Introduction & Specification
Oh no, my latest GPU upgrade is making my build spill out of my case, there’s tubes and bits everywhere and the panels won’t go on. Ok, time to try something bigger.
Aerocool have been around since 2001, stalwarts of gaming cases, fans and fan controllers they have offered well priced parts to enthusiasts with good reliability included. Some of their designs in the past have been a little odd but generally you can create excellent looking rigs. Later on Aerocool ventured into the power supply and gaming chair market so the product range is expanding.
I have for review the excellent looking, if a little familiar in design, Aerocool Quartz Pro PC Case.
Before I dig into my first case review, let me slap on a list of specs.
- Model Name Quartz Pro
- Case Type Full Tower
- Color Black
- Steel Thickness 0mm
- Motherboards e-ATX/ATX/Micro ATX/Mini-ITX
- Case Dimensions (Internal) 4mm x 543mm x 519.2mm (W x H x D)
- Case Dimensions (Overall) 252mm x 554mm x 566.7mm (W x H x D)
- 25” Drive Bays 1
- 5” Drive Bay 4 (Compatible with 2.5″ HDD/SSD)
- 5” Drive Bays 3
- Expansion Slots 10
- GPU Clearance Supports GPU up to 470mm
- CPU Clearance Supports CPU up to 185 mm
- I/O Ports 0 x 2 | USB2.0 x 2 | HD Audio & Mic.
- Front: 120mm x 3 or 140mm x 2 (Includes 12cm LED Fan x 3)
- Top: 120mm x 3 or 140mm x 2 (Optional)
- Side: 120mm x 3 (Optional)
- Rear: 120mm or 140mm x 1 (Includes 14cm Fan)
- Front: 240/360mm Radiator (Optional)
- Side: 240/360mm Radiator (Optional)
- Top: 240/360mm Radiator (Optional)
- Net Weight/Gross Weight 8kg (39.2 lbs.)/19.2kg (42.3 lbs.)
- Power Supply ATX PSU (Up to 200mm, Optional)
- EAN Code 4713105958775
- RGB & Fan Controller
- Model Name P7-H1 (Project7-Hub1)
- System Compatibility Windows 7 and Newer Versions
- Connector 9-Pin USB 2.0
- LED Output 2 Connectors (Expandable)
- LED Output (Watt) Up to 24 Watts
- Fan Output 5 Connectors
- Fan Output (Watt) Up to 18 Watts
- Main Function Sets RGB colors, LED modes and monitors fan speeds
- Fan Rear 140 x 140 x 25mm Front 120 x 120 x 25mm
- Rated Voltage 12V 12V
- Voltage Range 8~13.2V 9.0~12.0V
- Starting Voltage 7V 9V
- Power Consumption 92W + 10% Max 1.8W + 10% Max
- Rated Current 16A + 10% Max 0.15A + 10% Max
- Speed 1200 +- 200 RPM 1200 +- 10% RPM
- Air Flow (CFM) 7CFM 45.8CFM
- Air Pressure 43mm-H2O 1.01mm-H2O
- Noise (dBA) 8dBA 14.5dBA
- MTBF 30,000 hours 60,000 hours
Quite a lot of case here, very large and some extra equipment, lets have a gander.
A Closer Look
Bye eck, that’s is one huge box, I expect the contents to be rather larger than originally expected.
After removing the box and big chunks of foam, there is still a large case, well wrapped up along with a manual and a bubble-wrapped 360mm radiator/triple fan mounting bracket.
My usual photo location couldn’t handle a product this size, so into the conservatory I go, along with glass and reflections everywhere. The Aerocool Quartz Pro is quite the behemoth of a PC case measuring over half a metre tall and more than half a metre long, make sure you have enough space to place this case if you should wish to do a build in one. The design is similar to many other manufacturers designs so has a familiar outer appearance. What is inside is going to determine how good this case is.
There’s me taking a picture of the front of the case, the tinted glass panel reflecting everything while the machine is powered off. The tint is a grey tint so shouldn’t alter the colour of LED’s behind it too much.
The business side of the case also features a tinted glass panel, nice and thick, you can however see the power supply area and packages in the HDD bays, so light behind the glass does make things stand out, you’re not getting a mirrored effect here.
Around the back of the case, we have a bottom mounting bay for a power supply, no less than 10 expansion card slots, driving home the full tower aspect of this case. To the left you see some breathing holes for the cable management area, these also server a purpose as vents for one of the radiator/fan mounting options available in this case. The rear fan is a nice large 140mm affair, the little block at the top is actually a downlight that illuminates the back ports which is a nice little extra.
No glass on the offside panel of the case, which is fine by me, this allows the less savant cable managers amongst us to hide any indiscretions, while keeping the windowed area looking tidy. Vents towards the front of the panel also put in to assist the facing-out radiator/fan option.
Not much at the bottom of the case apart from a nice removable filter for the downward facing power supply.
