Date: July 25th, 2005
Article by: Joe Anderson (Hardware Reviewer)
Edited by: Nathan Glentworth (Owner / Head Editor)
Product was submitted by: Aspire USA
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The X-Cruiser arrived in a fairly ordinary cardboard carton with the slogan “EXCITE YOUR GAMING LIFE” emblazoned on the front. The case is sandwiched securely between two fitted foam blocks and fully enclosed in a plastic bag. The packaging is perfectly adequate and another plastic sheet protects the side window during shipping. Another sheet should have been used, as we'll see later.
After removing the protective materials, we finally get a look at the X-Cruiser in all its glory. The front door has a sleek, deco-industrial look with chrome panels, black fasteners and three analog style gauges with chrome bezels. The lighted accents in the chrome panels are blue regardless of color choice.
A large, clear acrylic window dominates the left side panel with an opening for the included air duct. This opening is covered by a plastic filter and a chromed, stamped steel “fan guard” incorporating a stylized “ASPIRE” logo. Just below the duct is an oval perforated area in the vicinity of the PCI slots. Two thumbscrews provide tool-free access to the interior of the case. The steel top and side panels are finished in smooth, glossy metallic blue paint, as is the plastic front panel/door assembly. The plastic and steel panels are not a perfect match for color, but not as pronounced as the photo would suggest.
The acrylic window is relieved to sit flush with the panel and is held in place by eight screw fasteners. The air duct is adjustable and will cover an 80mm fan. This configuration should accommodate most stock-style cooling solutions, but will interfere with some of the larger coolers. The duct is easily removable, however, and an 80mm fan will fit the opening nicely. All panels are painted on the interior surface for a clean, finished look.
At the rear of the case, Aspire gives the user a choice of fan sizes but includes an 80mm exhaust fan. The open area of the grillwork is fairly limited and a 120mm fan would be a good upgrade here. The I/O panel is held to the case by two screws that must be removed from the inside. There is only one replaceable expansion slot cover; the other six are the “break-out” variety. Two thumbscrews hold the left side panel in place, while conventional screws pull the same duty on the right panel. Removing the second screw from the top releases the motherboard tray.