AZZA Fusion 4000 Review

Author: Chris Ledenican
Editor: Howard Ha
Publish Date: Thursday, February 23rd, 2012
Originally Published on Neoseeker (http://www.neoseeker.com)
Article Link: http://www.neoseeker.com/Articles/Hardware/Reviews/AZZA_Fusion_4000/
Copyright Neo Era Media, Inc. - please do not redistribute or use for commercial purposes.

When it comes to cases, most companies focus on cable management, thermal performance, graphics card support and acoustic levels. The focus on these key aspects of chassis design has pushed modern cases to great heights, so even a sub $100 enclosure nowadays is better than the $200 to $300 cases of the past. However, some companies are looking beyond the ordinary by trying to deliver something that is vastly different that what has come before.

The AZZA case we are examining today is one such product. Instead of just focusing on the traditional features included in chassis design, AZZA has created a new beast that comes with all the bells and whistles of a standard high-end enclosure, as well as support for dual power supplies, room for multiple water-cooling radiators measuring up to 480mm and even a unique compartmentalized structure that can hold two independent systems.

Of course the downside to all this is the case is larger than virtually another other enclosure we have reviewed, and it costs most than a traditional chassis as well. Still, at $259 USD, it is still cheaper than other full-sized towers. If the unique features work as intended, the AZZA Fusion 4000 could be one hell of a case.

Specification
Model Name
Fusion 4000
Model Number
CSAZ-4000
Type
ATX Super Full Tower
Color
Black/Black (inside chassis)
Side Panel Window
Yes
With PSU
No
CPU cooler support
up to 190mm (7.48-inches)
Motherboard support
XL-ATX,E-ATX, Full ATX, Micro ATX, ITX
Power Supply Location
rear bottom and/or rear top, supports dual-power supply
External 5.25" bays
6
External 2.5" bays
4x Easy Swap 2.5" slots
External 3.5" bays
2
Internal 3.5" bays
6+2 Easy Swap 3.5" slots
Expansion Slots
10
Front Ports 2x USB 3.0, 1xUSB 2.0, HD audio, Mic

Cooling System

1x140mm fan (27.2dBA) in rear

2x120mm blue LED fans in the front

Dimensions (HxWxD)
30.7x10.2x24 inches (780mmx260mmx610mm)
Weight
42 lbs
(specs courtesy of AZZA)

The image below of the AZZA Fusion 400 in its packaging does not do it justice. This box is big, and I mean BIG. Inside the box is a standard full-sized tower that can also accommodate another system on the top. AZZA has also included multiple images throughout the packaging as well as the key features of the case and specifications.

The AZZA Fusion 4000 is constructed predominantly from SECC steel, but the front of the case has a mesh design that adds both to the case's overall look and ventilation. Thanks to its tall height, the enclosure looks extremely narrow but with dimensions of 30.7x10.2x24 inches, the case is actually wider than many others on the market.  This gives the case ample room for installation inside the main portion of the chassis. In addition, the Fusion 4000 sports an all-black color scheme throughout the entire chassis (inside and out), but there is a red stripe throughout the exterior that visually separates the two compartments

The back area the AZZA Fusion 4000 consists of both a standard design as well as an add-on that is anything but ordinary. At the bottom portion of the case are 10 expansion slots, a single 120mm exhaust fan, the rear I/O opening, seven grommet covered access holes and a bottom mounted power supply installation bay. The back also includes a separate installation area that can support a separate system, or configured to support a secondary hard drive or additional ventilation fans.

The front of the Fusion 4000 includes seven ventilated bays for external 5.25" drives, along with two 120mm fans that are integrated into the front bezel. Behind the bottom portion of the bezel that houses the two fans are multiple hot-swappable bays. At the top are four 2.5" bays that can accommodate either small form factor mechanical drives or SSDs. Below these are six 3.5" hot swap bays that can accommodate standard 3.5" hard drives, which makes installing hard drives extremely easy. On the next page we will examine how each drive is connected and how to power the drives internally.

The sides of the case both feature the same layout, but the predominant side includes a small rectangular window along with both an installation area for additional cooling and a removable fan filter.  Both sides also include two latches at the top of the case that open the secondary installation area, and both also have the same design along the top as well.