Here we have the magnetic removable top filter at a jaunty angle for effect. It is made of metal and needs lots of care an attention to avoid creases, a full 420mm filtering on offer here for three 140mm fans and the accompanying radiator.
The button and port panel is located at the top and nicely flush with the front/top of the case. Two USB2 ports start it off followed by headphone and microphone ports, the power button and reset buttons, a couple of USB3.0 ports some LED’s and a fan speed switch.
Oh I nearly forgot, the front panel is also a door, giving access to the fan filter and fans, the filter un-clips very easily at the bottom and is of a firm plastic mesh. The fans are 120mm affairs stacked to allow airflow through both the main compartment and the power supply HDD area. The top 5.25 bay is unused for hardware as it has an Aerocool logo that illuminates when powered on.
Getting inside the case is easily done removing the four screws for the glass panel. Grommets grommets everywhere, so many holes available for cable management, two 5.25 spaces available although to make use of the lower one for an optical drive or other front facing device you would have to remove the top fan. Above the hdd and power supply mounting is a plate, these are often full shrouds covering the PSU and lower components from the presented view of the PC but not in this case, I feel this is a bit of an oversight and will try to make something suitable to create a shroud, there is ample room for a piece of aluminium or perspex 5mm thick would not be a problem. The HDD cages take two 3.5 inch drives each or two 2.5 inch drives depending on what you’re installing, the cages are also removable. Finally its easy to see the nice shiny hi-fi style feet on the case, I do like a set of decent feet.
The cabling side of the case comes with a multitude of cable routing options along with quite a few of those little cutout loops for cable tie use. Lots of space to work with the PSU from this side and you can clearly see the mounting rails that have rubber on them to reduce vibration, these also lift the PSU away from the filter slightly so the fan grille is not blocked in any way. Finally we have a plate that is removable with just one screw which can accommodate three 2.5″ drives, this vertical mounting is generally designed for SSD’s but there is nothing stopping you mounting spinning drives aside from the risk of a little vibration.
Here we have the included side facing bracket to mount a 360mm radiator and or fans in the front part of the case, this could be useful for a showcase setup although I would check the length of your GPU before going for this option.
Nestled away in the lower drive bays we have two little white boxes, lets get to those contents.
Predictably, one of the boxes contains a rather substantial bag of screws and ties, nice and useful, along with these there is a plastic adapter to use a normal screwdriver to mount and remove motherboard standoff’s which is a nice addition.
The other box contains the Aerocool Project 7 H1 RGB lighting and fan controller. This is great for those of us that don’t yet have controllers included on the motherboard and also allows 5 fans to be PWM controlled from one header on the motherboard. A box, a manual and some Velcro mounting pads are also included.
Here we have a closeup of some of the available ports, there is connectivity for 5 fans (two ports not shown) and two RGB control outputs.
Performance & Testing
Build & Quality
Now that we have had a good look at the case inside and out, it’s time to start hitting it with components.
Mounting the motherboard was very easy, there is quite a lot of room to play with so no obstructions there, the cable grommet right above the 12V CPU power socket makes for easy routing, quite often in cases there is a gap barely big enough to get the connector blocks through.
With the motherboard mounted I thought I would check out some radiator compatibility for water cooling
First I attempted to mount a 60mm thick 240mm radiator, unfortunately the space at the top of the case is only 60mm, so I was unable to mount it with fans. I would say maximum thickness of a radiator with standard 25mm thick fans is 35mm and that would be a very tight squeeze. A 45mm thick radiator with say 12mm thick fans would be doable but that restricts fan choice. Raijintek supply special rails with their Thetis case, these allow you to mount a rad further away from the backplane, this would be an excellent addition to this case for thicker radiator support.
In the end I opted to mount my 30mm x 240mm radiator at the top, here you see the clearance before the board is just a few mm. I later discovered that the cables to my CPU Power Connectors, pushed against the fans, so anything thicker than 55mm total (Rad & Fans) could be an issue. Of course a 420mm radiator with 140mm fans would fit at the top and there are mounts in the top of the case to support this, so that could make up for the lack of radiator thickness.
Trying the 60mm thick radiator at the front of the case was an incredibly tight squeeze, the plus here is that the front fans can be used for a radiator mounted in this way.
Around the other side, we can see how easily SSD’s are mounted, this case is very easy to work with.
One thing that does concern me about the Aerocool Quartz Pro, is how easily the paintwork is marked, this scratch was from the edge of a Molex connector, I know they can be lethal but I am also finding I can mark the paint with my nails, so extra care has to be taken.
The marks made with my fingernails.
Mounting the other components was very easy, you slip the power supply in from behind and if you need to access any modular ports you can just slide the unit out diagonally for a better view; there is good space to turn and route the cables up the back of the motherboard. HDD mounting is also very easy with quick release drive bays, the drive bay holders are also modular and each one can be removed if you wish to use the lower part of the case for anything else. The plate on top of the PSU area has three cabling grommets, useful for motherboard headers and the like, it is a shame the top plate isn’t a full PSU/HDD bay shroud to make things a little more tidy. While waiting for my new water loop parts to arrive, I have used my emergency CPU air cooler and GTX1060 to get the system up and running.
