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AeroCool Cipher Case Holds 16 Drives for Storage Based Cryptomining

AeroCool Cipher case with 16 drive bays
(Image credit: AeroCool)

PC cases and cooling specialist AeroCool has unveiled a new case with mounting space to fit up to 15 storage devices simultaneously. Yes, that might be somewhat excessive for the average PC builder; however, the AeroCooler Cipher case is "specially designed for mining storage-based cryptocurrency," says the designer.

Firstly, you might be a bit confused by the 16 (headline) or 15 max drives specification. According to AeroCool, the case has twelve 3.5-inch and four 2.5-inch drive bays (16). However, due to one overlapping mounting spot in the chassis, the maximum simultaneous loadout consists of eleven 3.5-inch HDDs and four x 2.5-inch SSDs (15) or twelve x 3.5-inch HDDs and three x 2.5-inch SSDs (15) simultaneously.

(Image credit: AeroCool)

Secondly, another first impression you might get of the case is that it will be a huge, overbearing tower. However, AeroCool's arrangement of four removable HDD cages for the 3.5-inch drives, plus the case floor and rear motherboard tray, is pretty efficient. In other words, the case is not unusually large for a tower case that houses a full-ATX motherboard at 205 x 485 x 485mm (W x H x D) in total. It is much the same size as other ATX cases we have reviewed in recent months, such as the Antec P10 Flux and Silverstone SETA A1, and considerably smaller than the likes of the Corsair 5000X.

With the AeroCool Cipher case not being extraordinarily large, you will therefore have to make some compromises if you want to have a graphics card that's longer than 290mm. A GPU measuring between 290 and 400mm long can be accommodated only if you eschew one of the 3.5-inch drive cages, reducing the max 3.5-inch drive loadout by two. On the topic of graphics cards, the Cipher allows for vertical graphics card installation. But longer cards will impact the amount of HDD cages you can populate.

(Image credit: AeroCool)

The AeroCool Cipher case has lots of provisions for active cooling to back up the natural airflow construction. However, as with graphics cards, some choices will impact your drive cages. The worst option for people wanting lots of storage is fitting a front radiator. However, you can put a 120, 240, 280, or 360mm radiator in the top without any storage capacity penalty. Furthermore, the front can be fitted with 120mm x 3 or 140mm x 3 fans without storage penalty, so you probably wouldn't buy this case if you insist on front radiator positioning.

AeroCool Cipher-S-BK-v1, EAN 4711099471683

Construction

SPCC, ABS + Steel 0.7mm

Motherboards

ATX/micro ATX/mini-ITX

Case Dimensions (Internal)

205 x 470 x 430mm (W x H x D)

Case Dimensions (Overall)

205 x 485 x 485mm (W x H x D)

3.5” Drive Bays

12 Max. (11 x 3.5” and 1 x 3.5”/2.5″)

2.5” Drive Bays

4 Max. (3 x 2.5” and 1 x 2.5”/3.5”)

Expansion Slots

7+2

GPU Clearance

Supports GPU up to 290mm or 400mm (without HDD cage)

CPU Cooler Clearance

Supports CPU cooler up to 160mm

Air Cooling

Front: 120mm x 3 or 140mm x 3 (Max.)
Top: 120mm x 3 or 140mm x 2 (Max.)
Rear: 120mm x 1 (Max.)

Liquid Cooling

Front: 120/240/280/360mm Radiator (Optional) (Without HDD Cage)
Top: 120/240/280/360mm Radiator (Optional)
Rear: 120mm Radiator (Optional)

Front Top I/O Ports

USB3.0 x 1 | USB2.0 x 2 | HD Audio & Mic. Plus Power and resent buttons

Power Supply

ATX PSU (Including cables, up to 229mm) (Optional)

Storage Based Cryptomining?

We have previously covered storage-based cryptomining, particularly of Chia Coin (XCH), in our news and how-to guides. As a quick recap, cryptocurrencies like Chia offer a novel approach to value, ditching the Proof of Work hashing used by most coins (i.e., Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, Dogecoin, and others) and instead opting for a new Proof of Time and Space algorithm.

As Chia burst onto the scene last year, we saw storage prices start to soar, but this effect varied quite a lot depending on storage device capacity and where you were in the world. A couple of other unfortunate side effects were noticed, though — SSDs were spotted being resold after heavy wear by miners, and SSD makers reduced warranties.

If you check the value of Chia Coin today, you will see it has declined pretty consistently and badly since its launch around May last year. From a peak value of nearly $1,600, it is currently flat-lining, with a shallow downward trend, at $76.

(Image credit: CoinMarketCap)

Other storage-based cryptocurrencies exist and are indeed much bigger than Chia Coin. The biggest coins by capitalization are Filecoin at $3.1 billion, and BitTorrent at $1.7 billion. However, checking the charts for these for the last 12 months also shows a sorry-looking trend. Filecoin is near its 12-month low and approximately down 90% of its value a year ago. The BitTorrent crypto has fared a little better, down 37% off its all-time high, however it currently sits not far off its own all time low valuation.

In summary, we wouldn't buy this or any case for storage based cryptomining, but it might be a suitable choice for other storage heavy computing work.

The AeroCool Cipher costs approximately $75 plus tax, or one Chia Coin.

Mark Tyson
Mark Tyson

Mark Tyson is a Freelance News Writer at Tom's Hardware US. He enjoys covering the full breadth of PC tech; from business and semiconductor design to products approaching the edge of reason.