The lower panels are removed simply by unscrewing the two thumbscrews that hold the panel in place, and sliding the panel away from the case. This provides access to the inner portion of the case where the user can install the main components such as the motherboard, power supply, graphics card and so on.

The top portion of the Fusion 4000 has a unique dual control panel layout and a customizable ventilation panel. With dual control panels,  the enclosure can treat each internal system individually as the two separate systems have their own power and reset buttons. This allows the user to power either one or both systems. The control panel also includes plenty of USB 2.0 and 3.0 options, as well as LEDs and front audio jacks for headphones and mics.

Behind the on-board controls are seven adjustable panels that can either be opened or closed depending on the user’s needs. The panels are controlled via the toggle switch to the right of the control panels. With the panels, the case can be customized either for improved thermal performance or better acoustics.

Along with being able to support dual internal systems, the Fusion 4000 is also designed to accommodate multiple water cooling loops. Just below the top panel, which can be removed by simply unfastening the top two thumb screws, is a massive installation area for either four 120mm fans or a 480mm radiator. Out of all the case we have tested here at Neoseeker, the Fusion 4000 is the first which can accommodate a 480nmm radiator without modification.

The base of the Fusion 4000 has a large perforated ventilation port in the middle and a smaller vent toward the bottom. The small ventilation area provides air intake or exhaust to the power supply, while the larger area can either accommodate optional case fans or yet another water-cooling radiator. Additionally, the Fusion 4000 comes with two heavy duty stands that are connected to the chassis via eight large screws.

Once the stands are secured to the case it is much sturdier, which helps prevent it from falling over while reducing the structure from vibrating when all the case fans and system are active. On the base of the stands are four large feet that each have a heavy duty rubber pad to further increase the stability of the case.

The predominant installation area has a roomy interior that can accommodate up to 8 HDDs, or 12 SSDs (configured as four 2.5" docks and eight 3.5" trays with 2.5" support), and multiple water cooling radiators. The Fusion 4000 also has 10 expansion slots that enable installation of up to 4-way SLI / Crossfire builds and up to 360mm of room for graphics cards. Support for 4-way GPU setups depend on the layout of your motherboard, but it should be available on most enthusiast offerings and with 360mm of space, even graphics cards such as the HD 6990 will fit with ease. Meanwhile the installation tray can easily accommodate any motherboard type including XL-ATX,E-ATX, Full ATX, Micro ATX and ITX.

The cable management system is also quite robust, as there are plenty of anchor points to tie down cables behind the tray. In total there are six cable routing holes found throughout the motherboard tray, optimally positioned to work with any type of motherboard installed inside the chassis. This will allow the cables to be routed in smarter and larger portions of these areas to allow for more efficient management. Each cutout utilizes high quality grommets.

 

The secondary installation area is located behind the two adjustable panels are the top of the case. These panels are opened via clips on both the left and right sides; when pushed toward each other, the panels unlock and can be lowered. Inside the top installation area is a small mounting bracket that can accommodate an ITX based system along with two 3.5/2.5" hard drives, a secondary power supply and two 5.25" external drives.

This area can also be customized to fit a water-cooling loop instead of an ITX based system once the hard drive cage is removed. This area can accommodate a 360mm radiator. This is the third area we have looked at that can support a radiator, so if you are looking for optimal water-cooling support the Fusion seems like it could be the strongest options available.

The two separate installation zones have their own external 5.25" drive bays. At the top are three bays, but note that the top bay occupies two slots. This makes it an ideal location for a dual slot fan controller or reservoir. The two bays below use a standard one-slot bay design, so they will easily accommodate any 5.25" external device. The lower installation area has four more external 5.25" drives bays, so in total the case can accommodate up to eight 5.25" external devices.

To secure the drive into the case, the user first removes one of the covers by pushing it outward from within the chassis; this can be done simply by removing the entire front bezel. After the cover is removed, the drive can be slid into the open bay and secured in place via thumbscrews on each side. To remove the drive, the locking clips on the inside of the case must be pressed to allow for removal of the screws, and ultimately the drive.

