Table of Contents
Montech is a fairly new face in the PC community. They started in 2016 and have only been around for 5 years, so there is little known about their products. Today, we attempt to change that as we review the Montech X3 Glass, Montech’s newest entry-level PC chassis. Touted as their top billing for entry-level cases, they claim it’s greatly improved over previous “X” series cases. In this review, we run the X3 Glass through the trenches to determine what this budget-friendly chassis can do.
Features and Specifications
The X3 Glass is a steel chassis with a removable plastic front panel featuring tempered glass left side and front panels. Three 140 mm fans handle the front intake, while the exhaust is managed by two top-mounted 120 mm fans and a rear 120 mm fan – all branded as “Rainbow” fans. For managing data, Montech provided two 2.5″ SSD trays that mount to the rear of the motherboard tray and a 2.5″/3.5″ SSD/HDD combination caddy that can house either two HDDs or a single HDD and an SSD.
The X3’s top-mounted I/O panel is offset to the right of the chassis and features a single USB 3.2 Gen 1 (5 Gbps) Type-A port, two USB 2.0 ports, headphone jack, microphone jack, an on/off button for the lighting, a reset switch, and of course a power button. Even though this is a budget model, I would like to see USB 3.2 Gen2 (10 Gbps) ports in some form.
Here’s a list of the specifications per Montech:
|Montech X3 Glass Specifications|
|Product Name||Montech X3 Glass|
|Available Color||Black or White|
|Materials||Steel Chassis, Plastic Front Panel, Tempered Glass|
|Dimensions (LxWxH)||370 mm x 210 mm x 480 mm|
|Drive Bays||5.25: 0|
|I/O Port||USB2.0 x2|
Audio / mic
|Pre-installed Fan(s)||Front: 140 mm x 3 (LED Rainbow fan)|
Top: 120 mm x 2 (LED Rainbow fan)
Rear: 120 mm x 1 (LED Rainbow fan)
|Fan Support||Front: 120/140 mm x3|
Top: 120 mm x 2
Rear: 120 mm x 1
|Clearances||CPU: 160 mm|
GPU: 305 mm
|Power Supply Support||Bottom mount, ATX|
|Dust Filters||Top and Bottom|
We have also included a list of features from the Montech website:
Montech ships the X3 Glass in a traditional brown cardboard box. The front and rear are identical with the model name and an image of the front panel printed in black. One side displays a specs chart, while the other has X3 printed along with the shipping labels. Once inside, we find the case safely encased in a pair of Styrofoam end caps and a plastic bag for moisture protection.
The included accessory stack is slim, but that’s expected as it is an entry-level chassis. The user’s manual is a simple folded piece of paper with a few diagrams explaining how to install basic components. There’s also a small bag of screws for installing a motherboard, HDDs and SSDs, and a power supply. It should be noted that the motherboard and SSD screws are the same screws, and only 12 are provided with the X3. If you add up the number of screws required for an ATX motherboard, nine in this scenario, and four for each of the SSDs, you can see there just isn’t enough to go around. So we needed to provide our own. This is a small oversight but could be quite troublesome if you don’t have extra screws laying around.
Exterior At A Glance
The Montech X3 Glass presented today sports a matte black finish, but they also offer this model in white. The paint does a good job of hiding fingerprints, but you still need to be careful when moving it around as the paint is prone to scratches from minor bumps. The steel chassis features a tempered glass side panel, while the front panel frame is plastic with a tempered glass window. Montech also offers an X3 Mesh variant which features a mesh panel upfront instead of glass.
The left side panel features a unique pull tab for opening and is held firmly in place by a pair of magnets. The right side is a typical solid steel panel leaving little for discussion. The rear of the chassis is also fairly typical with its adjustable 120 mm rear exhaust fan. Setting the chassis on its right side to get a better view of the top and bottom, we find the top filter covers the majority of the real estate, with the top side I/O ports set to the right side of the chassis. At the bottom is a filtered intake for the power supply and features four turntable-style round feet.
