The name of the series of cases Aerocool SI is an abbreviation for System Intergration (System Integration). In other words, the data of the chassis are designed for OEM-assemblers that produce ready-made computer systems in bulk batches on request. And what interests this category of people, first of all? Correctly. The lowest possible price with a tolerable quality, which should be enough to ensure that customers do not handle the claims under the guarantee. Well, let’s see what the first instance in the Aerocool SI-5100 series can offer in this regard.
The packaging of the case is simple and informative. Protection from damage during transportation is elementary – dampers made of foam and plastic bag.
The set of parts is assembled in a small bag. It includes:
The design of Aerocool SI-5100 looks uncomplicated and devoid of any unusual solutions. The front panel consists mainly of a metal fine mesh net with a plastic frame along the contour. The silver logo of the company is pasted at the bottom, and at the top there is a removable cap of a single 5.25 “compartment.
Above the compartment are located in a row of external ports and buttons. There is one USB 3.0 connector, two USB 2.0 ports, two 3.5mm audio inputs for the microphone and headphones, a small round-up system reset button, system and activity indicators for the system and the activity of the drives (blue and red respectively) and a big nice PC start key.
The left side panel is a solid door with a large stamping, on which there is a ventilation grille and a seat for mounting a 120 mm propeller. It is removed by sliding back.
The door has good strength due to 9 mm stamping and small stiffeners. Holds on two screws with a plastic knurled head. Handles for easy dismantling she does not.
The right door also has a punching. In this case, it is necessary to add more space to lay the wires behind the motherboard pallets.
Inside, the right panel is completely analogous to the left, except for the absence of a grating.
The top panel is solid and flat, there are no air vents or anything else. Just the case when you can put something on the case, or put it on top.
Behind, everything is extremely standard. A grille with a seat for a 120mm fan, seven PCI expansion slots, six of which are covered with disposable vented plugs, and one, the uppermost, has a reusable plug. To the right of the slots there is a decorative flap covering the hole through which video cards are attached to the slots. Keep the bar on one ordinary screw. The seat of the power unit at the bottom allows you to orient it as a fan down and up.
The bottom of the case also has nothing remarkable. Behind there is a ventilation grille of the power unit, covered with a very conventional filter made of metal mesh. There is an opening in the front for easy dismantling of the front panel.
The legs are plastic, without dampers, only 11 mm high.
Let’s look at the internal structure of the case.
Aerocool SI-5100 case supports the installation in vertical position of ATX, MicroATX and Mini-ITX motherboards. Declared by the manufacturer the permissible height of the processor cooler is 160 mm. The length of the expansion cards in all the slots reaches 347 mm, while there is still room left for installing standard 25 mm thick fans. The length of the standard power supply should not exceed 190 mm, for comfortable installation and wiring.
The top panel is blank and there is practically no storage space beneath it. Even through the cutout on the left, designed for pulling the power cable of the processor, the wire can be stretched only before installing the board and then, it must be thin and without braiding. Well, for the budgetary corps this is quite a normal state of affairs. It is not necessary to talk about convenience here.
On the back panel is pre-installed on blowing out a single complete 120-mm fan. The PCI slots are flush with the rear panel. The cards are locked using conventional screws for an L-shaped bend from the outside.
The propeller is the most common, with an impeller for seven standard-shaped blades. The bearing is a sliding sleeve. The range of available speeds is from 450 to 1200 rpm. The fan can start with 4V. Relatively quiet operation for him is 5 or 7 volts, which corresponds to 600-800 rpm and 35-39 dB (A) noise. At maximum speed, it is noisy by 43 dB (A) and can be clearly discerned even from a closed enclosure. The parasitic sound of the engine in the form of a crack appears distinctly from 800 rpm. The power connection can be made using a three-pin connector or “Molex”, the length of the braided cord without braid is 590 mm to the first connector and another 40 mm to the second one. Electrical characteristics, model name and OEM-manufacturer can be viewed on the label on the back of the stator or read on the official product page.
Aerocool SI-5100 is divided into two separate zones. A large casing covers the seat of the power supply unit and the storage basket. In its front there is a coarse lattice, to which a 120-mm fan can be screwed using long screws to blow out the accumulators. In addition, one 2.5 “drive can be attached to this grid from the inside with screws. Holes for wiring are also available. It is not possible to remove the cover. In its front there is a cutout with a width of 26 mm, which is enough for installing a standard propeller there.
