Date: October 5, 2005
Author(s): Rob Williams
Titan likes to be unique, and it’s very apparent in their product line-up. We are going to take a look at their Robela case, that’s far from being ordinary. Packed inside is a full fledged water cooling set-up, but also includes many of the features you look for in a regular case.
The Robela case was a release from Titan that came without a warning. They have been making a variety of cooling products over the last while, including the Vanessa L-Type CPU cooler we reviewed back in July. They have one goal for the Robela, and that’s to do a better job than anyone else when it comes to keeping your computer cool with water. They are so confident, that they urged we use a high end CPU and GPU to really push the limits and test the cases capabilities. Before we jump into the review, here is a quick bio about Titan.
TITAN is headquartered in Taiwan and has its own two factories, total approximate 20,000 square meters. Both are located in Guang Dong- China, China. There are around 1200 employees, which provide combined efforts a production capacity of over 1.2 million units per month. TITAN is also leading manufacturer of various thermal products such as: CPU Coolers, VGA Coolers, H.D.D coolers, System Blowers, D.C fans, Heatsinks in comprehensive solution of cooling systems in different applications of PC systems. We have just launched the newest design; the superior water cooling kit combined water and air-cooling in the world; the performance is excellent to reduce heat problems and operates at minimal noise levels. To keep advance with the fast changing market; new models are launched every 1-2 months to meet your requirements.
One thing that adds to Titan’s uniqueness, is that for each and every product they launch, they assign a fictional heroine to grace the packaging. Even more, they supply wallpapers as well, to coincide with the product. If you are interested in the 1280*1024 version of the Robela wallpaper, you can grab it below.
The Titan Robela comes in four varieties, which are described below:
We are going to be taking a look at the A88/BS model in our review. Here are more technical specifications for the case:
|12CM Fan||9CM Fan|
|Fan Dimension||120 x 120 x 25 mm||90 x 90 x 25 mm|
|Rated Voltage||6 ~ 12V DC||12V DC|
|Rated Current||0.09 ~ 0.25 A||0.09 A|
|Power Consumption||0.54 ~ 3.0 W||1.08 W|
|Rated Speed||1000 ~ 1800 Â± 10%RPM||2000 Â± 10%RPM|
|Airflow||39.5 ~ 71.09 CFM||34.5 CFM|
|Static Pressure||< 1.23 ~ 2.22 mmH2O||1.66 mmH2O|
|Noise Level||< 20 ~ 34 dBA||< 24 dBA|
|No. of Pole|
Sleeve / One Ball / Two Ball / Z-AXIS
25,000 / 35,000 / 50,000 / 60,000 Hours
|Water pump motor|
|Rated Voltage||12V DC|
|Rated Current In Water||0.25 A|
|Power Consumption||3.0 W|
|Rated Speed In Water||2000 Â± 10%RPM|
|High In Water||> 1000 mm|
|No. of Pole||4 Pole|
When the Robela first arrived at my house, I was immediately amazed by the size of the box that it was packaged in. I quickly read the invoice to see how much it weighed, and it clearly said, “60LBs”! I admit, my jaw dropped… because I could not believe that it weighed that much. It’s a seriously packed case, but that’s the weight before any water/PC components are added!
Away from the weight, the box is very colorful and detailed, with the heroine of course on one side. At the ends are the descriptions of the various case models. On the back are the specifications in nine different languages.
Once the case was taken from the box, I looked over to see if there were any imperfections. Titan does a superb job of packing their products, and I mean that completely. There was nothing wrong physically with the case… it arrived in perfect condition. After looking at the case, the first word that comes to mind is “Beast”. Heavy duty is not even the word, because the Robela is hardcore heavy, large and in charge… at least we hope.
One side of the case is the radiator, built-in to the door. Because of radiator being here, the door is pretty heavy which is why they put a couple handles to make opening and lifting off much easier. On top of the radiator is where you can pour in water/anti-freeze.
The front of the case is clean and professional looking. The ABS Plastic is clean and mirror like, as you can see in the picture. This is where I ran into my first problem with this case, and it’s an odd one. When the case is received, it’s well covered with plastic, as you can see in the picture of the radiator. The front panel also had this plastic, but once it was taken off, it left a residue. Soap and water did not take this off, but I was recommended by a friend to try another method. I will try that one when I pick up the solution he recommended and then edit the review here if it worked or not.
On the front panel also, are 18 ventilation holes, that allow hot air to be blown out. There is an LED screen which will display info, such as fan speed and even noise. The screen is backlit in bright blue and is very clear to read. It’s a nice touch and fits the scheme of the case quite well.
