Date: November 22, 2007
Author(s): Greg King
Who do you run to when you need a new chassis? Antec? Thermaltake? SilverStone? Today, we are adding a new company to our personal list: Hiper. If their Anubis mid-tower had to be summed up in a single word, it would be “Quality”. Not too bad for their first showing!
So you’re still using the same case you’ve been using for the past couple of years, aye? That Antec still treating you well? For many, the never ending cycle of product updates usually doesn’t include a PC chassis. As faster processors with more and more cores find their way into retail channels, kicking that old case to the curb usually isn’t much more than an after thought. Sometimes however, a new case can give new life to an aging machine by simply providing a better overall appearance.
By now, we are all familiar with the case manufacturers and the products they offer. We all know the major players – companies like Silverstone, Antec, Thermaltake, Cooler Master and recently, even Zalman have all been known for their quality offerings for a long time. But have you ever heard of Hiper?
Catching our attention recently with their first contribution to the chassis market, Hiper’s Anubis looks to be quite a solid offering and with a little work, we got one in for testing. If there is one type of hardware that we have worked with a lot over the past couple of years, PC cases would be near the top.
Often thought of as a manufacturer of power supplies, Hiper has branched out into the enthusiast market with their all aluminum Anubis. With its 3mm thick 6063 T5 aluminum alloy, the case is surely built to survive a move or two. Another unique piece of information about the Anubis is that Hiper has abandoned the traditional riveting method to keep the chassis together and has instead, opted to weld the parts together using a patented method, giving the case the sturdiness to withstand a rated 220 pounds (100 kg). While I don’t expect, nor would I appreciate, anyone sitting on my PC, should it happen, Hiper has apparently got you covered.
In all honesty, prior to this review, I wasn’t too terribly familiar with Hiper and their products but after a bit of research, we found that they not only produce power supplies, but also fans, cables and keyboards. Throughout the review, the Anubis continued to impress us not only with it’s sturdiness but also it’s performance. Continue reading to find out how.
Arriving in its retail packaging, the Anubis ships in a purple and black box fittingly displaying the head of its namesake, Anubis, the jackal headed Egyptian god of the dead. While the overall appearance of the tower really doesn’t bring to mind any one thought of Egyptian mythology, the packaging does a good job of tying the case and the name together. Honestly, the name Anubis sure beats a simple model number any day.
Once removed from its box, the Anubis resembles your standard, everyday tower, but upon closer examination, there is quite a bit that separates it from the rest of its peers. Being a standard mid-tower, the Anubis bring to the table everything that we have come to expect form a case of this size, but the extras is what really sets it apart from the pack.
Last month we looked at the Zalman Z-Machine GT1000 and as mid-towers are concerned, it’s been on the top of my list of favorites since our evaluation. As it turned out, as much as we liked the Zalman, there were quite a few areas of the case that could have been improved. While the case cooled our test hardware quite well, the obstructed air flow from the front of the case, coupled with the high price of ownership (just under $400 US) might position the GT1000 well out of the reach of most gamers. This is where the Anubis comes into play.
The Anubis, also being a mid-tower case, seems to have heard our gripes about the Zalman and remedied them… somewhat. For now though, let’s take a quick tour of the exterior of the Anubis and focus on what truly sets it apart from many of the other cases available today.
Taking a look at the front of the case, we can see the well ventilated front door that runs almost the entire height of the chassis. With an opening for a 120mm fan at the bottom of the Anubis (strangely, a fan is not provided), the Anubis’ general layout of similar to any other case on the market right now, except for unorthodox cases such as the Mozart TX from Thermaltake.
With the front door open, it’s strange to see the fan (installed by us, not by Hiper) exposed and not on the inside of the chassis. Protected by the included fan grill, the 120mm fan should be able to breathe quite well through the front grating at the bottom of the door.
For your optical drives, the Anubis also allows the installation of up to six drives. With the front door being as it is, something like the Matrix Orbital might not be as obvious as a regular old optical drive, but rest assured the space is there. At the top of the case, there is a spot for your 3.5″ drive of choice. You do still use a 3.5″ device right?
Moving around to the side of the Anubis reveals a few more interesting bits about the case. First off is the choice of side paneling. Going with their Anubis standard 3mm thick aluminum, Hiper has windowed the entire side of the case which is not entirely out of the ordinary.
What makes this so unusual is that on top of the window is metal grilling. I can only assume that this is to prevent the inside of the case from getting completely filled with dust but without a filter on the front fan, this might not be the reasoning behind the unusual side panel. Either way, if the air flow inside the Anubis is good enough, I personally like the look of the window and grill.
Another unique feature of the Anubis is the lack of thumb screws on the side panel. Instead of this tried and true method, Hiper has employed the use of a pair of latches. With these latches on the side panel, simply press them down and pull the side off the case. It really doesn’t get much simpler than that. While I would personally like to see some way to lock the side panel on the chassis, it’s difficult to argue with the ease of use and convenience.
At the top of the case sits far and away the most unique piece of the Anubis. Running the entire length of the case are one inch tall fins. These start at the front of the case, curving with the contours of the chassis, and running all the way to the back with the only break in the fins being the top mounted 120mm exhaust fan and the I/O ports at the front of the case.
