The iStar Nitro AX case is built a layout that goes back several years, and its
an arrangement that has seen many tweaks and revisions over time.
Internally, the Nitro AX has one of the best layouts in the industry; hard
drives are immediately accessible in a fully installed system, optical drives
slide in and out smoothly, and a good airflow path keep cool air entering
the case and flowing over hot drives and components. The thermally
responsive 120mm rear mounted fan is a nice touch, and one of the
few measures iStar included to reduce noise generation. The rubber
mounting pads under the hard drives being the only
real other 'low noise' feature.
The fan duct which
mounts to the side of the chassis and extends down right over the processor is a
nice touch. With no provision for dust filtering between it and the
side panel, we worry that great deal of dust may quickly accumulate on the
In terms of accessibility, the removable motherboard tray is
great for smaller boards, allowing the full PC to be assembled on the
test bench before it makes it into the iStar Nitro AX chassis. In practical terms
though, with large full sized ATX motherboards it is just as easy to
leave it in the case and do a standard system install.
The tooless PCI bracket retention mechanism
is a great touch, and the tooless entry into the case makes a quick
tune up a simple affair. With two spaces for large slow
moving case intake fans, a vented side panel and quick release drive bays
the iStar Nitro AX case has most of the bases covered.
The large aluminum plate on the front bezel
really lacks the punch it might have had with CCFL back lighting, but at least
its plain black appearance isn't tacky. The quick access flip down drive slot at
the very top of the bezel means you can drop in a CD
without opening up the front of the case, and this is something we especially liked.
The front bezel door is stiff to open and close, but at
least it doesn't swing about widely when fully opened up (it 'pauses' into an open position).
We really liked how the door slides back along the side of the case, so
it is completely out of the way and there is no chance of bashing
into it if your case stays on the floor. The rotatable front panel
data connectors are a nice touch too.
On the whole, the workmanship of the iStar Nitro AX
case is good. This is pretty well known case frame
with a few new front bezel treatments to make it stand out. Regardless if you
like the bezel design or not, I think we can all agree it is pretty understated
and not too flashy. This case could easily be at home in an office, and best of
all because the internal layout is so standardized it is a pleasure to work
with. Installing components is not frustrating, and we really like the ease of
access that the 90 degree mounted hard drive rack provides. The full
tower iStar Nitro AX case retails for $130 CDN
($115 USD, £65GBP), without a power supply.
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