Recently I was looking for cases with a list price of $60-80 when I came across the Gigabyte Luxo M30. It had a list price of $66, but as a new case it was discounted to $53. The main picture showed a black left panel, but further pictures showed a large window on the right panel, and an inverted motherboard inside. The interior appeared to have tool-free 5.25” slots and four tool-free hard drive holders. This, I said to myself, I must see. And so, dear readers, we shall explore the Luxo M30 together.
Features and Specifications
Gigabyte has a page describing the Luxo M30. They list the features:
- Bold and eye-catching front panel design with mesh strips to maximize air ventilation
- Supports up to six 12cm fans to keep the components cool and high performing
- Two 12cm thermal hole side panel design to release heat
- Tool-less installation of ODD & HDD 5.25”/3.5” bays for a speedier and more convenient build
- Multi-media top panel with USB 3.0 x 2, USB 2.0 x 2 & HD Audio for easy access
They also provide specs:
|Model no.||Luxo M30|
|Dimensions ( W x H x D )||192x430x440mm|
|Case Type||Mid Tower|
|Side panel (s)||120mm LED fan x 2 (Optional)
Transparent side panel only available in the US market.
|Drive bays||5.25″ x 3, 3.5″ x 1, 3.5″x 8 (internal)|
|Form factor||ATX/Micro ATX|
|I / O ports||USB 3.0 x 2, USB 2.0 x 2 + HD Audio|
|Fans||Front: 120mm blue LED fan x 1
Rear: 120mm fan x 1
Top: 120mm fan x2 (optional)
I measured for myself, and I found the case to be 207mm wide (8-1/8 inches), which is a good thing. Counting the thumbscrews in the back, the case was 495 mm deep (19-1/2 inches), and with its feet it was 490 mm tall (19-1/4 inches).
The Luxo M30 came in a brown box with an identical one-color line drawing of the case on the front and the back. One end had the specifications. The other was blank.
Inside, the case was protected by a plastic bag enclosed with standard Styrofoam top and bottom caps.
An External Tour of the Gigabyte Luxo M30
The front of the Luxo M30 is stylized with a large X. The soft plastic ends and edges of the 5.25” slot covers provides a splash of color that relieves an otherwise severe blackness. You will note the 3.5” slot cradled by the V. Since we no longer use 3.5” hardshell floppies, the slot must be there for a card reader.
Turning the case to get an oblique view, you can see the plastic sheet that protects the outer side of the window. Through the plastic we can see places for two 120mm fans. The upper one promises to be a bit more restrictive than the lower position.
Looking at the two sides of the Luxo M30, what strikes us is the expanded parts of the panels. But do check out those thumbscrews. They are plastic clad, and easier to work with than all-metal thumbscrews.
The bottom view gives us a label with the model number, the EAN and the bar code. Good stuff to have. But what is down there covering the PSU’s air intake?
It’s our old friend, the fake filter. This is so restrictive it threatens to strangle any PSU. Best to get rid of it. Why do case makers think that this restrictive grill is somehow a dust filter?
The rear view shows you the slots on top. It also graphically illustrates the fact that once you have removed a slot cover it is removed forever. Below the slots are two grommets for external radiators, a 120 mm fan and a space for a bottom-mounted power supply unit.
As we will see later, the central wedge-shaped grill is your only exhaust or intake on the top of the case. The rest of the top that looks as if it might be grill work? Just decoration. BTW – in case you’re wondering what is under the case: it’s the Styrofoam cap perching the case up for a better picture.
A closeup of the IO panel shows us that the Luxo M30 has two USB2 as well as two USB3 ports. This comes in handy when you have a wireless mouse and keyboard. They can make do with USB2 communication speeds, where your USB3 flash drive will want the faster speeds of USB3. The microphone and headphone jacks have standard colors, which makes finding the right jack a little easier. It’s a nice touch, and against a black background the color looks good.
We will take another look at the front panel. Then squeeze the ends of the 5.25″ slot covers, and off they come. That was easy. Behind the covers are pieces of sheet metal held in by little tags, bend them and they break off. They are there to provide structural integrity, but like the rear slot covers, once you take them off they stay off.
Looking Inside the Luxo M30
Popping off the right panel opens the motherboard chamber to our eyes. A long shot does not do this justice, so I’ll bring the camera in close for a wide angle view.
Starting at the upper left corner we can see the tool-free clips for 5.25″ devices. Running clockwise, the next things we see are two 120 mm exhaust fans. That’s right. Gigabyte provides you with two top fans, which you can run as exhaust or intake. Normally top exhaust fans actually interfere with airflow through a heatsink. Not these fans. Because the motherboard is inverted, these fans are removing air from the graphics card space. If you are going to have graphics cards that expel air into the case, when your motherboard is inverted, top fans will take that air and blow it out the top. And Gigabyte gives you two fans to do it. Note also that every fan you see has combination Molex connectors. They can act as both plug and socket. This may cost a few pennies more, but Gigabyte saves you some work, as we shall see.
