Cooltek W1 Case Review
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Cooltek W1 Case Review

February 2nd, 2015 Mike Leave a comment Go to comments

Overview

 

Here we have a newcomer to pcG, Cooltek. A company who have been around since 2003 and been offering products focusing on exceptional functionality, attractive designs and excellent product quality, especially in their respective price range. So here we have the Cooltek W1, an MITX case with a beautifully crafted brushed aluminium exterior and a tough steel subframe, a horizontally mounted motherboard tray and enough space inside to house all bar the biggest of components.

Cooltek who? Yep, that was my first impression too. If you do a little research, the Cooltek W1 is actually a re-badged version of the Jonsbo W1 for the European market (also marketed as the Roswill Legacy W1 over in the US). I have seen the Cooltek W1 previews from long ago and this particular case has been on my radar ever since, but was I wrong to be curious and excited about the W1?

 

cooltek_logo ‘The ‘W1′ is aimed at customers who want to create a powerful gaming system based on a compact Mini-ITX setup. The main feature of the W1 is its timeless design line with an attractive, classic exterior in aluminium. The case is available in black and silver. This version offers a transparent window in the right side panel; a special optical highlight for all hardware enthusiasts who enjoy the view at the inner workings of their case.’

 

Cooltek W1 - box front
Cooltek W1 - box side Cooltek W1 - box back

 

On the front of a predominantly brown cardboard box we have a not particularly exciting image of the Cooltek W1, case description, Cooltek logo and model name. In the upper left we see that rather than hiding their relationship with the W1’s original designer Jonsbo, Cooltek are quite happy to share their partnership.

The left and right of the W1 box are identical, giving us a list of the case specifications (see Specifications/Features below) in three different languages, they then go on to tell us which version of the case is concealed within the box. Our particular review sample is the windowed black one (JB W1 K), the others varieties are your choice of black, red or silver and with or without window, giving a grand total of six variations.

The rear of the box shows us an exploded diagram of the Cooltek W1, listing each of the individual case components. At the foot of the case we also have the Cooltek web address

 

Cooltek W1 - unboxing Cooltek W1 - unboxing

 

Lifting the lid of the box shows the Cooltek W1 to be nicely protected within a large plastic bag and wedged within two hard foam blocks, whilst the user manual is held within a resealable plastic bag and all other fittings safely inside a small cardboard box.

 

Cooltek W1 - contents

 

  • Cooltek W1 MITX Case
  • Cooltek W1 User Manual
  • Fittings
  • Cable Ties
  • Case Intrusion Speaker
  • HDD Anti-vibration Washers
  • 3.5″ Storage Drive Covers
  • Slim ODD Blanking Plate

 

At the time of review, the Cooltek W1 is retailing for approximately £93.08 on Amazon or from SCAN at £91.38 and comes with a 24 month warranty.

 

Specifications/Features

courtesy of Cooltek

 

Specifications

Case type HTPC / Mini ITX
Form Factor Motherboard Mini-ITX
Form Factor PSU ATX
3.5 inch drive bay internal 4 x
2.5 inch drive bay internal 2 x
Case fans (front) 1 x 140 mm
Case fans (rear) 1 x 140 mm
Case fans (top) 2 x 120/140 mm (optional)
Height x Width x Depth 356 x 242 x 362 mm
Weight 5,8 kg
Material Aluminium, steel
Maximum length VGA-cards 320 mm
Maximum height CPU-coolers 215 mm
Code 4250140369154
Manufacturer number JB W1 K-W

* Additional details available here

 

First Impressions

 

Cooltek W1 - front Cooltek W1 - back

 

The Cooltek W1 is very much a cube styled chassis, but that doesn’t mean it needs to look like a box and from the front the W1 certainly doesn’t. The front panel (just like the others) is of a very high quality brushed aluminium, with a satin black finish. Towards the top the W1 features a fabric brushed slot for a slim ODD. As you’ve probably noticed, the front panel isn’t square and despite it lending a rather pleasing aesthetic, the shape isn’t for looks alone. By using the finger hold towards the bottom of the panel, we find a large 20mm cavity to help aid air flow for the front fan.

