Aspire X-Dreamer II
Modified cases are the rage now-a-days. Gone are the days of the lame, beige cases that just sit under your desk. In the early days of case modding, the only way you were going to get a nice custom case was to break out the dremel and make one. However, if you’re like me and don’t have any dremel skills, then you were out of luck. That’s all changed in the last few years and now there are a wide variety of pre-modded cases available for purchase. The focus of this review is the Aspire X-Dreamer II .
The X-Dreamer II is about the same size as your typical mid-tower case and available in a wide variety of colors. The case has a nice, almost car like, finish to it (you can even wax yours if you want extra smoothness. Don’t ask me how I know this). The first thing you notice is the large temperature gauge that occupies the front of the case. After that, you’re apt to notice the six bright blue LED’s that occupy the border of the front bezel. The front of the case also features two optical drive covers so you don’t have to break out the paint if you have non-black optical drives. Once you move on to the side of the case, you’ll see a nice big window with a transparent blue LED fan and alien head fan cover. The fan is positioned right over where your video card should be. The top of the case features a matching fan and alien head fan cover. The back of the case has spots for two additional 80mm fans and the usual assortment of back plate materials.
Things inside the case are solid as well. Inside the front bezel is room for two more 80MM fans (that’s a total of six 80mm fans for those of you scoring at home). The case can house four 5.25 inch externally accessible drives, two externally accessible 3.5 inch drives, and four 3.5 inch devices. This is where the first problem for the X-Dreamer II shows up. In order to install your externally accessible drives, you’ll need to remove both sides of the case and the front bezel. Not too big of a problem, except that the case does not include any kind of directions. You will have to go to the Aspire website to get directions about how to do this (slide both sides off , unscrew the six screws that hold the bezel in place and then gently pull the bezel off). Once you’ve got your devices installed, you have to re-attach the bezel, put the screws back in, and you’re up and running. I’m guessing this is a necessity due to the drive covers but it’s still kind of a pain in the ass especially given the lack of documentation.
The case comes with a removable motherboard tray which is a godsend. This is the first case I’ve owned and I’m not sure I’ll ever be able to get another case that doesn’t have one. The motherboard tray slides into a set of rails in the bottom of the case and a structural bar and it is secured with a screw that holds snug to the back of the case. All you have to do is screw the motherboard to the tray and then slide it into place. No more trying to work your hands into the small confines of the case. The case is roomy so even without the motherboard tray you wouldn’t get too cramped.
Installing the rest of your goodies into the case is easy and doesn’t take much effort. Once you’ve got everything installed, you can hook up the front USB ports and front headphone/microphone jacks. The USB cables attach right to your motherboard’s USB headers but the audio cables will have to be routed through the back of the case to your audio ports. It’s not an elegant solution but it gets the job done. Aspire makes this look a nicer by having one of the slot covers cut to help hold the cable in place. Since you can remove both sides of the case, you can do some really creative things with your cabling.
The X-Dreamer II comes with a decent 350W power supply but the power only provides two sets of power connectors outside of the floppy and Pentium 4 connectors. Remember those six 80mm fans? Well, they’re not going to power themselves are they? If you’ve got more than two devices, then you’re going to want to think about getting another power supply with more leads (or a bunch of Y-connectors). If you don’t have a lot of devices, then you should be in good shape with the one that comes with the case.
After getting everything hooked up and running, you will see how bright the LED’s on the front of the case are. They are almost too bright and I ended up having to put electrical tape over the ones on the top of the case so that I didn’t burn my eyes out. I also had some initial troubles with my DVD drive getting caught up on the drive cover but it seemed to get broken in after a few days of use.
I have been kvetching about the six fans a bit in this review but they do their job well. My average case temperature dropped from around 43 degrees Celsius in my old Antec Lanboy to around 32 degrees Celsius with the X-Dreamer II. Cooler is better and this case really delivers. The fans included with the case are on the loud side, though and while they aren’t Delta fan loud, they are certainly noticeable. They do a great job of pushing air through the case so it’s hard to complain too much.
Overall, it’s a decent case but while the price is fairly inexpensive you’re going to have to add four more fans on to the cost of the case (less if you want to cheap out) plus add on another PSU if you have more than two devices (or you could use a lot of Y splitters).
A solid, sharp-looking case for the money but buyers will need to purchase a few extra fans and possibly a new power supply.
Rating: 8.7 Very Good
* The product in this article was sent to us by the developer/company for review.
Hi, my name is Charles Husemann and I've been gaming for longer than I care to admit. For me it's always been about competing and a burning off stress. It started off simply enough with Choplifter and Lode Runner on the Apple //e, then it was the curse of Tank and Yars Revenge on the 2600. The addiction subsided somewhat until I went to college where dramatic decreases in my GPA could be traced to the release of X:Com and Doom. I have been a Microsoft Xbox MVP since 2009.