An exotic-looking bench table, but is it as
good as it looks?
There are a number of bench tables
available at the moment, but Aerocool's Strike-X Air is certainly the most
dramatic-looking. Its partly modular drive cages and cable-routing holes make
it more of a case than a bench table, and it's much larger than an average
stack-design table too.
The motherboard rests in a large open-air
compartment, while a swiveling lid with a 200mm fan blows air into the main
section. This lid can be closed or held open at various angles by using a latch
that works like a car's bonnet-stay. There's enough room for the largest CPU
air coolers, and the lid rotates completely out of the way too - useful if you're
dealing with water-cooling or liquid nitrogen pots.
Speaking of water cooling, there's little
else in the way of support for pumps or reservoirs, but various mounting holes
at the rear of the chassis enable you to install 120mm or 140mm radiators.
A120mm mount is also located next tothe3.5in bays to keep your hard disks cool.
To the left of the motherboard tray is a
section of various cubby holes that house the 5.25in drive bays, tool-free
3.5in/2.5in drive bays and PSU mount. Most are the usual affairs that you'd
find on a standard case although the PSU clips into place at the rear, with a
large hole in front of it for routing cables underneath the table to the
motherboard. The only issue we had here was the distance - our 8-pin EPS12V
connector only just reached the motherboard, and had to do so over the top in
an unsightly fashion.
Meanwhile, other noteworthy features
include a USB 3 port, four rubber grommets at the rear, and front-mounted power
and reset buttons.
However, our main gripe with this otherwise
straightforward product is the build quality. The plastic sections felt cheap
and, while a fair amount of it is made from 0.7mm steel, the chassis has a
considerable degree of flex in it. That said, it sits firmly on a desk and,
unless you're prone to taking the nearest big stick to it when your overclock
fails, its lack of rigidity is no major cause for concern.
With our usual case testing gear installed,
the Strike-X Air managed a load CPU delta T of 48°C - a good result that's on a
par with the Cooler Master HAFX and Antec One Hundred. Our graphics card,
meanwhile, topped out with a delta T of 45°C. This isn't a great result, and is
likely due to the fact that there's no fan to mimic a case's front intake
fan-only the top 200mm fan blows air in the direction of the motherboard.
Aerocool's Strike-X Air is a very mixed
bag. It looks better than the bland metal tables from Lian Li and Cooler
Master, but the latter's tables are cheaper, stronger, less cumbersome and do
exactly the same job (Cooler Master's Lab Test Bench costs around $67.5).
Unless you love the Air's quirky appearance, we'd advise shopping around for a
superior design instead.
Offence: Easy to use; good access to
motherboard; good CPU cooling
Defense: Large; mediocre GPU cooling;
average build quality
Price: $135 inc VAT
SKU Number: CA-030-AE
Dimensions (mm): 613 x 525 x 340 (W x D x H)
Material: Plastic, steel
Available colors: Black
Front panel: 3.5in/2.5in, power, reset,
USB 3,2 x USB 2, stereo, mic
Drive bays: 3 x external 5.25in, 3 x
external 3.5in or 2.5in.
Form factors: ATX, micro-ATX
Cooling: 1 x 200mm top fan mount (fan
included), 1 x 120mm side fan mount (fan included)
CPU cooler clearance: Unlimited
Maximum graphics card length: 295mm
Extras: Tool-less 3.5in bays, 120mm and
140mm radiator support