Aspire X-Qpack Mini-ATX Case Review

Cases & PSU/Cases by piotke @ 2006-03-23

It?s not the size that matters, it?s how you use it! The downsides of barebone system are most of the time the weaker PSU, diminished cooling abilities and expansion limitations. Aspire has built a small case, the X-Qpack, that looks like a barebone, but just a tad bigger and aims to remove these restrictions.

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Removable Mainboard Tray

A removable mainboard tray is a feature that makes my heart beat faster. Usually this makes the installation very easy. You can install most of the PC on your desk and finally slide the tray into the case.

As you can see in the pictures I did the same. First I installed the little Asus P4P800-VM mainboard. This case support Mini Atx mainboards. There are quit a lot of powerful mini ATX sized mainboard on the market, so that you wont be limited to the Shuttle sized mainboards.

Afterwards it was time for the Leadtek 6800 Le, Leadtek is known for the bigger cooling solutions they install on VGA cards. The initial plan was to install a Zalman CNPS cooler on the CPU. But before I installed that one, I decided to test it first if it would fit. Actually it wasn't the CPU cooler that got me in trouble at first, the VGA cooler, which made a card only a couple of mm higher then a regular card gave me problems...

Madshrimps (c) Madshrimps (c)

So the CNPS9500 Zalman CPU cooling doesn't fit. Time for plan B, the Geforce 4 MX based Albatron VGA card (with the Zalman Vf700-cu installed on it) and the Zalman CNPS7000B Cu CPU cooler. This combination fits perfectly. Also other larger VGA cards, such as the 7800 Series for example fit perfectly, as long as the cooling doesn’t poke its head above the PCB.

Madshrimps (c) Madshrimps (c) Madshrimps (c)


This case has room for 2x 5.25" drives, such as a DVD writer, and 3x 3.5" drives. One of the 3.5" bays can be uses for a floppy drive. Those three external visual bays (2 x 5.25 and 1 x 3.5) are installed in the front of the case. Nothing special is required here. The remaining 2 hard disk bays are installed on the side of the case. The little rack needs to be removed in order to get them in there.

Once it's removed you can easily screw in the two drives. Then you place it back into its rails and slide it back in position. To prevent any vibrating noise you connect it firmly to the chassis using two screws, one on each side.

Madshrimps (c) Madshrimps (c) Madshrimps (c)

Power Supply Unit

The small power supply is, according to the specifications, capable of delivering 420 Watt. Quit a lot for a unit this size. It’s cooled by one 80mm fan, which is fairly silent.

The Aspire X-Qpack is a windowed case; having a regular PSU installed wouldn't make it an eye catcher. That's why Aspire put some effort in making the PSU good looking. Not only does it have a high gloss mirror finish, but the fan has built-in UV blue LEDs. The finishing touch are all the sleeved cables.

The power headers are limited to the amount of drive bays this case consists. If you have the case stuffed with equipment and want to use another device that requires a molex connection (Such as the Asus CT-479 converter or a rather power consuming VGA card, you'll need to use a molex splitter).

  • 1 x 24pin Main Power (20 + 4 pin)
  • 1 x 12V (P4)
  • 4 x Peripheral
  • 1 x Floppy
  • 1 x SATA

    Madshrimps (c)

    Madshrimps (c) Madshrimps (c) Madshrimps (c) Madshrimps (c)

    Finishing the installation...

    To use the front temperature sensors, there's a pass through molex connector to provide power to the little LCD in the front. The two thin sensors can be installed practically everywhere. When using it in normal circumstances the sensors work quit accurate. Both my multimeter as the classic mercury based thermometer show values in a 2°C range.

    Because you can see everything on the inside of the case cable management is important, to those that care of course. Most of the cables can be stuffed below the floppy disk bay. Nothing can or needs to be installed there and the airflow is almost not interrupted either.

    Madshrimps (c) Madshrimps (c) Madshrimps (c) Madshrimps (c)

    On to the testing ->
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