The rear of the Cooltek W1 shows a centrally placed ATX PSU mount, above which we have the motherboard I/O shield cut-out and two expansion blanking plates (being silver these are slightly at odds to the rest of the case’s lovely brushed aluminium and powder coated black finish, but they’ll be removed in the final build anyway). Directly above the expansion ports is a screw on dust-cap of sorts (I’m not a fan of these, as they make GPU installation take that little bit longer), then two rubber grommeted cut-outs for water cooling tubing, whilst to the left a fan mount. Looking towards the top and side panels you may have also noticed no thumb-screws?!

 

Cooltek W1 - top Cooltek W1 - bottom

 

The top panel is removable (you’ll have noticed the shaped pull-tab at the rear to make this easier), has the very same lovely brushed aluminium finish and features two mounts for either a pair of 120mm or 140mm fans, beneath which is a fixed high quality dust-filter. Given the size of this panel and the area of space within the Cooltek W1, these mounts can also be used for your choice of 120mm, 140mm, 240mm or 280mm radiators.

Underneath the Cooltek W1 is made to look all the more sparse because of its size and shape. We have a tall heavy duty rubber anti-slip foot in each of the four corners, another high quality dust-filter for the PSU bay, but this time removable. Towards the front we have eight pre-fitted rubber washers, these will work as anti-vibration mounts for 2.5″ storage drives on the inside of the case.

 

Cooltek W1 - left Cooltek W1 - right

 

The left panel of the Cooltek W1 has that same beautiful black brushed aluminium finish. Towards the back we have another pull-tab for easy panel removal. The reason for these pull-tabs? If you recall the back of the case has no thumb-screws, this is because the W1 panels feature quick release pins instead, a welcome feature I’d personally like to see on every case that comes through my door (who has time for thumb-screws?). Horizontally across the center of the panel, we have a large vented area to help feed your graphics card of choice with cool air. Behind this is another fixed dust-filter.

The right panel (again with that black brushed aluminium finish), features a fairly basic front panel I/O towards the front, then an externally mounted window to the rear. The window itself is bevelled around the outside and has a slightly unusual shape. Of course the shape isn’t all that is unusual about this particular window. This being the fact the window is on the right side (wrong?) in the first place. I’m all for windows, I like to see my Gaming hardware inside my PC (who wouldn’t want to show it off?), but CPU coolers (from the side at least) aren’t usually what I’d expect to be viewing through one. Although I can understand why Cooltek have decided on this side panel set-up. This purely being for case thermals and to allow a better airflow to the GPU via the ventilated panel.

One thing that I find incredibly impressive about every panel is how well they meet at the edges. You can clearly see where each panel ends, but they are chamfered so well that if you run your hand across them you wouldn’t know the join is there at all.

 

Cooltek W1 - panel off left Cooltek W1 - panel off top Cooltek W1 - panel off right

 

With all of the panels removed, the Cooltek W1 looks more like a skeletal box. As we can clearly see, the main interior is divided into three sections. The lower section for your chosen PSU and mounting space for two 2.5″ storage drives. The W1 is compatible with power supplies of any length, but installing something fairly lengthy will also mean losing the use of the nearest 2.5″ drive mount. Above this we have the main bay which allows for a horizontally mounted MITX motherboard, rather nicely with all four stand-offs pre-fitted.

From above we can see the W1 motherboard tray has no CPU cooler cut-out, which means the motherboard assembly will need to be pieced together prior to installation. There are three cable cut-outs, one to the rear without a rubber grommet, which will be used for the top motherboard headers and fan controller cable extensions, then two rubber grommeted beside the 3.5″ drive cage for SATA and power cables.

From the right we see the W1 front panel (which is actually mounted on the side) is fixed to the main chassis instead of the side panel. This is always a welcome feature as helps to make installation that little bit quicker and easier. The 3.5″ drive cage is the final of the three sections. This will allow for up to four 3.5″ hard drives, but isn’t of a tool-free design. You can also see the cage is fixed and riveted, thus non-removable (without a Dremel at least). This I find to be a bit of a shame as it does somewhat limit the possibilities for a custom water cooling loop, more so because of the available radiator space.

Looking around the external part of the skeletal frame, we can see that Cooltek have thoughtfully placed foam padding. This not only helps the side panels to sit flush, but acts as a sound absorbing vibration dampener.