Keeping with the theme of a high quality build, Hiper as chosen to make the top mounted I/O ports of the same quality. Included on the top is a pair of USB ports, power and hard drive activity LEDs, a reset and power button as well as a microphone, headphone and audio out jacks.
One of my favorite parts about this I/O panel is the color of the LEDs. The power button LED glows a brilliant bluish purple, something a bit different from the traditional red of blue of other cases. I know, it might be a bit silly to get excited over something like that but I like it.
Moving a bit further back, we can see the rear of the Anubis as well as the other side panel. Employing the same latch system, working on the Anubis was a breeze and not having to undo thumb screws each and every time we wanting in was very much appreciated.
Examining the back of the Anubis reveals that there really isn’t anything to special about the layout of the case. The layout mimics every other ATX case ever built with the I/O shield directly by an exhaust fan (in the case of the Anubis, the exhaust fan space is for up to a 120mm fan).
Unfortunately again, Hiper saw fit to not include a fan here as well. As it stands, they have only provided one measly 120mm fan for the top of the case. For a case of this quality, it’s quite disappointing to see this and perhaps with enough pressuring, they can start including at least one more fan for those who choose this case.
Underneath the I/O area there is the standard seven PCI slots as well as a pair of rubber lined holes for water tubing. This is something that we are starting to see more and more of in cases and we love this. As more cores are being built into CPUs, more people are starting to move to water to keep their temps in check. While this isn’t necessary, for many, the noise and performance of conventional convection cooling isn’t as nice as a quiet water setup.
At the top, on the back of the case, we can see the rear end of the top fins, as well as the opening for the power supply. Just under the power supply is an individually numbered tag, noting the actual number of the case.
This is put on the case at the manufacturer and gives the Anubis a little more individuality and makes each one unique. As we will see a bit later on, Hiper has also included an individually numbered key chain that matches the number on the back of the Anubis.
Taking a peek at the interior of the Anubis, one thing we notice is that it’s rather open, and coming off one of our last chassis reviews, the Silverstone KL01, the added room afforded by the Anubis is appreciated.
Glancing at the features, we should point out that the motherboard tray is not removable and sadly a plain silver color, completely standing out from an otherwise brilliantly black interior. Accommodating ATX and micro ATX motherboards, the Anubis comes with etched standoff placement holes making installation a breeze. Motherboard tray aside, the rest of the interior is the flat black as the rest of the case, making the overall appearance once the motherboard is installed top notch.
Another nice feature of the Anubis is its removable hard drive cage. While not revolutionary, a nice bit about it is that it can be front loaded making the process of swapping out a hard drive, or simply adding additional storage a snap. This is nice if your anything like me and install the motherboard into the machine first. I don’t often think of placing the drives in first and if you don’t, it can come back and bite you, but in the Anubis’ case, pun intended, this is a non issue.
Able to accommodate up to four drives, the Anubis and its lone drive cage might not be enough for some most enthusiasts but more a vast majority will prove to be more than enough. While the case itself lacks a front mounted fan, once can be installed, and was installed for the photographs, the hard drive cage allows us to properly route our fan’s cables by placing a small hole at the front to run the cable through to the motherboard.
At the top of the Anubis, there is plenty of room to install virtually any sized power supply. With a small ledge on the motherboard tray, all that is needed to install a PSU is to secure it in place with four screws. While this isn’t anything special, we felt the need to point the available room out as many cases do not play will with longer power supplies often associated with the higher wattage ratings.
As we pointed out earlier, there are a few things that make the Anubis unique. The most obvious being the large heat sink styled top. Another unique feature is the individually numbered plaque on the back of the chassis. With these two features being exclusives to the Anubis, Hiper has show a bit of creativity in designing the case. To compliment these features, the accessories that come with each Anubis play to these features quite well.
The entire set of extras… screws, motherboard standoffs, manual, etc…, all come in a compact little bag with a zipper top. This holds everything needed to install our hardware into the Anubis as well as a few extra “surprises.”
Lining up the bits and bolts, we see that Hiper has included enough screws, both regular and thumb, standoffs, and fan screws to get anyone up and going. The bags are well documented on their contents and with each one, there are a couple of extra parts should one or two come up missing down the road.
For those of you concerned with the top fins and how difficult it will be to keep them clean, Hiper is clearly a step or two ahead of you on that. Showing great foresight, Hiper has opted to include a small bristle brush to run between the fins and get any dust or crumbs that might be on the top of your case. This is another nice inclusion and should come in handy for anyone concerned with the cleanliness of their PC.
Oh, there’s also a manual included as well but honestly, who uses those? Seriously though, the manual is about as informative as a chassis manual can be.
The best part of the accessories bag (yes, the brush is topped), is a rather robust Anubis key chain.
With the Egyptian God’s head on one side, the back side of the key chain reveals a laser etched number matching the number on the back of the case itself. This ensures that not only is your case one of a kind, but you can prove it with your extremely heavy, yet cool, key chain that just so happens to also have a matching number as well.
