Aerocool X-Predator X3 Devil Red

4/7/2013 10:35:46 AM

A well-built, feature-rich chassis but the cooling could be better

A quick glance at the Aerocool website reveals some spectacular designs that resemble the result of a torrid love affair between a Transformer and a plastic factory. Thankfully, the X-Predator X3 is comparatively refined. Sure, there’s still plastic and lighting, and a dual color scheme, but it isn’t excessive. The red motherboard tray and drive trays, viewable through the large side window, are particular highlights.

Whether you love or hate the appearance, there’s much more to consider than a case’s aesthetics, and the X-Predator X3’s $120 price point is highly competitive, as the relationship between features, performance and noise is delicately balanced. The case includes two fans by default (the extra two shown in the side panel pictured aren’t included), which is the minimum we’d expect for $120.

Well-built, feature-rich chassis

Well-built, feature-rich chassis

The front-mounted 200mm intake fan emits a soft red glow (the only lighting), alongside a rear 140mm exhaust. There’s room for seven more fans, though, and the handy ability to add two internal 120mm fans to the hard drive cage.

As for those looking to water cool their hardware, the X3 has four holes covered with rubber grommets on its rear for external setups. There’s little room elsewhere for internal setups, however, and you’ll be hard-pressed to fit an all-in-one liquid cooler using anything larger than a dual-fan radiator. In this price bracket, the Corsair Carbide 500R (see Issue 103, p60) is the better case for water cooling on the cheap.

Thankfully, the X-Predator X3 boasts decent build quality for the money. It’s fairly weighty and difficult to bend or flex under pressure-even the side panels have very little wobble. The front panel is a touch too easy to pull off, but the roof panel is fixed tightly. A few areas let down the overall solid build quality, though. For starters, solid rubber feet would provide much better grip than the soft foam material on the case feet. Secondly, the plastic roof vents, which can be opened with a plastic slider, feel a little flimsy, but it’s otherwise a solid case.

The case also sports three 5.25in drive bays, one of which has a 3.5in adaptor

The case also sports three 5.25in drive bays, one of which has a 3.5in adaptor

Meanwhile, the front panel has a pair of USB 3 ports alongside the two audio jacks and power button, although oddly there’s no reset button included. Just behind these connections sits a slanted red rubber area that could be used to rest a charging phone, for example. There’s also a neat 2.5in hot-swap dock and a pair of 25Wfan controllers with variable speed dials, which are excellent inclusions in a chassis at this price, although you’ll have to connect the fans to the controllers yourself.

Accessing the interior is easy, thanks to thumbscrews, and doing so reveals a smart and tidy interior. The anti-vibration rubber spikes and padding around the PSU will help to keep down the noise, and the lower slide-out dust filter that covers the floor fan mount is a neat touch too. Further noise-proofing comes from the sound-absorbing foam, although this is only found on the front panel, where it’s more likely to hinder airflow than have much impact on noise output.

The case also sports three 5.25in drive bays, one of which has a 3.5in adaptor. These bays use push-and-slide clips to hold drives in place, which are incredibly easy to use and provide a secure fit. Meanwhile, the tool-free rails for the eight non-removable internal bays hold regular hard drives and SSDs. These use pins to hold the drives in place, but screws can also be deployed. The trays themselves slide easily into place, but they’re a little wobbly and ideally should have tighter housing.

We’re pleased to report that cable management is mostly top-notch in the X3. There’s a host of sensibly placed cable-routeing holes, including a large one for the 8-pin 12V power connector, and the grommets used to cover the holes are fitted securely. Our only gripe is the fairly cramped space behind the motherboard tray. It’s adequate for hiding cables, but a few extra millimeters of space would go a long way. Thankfully, Aerocool also provides numerous hooks and zip ties for you to keep your cables fastened flat against the motherboard tray.


With the X3’s fans set to their lowest speeds, the case remains very quiet indeed. Temperatures suffer as a result, however. ltsCPUdeltaTof57°C isn’t the highest we’ve seen, but it looks toasty next to other cases in the same price bracket. Having a rear exhaust fan is always beneficial to CPU temperatures, but less so when the airflow is so low. The GPU delta T of 53°C is also up there with the warmest cases.

Although noise levels increases lightly when you turn up the fans to their full speed, the case remains quiet. The result is a 2°C drop to the delta T results for both the CPU and GPU - a smaller variance than we’re used to seeing between minimum and maximum speeds. The new delta T results are better, but still not very impressive, particularly for the GPU-we’ve seen these figures matched or bettered by other low-noise cases in the same price league, such as the CorsairCarbide500R.

provide a greater range between high airflow cooling, and low air flow and low noise

provide a greater range between high airflow cooling, and low air flow and low noise


With the inclusion of noise-dampening foam, low-speed fans and fairly high temperatures, the X-PredatorX3 has all the hallmarks of a low-noise chassis. However, this is juxtaposed with its bold styling and large side window, suggesting it’s targeted at those who care more about performance and noise.

We have few niggles with the construction and design, though, and its feature set is impressive for an $120,9chassis. There’s also plenty of room to upgrade the default cooling on offer if you like the case’s looks. That said, given the inclusion of variable speed fan controllers, it would have made far more sense for Aerocool to have used fans capable of reaching higher speeds, to provide a greater range between high airflow cooling, and low air flow and low noise.


§  Price: $120

In Detail

§  Dimensions (mm): 223 x 533 x527 [WxDxH]

§  Material: Steel, plastic

§  Available colors: Black, red, white

§  Weight: 8.66kg

§  Front panel: Power, 2x USB 3, stereo, mic

§  Drive bays: 2xexternal 5.25in drive bays, external 5.25in/3.5in drive bay, external hot-swap 2.5in drive bay, 8x internal 3.5in/2.5in drive bays

§  Form factor(s): ATX, micro-ATX mini-ITX

§  Cooling: 1x200mmfrontfan mount (fan supplied), 1 x 140mm/120mm rear fan mount (140mm fan supplied), 2 x U0mm/120mm side fan mounts, 1x200mmor2x U0mm/120mm roof fan mounts, 1xU0mm/120mm bottom fan mount, 2x120mm internal fan mounts

§  CPU cooler clearance: 186mm (without side fans)

§  Maximum graphics card length: 310mm


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