 

Cooltek W1 - fan mount rear Cooltek W1 - panel removed front Cooltek W1 - fan mount front

 

The front and rear fan mounts are compatible with both 120mm and 140mm fans, whilst the mesh covering the portholes are removable. The Cooltek W1 features two pre-installed 140mm fans (front and back), which feature a nine bladed white propeller and black frame. Both fans are 3pin and feature some nice tight weave nylon cable braiding. I’d like to give you more details on them like speeds (RPM) and noise (dB), but I couldn’t find any further information.

 

Cooltek W1 - slim odd mount Cooltek W1 - psu dust filter and odd radiator blanking cover

 

The top of the 3.5″ drive cage features a mount for a slim slot loading optical disc drive (ODD). It features rubber anti-vibration noise-dampeners and the ODD is fixed via four small screws. As you can see the mounting plate itself is removable and can be replaced with a flat plate (included in box) to allow for better radiator compatibility.

 

Cooltek W1 - io panel Cooltek W1 - manual fan control

 

Here we have a closer look at the side mounted case I/O panel, which consists of the following:

  • Audio (Microphone/Headphone)
  • Reset
  • Power On/Off
  • USB 3.0 (x2)

A pretty simple control panel, that whilst on will illuminate bright blue.

The Cooltek W1 features a manual fan control. This is of the three speed variety and allows for Low (5v), Standard (7v) or High (12v). The controller itself has tight weave nylon braided cable extensions and allows for a total of three case fans and is powered via a SATA cable.

Overall I admit to being a little surprised and very impressed by the Cooltek W1. At 356mm(H) x 242mm(W)mm x 362(D)mm it could be considered fairly large for an MITX build, but is actually smaller than the phenomenally popular BitFenix Prodigy which measures 404(H)mm x 250(W)mm x 359(D)mm. It may be fairly boxlike by design, but its subtle looks, high quality black brushed aluminium side panels and incredible build quality offer similarities usually reserved for the likes of Lian Li and SilverStone cases that I’ve seen in the past. My only real gripe with the W1 so far, being the lack of tool-free design for the drive bays.

Of course good looks and great build quality aren’t everything, so let’s see what the Cooltek W1 is like to build in and check out its performance!

 

Hardware Installation

 

  • Test Rig Setup

  • Case Cooltek W1 Power Supply Corsair Professional Series AX 760i
    Motherboard MSI Z97I GAMING CPU Intel Core i5-4690K
    CPU Cooler Noctua NH-U9S RAM HyperX Savage 2400MHz 8GB Kit
    Graphics Card XFX AMD Radeon R9 290X DD Black Edition SSD HyperX FURY 120GB

     

    Noctua NH-U9S MSI Z97I GAMING AC

    *The Cooltek W1 is an MITX case, therefore our regular ASRock Fatal1ty Z97X Killer ATX Motherboard will not fit. So for the purpose of this review we shall be using the MSI Z97i GAMING AC MITX motherboard. Although with a maximum CPU cooler height of 215mm, the Raijintek Themis would easily fit, it is too wide for our test motherboard (at least if we want to use a GPU, which we most certainly do). So in comes the Noctua NH-U9S instead. All other Test Rig components are however the same.

     

    Cooltek W1 - installed panel off left Cooltek W1 - installed panel off top Cooltek W1 - installed panel off right

     

    Installing the pcG Test Rig equipment within the Cooltek W1, began with MSI Z97i GAMING AC, i5-4690K, Noctua NH-U9S and HyperX Savage assembly, simply because the W1 features no CPU cooler cut-out. Once this is together, in goes the motherboard I/O shield and motherboard assembly. All relevant power cables are then plugged into the Corsair AX760i which is then also installed. The Cooltek W1 fans are then plugged into case fan control, which is in turn hooked up to the PSU and the rest of the cables plugged into their necessary places.

     

    Cooltek W1 - 3.5in drive bay installed Cooltek W1 - 2.5in drive bay installed

     

    The HyperX Fury SSD is installed to the furthest 2.5″ drive mount, then the Seagate Barracuda is fitted into the 3.5″ drive bay. Despite not being of a tool-free design, installing the HDD is very easy. You simply screw in a thumb-screw with a runner spacer attached into four of the mounts on the HDD, which then act as runners to slot into the drive bay. The drive is then held in place by the rather flash looking red anodized aluminium drive plate. All other cables are then routed, power and SATA cables plugged in, followed by a nice and straightforward install of the XFX AMD Radeon R9 290X DD Black Edition test GPU.

