You can't just pick a case based on looks anymore. With components getting hotter and hotter, you need a better cooling solution in your case. That also means more noise. Yet, that doesn't have to be the case (no pun intended). The Aerocool Spiral Galaxies will cool your system with a very interesting patented wind tunnel/cooling duct, while reducing noise with a very efficient EMI system.
Before I get to the review, I would like to provide some background on Aerocool.
AeroCool.US is established in 2002 in the US and is committed to share our technical expertise and innovative design in providing total-solution for thermal management. Although AeroCool.US is a new player in the cooler market, but we offer the latest cooling technology and solution for industrial and personal computers. Our strengths lie in our RD abilities, advance manufacturing facilities, strong cooperative partners and high performance and unique products.
Our engineering and RD staffs specialize in airflow analysis, material conductivity, heat transfer technology and efficiency design. AeroCool.US not only has expertise in cooler technology and product design, but we also play a vital role in the enhancement of production efficiency and marketing analysis. We are constantly developing new products and technology to meet market demands and to generate new markets for our thermal products.
As a thermal solution provider, AeroCool.US will continue to expand and lead the market in technology. Ours mission is to work closely with our partners and customers and to continue to manufacture the highest quality products to satisfy the market demand. We will continue to strive to achieve our goals and continue to improve our marketing and customer services through "e-business" and "e-marketing". We always welcome customer suggestions and recommendations.
Features & Specifications
Contents, features and specifications can be found on Aerocool's website.
Push-and-Click 80mm Fan Socket
Push-and-Click 120mm Fan Sockets (2x)
HDD Located at Rear of Case For Quick Hot Air Dissipation
Power Supply Shock Absorber
USB2.0 + IEEE 1394
Push-and-Click PCI slot
Air Tunnel W/ 2 x 120mm Fan Included
"Bee-Hive" side panel for improved EMI protection
Dimensions: 540mm (H) x 205mm (W) x 488mm (D)
Drive Bays: Front Accessible 5 x 5.25", 2 x 3.5" / Internal 6 x 3.5"
Material: Chassis SECC 0.8mm / Front Panel ABS, Aluminum
Color: Black / Silver
Motherboards: 12" x 9.6" (ATX), 9.6" x 9.6" (Micro ATX), 12" x 13" (Extend ATX)
Adapters: USB2.0 x 2 / IEEE 1394 x 1 / Micro Phone x 1 / Ear Phone x 1
Cooling System: Front 120mm x 1 / Rear 120mm x 1
Packaging and Contents
The Aerocool Spiral Galaxies is packaged in the normal style of computer cases; a catchy design showcases the product and its features while insuring safe protection during shipping. Inside the box, the case is wrapped in plastic, while packed between two huge foam pieces to ensure there is no damage during shipping.
Inside the case itself is a box with the following contents: Bag of screws/motherboard standoffs, Motherboard Header Guide, Case Construction/Parts Guide, and a whole lot of screwless brackets.
The Aerocool Spiral Galaxies only comes in one color combination, black and silver. As you may have already noticed, the window on the Spiral Galaxies is on the right side, instead of the left. This is because the Spiral Galaxies is based on the BTX standard. This is also noticeable from the backside by how everything is flipped around due to the BTX standard.
The right side panel has a simple, yet very large window design. The window has a honeycomb design which looks rather cool, but it actually serves another purpose, it offers the case a tremendous amount of EMI shielding. For those of you who are familiar with EMI shielding and what its purpose is, skip the next paragraph, otherwise keep on reading.
There are several things in a computer that can generate noise. All computers use digital signals which are generated by the several oscillators found in most computer systems. Signals from the oscillators can interfere with the signals we want to receive. In addition to the oscillators, all computer circuits sub-divide these oscillators into signals that are sub-multiples of the oscillator frequencies. Additional digital noise can be generated by the video monitor circuits. Computers also use switching power supplies which are big generators of RF noise. The monitor has a separate power supply, plus sweep and high-voltage circuits that can also generate noise. This is where EMI comes into play. All of those devices I just mentioned that create noise also create something else and that called is a harmonic, which means it doesn't interfere with just one place on the dial, it does it in multiples. So if it initially was interfering at 10.00 MHz, the 2nd harmonic would be at 20.00 MHz, the 3rd at 30.00, etc. This starts to interfere with things like cordless phones and answering machines (just like a microwave does), in other words it just got important to you to. Just from basic testing, the EMI shielding greatly helped reduce the sound from our system.