A Closer Look
From the outside, the chassis looks very capable and has clean styling cues similar to other popular cases. Without further adieu, let’s look inside and see what is at the heart of the X3 Glass.
As mentioned in the Exterior Glance section, the left side panel door opens with a gentle tug on the pull tab. The door is then removed by lifting it off from the two hinge pins -this makes for quick and easy access to the inside. The tempered glass measures 3.69 mm with a steel hinge and jam strips glued to the two ends. Looking at the motherboard tray, you should notice the motherboard standoffs. Note: The standoffs are not attached using a typical ATX layout. Failure to change this could cause your motherboard to short out, so please be aware of this. The motherboard tray features an oversized CPU cooler mount cut-out and seven grommet-less cable pass-through holes.
Looking towards the rear of the chassis, at the top is the single 120 mm rear exhaust fan that is vertically adjustable up to 27 mm. Below the fan are the seven PCI slots and cover plate. We’ll cover this more in-depth when we look at the rear of the chassis. At the top are two more 120 mm exhaust fans, while the front shows off the triple 140 mm intake fans. If we look closely, we can see slots available for mounting up to three 120 mm fans if you opt to switch out the included 140 mm fans or install an AIO cooler or custom water cooling radiator.
Looking at the bottom of the left side brings our attention to the power supply shroud with an opening for displaying your power supply. The top of the shroud is ventilated, and Montech was kind enough to provide mounting for two 120 mm fans or radiators. At the front of the shroud is a large opening for mounting the front intake radiator and features a Montech logo using grayish silver paint.
The front panel consists of a dark-tinted tempered glass pane with a plastic surround. Ventilation is possible thanks to horizontal slots at both the right and left sides which run the full height of the chassis. There is no intake filter present, so cleaning will become a regular chore. The front panel is removed by the typical means of grasping the bottom of the front panel and pulling firmly. The plastic used holds the panel well and seems strong enough to last for several years. With the front panel removed, we see the front side of the triple 140 mm fans and two pass-through cable holes.
The right side panel is held in place by two thumbscrews. With the two screws removed, the panel swings out and back for removal. At the top, we find the cabling and a PCB for the I/O ports. There are cable tie points along both sides of the three cable pass-through holes. In total, there are 12 cable tie points. This is less than you will find on a premium case but more than adequate for the average build. There are two additional cable pass-through holes above the large CPU access hole. Further down are a pair of SSD trays. These are retained using a single thumbscrew and two tabs at their bottom. The basement of the X3 is where the HDD caddy and PSU garage are located. The HDD caddy is removable with two thumbscrews at the underside of the chassis. The PSU garage features four dimpled pads for the PSU to rest on. No vibration dampening is provided with this chassis, which is common for an entry-level case; however, a filtered vent allows the power supply to intake fresh cool air.
There are two main features at the top of the X3 Glass, a top exhaust filter and the top side I/O controls. The filter is the coarse type that is standard on virtually all cases that feature top filters and is held in place with magnetic strips. We see the steel mesh pattern and the mounting slots for attaching 120 mm or 140 mm fans or radiators with the filter removed. Notice the odd slot shapes at the right side front and rear. This poses a slight issue later in the review when attaching a 240 mm radiator at the top and a 360 mm radiator at the front. The top I/O features a single USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-A port and two USB 2.0 ports. The power button is near the front of the chassis, followed by the power and HDD indicators. Next are the microphone and headphone jacks. Between the USB ports are two smaller buttons. One is the on/off switch for the fans’ “Rainbow” lighting, and the other is the reset switch. This is the first major gripe we have with this chassis. Not only the location of where they are, being away from the power button, but also they share the same size and feel. When attempting to turn the lights on or off, it is incredibly easy to reset the system. Also, in a dimly lit room, you need a light source to read which button is which. If you make this mistake enough times, you will learn which to use, but simply relocating the reset button next to the power button would save a lot of frustration.