    The general layout of the Cooltek W1 is very good and throughout the installation of the Test Rig equipment, I came up with one possible issue alone. This being the 2.5″ drive installation. The HyperX Fury SSD is easily mounted within the case, but plugging in the SATA power cables is a little on the awkward side because the SSD very nearly sits flush to the chassis (perhaps a slightly raised area would have been better?). The only other areas which I could find with any room for improvement, are for a CPU cooler cut-out, a cable cut-out beside the HDD cage for routing and tidier management for the 24pin motherboard power and case USB 3.0 cable. The final area being the 3.5″ bay. Despite it being easy to install into, I can’t help feeling drive sleds would’ve been a better choice for quick installs and also give you the option of installing 2.5″ drives as well.

     

    Cooltek W1 - installed angled left Cooltek W1 - installed right Cooltek W1 - installed angled right

     

    The finished build looks good though and I’m certainly happy with its looks. Now let’s check out the Cooltek W1’s thermal performance.

     

    Testing Methodology/Setup

     

    At pcGameware we use Prime95 and CoreTemp to evaluate CPU temperatures and we use MSI Afterburner to evaluate the GPU temperatures. Of course Prime95 being a CPU stress test also helps to generate heat for us to check the case thermals. We also use UNiGiNE Heaven 4.0 for GPU temperature testing.

    CPU performance testing is carried out using Prime95 to stress the CPU. Each run is timed for 15 mins and the maximum temperature is recorded for all cores and then the average core heat is taken. Testing was carried out with a small overclock on the i5-4690K of 4.0GHz via MSI OC Genie

    GPU performance testing is carried out by running UNiGiNE Heaven 4.0 for 15 minutes and then by recording the maximum GPU temperature.

    * All case fans (x2 in the case of the Cooltek W1) and the CPU Cooler (Noctua NH-U9S) are run at 100% throughout testing. To find out the case noise levels, the GPU fans are set to their lowest setting and the CPU Cooler fan is unplugged, whilst the dB is recorded from 1m away.

     

    Hardware Performance

     

    CPU-Z - Cooltek W1 - 4.0GHz

    CPU-Z – 4.0GHz

    Prime95 - Cooltek W1 - 4.0GHz

    Prime95 – 4.0GHz

  • CPU RESULTSCooltek W1 with Noctua NH-U9S and Intel i5-4690K @ 4.0GHz
  • Case Ambient Temperature Max CPU Temperature (core average) Delta Temperature
    Cooltek W1 22.50 63.50 41.00
    BitFenix Pandora 24.00 76.00 52.00
    Fractal Design Core 1100 22.50 79.25 56.75
    In Win 901 23.00 79.50 56.50

    * Thermals Explained

     

    So far the Cooltek W1 has been a bit of a surprise and a very positive one at that. With all fans set at maximum courtesy of the case fan control and the i5-4690K overclocked to 4.0GHz, we get a maximum average core temperature of 63.50C (41.00C Delta). Its nearest competition is the recently reviewed BitFenix Pandora which throughout the same tests gave a maximum average core temperature of 76.00C (52.00C Delta), some 12.50C (11.00C Delta) hotter than the Cooltek W1. Leaving me once again surprised and very impressed with this little case.

     

  • GPU RESULTS – Cooltek W1 with XFX AMD Radeon R9 290X DD Black Edition – STOCK (Core: 1050MHz/ Mem: 5000MHz)
  • Case Ambient Temperature Max GPU Temperature Delta Temperature
    Cooltek W1 24.00 74.00 50.00
    Cooler Master HAF XB 24.00 80.00 56.00
    NZXT S340 22.00 80.00 58.00
    Xigmatek Aquila 23.50 84.00 60.50
    BitFenix Pandora 24.00 87.00 63.00
    In Win 901 22.50 89.00 66.50
    Fractal Design Core 1100 24.00 94.00 70.00

    * Thermals Explained

     

    Apparently there is this rumour going round, saying that the AMD R9 290X is a very hot graphics card and the root cause of all global warming. Ok, that’s an extreme example, but we do know the GPU has a throttle limit of 94.00C that it can quite easily reach. Which after testing within the Cooltek W1 you would find very hard to believe. With the maximum GPU temperature on our R9 290X XFX DD Black Edition reaching 74.00C (50.00C Delta), the W1 offers better cooling than our regular Cooler Master HAF XB test case by 6.00C (6.00C Delta). Is there any area this case can’t impress in?!?