As with most cases, installation of hardware should not be that difficult. While there have been a few exceptions here at Techgage, almost every hardware install into a PC has gone as smooth as humanly possible. Fortunately for us, the process with the Anubis was mostly trouble free.
The only significant problem that we ran into was when we attempted to install one of our testing drives, a Seagate ES Barracuda 750GB, into the drive cage. This is the same drive that we have used in many other tests but unfortunately that streak ends with the Anubis. It would seem that to accommodate the added capacity, Seagate raised the height of the drive ever so slightly… just enough to prevent it from sliding into the drive cage of the Anubis.
Curious, we then tried other drives that we had lying around including a Western Digital Raptor and a few other drives from various other manufacturers. We ended up using a Seagate 320GB drive in lieu of the thicker 750GB test drive. All in all, we were disappointed that all of the drives we had on hand didn’t fit in the drive cage.
With everything installed, it’s time for a few pics. Please understand that the pictures were taken shortly before our trip to AsylumLAN 30 so there is a pair of 120mm fans installed in the case. Throughout our testing, neither the front intake fan, nor the rear exhaust fan were installed as we wanted to represent as accurately as possible what anyone can expect from this case as it comes stock from Hiper.
One thing to notice in the pictures is the room given to work with. While the Anubis lacks the convenient space behind the motherboard tray to store and route cables that the Antec P182 does, there is ample room to tuck unused cables.
In attempt to stay as consistent as possible, we have installed the same hardware used in previous case reviews and with the exception of the hard drive; the rest of the specs should look familiar to most.
Our testing procedure is pretty straight-forward. With the hardware installed, our testing is done with all side panels on the machine; we stress both the CPU and GPU by running stress testing software. For the CPU, we used a simple program called CPU Burn-In v1.01. This is a small program that brings each individual core up to 100% load, all the while monitoring for errors in calculations. I have used this tool for a long time now and it has done a good job of heating up CPUs through stressful computations.
For the GPU, we stressed our 8800 GTS using a tool many of you may have used. Real-time high dynamic range image based lighting demo, or RTHDRIBL for those of you playing at home, is a great little tool for testing the stability of GPU overclocks as well as heating up a video card when you needed (our case.)
Both of these tools are free to download and should you like to test your hardware, they are straight foreword and easy to use.
With those numbers in mind, we re-ran the same tests with a pair of fans installed in the front and rear of the case. While the total system was a bit more audible, and for obvious reasons, the temperatures of the system dropped a few degrees. This was quite noticeable on the video card as it was directly in the line of airflow from the front fan.
Installing a pair of fans is an obvious path to take for most, to simply install fans where needed, but something that Hiper clearly looked past but more on our views of this later. Here are our results with the fan spaces populated.
When it all is said and done, Hiper, a relatively unknown company for the most part, has released what I consider to be one of the best chassis available. Coming from a company other than other than Antec, Thermaltake, Silverstone and Cooler Master is also impressive. The performance of the Anubis, along with its styling, make it a viable contender for your hard earned money.
With that said, the Anubis is not without its faults and far from perfect. The hard drive cage not being able to accept our Seagate 750GB drive was a bit of a concern and the blatant omission of extra case fans, by a company that makes then no less, is very frustrating indeed. If you can look past those two small problems, and for the most part they really are minor, then the Anubis is going to be perfect for almost anyone.
I will agree with a few people I have spoken with about the design of the case as well. There are some that have pointed out that there will be many turned off by the large heatsink that makes up the entire top of the case. This is one of those situations where you could ask 10 different people their opinion and get 10 different answers. Only you can decide if you like the styling of the Anubis.
With the negatives out of the way, it’s a lot more enjoyable to focus on the good things that this case has to offer. First off, its thick aluminum. I personally like my cases stout and there isn’t anyway to deny the fact that this thing is a beast. Aside from the Zalman GT1000, the Anubis is easily the strongest case we have tested and if you choose to do so, you could more than likely jump on the thing. While I wouldn’t recommend this, you could probably get away with it thanks to the 3mm thick aluminum.
The spring loaded latches on the side panels are absolutely great and I have found that any case without them (excluding the GT1000) just isn’t as nice. I hope to never return to thumb screws again because of this case. Another positive is the water ready back side. With the rubber coated ½” holes, anyone looking to cool their PC with water is in luck as the Anubis supports this method.
All in all, the Anubis is a sure bet for anyone looking for a sturdy, all aluminum mid tower. The design is great and the cooling performance of the case proves that the new comer can hang in there with other top brands. While I am unsure if the large sink design on the top of the case does anything for heat dissipation, I am sure if the interior of the case got warm enough, it would help out a bit.
The bottom line on the Anubis is that is almost perfect and taking into consideration that it’s the first offering from Hiper, we are certainly hoping that they take what they have learned from this case and build off of it.
For those interested, the Anubis can be found online for around $220 (US). While that’s a bit steep for most, I consider it a worthy contender to the Zalman GT1000 and considering that case is still well over $350, the Anubis almost seems like a steal.
The Hiper Anubis earns a 9 out of 10 and an Editor’s choice award. Let’s hope Hiper continues this trend in future models.
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