Spinning the chassis 180°, we find the bottom of the case. The PSU intake filter is the same coarse material found at the top exhaust. While not as good as a fine filter for intake, the coarse filter is certainly better than nothing. It is held in place with six tabs and isn’t too difficult to remove or re-attach. To the right and towards the front is where the removable HDD caddy fastening is attached with two thumbscrews. The four turntable-style feet are roughly 45 mm in diameter and elevate the chassis about 13 mm from the desk’s surface, which is more than adequate to allow the PSU to breathe. The rubber rings do a fine job of preventing unwanted case movement and also aids in vibration dampening.
The rear of the case looks pretty standard. You can see Montech provided space at the top for mounting a medium-thickness radiator. The rear 120 mm fan slots allow for 27 mm of adjustment. The seven PCI expansion slots utilize the breakaway style, throw-away covers. This is the least expensive method for manufacturers and common for budget cases. Replacement slot covers are not provided with this chassis, so if you need to move PCI components around, you will be left with openings at the rear of the case. Next to the expansion slots is a cover plate that closes the gap between the PCI card and chassis after installation. At the very bottom is the PSU mount – Note the PSU can only be mounted in one direction, this is fine as it will eliminate potential confusion and requires the PSU to be mounted the correct way, with the intake facing the filtered opening.
There are six fans included with Montech’s X3 Glass. The three intake fans are 140 mm, while the three exhaust are 120 mm. Oddly enough, these fans do not connect to the motherboard. In fact, they don’t connect directly to the power supply either, though they can. They use the old clunky 4-pin Molex connectors for power. The way Montech has decided to power the lighting on these fans forced a recap of the pin-out for Molex connectors: Pin #1 provides +12v, pin #2 is the ground, pin #3 is left open (normally ground), and pin #4 is +5v. While this is the typical pinout for a Molex connector, what is not typical is Montech has opted to use Pin #4 to power the LEDs. This means the fans run at full speed non-stop, and as far as specs for the fan, we don’t have any, and being essentially a two-wire fan, there are no sensors to determine RPM via software.
On the SSD front, the chassis includes two removable SSD trays that function well. These are attached to the back of the motherboard tray via a single thumbscrew and a pair of tabs located at the bottom of the SSD tray, while drives are attached using four screws. This style has become the industry standard and should be considered common in modern cases, whether budget or premium.
The removable HDD caddy houses either two 3.5″ hard drives or a single HDD with an SSD mounted to the top of the caddy. It uses a series of slots and tabs for proper location and two thumbscrews to secure it to the bottom of the chassis.
In this section, we will install water cooling components as well as a complete air-cooled build. This will aid in determining the X3 Glass’s capabilities, noting key clearances and extra features such as lighting.
For a custom water cooling mock-up build, we’ve installed a 35 mm thick 360 mm radiator to the front as well as a 30 mm thick 2×120 mm radiator at the top. This was only possible by lowering the front radiator below the recommended fan installation slots so that not all mounting screws can be used. Also, any front radiator thicker than 35 mm restricts the top radiator to 120 mm or 140 mm due to interference issues. We can not hold Montech at fault because the X3 Glass does not officially support custom water cooling. Instead, this should be viewed as a positive as custom water cooling is possible. If a radiator is excluded from the top, there’s 69 mm of clearance for an extra thick front radiator or a push/pull fan configuration.
Mounting a pump and reservoir is a challenge in this small case: its narrow width does not allow for mounting a pump/res combo to the top of the PSU shroud unless it is mounted horizontally, and in some cases, a discrete GPU will still interfere. Instead, a fan-mounted bracket attached to the front radiator should be considered. Unfortunately, one was not available to demonstrate for this mock-up.
This air-cooled build also serves as our thermal test setup. The be quiet! Dark Rock 4 pictured here measures 160 mm tall and that’s all the room that it has. As mentioned previously, it touches the plastic film on the glass with the side panel closed but does not interfere, confirming Montech’s CPU clearance specification of 160 mm. Factoring in the six included fans, the X3 Glass should provide excellent airflow.