Continuing our circuit, we see the slot covers and another Gigabyte-branded fan. The rear exhaust fan has a three-pin plug to allow you to power it from your motherboard, but only two wires, so it will not be reporting its RPM. At the very bottom there are four rubber pads for a PSU to sit on. And to the left there are four tool-free hard drive clips and a bag of accessories. Returning to the center we can see the CPU window in the motherboard tray. The window is not very wide, but it extends a tongue down past the edge of where the motherboard will go. Now, this may seem like a cheap trick, but it will give us more room for the EPS12V plug to pass around and power the CPU. Actually, this is ironic, as we shall see.
Peering into the 5.25″ drive bay, we can see that it has room for four slots – from this side. The bottom space is, of course, permanently set up for a forward-facing 3.5″ device like a card reader, and the styling on the outside leaves no room for a 5.25″ device. But if Gigabyte had made this space serve a 4 x 5.25″ front, you would have had room for a DVD player as well as a 140 mm fan. Ah, well – merely a missed opportunity.
In the next photo you can see I have moved the tool-free HD holders. It was easy. Just push in and twist.
The HD cage of the Luxo M30 is bolted in place. Instead of screws or pegs, the unreachable sides of hard drives are held by metal fingers. Actually, they do a good job of holding the HD’s snug. It’s a fine idea.
The accessories that came in the plastic bag are on display here, along with the HD holders and the case wiring. Clockwise from the bottom left are eleven 6″ zip-ties, two HD holders in various states of dishabille, the case wiring, two more HD holders and miscellaneous screws, a PC “speaker” and … an extra standoff.
Now that we’ve looked inside the Luxo M30, it’s time to start pulling off the other covers. We’ll start with the faceplate. One the inside of the front plate we see that the purple rubber spans each 5.25″ slot cover from side to side. And in doing that, the rubber restricts any airflow through the upper bay. Looking down, we see more restriction over the X – and the X is rather small to start with. Finally, we see only a single intake fan. Do recall that in the main motherboard chamber there are three exhaust fans. Because all four fans are the same model, that means we will have a negative pressure case, one that sucks dust in through every crack.
In the closeup of the Everflow-built Gigabyte F121225SL fan, we can see that this fan has two possible power sources – a 3-pin plug for a motherboard header and a combination Molex plug-socket. The latter is much appreciated. But behind the fan is the most restrictive HD cage sidewall I have ever seen. I suppose a tiny bit of air will get through to cool your hard drives, but not much.
With the front cover removed, we can pull the top cover off. We can see that there is room for two 120 mm fans. That’s it. No space for 140 mm fans. And if you were thinking of putting fans on top and a rad on the other side of the top of the case, forget it. When the plastic sits on the metal case there is no room for anything between them. It’s air or nothing here. The one question to ask is why have a foam filter there? The air in the case is being exhausted upward, so that periodically you will need to remove the top cover and clean the inside. On the other hand, if you want to run the top fans as intakes, the filter here would make sense.
So, let us put the top back on and look at the left side of the case. This is the behind-the-motherboard view. There are 14 tie-down loops here. Most of them are on the right side, but we are glad to have them.
In case you noted the absence of grommets on the motherboard tray, Gigabyte kept the cost down by simply getting rid of any sharp edges and forgoing grommets. What you see in the first picture is a hemmed edge. I had no problems with these.
The next picture shows the depth gauge end of a caliper extending from the outside of the case to the motherboard tray. The distance is 12 mm, or one half inch. That is not much.
However, the case bulges out on both sides. So I measured the depth from the motherboard tray to the inside of the left panel. The first picture shows the setup, the second the reading. The measurement was about 17.5 mm, or five eighths of an inch. It’s actually a little less than that because you must subtract a bit to account for the thickness of the motherboard tray.
So, there is not a lot of room behind the motherboard, but it is adequate.
Building a System in the Luxo M30
This is an easy case to build a system in. The CPU window that takes a big scoop at the bottom? It gives you lots of room to run the EPS 12V line right through it. But oh, the irony! That same EPS12V cable could simply run a few inches over the top of the PSU and reach around. Yup: the EPS12V socket at the “top” of your motherboard is near the bottom of the case, and right next to the PSU. Well, I set this rig up to run the cables around the back of the motherboard tray as you would do in a case with a non-inverted motherboard. I ended up using the space next to the PSU to fold up my main cables with Velcro strips, and the result was pretty neat.
