Raijintek Paean Case Review
We’ve seen plenty of Cases here at pcG over the last few years; from ITX Cases through to full tower Cases capable of housing EATX Motherboards. We’ve seen plastic Cases, aluminium Cases and steel Cases and more recently Cases with tempered glass panels. We’ve even seen Cases (such as the In Win D-Frame) that have no side panels at all. And, it is this particular Case that’s most like the Case we are going to take a look at today and that’s the new Raijintek Paean.
Describing the Raijintek Paean is actually pretty tough, but I’ll do my best and for Raijintek’s blurb on the Case just see the extract below. The Paean is an open framed Case and is even described by Raijintek as a Bench. It is in fact a paneled (x2 5mm tempered glass & x1 aluminium) open frame chassis that’s capable of housing all Motherboard sizes up to and including ATX. The Case measure in at (286mm × 587mm × 417mm) and effectively doesn’t have a Height/Width/Depth as the case can be orientated any way you like thanks to it’s unusual and clever design. The Case is capable of housing three 3.5″ or three 2.5″ drives while the chassis itself supports up to eight expansion slots. The Raijintek Paean supports Graphics Card’s up to 310mm in length and CPU Coolers up to 140mm in height.
Well there’s certainly not too much to get excited about when looking at the eco-friendly box that the Paean arrived in. But we can see from the box what the Paean actually looks like and we can also see that it is described as an open frame chassis.
On opening the box things immediately step up a gear. Presentation and packaging is top notch, although there’s no doubt that there’s some serious assembly work ahead. The top of the box houses all of the Paean’s ancillary parts while below this we find the main aluminium panel and below this we find the two smoked tempered 5mm thick glass panels.
Luckily, as there’s some serious assembly to do, Raijintek have included a detailed User’s manual that shows all of the parts and exactly how to assemble the Paean itself.
At the time of review, the Raijintek Paean is retailing for approximately £155 at Overclockers UK and comes with a 1 year warranty.
courtesy of Raijintek
|Dimension [W×D×H]||286×587×417 mm|
|Weight||10.8 kg [N.W.] 12.8 kg [G.W.]|
|Material||Aluminum 4.0mm; SPCC 1.0mm|
|Color||Black; Hair-silk Anodized|
|M/B Support||ATX/MICRO ATX/MINI ITX|
|Drive Bay||Internal 3.5″×3 [Tool-Free]; Internal 2.5″×3 [Tool-Free]|
|Expansion Slot||PCI Slots ×8|
|I/O Panel||USB3.0×4, HD Audio×1|
|Power Supply||PS/2 [Internal Bottom-mount]|
|Cooling System||120/140/240/280/360mm Radiator [Option]|
|CPU Cooler Height||140mm [Max.]|
|Graphic Card Length||310mm [Max.]|
|Side Panel Style||5mm Tempered Glass|
First Impressions & Assembly
First impressions are really good, especially as I like building things. All the parts appear to be well made with the 4mm thick black anodized brushed aluminium main panel being simply stunning. Already at this point I’m starting to get excited for what I hope will be a minimalist build in an attempt to show of the Paean to its fullest extent. Mark my words the potential here is enormous… 🙂
Following the supplied instructions the first step was to attach the eight legs to the main aluminium frame. Note that four of the legs are shorter than the other four. The four longer legs go on the Motherboard side while the shorter legs go on the PSU side. The legs themselves screw into one another and sandwich the central aluminium frame in the middle. Also rather cleverly you cannot over tighten the legs to one another as the outer rubber sleeving simply begins to slip. With that done the main chassis of the Raijintek Paean is seemingly almost complete. But we’ve still got some work to do…
Next up was the fitment of the ten standoffs required for our test ASRock Motherboard but there’s a problem. There may well be the ten holes in the aluminium plate but there’s only nine standoffs and in fact only nine screws. There was also no supplied tool to help with the task, but thankfully the aluminium plate was well engineered and the standoffs were fitted with ease.
Next up was the fitment of the expansion slot bracket, that supports up to eight expansion cards. The bracket itself simply screws to the main aluminium plate by way of two thumb screws, couldn’t be easier to be honest.
Raijintek supply a large aluminium drive bracket that supports up to three 3.5″ drives or three 2.5″ drives. It’s a bit of a monster but thankfully it hides at the back (or bottom depending on orientation) of the case and remains somewhat unseen. The bracket itself again simply attaches by way of thumb screws, four in this case. Drives themselves all attach by way of rubber mounts that are first screwed into the drives and then slide mounted to the bracket. A nice simple yet elegant solution.
The last item we well take a look at is the PSU bracket, that actually consists of two parts, four screws and four rubber mounts. The main bracket is first screwed to your PSU and then mounted to the main aluminium frame by way of a couple of thumb screws. The rubber mounts logically fit beneath the PSU to give it some support, but in fact I found that they we too short and simply didn’t really do anything to speak of. The secondary bracket is logically optional and adds further support to the PSU, especially useful if you have a large PSU. Power Supplies up to approximately 250mm are supported and the support bracket has three mounting positions to cater for different length PSUs.
