Welcome all to Go! Gaming Giant’s first ever Hardware Preview. Now I’ve written my fair share of hardware reviews and first-looks — but this is the first time that I will be previewing an as-of-now unreleased product for you guys.
Having been given the blessing by Raidmax to give you guys a glimpse at their latest upcoming case; the Raidmax AUGUSTA, I am certain that there is something here for everybody.
How I am going to handle this will be a bit different from previous G3 Hardware Reviews. (since this is not a review) I am going to break down some of the core, and innovative features of the case — and give you, the reader, my honest opinion on it.
Please remember that the product I am looking at is not a retail model, and therefore is subject to change prior to release.
The Raidmax AUGUSTA has some definite ‘aggressive styling’ in the way of the Cooler Master HAF X, and some of the other big-name cases on the market. This type of styling is garnered toward the gamer crowd, and for the most part succeeds admirably. The case is comprised mostly of steel and plastic. The side panels are quite sturdy, which is the sign of quality craftsmanship. (seriously, grab the side panel of your case and give it a few twists, if it’s relatively sturdy, then the case was well manufactured. If it wiggles a ton, then it’s pretty poorly made.)
On the front of the AUGUSTA there is a white plastic door that has ‘gundam styling.’ This door feels a bit cheap to me, but I do find the styling choice attractive. To go with this, there is some more white plastic ‘gundam style’ pieces on the top of the case. These help keep the styling even throughout the entire outside of the case, and look quite nice, all without obstructing the airflow for the top two exhaust fans. I do think that something Raidmax should consider is possibly making the top and front ‘gundam styled’ pieces glossy. This would detract from the cheap-look, and help really make the pieces pop compared to the rest of the matte black outside of the case.
Up top they include several nice features: A Fan LED and Speed Control knobs, (with support for up to five fans) and a USB 3.0 Jack that has an internal header on the other end. (USB 3.0 has been out for awhile now, but the internal header is finally starting to catch on)
Moving inside. One of the main features that is a major part of the marketing is the bottom compartment made specifically for the hard-drives. I found this system to be quite delightful. The rails slide out with ease — simply click it around the hard-drive, and install the included screws, then slide it back into place. There is two exhaust 80mm fan’s and one intake 80mm at the front of the case to help keep the airflow flowing through the entire compartment. On the top of the compartment is two rubber grommeted holes for routing your’ SATA and Power Cables through. With an access ‘hatch’ on both sides of the case, it makes installing the hard-drives easier than ever. Overall this system works quite well, and helps keep the clutter in the top compartment to a minimum.
Working our way up top we can see that there is quite a bit of room inside of the case to work with. The inside is painted entirely black and uses tool-less locks for everything. Speaking of the locks, I found them to work extremely well — the ODD Locks are just like the ones included on a lot of Thermaltake cases — you twist it to open, pull it out, slide the drive in, click it into the holes and twist back to ‘locked.’ This system is effective and quite simple.
As for the cooling in the case, this is where there is plenty of room for improvement. The nice folks over at Raidmax have included four 120mm fans and three (already mentioned) 80mm fans for the bottom, plus a mount for an additional either 120mm or whopping 180mm fan on the side. There is an intake 120mm fan, and three exhaust 120mm fans; two at the top, and one at the back. The top two and the front fan are all blue LED fans, which are controllable by the LED and Fan Speed Control Knobs on the top of the case. With the stock fans, the case cools moderately well. The LED Fan’s move an acceptable amount of air, but the back exhaust fan moves absolutely no air — it’s spinning, but you cannot feel air pressure on either side of the fan. This fan is a ‘must-replace’ fan.
Sliding around to the back of the case, another selling point for the Raidmax AUGUSTA is the 25mm’s of Cable Management space on the backside of the case. The only catch to this is that the part that is pushed out for cable management is the same shape as the left side-panel, as to keep the styling symmetrical. This causes a few problems, mainly that the cables must be ran along the bulged out part if you want the side to fit back on. I found this to be a minor annoyance. But for the most part it just required an extra few minutes of planning to get the cables ran properly. Which is not a problem being as there is two mid-sized rubber grommeted holes along the side of the motherboard tray, as well as a huge cut-out at the bottom for initially routing the cables through. I do wish they would have included at least one more cutout on the top of the motherboard tray for routing your’ 4/8-pin motherboard plug through.
Some of the little features that have been added to the AUGUSTA that aren’t all industry standards are: three grommeted holes for Water-Cooling tubes to pass through, all six of the hard-drive mounting rails have support for 2.5″ drives as well, plus there is an extra two mounts in the upper compartment of the case specifically for 2.5″ drives, and the side panels have little fold out handles. (these are wonderful)
Overall the problems I ran into included: unglued magnets for the front door, drive bay covers that refused to come out, rubber grommets that needed some kind of adhesive, and some weak fans.
I have been assured by Raidmax that most, if not all of these problems, are part of the trial sample I have been sent, and will not be there on the final product. I believe them, and will therefore hold none of the problems against them for the time being.
The upside to this case is quite high. The design is definitely aggressive, but there is a market for it, and will be a selling-point. One thing that Raidmax got 100% right on the case was the hard-drive compartment on the bottom, this alone would be a huge selling point for me. With plenty of room for fans in the top, and enough space to fit any video card on the market, and pretty much any CPU Cooler — Raidmax is on the right track with AUGUSTA.
Whether the case will be available in other color schemes, I do not know. The Matte Black with White styling pieces, and some blue accent pieces is the stock color scheme chosen by Raidmax — but I like it quite a bit.
This is definitely a product to keep your eye on. The case is gigantic and has the potential to be a real player in the $110-150 market for cases. Keep an eye out for the review when the final product is released later this year.
All pictures courtesy of Raidmax.