A timely birthday present furnished me with some of the brand new InWin Polaris RGB fans, the daisy-chain setup is excellent and reduces untidy cabling, along with powering all three fans from one header on the Project 7 H1 controller.
Installing the water cooling parts was mostly a breeze, the pump/res has quite a restrictive mounting system meaning I couldn’t adjust the height easily, I may have to remount with a rubber pad under the pump if it vibrates too much. The radiator mounted easily in the top and with so much space to work, planning and routing the 16/10mm tubing I use was stress free.
Another neat feature of the Aerocool Quartz Pro is the rear light for managing connections in dark corners or with the lights out.
The Project 7 RGB/Fan control box is excellent, allowing me to sync even the new In-Win Polaris fans with the included Aerocool fans already mounted in the front.
While basic at the moment, the Project 7 Software allows for a fair few RGB controls and effects, along with monitoring fan speeds of up to 5 fans, I have 3 Polaris fans hooked up to Fan 5 on the controller which gets PWM information from a motherboard fan connection and power from a Molex. From the Hub selection at the top, the software appears to be able to handle up to 8 individual hubs, which is quite an extensive array of RGB devices.
The Aerocool Quartz Pro is a very versatile case, definitely helped by it’s huge size, even so there are some features that could be helped with just a few more millimetres available. For radiator mounts some offsetting rails to move the radiator away from the motherboard and towards the outside edge of the case could be very helpful. Project 7 H1 RGB Controller, with multi-fan PWM management is an excellent addition, especially if your motherboard lacks RGB. Airflow in such a big case is handled by three 120mm RGB fans at the front, you can opt to attach these to the fan switch at the top where there is a slow / stop / fast setting. The included rear 140mm fan is PWM and can be managed by the motherboard. I found it easy to get good airflow over the components giving good temperatures with my setup RGB control options maybe to rival those of other manufacturers who can create some excellent lighting effects. The Project 7 software is still quite basic, I am hoping for more. Being able to see connected fan speeds in the software is also very useful.
I have mentioned that the design is very familiar, quite a few manufacturers use this case style which started out it’s life with Fractal Design. It is very functional and does look elegant, the dark glass is grey tinted so doesn’t alter the colour of any LED’s just the brightness. The paintwork is a pleasant grey rather than black, it does however scratch easily so beware. The cable management is well laid out with lots of options for tidying cables at the back of the motherboard tray. SSD/HDD rear motherboard mounts are easily accessible and they can all be removed while remaining mounted on a plate, so no tricky manoeuvring to get the screws in. Accessing the power supply is really well done, keeping access to it clear, it is a shame that the cover over the PSU area isn’t a full shroud as it would fit. The lower HDD bays are completely modular and easy to remove, along with quick release HDD caddies. The Project 7 H1 box is fairly light and well designed, I would have liked a dedicated mounting place rather than sticky pads though. The overall build is solid which means it is also quite heavy.
At the time of writing the Aerocool Quartz Pro can be bought for just over £140. This is a good ballpark figure for a case this size with it’s capabilities. It does compete with many similar cases in the price range, so aesthetics and the included RGB controller and fans are going to be it’s main competing points. The build quality, paint issues aside, is very sturdy which does add to longevity.
I don’t normally desire very big cases, especially as I like machines to be portable enough for LAN events, however as my system has grown and my watercooling journey expanded to include a graphics card, I realised I needed a home system and a cheaper LAN rig, so part 1 is getting the home system set up and pretty. The Aerocool Quartz Pro fits in perfectly with my water loop plan and requirements; the case is very attractive and includes its own RGB controller with the Project 7 H1 unit, this is especially useful to me as my older motherboard has not such capabilities. Mounting components is easy, there are some unwelcome restrictions on radiator size and for front mounting it can be an uncomfortable tight squeeze, but a decent build can be created with relative ease. I do worry about paint scratches, luckily after a brief visit in it’s aircooled configuration to a LAN party, scuffs and blemishes seem to be kept at a minimum. I don’t think this case would travel well in the long term. This is not to take away from the excellent and sturdy build quality.
Would I recommend this case? It is going to be down to personal taste for the most part, I would say yes, if you can live with a less hardened paint job, or don’t want to shell out for more expensive aluminium units. The £140 price is about right, I would definitely say it’s a £120 case with a £20 RGB controller.
I am giving the Aerocool a Silver Award as it has got some excellent qualities. I think if Aerocool were to harden up the paint job and offer some ability to mount the top radiator offset from the top grille like Raijintek do with the Thetis, then this award would easily have been Gold.
- Lots of space & well laid out
- Modular components
- Sturdy build
- RGB Controller Included
- Paint scratches easily
- Radiator thickness is limited
- PSU area could be a full shroud