     

  • Acoustic Performance
  • Given its excellent thermal performance, you’d could be forgiven for thinking the Cooltek W1 must have very noisy and high performance case fans. I can’t tell you what the RPM or dB specifications of the two 140mm fans within the Cooltek W1 are, but from the case thermal performance I can tell you they’re good. With the fan control set to its highest setting, the noise produced by the W1 is incredibly loud with 29db! Ok, so not loud at all, but if it is too much for you, at the lowest setting you’re looking at a lowly 23dB.

     

    Final Thoughts

     

    It isn’t often I’m lost for words, certainly not whilst talking about PC components, but the Cooltek W1 is one of those rare items that has left me exactly that…

    The Cooltek W1 arrived at pcG in a typically subdued brown cardboard box. From the outside we have images of the case hidden inside as well as its specifications and an exploded image showing off some of its features. Once the lid is opened we found the case to be very well protected within a large plastic bag and some heavy duty hard foam blocks. Given the subtlety of the box design, I had myself prepared for a typically unexciting and nondescript PC case.

    How wrong was I! The Cooltek W1 MITX case may be of a subtle cube like design, but it certainly isn’t unexciting or nondescript. Each of the four main panels (front, top, left and right) are of a high quality black brushed aluminium and are quickly and easily removable courtesy of push-pins. This helps to aid a sleek and very clean look aesthetically, which personally I think is great. The W1 measures in at 356mm(H) x 242mm(W)mm x 362(D)mm, which could be considered fairly big for an MITX, but it also allows for ample space for all your Gaming hardware. So you’ve got a massive graphics card? If its 320mm or less it’ll fit. How about a giant CPU cooler? The W1 will allow for a maximum cooler height of 215mm (assuming your huge CPU cooler will fit on your chosen MITX motherboard of course). If air CPU coolers aren’t your thing the W1 even supports 120mm, 140mm, 240mm and 280mm radiators for your ultra cool AIO or custom water loop. How about storage drives? The W1 features a 3.5″ drive cage with space for up to four HDD’s, all with some rather snazzy anodized red holding plates, whilst the lower bay allows for a further two 2.5″ drives. All housed within a case that offers a fantastic build quality that you rarely see.

    Building within the Cooltek W1 is again very good. Everything is sensibly laid out, which aids you in making a quick and clean build. The only real gripe being the way the 2.5″ drives are fitted. Whilst they mount easily enough, they do more or less sit flush with the chassis, which makes plugging in SATA and power cables a little awkward and fiddly if done so after the drives are fitted. The only possible areas I can see that could be improved upon, would be for the 2.5″ mounts to be raised to make the cables easier to plug in, perhaps change the 3.5″ bay mounts to that of a sled system to allow compatibility with 2.5″ as well as 3.5″ drives. Then maybe an additional cable cut-out beside the HDD cage to make cable routing a little easier and cleaner. These are all very minor though.

    Then just as you think the Cooltek W1 could be a case (ha!) of all style and no substance, we have its thermal performance. With our current MITX test set-up and our i5-4690K given a small overclock of 4.0GHz, the W1 helped to keep a maximum average core temperature of 63.50C (41.00C Delta), which is damn impressive. Couple this with the usually toasty R9 290X XFX DD Black Edition reaching a maximum temperature of 74.00C (50.00C Delta) and we have one very cool case on our hands and one that suddenly becomes very hot property, with a maximum noise level of just 29dB!

    The Cooltek W1 is currently available for approximately £93.00 and for what it offers, in my eyes is very good value for money. Is it worth buying though? Well if you’re in the market for an MITX case and don’t choose the Cooltek W1, you’ll either do worse or much worse. My personal view is the W1 is a case that is very close to perfection and it only misses out on the prestigious pcG Platinum award by a hair’s breadth and a very narrow hair at that.

     

    Verdict

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    Where possible we always use Amazon’s price for Value…


      Design/Quality pcGameware awards the Cooltek W1 a Gold
    Performance
    Value
    Overall

     

    Many thanks to Cooltek for providing this sample for review

     


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