Opening up the door, we can see that we have (5) 5 1/4″ drive bays available, as well as (2) 3 1/2″, for fan controllers, floppy drives and etcetera. Also here is the Power on and Reset button. This is somewhat inconvenient, since you must open the door to turn on your computer. If you are like me… where the computer is never off, it’s not such a problem. Another large round ventilation hole is here as well.
We can now open up a secondary door, which allows the installation of some components. You can install your CD-Rom firstly, and Floppy drive if you have one. Here also is a filter down bottom, so that dust will not fill the air. This secondary door can be locked, to keep it securely shut. They have included two keys for this purpose.
Now we come to the top of the case, which has a mini door that pops up and unveils some peripheral spots. Available are two USB 2.0, Firewire and an Audio/Mic ports. This is a great spot to have the ports and doesn’t get in the way of anything else. You may notice there are holes right above the ports in the picture. This is of course here so you can mount a fan inside the case, which you could have either sucking in cool air, or blowing warm air out.
Looking at the opposite side of the case now, we can see the door is completely clean of anything, which is the way it should be. Turning around to the back, we can see everything that should be here. There is nothing too special about the back, which means nothing is wrong either.
I absolutely love the look of this case. It looks great, and is built like a tank. The only downside is the weight, although that may not matter so much if you will not be moving it too often. Since the case included so many various tools and doodads, it would have been great if they included wheels to replace the feet on the bottom.
Checking out the door that the radiator is strapped to, we can see that it’s no wonder why it’s so heavy. It’s not a wimpy looking radiator, and is made even more complete with the two huge 120mm silver fans. Notice the large box that bares the Titan name? Behind that is the pump, and that is one fault of the case I believe should have been avoided. If you have a large PSU by any means, you may not be able to fit the door back onto the case. You can remove that box to allow for more room, but that should not have to be done. Leaving everything as is, the door would not fit on with the Ultra X-Finity 600W installed, but it went on without issues with the Coolmax CXI 400W.
After checking out the inside, there is no real shortage of space by any means. The motherboard tray has plenty of holes, so you are able to fit near any motherboard to it. Nothing immediately caught my eye that’s wrong.. I like what I see!
In the bottom right corner, we see that there are plenty of clips available. These are for installation your CD-Rom’s and HDD’s which make for a screw-less installation. All the clips here can be removed, with their holster, so that HDD’s can be installed in that spot. The cords that are lying around here, are to connect the WC system, microphone for noise, and of course the motherboard switches.
They have included a plastic clip, which can easily be opened and closed to house various cords.. primarily the ones you are not using. This is a very welcomed feature and helps keep your case much cleaner than it would be without. Since cooling is Titan’s top priority, they want the airflow to be very good.
Nothing bad can be said about the interior of the case right off, everything is where it should be and there is plenty of space for moving around in there.
Titan did not hold anything back… they seemed to have included everything that you could possibly need. They have especially included more than enough screws, so you should not need to raid your toolbox. The manual is full color and provides quite good instructions on how to get everything set up. Finally, a manual I have not complained about.
Here are all the extras that you see pictured below:
The absolutely only problem I have with the included components, is that one PS Extended power cable was not enough. I would have loved at least one extra, because I had some heavy duty thinking during installation to figure out how I should lay things out. Other than that, they have included all that should be included.
With all water cooling systems, you should always let the cycle run for at least 24 hours to test for leaks. Because of laziness, I let the Robela run it’s loop for 48 hours, and was pleased to see no leaks at all. Now we are good to go and start installing everything.
Once I found out that the Ultra X-Finity would not coincide with the door, I replaced it with the Coolmax CXI 400 and installation has officially begun. First up were the hard drives. I applied the included clips to each side and then situated it in the bottom right drive bays. I quickly found out that this is not the smart way to do things, because attaching the IDE/S-ATA cables could cause problems. It’s a very tight area, so I only installed my primary drive here. I installed my other two drives in the floppy drive bays, since I would not be using a floppy drive or anything else that needs to fit there.
I now installed the CD-Rom in the top drive bay, which was the only one without a metal guard. Once again, I found out this is not the smart way to do things, since the IDE cable would not be able to stretch from a hard drive all the way up to the top of the case. So I quickly moved that to the bottom bay.
The motherboard installation was also a little tricky. Pre-installed are a couple metal motherboard mounts, which I promptly removed. I have not seen them before, and don’t know which type of motherboard they are supposed to be for, but I replaced them with the standard gold-colored ones. The previous ones were difficult to remove, and I needed pliers to remove some of them. I had no issues other than removing those mounts, and the motherboard situated itself fine.
After cleaning up my CPU to prepare for the Nano Blue coat, I examined the water block for dirt and scratches. The block looked good, although it could have been better. It didn’t have a perfectly clear mirror image like it could have, but overall it should do the job. Depending on how your CPU bracket is laid out, you may have to install the block differently than is shown in the book. Instead of having the tubes facing upwards, they are spreading out to the left of the CPU, because I had to install the block sideways. This will not affect performance, because it still covers the CPU well, but it’s odd.