The next task was to fit the Motherboard to the chassis, but I was already aware as to a impending issue. That’s down to the fact that the Raijintek Paean has a maximum CPU Cooler height of just 140mm. Pretty low for what is labelled as a test bench. But having spoke to the guys over at Raijintek I’m fully aware that this Case/Chassis is aimed squarely at the custom water cooling enthusiast and or modder. Both of which would already understand what they are getting into when working with the Paean. And, somewhat obviously air cooled CPU Coolers will unlikely be on their shopping list…
Thankfully Raijintek also supplied the rather nice Pallas; a CPU Cooler with a height of just 68mm and perfect for the job in hand (although you’ll need Low Profile RAM also). Of course you’d not run into this problem if you were using a AIO CPU Cooler, but rather oddly you’d actually run into another. And, that is the fact that the Paean doesn’t support AIO coolers as the mounting positions for the radiator are simply too far away. At this point we can clearly see that the Paean focuses heavily on a water cooled build with it’s dedicated reservoir mounts next to that large radiator mounting point.
Next up we have the installation of our test Graphics Card (new for this review) a Palit GTX 1080 Super Jetstream. Admittedly this is an oversize card and due to this it wont actually fit within the Paean as the card is too tall and the glass panel now wont fit. You have been warned…
The final part of the puzzle was the Power Supply and thankfully this fitted with ease and regardless of what PSU you have it’s likely to be the same for you. With the PSU fitted and it’s (not really needed for our small PSU) support bracket also fitted it was time to think about the front panel I/O. Cabling up was a breeze thanks to the open chassis design, but cable management is really all down to your own creativity and to help Raijintek do provide sticky back cable ties in the box. As you can see I wasn’t very creative… 😉
Raijintek supply a completely separate I/O module that’s really very impressive and it’s something that I hope to see a lot more of in the future. Mainly because I’m simply not a fan of all of those unnecessary cables being forced upon me. The module itself consists of 4 USB 3.0/2.0 ports, audio ports (headphone/microphone) and illuminating power button. Note there is no disk activity LED.
The I/O module can be fitted at three separate locations around the chassis and simply screws to the central main aluminium panel by way of two long thumb screws.
At the end of the USB cables there’s a problem and it’s the same problem I found during the Raijintek Asterion review. And that’s the fact that at the ends of what is effectively the USB 3.0 cable there’s an additional plug for USB 2.0.
Now while I understand that Raijintek are simply trying to provide flexibility here, the issue is that the additional cable is simply too short. The end result is that when using one of the plugs the other plug has to be pulled through to the Motherboard side also, creating the unsightly mess shown above right. 🙁
The completed build can be seen above and builds don’t get much cleaner than this, with just three cables connecting the PSU to the PC. This is down to the use of an M.2 drive and the fact that I opted to not use the front panel as I can simply start the PC using the Motherboard’s own power button. It was a shame that for us we could not install the left side glass panel as our GPU was simply too tall. The image on the right though shows the opposite side panel in place and very smart it looks too.
The Raijintek Paean is a very special chassis, not only because of its unique design but because of who it is aimed at. And, as far as I can tell it’s aimed squarely at the pro-enthusiast water cooler/modder. As along as you know what you’re getting into with this Chassis then you’re likely going to love it. But the big question is: Is it for you?
The Raijintek Paean arrived at pcG in a somewhat lackluster plain brown cardboard box, that is no doubt both eco-friendly and cost effective. In fact the outer packaging belies what lies within, as both the content and the presentation is top notch. In fact I have to admit to being really rather excited when opening the box for the first time and being greeted with all of those parts beautifully presented in front of me.
It wasn’t long before I needed to hunt down the instruction leaflet to take a look at how to put this rather unique chassis together. A quick study of the instructions soon had me thinking that assembly should in fact be a breeze thanks in part to the open chassis design and the modular nature of the Paean. In fact looking at the guide you can clearly see that this chassis is specifically designed with custom water cooling in mind. And this is both the Paean’s strength and possibly its weakness.
Assembly was indeed and breeze and all of the parts were found to be both beautifully made and well engineered. The central aluminium plate is a work of art with its brushed aluminium black anodised finish. I also very much liked the way the legs attach to one another sandwiching the central plate between them. Here at pcG though we had no water cooling parts to show off the Paean to it’s full potential which is a bit of a shame. But we did what we could with our own test system and it was in doing so we really began to understand the deign ethos behind the Paean.
It’s very important that we all (we do, now!) understand that this chassis has been designed for a specific purpose and that purpose is for a water cooling enthusiast to show of his/her wares to the fullest potential. Therefore the limiting CPU Cooler height, the limiting GPU height and the lack of AIO CPU Cooler support is not really relevant as this chassis simply wasn’t designed with that in mind. And, as I’ve already stated if you do install a custom water cooled system into this chassis, then you’re going to like it and you’re going to like the price too!
I also want to briefly touch on another aspect of the Raijintek Paean before I wrap up as there’s a very specific word that’s in my head. That word is: Potential. The idea of a chassis such as this that caters for larger CPU Coolers, larger GPUS and AIO CPU Coolers has me really excited. So excited in fact I’ve even managed to talk to Raijintek about it. So let’s cross our fingers as I cant wait to see what’s next…
Please Share, Like & Comment below, we really value your thoughts and opinions…
Many thanks to Raijintek for providing this sample for review