The placement of the USB and Firewire is quite unusual, yet practical at the top of the case because of the cases height (since it is a full size case). One quick note, usually in most cases, there is only a spot for the firewire, not the actual port, but the Spiral Galaxies does include the port.
The door on the case is made of plastic, yet there is a brushed metal covering the door which adds a special touch to the design. The door has an optional metal key lock to keep it closed. When open, there is a five 5.25" drives available, and two 3.5" drives available.
The bottom of the case features four big, black plastic feet that swivel to create a sturdy base.
Like mentioned before, Aerocool has used the BTX standard inside the Spiral Galaxies. This has created some changes that you may not be used to, such as the motherboard being flipped upside-down, and the hard drives have been located under the power supply.
With the BTX standard, the motherboard has been flipped upside-down. This is to create a better airflow in the case to cool off the memory, CPU, and Motherboard directly. To do this, a wind tunnel/cooling duct has been inserted to direct airflow from an included 120mm intake fan, to an included 120mm exhaust fan. This is not the only place for fans in the case though; there is a spot for an 80mm fan if you'd like to add it. The holders for these fans all feature an innovative system which the fans are just slid into, rather than clipped or screwed in. The 120mm fans use a 4-pin molex connector for power. I really wish they would have used the 3-pin fan connector so they could just be plugged right into the motherboard, instead of having to bring a molex connector all the way down there to power them.
There is no documentation on how to remove the tunnel on the two included guides, which is odd. To remove the tunnel, there are two clips (one on each side) which you pull to remove the tunnel.
The case is full of cables for the following: 2x molex connectors for 120mm fans, USB pins, Firewire pins, Speaker/Power/Reset/LEDs.
The power supply is held up by three power supply mounts with shock absorbers to reduce vibration/noise. This also creates a small gap between the hard drives and power supply to direct hot air away from the hard drives, into the power supply, and outside the case.
One small, but important feature is that all the edges in the Spiral Galaxies are curved. This prevents you from cutting yourself, or your cables when working inside the case.
Installation in the Spiral Galaxies is different, yet not hard at all. As you can tell, I had one issue, finding a power supply with a long enough cord to reach all the way from the top of the case to the bottom of my motherboard. Out of four total power supplies I had on hand, only one just barely reached.
Since the Spiral Galaxies is a screw less case, to install your 5.25" and 3.5" drives, there are brackets which you simply line up with your holes in the bottom of the device, and snap into the screw holes on the side. Then just slide them into your preferred location and when you hear the snap, they are securely installed.
Another screw less design in the Spiral Galaxies is in the PCI mounts. Simply install your PCI/AGP/PCI-E card and snap down the bracket to secure your device. Although this is a great feature, I found it didn't securely hold my BFG 6600GT OC in place (it wiggled back in forth), so I had to put a screw in as usual. It was a nice touch by Aerocool, yet just not perfect.
The Aerocool Spiral Galaxies has showcased an impressive design using the BTX format, a screwless design, and a patented wind tunnel/cooling duct design, while looking great in a simplistic design and color scheme.
The case has three different locations for fans, two of which are included. The included intake is a 120mm, the included rear exhaust is a 120mm, and the optional intake is 80mm. The 120mm's push air quietly, yes aggressively through the included wind tunnel/cooling duct to create great cooling. Although, the duct may be in the way of some CPU coolers.
The case has an extremely large amount of room because it is a full size case. With a total of 7 slots for HD's, 5 front accessible 5.25" bays, and 2 front accessible 3.5" bays with still room to spare. You could definitely fit a water cooling system in here by taking out the cooling duct and using the front 120 on your radiator. Yet, having this large of a case does make a pain in travel. This is not a LAN party rig (although I will be using it for that!).
The case is completely screw less, from the rear sliders, to the PCI covers, and all the way to the brackets for all the bays. This is an almost perfect system, except for the fact the PCI covers still let my video card slide back and forth a bit.
There are just a few cons with the Aerocool Spiral Galaxies, the distance from the power supply to the motherboard, and the PCI covers which didn't securely hold my video card in place. Yet for all the features in this case, it is definitely worth its price which is graciously under $100.