Date Joined: 08/26/04
Pros: Kepler is a winner in my book, gone are the days of needing a nuclear reactor to power your nVidia card and needing the cooler facilities of a reactor to keep it from going thermal. Average temperatures in games are actually lower than my IB i5-3570K with aftermarket cooling, and it's power profile is low enough that I only needed a good quality 650W PSU for my build to be sufficient. Can play almost anything out right now on ultra with a single card at 1920x1080, and with reduced settings (in some games) at 2560x1440. It's also quiet enough I can leave my rig running F@H in my bedroom and still sleep soundly.
Cons: Seems like the price keeps going up, rather than down. I purchased mine shortly after launch at a brick and mortar for $399.99, now it's $447.99 online shipped, as I look to get a 2nd card for Folding. I guess there's no price too high for awesome.
Overall Review: nVidia finally made something that put them back on my buy-list, and not a moment too soon for my new build this year. Much more solid drivers than the competitors, although missing some key features, I'd much rather have stability and performance.
Pros: This case is done right. Little details like having a pre-installed foam gasket fitted where the power supply is installed or having fan filters for the top fans which don't require you to open the case to remove. While I love my other cases, and this shares a cooling design methodology with a lot of chassis on the market right now, the Xigmatek Elysium knows whats up. Also, it's huge, and can fit pretty much any type of board, including the SR boards from EVGA and server boards or workstation boards.
Cons: It's HUGE. Like, huge huge. It was almost 4 inches taller than another case I have with a similar number of drive bays. While it's obvious prior to buying this and I also count it as a pro, you should really know that this case is HUGE and will not fit under any desk ever.
Overall Review: I will be buying more of these for future builds if they keep them on the market. I've been impressed with other products from Xigmatek in the past, and this case is no exception. Good work on this one.
Pros: The biggest pro here is Newegg's customer service. Throughout my ordeal with getting this case, they have been helpful and made sure everything turned out alright. I really want to thank them. On to the case:
1) HDDs are mounted on screwless trays which provide easy cable management and access through the back side. It'd be nice if they were metal trays rather than plastic, but awesome nonetheless
2) Bulges on the side panels allow for mounting side fans even with large (158mm+ height) coolers, and provide tons of room behind the motherboard tray for cable management/cable hiding
3) Fully ventilated front inserts for 5.25 bays allows easy additions of more intake fans through judicious use of zip ties without modification of the front panel
4) Larger than standard sized fans have accompanying mounting holes to be replaced with higher flow 120mm fans.
5) Construction is solid, and with the midtower size being more compact, it's not an inconvenience having a bottom mou
Cons: Read Other Thoughts for more about my original debacle.
1) Tool-less system for 5.25 bays is weird and kind of annoying to use
2) CPU Cooler backplate cutout in the mobo tray isn't large enough to work with the backplates for most large coolers (making it mostly pointless)
3) Depending on motherboard layout, the placement of the I/O port slot on the back panel (for the extra USB/Firewire thing that comes with most mobos) is inconveniently placed due to cable reach. If it was moved down to be right above the PSU, it'd be perfect
4) Bottom mount PSU ventilation design is carried over from HAF 932, but the absence of casters means that there isn't enough clearance on carpet without modifying the feet or making your own, leaving the PSU sucking dust.
5) Side panel should have had a vent and mounts for a 3rd 120mm fan, as there should be plenty of room the way the panel is designed.
6) NO FAN FILTERS (I'm used to the Stacker 830 which is all filtered)
Overall Review: It took 4 tries to get this one in unbroken, and 2 tries for my roommate (who ordered at the same time).
Based on what we saw, we believe it was probably damage done prior to receipt of the cases by Newegg, as it wasn't immediately apparent on the box. Until #4 every case came in smashed on the top/front to the point of total destruction in one instance, which indicates a pallet or something was dropped on them.
Once again though, the absolutely stellar customer service from Newegg turns what could have been a bad experience into a great experience. This is why I keep coming back, always buy from Newegg even when it isn't the cheapest, and recommend it exclusively to my friends and acquaintances. They went above and beyond and advanced RMAed each time and covered return shipping as well, overniting me the advanced RMAs. I only lost 2 days off my build time rather than weeks, and I never had to deal with the manufacturer.
Definitely 5 Eggs for Newegg Customer Service!
Pros: Please reference the Other Thoughts and Cons section for additional information regarding my issues with this cooler. On the other hand, there are some definite benefits to how this cooler is designed.
1) Extremely solid mounting system, the nuts and bolts vs screws is a plus
2) Possible to do a washer-mod
3) Factory lapped (although roughly) and reasonably flat
4) Designed for and bracketed for push/pull (although it only comes withe one sub-par fan)
5) It's inexpensive, after all it's $5 less than the cheap cooling king, and still manages to hit some impressive benchmarks.
Cons: I have many issues with this design, which aren't necessarily issues with this particular cooler, but rather problems inherent to the Heatpipe Direct Touch (HDT) style design. Specifically, there is significant gapping between the heatpipes and the cooler base on the bottom which make it difficult to achieve proper and sufficient coverage with TIM. There are methods (detailed on Benchmark Reviews) on how to apply TIM to this style of cooler which do succeed, but use quite a bit of TIM to do so.
Furthermore, for a 4-heatpipe cooler, I find the performance to be equal to or less than other non HDT 4 heatpipe coolers on the market. Thus, to save yourself headaches I recommend you seek out one of those instead. I highly recommend the Arctic Cooling Freezer 7 Pro as an alternative, as it will meet or exceed the performance of this cooler without dealing with the headaches associated with mounting an HDT cooler and is only $5 more.
Overall Review: I was able to resolve the issues I experienced with this cooler for the most part by using 6% silver-bearing solder (get it at gunsmithing or mechanics supply store) to braze the gaps between the base and the heatpipes shut with a propane blowtorch.
Following this, I hand-lapped (as the soldering caused some roughness in the channels) to 1200 grit, then applied my TIM as I would on a normal style cooler. Doing this resulted in a drop of 8C on temperatures. While some of this may be due to the lapping, I find it more likely that it was due to the better spread of TIM and wider heat dissipation area once I had sealed the gaps in the base with silver solder.
I'm giving this product 4 eggs, due to the fact that it is an exceptional cooler for the price despite the inherent flaws in its base design, and other than the general issues with HDT coolers, this had one of the best mounting systems I've seen on a cooler in this price bracket.