Review: Apevia XQ-Pack mATX PC Case
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The Case

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One-line Summary: Avoid at all costs.

I originally got this case back in 2006 as a bundle from one of the local computer stores. I also no longer visit that store. Coincidence? I think not.*

Looking at the claims on their website, there are a few that I do agree with. But there are also a few that I absolutely object to as well. Below is a listing of their top features (from the Newegg page), and what I have to say in response to them.

Yes, for all intents and purposes, it is definitely compact. This is actually quite the hinderance when it comes to working with cables, because with this compact size comes ZERO (yes, zero) cable management features. What. So. Ever. It is a nightmare to try and get cables routed, especially if you are using anything but the bundled power supply (which there will be more on later).
It is definitely also portable, as long as you don't load it up with alot of heavy expansion cards, hard drives, coolers, and other doodads. There is even a handle on the front to help with the lugging around, which I have used on numerous occasions.
Stylish? Yeah, sure. It's all shiny and pretty cool looking with it's stock blue LED fan. The shine lasts all of a few seconds before fingerprints gunk it up, and the fan, well, who even knows how long it will last.

There are two 5.25" bays, and three 3.5" bays, one meant for a floppy drive and the others in the form of a drive cage. I have no complaints about the 3.5" bays. However, it seems that no QC was done, or some really poor designing, with the 5.25" bays, since both drives are crooked, even with all four screws inserted.

Crooked case #1

Crooked case #2

Notice how there is no mention of expansion in the form of add-in cards? This could be because, of all the cases I have worked with, this one is the WORST one when it comes to expansion card installation.
It could be far worse, because unlike the vast majority of cases these days, this one doesn't have one of those ridiculously USELESS tool-less card mounts that doesn't work AT ALL**. However, if you have to remove the power supply from the case in order to install expansion cards, you need to get a better case. Even the small-form-factor Dells and HPs that I have worked with were not set up this way!
Oh yeah, and what could be even worse is that I found it to be quicker to bend up the case metal in order to install an AGP graphics card. Had I done it the way Apevia wanted me to, I would have had to take the whole damn case apart. That, quite bluntly, is BullShit™.

EXCELLENT ventilation? What the hell were they thinking? You mean to tell me that it is adequate to have a CPU running at almost 70 degrees at idle? Yeah, I beg to differ.
The fan they give you is a complete piece of crap as well. It doesn't move nearly enough air, the LEDs died after a couple of months, and six years later one of the blades disintegrated. I put in a much better fan that moves MUCH more air, and the CPU now runs at around 50 at idle.
Even still, DO NOT expect to have good cooling in this case unless you install a mini air conditioner in the case. Especially not with a Pentium D CPU. I don't know what in the blue hell they were thinking when they thought that it would be perfectly OK to stuff even an ordinary P4, let alone a dual-core Preshott chip. Because it is NOT, at least not stock.

...that is totally inaccurate. Not much more to say there.

The fact that they have the audacity to call it a 420 watt power supply, and then even have more audacity to call it "suited for high-end computer systems with support for numeroud add-on devices", shows another reason why I will NEVER buy a case with a built-in power supply. That piece of total garbage is completely NOT suitable for a high-end system, even back then. I wish I still had pictures, but after I looked at the internals I highly doubt it could put out even 250 watts. Could explain why you couldn't have two hard drives running in the system at once.
The stock power supply got turned to scrap after a power surge. The system was powered off, and yet the power supply was completely toasted. Why? No protection circuitry on the input stage. Not even a fuse. That, if you ask me, is a fire waiting to happen.

I do have to agree there. It is very handy to have USB, FireWire, and audio ports on the front of the case.

HOWEVER, that does not excuse the terrible craftsmanship. The only thing that could make this worse, is if they used tin-foil to construct it. At the very least, most of the metal used is solid feeling and won't slice your hand open. Be careful around the edges, however. If you even bother to find one and buy it, which I HIGHLY advise against.

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