You may notice that I do not have any GPU block installation pictures. This is because a) I forgot to take some, and b) it’s very hard to take pictures when both hands are working off the same card. Sadly, nobody else was around to take pictures. Either way though, this was a challenge, but could not have been made any easier, really. Removal of the previous heatsink/fan was easy, and installation of Titan’s heatsinks was easy. The most difficult part of this task was securing the block to the card with the provided screws. Once everything was in place though, I was happy.
One thing I must say, is that I do not quite agree with the heatsinks. Titan makes no note of what they are made of, but I will assume copper, even though they are blue. There seems to be no conductive properties to the back of the heatsinks though, but is just sticky instead. Sadly, they are not even that sticky, because two of them fell off after a few days of use.
After the blocks were installed, the graphics card was put into the slot and secured. I then made the final connections to the other peripherals, and we were good to roll.
This is our first water cooling related review on the site, so there will be no comparisons with others yet. Instead, we will be comparing temperatures from our Scythe Katana review. For GPU temps, we are grabbing the results from out eVGA 7800GT review. Also, we have compared the temperature differences between the Nano Blue thermal paste and Arctic Silver 5.
Here is the system that we used for the review:
Coolmax CXI 400W
2GB Corsair XMS PC3500 (1024MB * 2)
2-3-2-5 @ 2.7v
160GB Western Digital 8MB Cache
2 * 200GB Western Digital 8MB Cache
eVGA 7800GT PCI-E 256MB
Using BETA 78.03 drivers.
Windows XP Professional with SP2
To test CPU temps, we ran our usual programs to achieve maximum load. I started off with Prime95 and the Small FFT test. I then opened up two instances of Super Pi and ran the 32 Million test on each. I left the computer alone for an hour, and came back and grabbed the results with Motherboard Monitor. To test the GPU load, I simply looped 3D Mark 2005 for an hour. Easy to do, but very effective.
The results here are not too shabby. Compared to the Scythe, the Arctic Silver + Robela took off 7ÂºC off the load CPU. I have to mention that these are overclocked results, so temps are much higher than stock. The default chip speed of the Venice 3200+ is 2.0GHz, so these are good overclocks.
Even at a massive 880MHz overclock, the Robela manages to keep temps below 51ÂºC at load. Not bad at all.
It’s interesting to note that the Robela case temps are higher than the previously air cooled case. The sad thing is that this can hurt the temperatures of other components, especially HDD’s, as you can see in this chart below:
That is not a small jump. I consider ~50ÂºC to be the point of worry, because that’s far too high for a hard drive. Luckily, I have not felt the performance take a hit in any sense, but those temps should not be that high. Titan should have allowed better spacing for the hard drives, because the only real solution here is to purchase a few HDD coolers that fit in the 5 1/4″ drive bays.
I am happy with the GPU results though, as they helped me overclock the card higher. Whereas the previous max overclock was 470/1.12, it is now 480/1.20. Hardly amazing, but it is better. Even at load, equipped with the AS5, the max overclock load barely touched 61ÂºC. Even overclocked, there is absolutely no worrying about the graphics card overheating.
Overall, I enjoyed using the Robela, and it does do a good job of cooling. What are some of the best features of the case? This thing is very well built… it’s high quality and screams heavy duty. It looks at you like a passive beast that’s here to take care of business.
Even though I expected installation to be difficult, it wasn’t too bad at all. Of course I ran into a few minor problems, but that’s with any installation. Some of the minor things made this case even cooler, such as the tool-less installation of the CD-Rom’s and Hard Drives, and even the PCI-E/PCI slots. The front LED screen is also very classy, if you enjoy looking at it from time to time. The fact that it measures the noise inside the case is a cool addition.
The case definitely has some flaws though. I really wish they made it possible to keep more than one hard drive separated enough from each other so that the air flow would be much better. The heatsinks for the memory on the graphics card should have a stickier backing, or even a conductive one. Every time I open the side of the case, I see one of the heatsinks lying on the bottom of the case.
The only problems I had with this case were minor ones, and I am overall very pleased with the case. It cools, and cools well, although I recommend using something better than the Nano Blue thermal paste they include.
If you are looking to get started in Water Cooling, and want a case that’s loaded with many useful additions, you may want to consider the Titan Robela. The only thing that may hold you back is the price, at $350 it’s not a cheap case. After reading the review, you should know whether this case if for you. If you have money to spend, definitely pick one up.
If you have any comments on this review, feel free to post about them in our related review thread. No registration is necessary, and any questions and suggestions are welcomed.
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