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2003 Winter Case Review Part 2: The ATX Avalanche

Aspire: X-Dreamer II, Continued

The cooling setup on the X-Dreamer II is an interesting mix of "do it yourself ("DIY") and example. The example is the two included lighted fans in the side panel and the top of the case. Users who wish to fill out the other four fan slots in the front and the rear of the case will need to supply four additional 80mm fans. By example, Aspire is suggesting the use of lighted fans for the sharpest and most exciting appearance. With the front bezel ventilation, lighted fans show up well through the grill and compliment the six lights located in the four corners and tow mid-point sides of the front bezel. With all of the fans installed, the cooling performance was adequate, although the noise level was somewhat high. This is due to the thin aluminum and the number of fans within the case.

A look at the front-mounted ports and the LCD display of the X-Dreamer II.

The X-Dreamer II includes an LCD temperature monitoring backlit display in the center of the front bezel. Our testing revealed that the readings were fairly accurate. Overall, we liked the appearance of this temperature gauge. Hidden behind a flip-up door are two USB 2.0 front-mounted ports and a MIC and headphone jack. Although Aspire shows a knockout for the 1394/Firewire port, none was included in our sample case. This comes as no surprise, since the company is requiring the customer to purchase extra fans; thus, keeping costs down is a key factor in the overall design of this case.

Overall, we would rate the X-Dreamer II as above average. While it has a good grouping of features plus a power supply for a reasonable suggested retail price, it does not necessarily stand up well to cases that cost $30 US additional. Still, those penny pinchers or thrifty consumers in the crowd will be pleased to note that the X-Dreamer II offers an attractive appearance and the illusion that it costs more than it actually does. Aspire's X-Dreamer II delivers a product at a price point, and that will most likely be the overriding factor in the decision to purchase this case. We still recommend that you consider spending a little more to get a little more.