I recently did a gaming build, and wanted to do a review on a few of my new parts. Some of them are generic, but one stood out to me – the XCLIO Windtunnel, a full tower ATX case with two enormous 250mm fans and enough airflow to keep your feet chilled.
No, that last part wasn’t a joke. I can no longer game barefoot. :’(
[Image courtesy of Newegg. Find the Windtunnel here: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811103011]
Behold the massive glory that is the XCLIO Windtunnel. I mean massive literally, by the way, as this thing is a 2x2x1 full tower case that I can barely wrap my arms around. Surprisingly, it’s not incredibly heavy, but carrying it anywhere is ridiculously inconvenient. LAN parties are a no-go without a car with a tall trunk and plenty of cushions.
So, let’s get down to details. I won’t mention the easily-Google-able features of the case, but instead will be focusing on my experiences with unpacking/installing/maneuvering around it.
The Windtunnel has several very nice features going for it, including tool-less PCI ports, tool-less HDD/SSD slots, the aforementioned mind-bogglingly enormous fans, and lots of ventilation. Unfortunately, it also has several drawbacks. The so-called tool-less PCI ports are not actually tool-less if you have a large card like my Radeon 5770; they only cater to single-slot cards that have plenty of headroom near the case wall. Also, the tool-less HDD/SSD slot designer apparently never used any cables while testing the slots; despite being aesthetically pleasing and nicely arranged, the tool-less drive casings don’t provide enough room to attach 90° SATA and power cables. Indeed, it seems like whoever designed the slots assumed that all cable headers were – get this – completely straight. Giggity.
On the other hand, the Windtunnel does live up to its name. The two massive 250mm fans both draw air inside the case, which is then pushed out the top by the PSU and an optional 120mm rear fan not included with the case. You can adjust the RPM for each side fan individually with two knobs and switches on the side of the case; two more LEDs tell you whether or not each fan is running. Cool, but in reality not really that pragmatic, since even at full RPM, both fans barely make a whisper.
Installing parts in the Windtunnel could not be easier. This may simply be a characteristic of full tower ATX cases, but there is so much free space, you can literally stick peripherals inside to carry to LANs. (Disclaimer: TechReaction is not responsible for system damage due to jostling peripherals screwing up your parts.) Cable management is also a breeze thanks to the zipties and fasteners included with the case, although I didn’t really find it necessary to fasten anything down, as all the cables had a good 3-4 inches of free space to hover in anyway. The case has 4-5 front panel slots as well as 6 hard drive slots; indeed, my first thought when I popped it open was that they had sent me some superexpansive server edition of the case. Rest assured, you will run out of money far before you run out of slots in this case.
Unfortunately, any front-panel peripherals you add will have to have a small form factor; the front panel of the Windtunnel rests almost flush against the front slots, leaving no room for knobs and switches (read: sound cards with volume knobs, fan controllers with speed knobs, etc). I ran into this issue when trying out my X-Fi Fatal1ty, and ended up leaving it out of my build, with my only other alternative being breaking the front panel off of the case.
People have also been complaining about the flimsy plastic feet at the bottom of the Windtunnel; however, all the full tower cases I’ve encountered include these swiveling feet, most likely due to their size and ease of… tippingness? However, I had no problems with them, as I kept them retracted most of the time and made sure a single foot was never used for leverage on the entire case.
The one really big disappointment I ran into was the lack of a temperature monitor. In the past, XCLIO included an LED temperature monitor mounted inside the front casing, as you can see from the above screenshot; however, it has since stopped including these. Granted, they only measured internal ambient temperature anyways, and for any serious overclocking, you’d be better off with hardware or software monitors of individual components, but it was still a cool feature that is inexplicably missing.
I would highly recommend the XCLIO Windtunnel to anyone who frequently swaps parts or needs an excessive cooling solution. The Windtunnel will handle the largest motherboards, GPUs, and aftermarket coolers without breaking a sweat, and makes swapping components an absolute breeze. I am currently using the Windtunnel with a regular ATX motherboard, and can’t even imagine the ridiculous amount of space offered by an EATX mobo in conjunction with this case.
Now, off to buy some woolly socks.