The Fusion 4000 uses an all hot-swappable design for installation of both SSDs and HDDs. At the bottom potion of the case, the Fusion 4000 can accommodate up to six internal 3.5" drives, or 10 2.5" SSDs. The SSDs can either be installed into small plastic enclosures that are located above the 3.5" bays, or they can be secured to the larger trays via screws.

All the drives are powered by a built-in circuit board located inside the chassis. Each board can power up to two drives via single 4-pin Molex connector, and each board also has two on-board fan headers.

The CPU retention area built into the motherboard tray is one of the largest we have seen. This will ensure the opening will work with virtually any motherboard on the market. As you can see, our test setup easily fit into the retention hole and there was no part of the bracket that was covered by the motherboard tray. While our test system included a LGA-1155 motherboard, the Eleven Hundred should accommodate most types of CPU and motherboard layouts including the latest Intel LGA2011 and AMD FM1 sockets.

There is also a secondary retention area on the motherboard tray that can either be used to route cables or access the CPU socket on non-standard motherboards.

The finished installation turned out extremely clean, and as you can see there was ample room for all of our high-end components. The spacious interior made it extremely easy to install our gear, and the cable management holes worked nicely as advertised, allowing all the cables to be routed behind the motherboard tray. Now that we have all our hardware in this beast, all that's left to do is see how it performs from a thermal standpoint.

Testing Setup:

Comparison Cases:

Testing:

For testing I maintained an ambient room temperature of 70°F and used HWMonitor to monitor each component's internal temperature. The idle temperatures were taken after the computer remained on, but with no operating load for an hour. The load tests were taken after a 15 minute period with Kombuster's power supply test active.

The overall thermal performance results were decent, and the temperatures were right about what we were expecting to see due to the layout and design of the case. The larger interior of the case, paired with the unobstructed airflow, allowed the case to perform well in most areas. However, the hard drive caddies have a closed design that restricts the incoming airflow. This dropped the thermal efficiency for the hard drive area, which is clearly reflected in the results.

The AZZA Fusion 4000 is a case that easily stands out from the crowd right down to the literal sense, as there are few (if any other) cases on the market that can support up to two independent PC systems, multiple water-cooling radiators, dual power supplies, four dual slot graphics cards and XL-ATX motherboards. With this list of supported features, it is easy to see the Fusion 4000 is no ordinary chassis. The case also includes all the features we have come to expect from high-end offerings such as excellent cable routing, mostly tool-free installation, spacious CPU retention access and good thermal performance. So, AZZA not only released an excellent case, but one that has far more features than virtually any case we have tested to date.

In addition, the Fusion 4000 comes with excellent hard drive installation bays and expansion options. In total, the case includes eight (six at the front, two up top) 3.5” hot swappable bays, and four 2.5” hot swap bays designed just for SSDs. That is an incredible amount of storage expansion, and the hot swap design really makes installing and switching out hard drives a breeze. On top of these, all the bays are internally connected via circuit boards, so connecting the drives' power and data sources was also extremely easy.

The only downside to the hot swap design is the lack of ventilation. Each caddie has its own ventilation ports at the front, but AZZA didn’t optimize the vents to properly chamber the airflow. Instead, most of the air is blocked by the plastic lining the caddies, so the overall thermal performance of the hard drives is reduced compared to a more open design. Still, the thermal efficiency was acceptable, but we would have liked a more open design for the caddies.

For what it offers, we think the Fusion 4000 is a steal even at $259. However, to keep the price low, AZZA did have to cut costs somewhere and this was in the overall build quality. For the most part the structure and metal feels sturdy, but it just doesn’t have the same quality feel as the Cooler Master Cosmos II or Corsair 800D. Additionally, for the price we would have liked to see more than just three case fans included, but since the thermal performance was already good it doesn't necessarily reduce the value of the case.

Overall, the Fusion 4000 is a unique case, and we have to applaud AZZA for pushing the envelope with the design. Of course this is not an enclosure for the mass market, but high-end users should regard the spacious interior, water-cooling support and dual system structure as a huge benefit over standard single system enclosure.

»Neoseeker.com

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