Assembling the AZZA Genesis 9000

Actually building a system in the AZZA Genesis 9000 is actually a bit daunting, due both to the weight of the enclosure and to the staggering amount of customization that can be done with it. Realistically if you just leave the motherboard tray in and build your system without actually playing with the Genesis 9000, it's not any more difficult than any other enclosure. It's going to be pretty hard to resist doing that, though.

Taking the motherboard tray out doesn't just involve removing the six thumbscrews in the rear; you also have to unwrap the cable ties behind the tray. The tray is on a pair of rails, and those rails are mirrored on the other side of the enclosure. Take it out, and you'll have to screw in some of the motherboard standoffs yourself; the Genesis 9000 only comes with the Mini-ITX ones installed by default. The back of the tray also flexes some, but that's to be expected and is actually more useful than a mark of poor build quality. Getting our testbed motherboard in was easy enough, and AZZA included the necessary mounting holes for a high end Micro-ATX board, holes which have actually been lacking in some of the other cases we've reviewed recently.

Installing our video card was also made much easier by the flex of the back of the tray. Aligning the I/O brackets with the screwholes in the back of a case can actually be difficult, but this is ameliorated by the give in the Genesis 9000's tray and lining up our GeForce GTX 560 Ti proved to be much simpler as a result.

Installing drives in the Genesis 9000 is for the most part just as easy, but it bears mentioning that the Corsair Link kit we ordinarily use for testing couldn't be installed; the steel drive trays used for mounting 2.5" and 3.5" drives bottom-mount them, and the Corsair Link box has no bottom-mount holes. These trays are sturdy as all getout, though, and they line 2.5" and 3.5" drives alike with the two hot-swap backplanes that come preinstalled. Those backplanes are also removable and can be placed behind any of the 5.25" drive bays, and you can buy more from AZZA. The trays themselves have rounded bumps in the front to make them easier to grip, too, and the 5.25" drive bay shields pop out just by pinching the sides. While mounting drives to the trays isn't toolless, virtually everything else is, and the toolless clasps are in place on both sides of the drive cage as opposed to just one (as is typical of most modern cases). The result is a very secure, very flexible mounting system.

Getting the power supply in is only slightly more difficult. You need to snap the fan duct off of the centermost bottom intake fan to slide it into the front bay, but the real trouble lies in the front cover. There are two thumbscrews which hold it in place, but the plastic snaps are too thick and snug, and as a result I actually damaged one trying to remove the front cover. That's not a huge deal since the thumbscrews do most of the work, but it's worth mentioning.

Maybe the biggest problem the Genesis 9000 has is cabling, and that's due to the front-to-back instead of lateral orientation of the drive bays. AZZA has done their best to simplify this, but routing data and power cables for drives behind the motherboard tray is a little less sensible in this case. Everything else routes fine for the most part, although it seems AZZA intended the motherboard tray to be used in the "inverted" default orientation instead of the standard ATX orientation due to where the top I/O cables are routed internally and the placement of the connectors on the hot-swap backplanes. Getting the rest of the cables in is basically child's play, though, if a bit messy due to the sheer number of cables coming off of the I/O cluster in the top of the case. Note that their fan controller has six 3-pin connectors in it, all occupied and all powered by a single 4-pin molex connector.

I appreciate that for the most part AZZA went whole hog with 4-pin molex instead of just using it a little bit here and there. If you're doing a minimal drive installation, you can actually get away with just not using SATA power leads from the power supply; it's a little more archaic, sure, but I prefer to use as few cables from the modular power supply as possible.

Honestly the AZZA Genesis 9000 is an intimidating piece of work due almost entirely to just how much you can do with it, the scope of which unfortunately can't be explored in this review. Build quality is pretty stellar, although I feel like the finish needs just a little more attention; the white plastic and white painted steel don't quite match up in tone, although going with black would probably fix that. The drive trays are incredibly sturdy, though, and the case seems to have been designed to take a bit of a beating. I can get behind that. If you're prone to tinkering endlessly your interest has probably already been piqued, but we still have test results to get to.