Even the space behind the motherboard tray was not particularly messy. Here is where those plug-socket Molex connectors came into their own. In the center you can see two of them, with one end stuck into the PSU cable’s Molex, and the other end stuck into a one-way Molex from the front LED. That really saves Molex plugs; if your PSU has a 2-Molex cable, it may be all you need.
You can see where I folded the chassis cables to take up slack. The two free black plug-socket Molex connectors are attached to the 3-pin plugs of the front and rear fans. I suspect that if you really wanted to do so, you could chain-connect all four fans. The CPU window reveals that it is probably a bit narrow: you might have a CPU socket that is not entirely within the bounds of that window through the motherboard tray. Another issue came when it was time to put the side panel on. It didn’t go on easily; so I had to lay the case down with this side up, and put the panel on with an assist from our old friend Gravity.
I did try the DVD player in the lower 5.25″ slot to see about graphics card clearance. As you can see, it lined up exactly with a graphics card in the second motherboard slot.
A closeup of the ruler shows that with a DVD player in the lowest 5.25″ slot, there is 27 cm (about 10-1/2 inches) of room for your graphics card. Of course, with no DVD player in that lowest front slot you can have a huge graphics card. So if you need space for a long graphics card, it would be best to put your DVD player in another slot.
And let us close it up and have a look. Pretty.
So how well does it work?
The testing is designed to determine the power of a case’s internal airflow based on the stock fans provided, in their stock positions:
|CPU||Intel i7 860 HT enabled, LLC enabled; ran at stock 2.8 GHz|
|Motherboard||GA-P55A-UD3P; supplied 1.1125 Volts to the CPU.|
|RAM||4 x 2 GB G.Skill Ripjaws DDR3-1600 at 10x (1333 MHz)|
|Graphics Card||PowerColor AX3450 Radeon HD 3450 (fanless)|
|Solid State Drive||Crucial C300 120 GB|
|Hard Drive||Toshiba DT01ACA100 1TB 7200RPM SATA3|
|Power Supply||SeaSonic X650 (fan mostly doesn’t run) 650 Watts|
|Heatsink||Fanless NH-D14, with Gelid GC-Extreme TIM|
|Stress Software||OCCT 3.10; logs temperature readings|
|SSD Software||CPUID HWMonitor; keeps track of max temperature readings|
|Tenma 72-942 Sound Pressure Level Meter|
|Digital TEMPer USB Thermometer with dedicated logging software|
The NH-D14 was installed on its motherboard several cases ago and not moved since then; the temperatures should be consistent between cases.
Sound was measured 10 cm from the left corner of the case, and corrected to 1 meter. The sound was measured again at an actual distance of 1 meter.
Results of Testing
The cooling results for the Gigabyte Luxo M30 were about average, and it made an average amount of noise. That said, it was a quiet case.
The hard drive and the SSD had net temperatures of 9 °C. Considering how little air got through, perhaps Gigabyte knows something about their case that we don’t know. Or perhaps airflow through a HD cage is overrated.
One meter from the front of the case, the SPL meter measured 32.5 dBA. Since the SPL meter measures the basement itself at 30 – 30.5 dBA, the Luxo M30 is a quiet case. You can hear it, but just barely.
All four fans were two-wire F121225SL’s built by Everflow for Gigabyte. The one in the front has LEDs. Since they were two-wire fans, they could not report their RPM. A search of the Internet suggests that the nominal speed for these fans is 1000 RPM, and they sounded like 1000 RPM fans.
Start with a steel box that is a little too narrow. Then restrict the single air intake (that X in front is the sole intake). It doesn’t look promising. But Gigabyte worked hard on this case, taking a 192 mm wide box and expanding the sides to give it at least enough room for a full tower heatsink. Then they gave it enough room behind the motherboard tray to run round cables, not just flat ones. And in the end, the results showed that Gigabyte gave the Luxo M30 enough cooling power to keep components from overheating.
The Luxo M30 was easy to work in. I like combination plug-socket Molex connectors, and the fans all had those. The pass-through for the EPS12V plug was plenty big enough, but with the socket right next to the PSU, you don’t need it. Overall, the job went quickly. It was fun, and the result looked good.
Of course, you could wish for a number of changes to this case, mainly to give it more airflow. But then it wouldn’t be a Luxo M30 any more, would it?
- Good looks.
- Easy to build a system in.
- For a change of pace, it has an inverted motherboard.
- The IO cluster has both two USB2 and USB3 ports.
- 5.25” slot covers come off easily.
- Tool-free slot retainers on both sides of the 5.25” bay work well.
- Tool-free hard drive retainers.
- Four fans included, all with combination Molex plug-socket connectors.
- The HD cage is very restrictive to airflow.
- Fake Bottom Filter
- Negative pressure case.
– Ed Hume (ehume)