With its fans at their lowest speed, the Aerocool produced the worst GPU delta T we've seen by a whole 5 degrees, and one of the worst CPU results too, with a delta T of a roasting 58°C. Evidently with the fans spinning this slowly, the hardware inside the X1 barely receives a supply of cool air – even the Fractal Design Define R4, which lacks the front meshing of the X1 in favour of a solid door, posts better GPU temperatures and a CPU delta T just 2°C higher with its fans also on minimum.
Jacking the fan controller to max did lower both the CPU and GPU delta T results by 4°C each. However, this was still not enough to lift the X1 even a single place from the bottom of our GPU cooling chart. With a CPU delta T of 54°C, the X1 was able to just trump the similarly priced Sharkoon T28 in this arena, but the Xigmatek Utgard, which also retails for around the same price, was able to match this result even with its fans set to minimum.
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As you might expect, the large degree of meshing and open fan mounts does mean that the X1 is fairly bad at containing sound, and the case noise is noticeable, although not loud, during use. That said, the two case fans Aerocool provide are pleasingly quiet, even on their highest speed, which only makes them barely distinguishable.
The X1 case fans may be quiet, then, but this is probably due to how limited they are in the amount of air they can shift. Even when we tested them connected directly to molex connectors to ensure they were spinning at full speed, the results were consistent. The low airflow is problematic not only for the CPU but also for the GPU, which seems to suffer all the more so from the lack of any side intake fans. And yes, we did test the X1 with its top vents open and closed. And no, it didn't make a bit of difference.
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There are always going to be trade-offs when you're working with cases in the £50 price range, but that's not to say they're never worth the time of day. Build quality might not be perfect with the X1, for example, but for the most part it's a fairly robust chassis, and getting your components inside is relatively straightforward too. Though it won't be housing major water-cooling setups any time soon, features such as USB 3 with an internal header, a slide out PSU dust filter and fan control are welcome additions to a budget case, and the degree of flexibility when it comes to your cooling and drive arrangements is equally impressive.
The X1 falls apart where it counts most, however, and that's in keeping your hardware operating at cool temperatures. Graphics cooling is particularly poor, and though we're sure that adding some extra and faster fans would boost its performance, this could be said of almost any case. As it stands, the X1 struggles to keep up with the competitors in its price range. Unless you're in love with the X1's styling and have a few 120mm fans to hand, case buyers on a budget would be far better served by the excellent Antec One
, which offers far superior cooling in all departments and a similarly robust design and feature set.