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XG Viper 2

Date: May 20, 2006
Author(s): Greg King

Like most product selections, there is hardly a shortage of computer towers to choose from. The XG Viper is made out of aluminum alloy and includes many of flashy LEDs. They even threw a 400W power supply in there to get things started. Are all these features worth the semi-steep price?



Introduction


We’re all vain in certain ways. I enjoy nice things just as much as the next guy. This, in my case, carries over into the way I present my computer. I know it’s petty to most but for us, our computers are not tools. We don’t use them to just write papers, no, out computers are an extension of us if you will. We take pride in the way our PC performs as well as the way it looks. The first thing that anyone will notice when looking at a PC is the case. We have had many cases come through the Techgage labs in the past and today, we have XG Viper 2.

XG is a division of the company MGE which has been around for quite some time. My goal is to run the Viper 2 through the ringer and see how it performs.

My first impression of the case was when I picked it up off of my porch. Expecting to pick up a case of normal weight, I was surprised when the box weighed so little. Upon bringing the case inside, I opened it up to see just what the Viper 2 had to offer.

Here we see the box, obviously opened. The case was packaged well with Styrofoam on either side of the case to protect in while being shipped.

Let’s let the Viper out of the box!

Once again, we see the case, still in packaging material only this time, the case is wrapped in a bag to protect against scratches during shipping.

Here is the case with no covering at all. You can see the large Viper head on the front door, the silver mesh around the LCD for airflow and the LCD screen itself. This screen will be used to monitor fan speeds, CPU temperature as well as display the time. Right below the LCD display, there are buttons allowing you to switch between Fahrenheit and Celsius.

Here you see the back of the case. There are all of the tool less slots on the bottom, your I/O opening, a 92mm vent and the PSU on top.

Now we have a good idea of what the case looks like from the outside on all sides. Let’s get to some factory provided specs on this case and then move to the inside.

There you have it, and straight from the horse’s mouth. The specs are what one would expect from a case manufacturer but the one thing that really worries me is the 400w power supply. I am going to run this test with all of my hardware and see how the PSU holds up.



Testing and Install

Let’s move to the inside of the case and see what we can uncover.

In the above pictures, you can get a good idea of what you can expect space wise when you decide to use this case. The one thing that I notice right off the bat is that the 120mm fan is using a converter to allow it to blow out the 92mm case vent in the back. This isn’t a huge deal but some air flow will be obstructed using this method.

This case is made entirely out of aluminum and as stated earlier, its light! There are all sorts of compromises in life and this case is no different. You can have a steel case but it will be heavy. That same case can also present you with the state of mind that your case is practically indestructible. Then you have an aluminum case that often provides you with all the features of a steel case but at a fraction of the weight. There is sometimes a trade off between sturdiness and weight and I intend on seeing how this plays into the Viper 2.

In this review, I am using my everyday PC. I will place these parts into the Viper 2 and see how the case’s airflow is because a hot computer is a pissed computer and we can’t be having any angry PCs. My setup hasn’t changed since my last review but for those of you who are new to Techgage, here is my PC.

While that isn’t the most glamorous PC out there, it is rather power hungry so I am interested in seeing how the MGE 400W PSU holds up.

*Upon talking with XG about my PSU concerns, I was assured that the 400W power supply is in fact a 450W power supple that was mistakenly labeled as a 400W. This is better but will it be enough to power my PC when nVidia’s recommendations for SLi systems are 500W at least?

I should also mention that the box for the Viper 2 is also mislabeled. Within 6-7 inches of each other are 3 different PSU ratings for this case. There is a label that says there is a 500W SLi approved power supple and below it are 2 sentences claiming a 400W and a 450W power supply. I was promised that the next round of boxes will correctly display what power supply is in the Viper.

Now that we have all of that out of the way, let’s get into installing everything into the case. This is the most frustrating part of any case install’at least for me. I hate to route the cables where they should go but I am picky enough to make sure that cable management is done how it should be. Let’s take some looks at the case with everything in it.

Well, you see it all together, what do you think?



Conclusion

The install was painless, thanks in part to the ZERO jagged edges in the case. It is nice to work with a case that will not cut you. The tool less install was beautiful as well. The clamps for the PCI brackets are easy to use and painless and the tool less holders for the optical drives and hard drives worked beautifully as well. One thing that I noticed while installing the hardware into the case was the fact that as much moving around that I did, I did not scratch the paint, not even once. To test this further, I even ran a thumbscrew up and down a section of the case, trying to scratch it but it was no use, the case would not scratch. Now we can get serious and give it a try with a knife but I am not that determined to scratch this case.

The front LCD panel is a nice touch as well. This gives you the opportunity to monitor your fan speeds as well as your CPU temperatures. You don’t really have to monitor your CPU but that’s what I choose to monitor. You can monitor your hard drive, case sections or anything you can think of. Get creative.

As you can see, there is a huge difference when the lights are dimmed. This case looks pissed when the lights are low and I am glad I am on its side. The picture was taken when the computer was first booted up so the temperature reading is still a bit low for the CPU. The fan speeds were accurately displayed and the CPU temperature was correctly displayed as well. While we are the subject of temperatures, let’s see what the case temps are like.

Going into this review, I was worried about 2 things. One being the power supply rating of 400W and the second was airflow. With one 80mm in the front and one 120mm in the back (basically reduced to a 92m due to air restrictions), airflow wont be what other cases with a pair of 120mms can produce but will it be adequate?

When the case was completely sealed up, my temperatures went up. It wasn’t a lot but it was enough to prove my concerns right. One 80mm and one 120mm can in a case just doesn’t provide the airflow that I would have liked to have seen on a case costing what this one does. Does this mean that this case is worthless? Not at all. The airflow, while not where I would have liked it, was adequate for the system that I had. I don’t know if I would do much overclocking in this case but that’s not really what it was designed for. This, to me, is a LAN gamers dream. The case is flashy, bright and extremely light. Even fully loaded, the case was lighter than my 24/7 case was empty.

There you have it folks. For what it is, the Viper 2 is a heavy hitter in some areas and not so much in others. There are couple of issues that I have with this case and the number one being the power supply. XG is trying to become a tier one case supplier and in some regards they are almost there. I would like to see a more powerful power supply if a case that is selling for $150 around the web. I would recommend this case in a heartbeat to anyone that attends a lot of LAN events because this case is so damned light and easy to move around with.

I am giving this case a 7 out of 10 on our scale because the power supply is a bit weak and the airflow is equally as weak. Other than those two issues, this is a solid case for anyone that is on the go and needs to transport their PC for whatever reasons they might need.

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