In and Around the AZZA Genesis 9000 Testing Methodology
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  • Ilias78 - Friday, July 13, 2012 - link

    Great review Justin and the case looks like an incredibly interesting piece of work - mostly due for its customization capabilities. Much like the Silverstone FT02, Id love to get my hands on one of these and spend hours on making a perfectly assembled system (its also a challenge to do builds on such unusual cases and i like it). I still do believe however that your cable management needs more attention. I suspect that you usually must be on a deadline to build the system and write your review (which means that you dont have the luxury of time on your side), but i would really-really like to see you doing better cable management. You assembled the system ofc and you know better, but i look at the case and i see so many options and possibilities for cable routing, or ways to make things cleaner :) But still, great revew... its one of those cases that make your "creativity juices" go sky-high :) Reply
  • blackmagnum - Friday, July 13, 2012 - link

    It looks like a storm trooper and a Camaro has mated. Though it seems easy to clean the smooth exterior. Reply
  • MakingMonkeys - Friday, July 13, 2012 - link

    Thank you for the review,
    The price link is attached to a wrong item on newegg.
    Reply
  • mentatstrategy - Friday, July 13, 2012 - link

    and Tron themed devices - including the price! (Super high for a case in my opinion sheesh) Reply
  • sudz - Friday, July 13, 2012 - link

    Great review, Except I have one overall gripe with how you do mid and full size case reviews.

    I can't speak for everyone, but When I'm building a machine that needs a medium or large sized case, I have more than just an SSD, MicroATX and one video card.

    I understand the need for uniformity across all your reviews/test beds, however using the case in a way that the majority of users in a real life situation would be much more informative.

    For example, my "gaming" machine is a Mid sized tower, with 5 hard drives, 2 optical drives, and two 6850's in crossfire.

    The setup you have could be fit into a small HTPC (minus the video card) Who in their right mind would waste 200+ (160 in this "case") to put micro atx motherboard and a single hard drive into a full size tower?

    Heat, Airflow, noise would all change when loaded up with an "average" full size setup, Including installation, cable routing, etc.

    Just a thought!
    Reply
  • AeroJoe - Monday, July 16, 2012 - link

    I'm with sudz on this one. I would want to see something more in line with a case full of motherboard, graphics cards and hard-drives. After all, that's why one would need a case this big.

    So let's see it with a liquid cooled core-7 processor with a closed-loop radiator in the top of the chassis, and at least four 3.5-inch hard-drives installed with the OS running on a 2.5-inch SSD. Then I would have a MUCH better idea as to whether this case deserves consideration for my next build project.
    Reply
  • Nomanor - Sunday, July 22, 2012 - link

    Great point.

    When reviewing Full Tower cases, stuff them with proper components.
    Reply
  • Arbie - Friday, July 13, 2012 - link


    We know that, all other things being equal, a larger fan will move more air with less noise. So I would like to have 230mm fans everywhere. The problem comes when you're actually trying to select and buy them. There is practically no choice. All ideas of working with RPM ranges and PWM control go out the window. And you may find that only sleeve bearings are available. Those are completely unsuited to horizontal mounting (as at the top of this case) where they will fail early.

    I've learned the hard way to prefer plain old 120mm or at most 140mm fan ports. I'd like it to be otherwise, and tried to go there, but the industry is nowhere near ready. There just isn't enough demand, and I don't see that changing soon.
    Reply
  • P5-133XL - Friday, July 13, 2012 - link

    I'm annoyed, the review gives temps for SSD's and doesn't use HD's. SSD's don't generate much heat and are quite heat insensitive. HD's on the other hand generate significant amount of heat and are sensitive to heat especially if there aren't fan's in front of them.

    I've had significant issues with cases where placing HD's next to each other have caused HD's to get excessively hot and I've needed to either get fans that generate noise or spread the HD's apart so that they are not next to each other.

    With no HD temps in the review, means I skip this case in my next build...
    Reply
  • Belard - Friday, July 13, 2012 - link

    I second that. I think future reviews for gamer/power user cases should reflect more reality... One SSD and two 2TB Hard Drives. Both of my desktops have two HDs, my main has an SSD.

    While the 3.5 Drive bays may seem a bit of a waste being in 5" drive sleds, it gives them plenty of air-space. In todays world, I think even having TWO optical drives is rare. In the past 10 years, I've only built 2 computers for others who requested 2 drives.

    In the OLD days of PCs, the 3.5" drive bays were SNUG against each other. I noticed this problem back in 2002 when I opened my side panel of my HUGE Antec case (God it was loud) and notice the HEAT from the 3 HDs that were attached side by side. The AIR gap between the drives was slightly bigger than a quarter and the sides were solid. (These were drive cages).
    The drives were too hot to touch for more than a few seconds. I moved 2 drives to an adapter and stuck in a 5.25 bay (each), and left the 3rd in the middle 3.5 cage.

    Since then, my PC cases require having an air-vent in front of the HD bays and a good amount of space (top and bottom) for each drive.

    In the 90s with typical 4-drive setups (FD/HD/CD & CDR), this wasn't an issue with SLOW tech.
    Reply

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