I have some pretty mixed feelings about the Raidmax Aztec. First of all, the looks are only so-so. They are definitely… outstanding… but they are a little robust for my taste. Certainly, lots of people like the overtly pre-modified look, and it has a large window, but the front panel is neither very attractive nor very practical. Opening all the way to the bottom, it would be hard to use on any soft surface and blocks the IO ports. The case also smells awful. It has been subject to about two weeks of run time so far, and the plastic smell still fills up my room every time I boot my machine. I have the case on my desk next to me, which the average consumer would opt to do for best window-viewing capabilities, putting the smelly 80mm exhaust fan right in my face.
With the opportunity for all of these fans, the Aztec does outperform my NZXT Apollo by a few degrees here and there, but nothing out of the ordinary. While the 80mm and intake fans are both pretty strong, they are both also a little noisy. On the opposite end of the spectrum, the rear fan is very weak and often requires a flick on boot to get it spinning. With a higher quality exhaust fan, I think that the cooling performance in the case would be much better. While an interesting idea, the “support bar” for the expansion cards seems quite unnecessary. Instead, I would have liked to see the 80mm fan simply built into the window to simplify and reduce cost in construction.
Installation, though, was a breeze. The side-panel design was very well executed, and the removable motherboard tray worked out nicely. Though the hard drives conflicted with my VGA card, it was no problem to toss them in other places, and I'm glad I got the cage out of the way of the fan for improved airflow.
Available for around $100.00 USD with a 500W PSU, the Raidmax Aztec offers pretty good bang for the buck. Its removable motherboard tray, variety of cooling options, and large window are all pluses, hindered here and there by some weird engineering choices like the tool-less installation systems.
Thanks to Raidmax for supplying us with this review sample.