In the front of the case there are seats for two 120-mm fans, or a 240-mm radiator of a suitable size. If you sacrifice the top 5.25 “bay, then in its place you can attach a third 120-mm propeller. With certain reservations, fans can be attached to both the inside and the outside of the panel, since the oblong shape of the landing holes allows you to adjust their position in height.
At the top there are holes and a frame for which you can fix one 5.25 “device.
In the front part of the pallet of the motherboard there are places for the pendant installation of two more 2.5 “drives. Installation is carried out with the help of ordinary small screws.
This is the reverse side of the pallet of the motherboard. There is a large cut-out for the amplification plate of the CPU cooler. The stock of space for laying the wires is small and varies from 5 to 18 mm in width in the narrowest and widest place, respectively. Therefore, the cable laying will have to be approached thoroughly. Padded, they just will not let you close the right panel. The benefit of the number of holes for pulling wires and fastening lugs for cable ties is more than enough and they are located in a suitable way.
The lander for the power supply is devoid of vibration dampers. When installing a modular PSU here, all of them should be added in advance. The maximum size of the PSU, which is here without problems and surprises is 190 mm.
The storage baskets are devoid of a plastic sled and are just two metal racks with mounting holes on one side and guides on the other.
To install the disk, you need to screw in the two stands on the left side and insert it into the basket, with the connectors facing out.
Then the disc is fixed with screws with a plastic head of yellow color on the right side. Isolation from vibration is absent. You can install two 3.5 “drives in the basket.
The front panel is removed if you pull it by the notch from below towards you. Care should be taken since wires are soldered to the panel and should be disconnected and released before dismantling. On the back there is a non-detachable dust filter made of thin foam. Plug 5.25 “compartment is held on two latches and can be removed easily.
This is how the metal part of the front panel looks. From the bottom there are two stationary sets of holes for fixing 120 mm fans, and from the top there is one flimsy bar that will allow you to hang another propeller of the same format, covering at the same time a 5.25 “bay.
The set of cables includes the start and reset wires of the system, the drive activity and system power indicator, the HD-Audio connector, the USB 2.0 connector, the USB 3.0 connector with the built-in USB 2.0 adapter (they are strictly forbidden at the same time, so as to avoid breakage). The length of all the wires is sufficient, the insulation on them is completely black.
Let’s proceed to the assembly of the system and the heat test.
The assembly of the system in the case of Aerocool SI-5100can not be called simple, due to the limited internal space. Connecting the wires on the motherboard, installing it inside the enclosure, all this requires thoughtful and calculated actions from the user’s side. For example, you should first try on whether the motherboard will fit in with the cooler already installed on it or not.
Hard drives are better to mount in the basket before installing the power supply, otherwise they will be very uncomfortable to tighten. A power supply unit with modular cables should also be better assembled in advance, because in the cramped space of the casing their connection is a real flour. In the end, all difficulties were overcome, and the system took a complete look. Even the right door was closed, despite all the attempts from the wires to put it.
The LED of the power button glows bright blue, which blurs when you look at it at a right angle, and the activity indicator of drives blinks dull red. If the diodes seem too bright, they should be glued or not connected at all.
Let’s move on to the heat test.
The lack of ventilation on the top panel, of course, worsened the temperature performance of the Aerocool SI-5100. However, it is not as critical as expected with our rather hot system. The loss in CPU and video card temperatures was four and seven degrees, respectively. The temperatures of the power circuits sagged by three degrees, but the hard disk cooled slightly better (by two degrees) than on the open bench. It should be understood that these figures are achieved with the operation of four hull fans at full speed because of the acoustic comfort here it does not go. As well as reducing the speed of airborne propellers in order to reduce the noise level, there will inevitably be an increase in internal temperatures.
Aerocool SI-5100 is a fairly simple and budgetary case, devoid of many pleasant details to please the price. Its undoubted advantage is a neat appearance combined with good internal capacity. The lack of ventilation on the top panel allows you to put it in the niche of a computer table without any scruples.
Disadvantages stem from the general concept of reducing the price of the product. These include a thin metal, the absence of any insulation of noise and vibration, a tight internal space in the area of the upper panel and behind the pallets of the motherboard. In addition, the enclosure ventilation system will require the purchase of several additional fans to maintain the normal temperature of the hot system.
Aerocool SI-5100 can be recommended for purchase by undemanding users who are looking for a cheaper chassis option for modern components. Its ventilation is enough to cool the medium power system, and the internal dimensions allow installing long video adapters and 160 mm tower coolers that have become de facto standard in the niche of CPU cooling systems. Is it necessary from the case for something else?