Cable management in the X3 is a bit tricky but can be managed with a little effort. To start with, the PSU bay is only 195 mm. This is going to limit the power supply selection down to 150-160 mm long units. Naturally, this is only a concern if the HDD caddy is being used. There is approximately 20 mm behind the motherboard tray for managing all the necessary cables. This is adequate, but it makes for a really tight squeeze. As mentioned previously, there are only 12 cable tie points, but they are placed in good locations. Finally, we would be remiss if we didn’t mention the eight-inch tower of Molex cables that are daisy-chained together. While this poses an ugly eyesore, as far as cable managing goes, it’s relatively harmless as it tucks neatly behind the front lip of the right-side panel slot.
Lighting for Montech’s X3 Glass is powered directly from the power supply’s +5v rail via a modified Molex connector hard wired to an on/off switch at the top of the chassis. There are no options to control the color or lighting effects because there aren’t any. Montech was very clever in calling these “Rainbow” fans as these are not your typical RGB lights but fixed color lights. The light you see displayed is the only lighting option available.
Thermal Testing Procedure
Now that we’ve seen what this case can house, it’s time to test whether it is getting adequate airflow. With the case in its stock orientation, an overclock will be applied to the CPU and GPU. The overclock will be as high as possible, maintaining stability and staying within the thermal limits of the components. Aida64 Extreme and 3D Mark Firestrike Extreme will be run together for about a half-hour to apply a load to the CPU and GPU. This will allow us to document the peak internal case temperature. Then, remove the side panel and continue the test, noting the temperature drop, if any. If the case is getting proper airflow, then the case temperatures will remain within a few degrees of the original result. If there is a significant temperature drop with the side panel removed, the case is starving for fresh, cool air.
|Montech X3 Glass Testing System|
|Case||Montech X3 Glass|
|Motherboard||ASRock X570 Phantom Gaming X|
|CPU||AMD Ryzen 7 3700X|
|CPU Cooler||be quiet! Dark Rock 4|
|Memory||G.Skill Trident Z RGB 2×8 GB 3200 MHz CL 16|
|GPU||Gigabyte RTX 2070 Gaming OC 8 GB|
|Storage||OCZ Agility 3 60 GB|
|Power Supply||be quiet! Pure Power 11 500 W|
|Operating System||Windows 10 64 bit|
140 mm x3 (Front Intake)
120 mm x3 (Rear and Top Exhaust)
|Temperature Probe||Amprobe TMD-52|
With the thermal testing completed, we discover the internal temperatures peaked at 3° above ambient. With the side panel off, temperatures dropped 2°C. These results are typical for any case with adequate airflow and no doubt the result of the six included fans. Many of the above-tested cases only include two or three fans by comparison. Regardless, these are good results and should put prospective buyers at ease.
The Montech X3 Glass is an entry-level chassis that competes with higher-level cases. There are many features where the company went the cheap route, such as not providing enough screws, using non-replaceable PCI slot covers, and non-standard Molex-powered fans. The case is not all bad, though! While the fans will not win any awards, there are six of them, and they do perform well since they are fixed at full speed. As far as looks, with the tempered glass front and left side panel, the X3 Glass looks amazing, and the top I/O ports are very handy, even though the placement is not ideal.
So, what does the Montech X3 Glass cost, and is it worth it? Newegg lists it for $75.99 and Amazon sells it for $79.99. This price is a bit higher than what I would expect to pay considering what is offered and there are better cases available in the same price range. For instance, the XPG Starker that we reviewed in May currently sells for $79.99 at Newegg and Amazon and is an overall better chassis. While one could justify purchasing this chassis if they really liked the looks, the quality and value are just not up to par with other cases currently on the market. In short, it’s not a bad case, but it’s also not a great bargain. Sadly, we have to give the X3 Glass the not-so-inspiring “meh” rating.