 1 x 120 mm (installed)
|Interface connectors||2 x USB 2.0, 2 x USB 3.0, microphone input and headphone output, SD and MicroSD card reader.|
|Other||Side tempered glass, dust filter front and bottom, eight-color front panel lighting with a choice of color and effect, additional LED strip, speed controller board for five fans|
|Recommended cost, $||120|
Packing and scope of delivery
The packaging of the case, painted in completely black matte color, is made very concisely. On the front of it there is only a mention of Project 7, and on the back there is an image of the chassis itself with a 3/4 turn. Detailed specifications and some marketing information the user can find on the sides of the box.
The package does not look very diverse, but it also contains a couple of interesting things, including:
- case assembly instructions;
- 400 mm long RGB LED strip;
- four reusable Velcro straps;
- fan control board;
- eight screws for hard drives;
- six motherboard stands (four more are screwed into the pallet);
- plastic adapter for a screwdriver for mounting motherboard racks;
- 25 small screws for motherboard and 2.5″ drives.
two double-sided adapters with four pins for connecting LED strips from other manufacturers.
Aerocool P7-C1 tries its best to look original, because its design is made in the form of a hexagon, when viewed from the frontal plane. Moreover, the edges of this plastic figure are concave inward, which adds an interesting optical effect to the appearance. The entire space in the center is occupied by a small-mesh metal mesh, transparent enough for the air, at the bottom of which the company logo flaunts. The white strip around the perimeter of the mesh is a tinted translucent overlay that hides the LED backlight strip. There are no outputs for optical discs, as well as external ports.
All external ports and buttons are collected in front of the top panel. There are two 3.5 mm audio jacks, a separate card reader for SD and MicroDS cards, color and light effect keys, a PC reset button with a red drive activity indicator, a large square PC start key with a system power indicator (blue) , two USB 2.0 ports, and two USB 3.0 ports.
The left side panel of the case is made entirely from a single piece of tempered lightly tinted glass. It is held on by knurled screws screwed into metal racks and will not fall off immediately on its own, even if these screws are removed. In front, above and below the transparent panel, there are small decorative grilles. In addition, the underside of the front panel is visible in front. They decided not to cover it with anything, and this slightly spoils the overall aesthetics of the product. At the bottom, the body rests on skids instead of conventional legs.
The tempered glass is 4mm thick and feels pretty solid if not dropped. There are rubber gaskets in the places where the screws are fastened. When the panel is put on the racks, it actually comes into contact with them, the screws and the ribs of the case only through these rubber bands. Thus, vibrations are not transmitted to the glass, it is not scratched, and it does not experience practically any transverse loads during the transportation of the case. This is the best way to mount such solutions among those that came across to me in the chassis, ever.
The right side panel is solid and made of metal. It has a handle for easy dismantling and is held on by two thumb screws. Takes off towards the back. The joint with the front panel is made flush here. Above and below there are decorative ventilation grilles.
There are rather small stiffening ribs on the inside of the right panel, which tends to cause the door to sag under lateral load. This is especially noticeable when installing a system with a large number of protruding wires.
The top panel is plastic. In its rear part there is a metal ventilation grill, decorated with diagonal plastic ribs. Both sides of the panel are tilted with a “house”, so you won’t be able to put anything on it.
Behind everything looks more standard. There is one ventilation grill with an exhaust fan pre-installed behind it. There are seven expansion slots, six of which are closed with disposable plugs, and only the top seventh slot has a reusable ventilated bracket. The technical hole for mounting expansion cards to the right of the slots is covered with a removable bar, which is held on by two knurled screws and easily shifted to the side if necessary. Mounting holes for the power supply allow you to install it only in the only correct orientation – fan down. The width of the case itself is 210 mm, but with the sled protruding from the sides, this figure rises to 245 mm
The bottom panel is a decorative plastic overlay that repeats the beveled design of the top cover. At the back of the panel there are holes for ventilation of the power supply, closed from the inside by a metal filter mesh, which, of course, is removed for cleaning, but this is not very convenient. Instead of the classic legs, the case rests on a plastic sled, at the corners of which four rubber feet are glued. The reserve of space from the PSU plane to the table surface is about 55 mm, although there are several obstacles along the way and the case actually touches the table with its lower edge.
Let’s look inside.