My current gaming PC is the exact same one I built and wrote about in 2015. I’m still rocking a Haswell CPU, a 9-series graphics card, and the now-discontinued Noctis 450 by NZXT. I’ve been meaning to upgrade, but, as an aging gamer who doesn’t have a lot of time to game anymore, I couldn’t justify the expense of a complete modernization overhaul. Fortunately, our friends at RIOTORO heard my pleas and offered their CR1288TG full-tower case with tempered glass and RGB lighting so that my system could at least look new, while I continue to prepare for a full hardware upgrade.
This article was created in partnership with RIOTORO.
External and Internal Overview
Unboxed, the case measures 22.8 inches tall, 18.6 inches deep, and 9.8 inches wide. It weighs 17.8 pounds which is roughly 5 pounds lighter than the Noctis 450. The CR1288TG stands on four plastic feet that match the black color of the case and feature rubber strips on their bottoms. The tempered glass panel is mounted to the case by four red thumbscrews. Happily, RIOTORO included four black thumbscrews as well.
The front panel will definitely turn heads with its large LED strip that lights up the center and perimeter of the front panel as well as the RIOTORO logo in RGB. Mounted at the top of the front panel but facing the ceiling are the front panel controls and ports (more on this later). Removing the front panel also reveals a removable dust filter. The bottom panel has two removable dust filters that slide out the back and front, and the top panel has a magnetic dust filter. The right panel – behind the motherboard – slides off easily and is secured by two thumbscrews.
The internal space is split into two areas. The main compartment has standoffs that can accommodate up to an extended ATX motherboard. There are plenty of cutouts with rubber grommets surrounding the motherboard tray for relatively easy cable routing. Three fans are provided for airflow: A 120mm fan is mounted in the rear for exhaust while a couple of 140mm fans are mounted just behind the front panel for intake. As a nice touch, the top and front panels have mounting options for different sized radiators and fans.
The second compartment comprises the area behind the motherboard tray and below the main compartment. Behind the motherboard tray are four plastic mounting brackets for 2.5-inch drives. Below them is a permanent hard drive cage that accommodates four plastic trays for mounting 3.5-inch hard drives. There’s also a magnetic fan controller included that mounts behind the motherboard tray, which is essential for connecting RGB fans and syncing them to the rest of the system.
Migrating to the RIOTORO CR1288TG
When I unboxed the tower, I was disappointed to find that the manual was missing. However, cases aren’t complex, and I was able to migrate my old components into their new home with little issue. The main compartment felt very spacious, and wires routed without much fuss.
The biggest issue I encountered was with my power supply, the EVGA SuperNOVA 750. With a length a little over seven inches, it didn’t leave a lot of room between the PSU and the CR1288TG’s hard drive cage. That meant I had to bend my cables severely to route them where I needed them to go. Shrinking the cage down to two hard drives would be a welcome update to this chassis.
The front panel controls are also a small hassle. Instead of being mounted to the chassis, the controls are actually part of the front panel fascia. That means whenever you need to pop the front panel off to clean the dust filter, the front panel controls come with it. This is a problem when your cable routing is so tight that you don’t have much slack for the front panel controls to move when the fascia comes off. Hopefully RIOTORO will address this in a future iteration. It would also be nice if the labels on the front panel controls were oriented so that they could be read from the left side of the case which is where most users will be positioned.
The aspect that was most impressive about the case, however, is the RGB lighting feature. The LED strip on the front panel is very bright even in daylight. Fortunately, the case gives users a handful of brightness levels as well as turning them off completely. On top of that, every color of the rainbow is available on-board and looks just as vibrant. Finally, for users that enjoy a light show, several light patterns have been built into the controls, like breathing, marquee, rainbow, random, and more.
Finally, my thoughts on the airflow of the CR1288TG are that it is excellent but possibly to a fault. On average, I’m experiencing a five-degree drop in overall temperature relative to the Noctis 450. That might be due to less obstruction on the front panel or the slightly larger fans in the chassis. The downside is that the case is significantly louder.
Some minor quibbles aside, the CR1288TG has all of the aesthetics that speak to my gamer heart. Fit and finish are top notch, components went in relatively easy save for the PSU, and cable routing is adequate. The final product is easy on my eyes, and it’s got me excited to save up for current generation components to give this case a build that’s worthy of it.