EVGA jumped into the chassis market recently with an ITX case dubbed the Hadron. They will have two versions of the case, one for air cooling and one for water cooling. We’ll be taking a look at the Hadron Air to see what EVGA is bringing to table for the growing ITX market.
Specifications & Features
(Courtesy of EVGA)
|EVGA Hadron Air Specifications|
|Model #||110-MA-1001-XX (XX = K1 (US), K2 (EU), K3 (UK), K4 (AU/NZ))|
|Material||Steel and Plastic|
|Drive Bays||1x Slot-loading Optical Drive Bay|
2x 3.5″/2.5″ Bays
|Cooling System||2x 120 mm Exhaust Fans|
|Front Panel I/O||2x USB3.0 and Audio I/O|
|Power Supply||500 Watt 80 Plus Gold 1U Server Form Factor PSU Included|
|Expansion Card||10.5″ (267 mm) Length|
|CPU Cooler Limit||165 mm in height|
|Dimensions||6.6″ x 12.0″ x 12.1″ (169 x 305 x 308 mm) (W x H x D)|
|Net Weight||13.22 lbs (6 kg)|
- Sleek look and extremely compact size
- Included 500 W 80 Plus Gold PSU
- Supports full size enthusiast graphics cards (up to 10.5″)
- Slot-loading optical drive bay
Packaging & Accessories
The Hadron Air was packaged well with the typical foam ends that separate the case from the box. The box is about as understated as it gets with only the product name on the front and back sides of the box. The case itself was also wrapped in thin foam and had a clear film applied in necessary areas.
The accessories include a PSU power cord, two short SATA cables, slim ODD carriage, motherboard mounting screws, 2.5″ HDD/SSD mounting screws, and a user manual. It would have been nice to see a mSATA-to-SATA+Molex adapter included with the case since not all slim optical drives ship with one included.
EVGA Hadron Air
The Hadron Air has a surprisingly small footprint with a mostly matte black finish aside from the glossy front panel. There aren’t many hard lines with the curved top and bottom edges, and the circular perforations add to that rounded theme. The Hadron Air also has a curved front foot to lift the case from the ground which adds to its unique look.
On the right side of the Hadron Air, there is an ODD slot for use with a slot-loading ODD. Towards the bottom is the front panel I/O, which is pretty basic and includes two USB 3.0 ports and the audio I/O. You can also see the power button located in the middle of the front panel.
Here’s an overall look at the back of the case, which is all black aside from a couple of stickers and the chrome fan grill.
At the bottom of the case, we can see the included 500 W PSU (80+ Gold), which makes use of the 1U server form factor to save space. The two expansion slots are just above the PSU and feature black hex-mesh slot covers.
The expansion slot mounts are covered with a plastic hinged door that is held closed with a single screw.
Up above the hinged door we get to an odd section that typically features a fan slot. Instead it has a few interesting mounting holes that are most likely for water cooling components, and there are water cooling tube holes above those. These mounts and holes are basically useless for the Hadron Air since there is no room for a custom loop, so I wish something else could have been done for the Air version.
The underside and top side of the Hadron Air is perforated with small circular holes for airflow. The back end of the bottom has a strip of thick rubber to keep the case from sliding, but the front lacks a rubber strip and opts for a wide metal strip running the width of the case to form a large foot that lifts the case from the floor to allow air to be pulled into the case.
Removing the side panel reveals a disappointing and unfinished paint job on the inside of the panel. Upon the first peek inside the Hadron Air, the first thing I noticed was that the unfinished paint job appears on the edges of the opening, the back mounting section, and on the opposite side panel as well. I don’t mind the side panels and frame edges being unfinished since they won’t be seen with a system installed, but that back section is unsightly to say the least. Good news though… EVGA fixed the back area on production units, so there shouldn’t be any unpainted metal showing through the window.
The drive cage holds up to two 3.5″ or 2.5″ drives and one slot-loading optical drive. The cage has a couple of wire routing hooks fixed to the frame to help tame loose wires in such a tight space.
The top two exhaust fans are connected to a splitter allowing them to connect to a single fan header on the motherboard. That was a nice inclusion since some mITX boards may not have many extra fan headers available. The front panel connectors consist of a 19-pin USB3.0, HD Audio, power switch, and power LED. There isn’t a reset switch or HDD activity LED on the Hadron Air, so no wires for those.
Now let’s have a look at the top. Removing the top panel requires removing two screws on the top backside part of the case, then sliding the panel towards the back and lifting up. Once the panel is off, we see the unfinished paint job again, but it definitely won’t be seen unless the cover is removed.
There are two top fans included with the Hadron Air to exhaust hot air out of the case through the top vent. The fans used are PowerLogic PLA12025S12L which cannot be found on the PowerLogic website, but the PLA12025B12L model (1800 RPM, 58.87 CFM, 2.13 mmH2O, 32.1 dBA) looks pretty close.
On to the included power supply which is 500 W and 80 Plus Gold certified. The datasheet for PSU model number FSP500-501UN can be found at SPI’s (Sparkle Power Inc.) website, here. The cables included with the power supply consist of a 20+4 pin, 4+4 pin, double 6+2 pin, double SATA, and two double 4 pin Molex cables. Of course, the 20+4 pin and the 4+4 pin is required for the motherboard and CPU. The shortened double 6+2 pin can give power to just about any single GPU. The double SATA cable is perfect for the two drive bay positions for HDDs or SSDs. One 4 pin is needed for the ODD’s mSATA adapter which leaves one of the two 4 pin connectors available on that cable. Then, there’s another whole cable with two more 4-pin connectors. I think one of the double Molex cables could have been dropped to aid cable management since there isn’t any more room in the case for additional accessories that would need 4 pin connectors. Not to mention there is still an unused 4 pin available on the same cable the mSATA adapter would be using, just in case an extra is needed.
The components used for the build include some high-end parts that will come together to form a powerhouse for such a small system.
|CPU||Intel i7 4770K|
|CPU Cooler||Thermalright AXP-100 w/ Gentle Typhoon AP-15|
|Motherboard||EVGA Z87 Stinger|
|RAM||2×2 GB G.Skill ECO DDR3-1600 7-8-7-24|
|Graphics Card||EVGA GTX 780 SuperClocked ACX|
|Solid State Drive||OCZ Vertex 2|
|Hard Disk Drive||Samsung Spinpoint F3 HD103SJ|
|Power Supply||EVGA FSP500-501UN|
The motherboard drops down best when leading with the rear I/O to line it up, then drop the rest of the board in. Each standoff hole is slightly extruded and will fit inside of the motherboard’s mounting hole, which prevents the board from sliding around. Those extrusions make mounting the board much easier, but this also means that you must use EVGA’s included mounting screws since the standard motherboard screws will be too big.
The drive trays can hold either 3.5″ or 2.5″ drives. The tray wraps around the 3.5″ drives and “pegs” fit into the screw hole locations to secure the HDD. 2.5″ drives have to be mounted into place with four small screws that are included with the accessories.
After the trays are loaded, they slide into place and lock with a clip. The connector ends of the HDD and SSD are facing toward the window, so they’ll be seen. It would have been nice if the drives were able to be mounted either way, but it doesn’t look too bad with the cables being all black. Also, the shortened SATA cables that EVGA included helped with cable management since there’s no need for excessively long cables in the Hadron Air.
EVGA’s GTX 780 is a 10.5″ graphics card and should max out the available length in the Hadron. It slides into place easily, and we have to watch the PSU cables to make sure none get stuck behind the GPU which may not allow the GPU to seat correctly. There looks to be enough length for an 11″ graphics card, but getting a card of that size inside the Hadron may be an issue since you can’t just go straight into the case. You have to put the I/O end of the card into the case first, then push the rest of the GPU into place. Putting the card into the case at an angle makes the power connector end of the 10.5″ GPU come really close to the edge of the case.
With everything installed, we can see there is just enough room to get everything in the Hadron. There’s certainly a lot of power in that small box…
One last angled shot…
I really like the compact design, which is very efficient at getting high-end parts in a small volume. Not only that, but the Hadron Air has some sleek exterior looks and features such as the slot loading optical drive. The glossy front panel could become a dust and fingerprint magnet, but it shouldn’t be too bad since all that needs to be touched is the power button.
The included 500 W power supply should be able to comfortably power a system with any 10.5″ graphics card out there as long as it has no more than two 8-pin PCIe power connectors. So, some graphically powerful systems can be stuffed into the unassuming Hadron Air.
The unfinished paint job on my pre-production sample is a minor disappointment, but the back area is indeed black on the production units. The other unpainted areas will remain unseen when a system is installed, so those don’t really bother me. There are a few other minor things I think could have been improved upon such as the useless water cooling holes and mounting in the back, maybe one too many PSU cables, and a fixed drive bay.
The Hadron Air is available for $179.99 at Newegg, which could seem steep until looking at the cost of 500 W 1U power supplies. The closest comparable PSU available to buy at Newegg is the Seasonic SS-500L1U for $100 , which is more than half the price of the Hadron Air. This puts a different perspective on the case; the Hadron Air could be considered a $80 case with a $100 PSU included.
Overall, the Hadron Air allows one to pack quite a punch in its small package while looking good doing it.
– Matt T. Green (MattNo5ss)