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EVGA Hadron Air Review

EVGA Hadron Air Review

Manufacturer: EVGA
UK Price (as reviewed): £167.95 (inc. VAT)
US Price (as reviewed): $189.95 (ex. TAX)
Preferred Partner Price: 104.99 (inc VAT)

It's an exciting time for mini-ITX fans as case manufacturers are beavering away, creating new designs with different layouts. BitFenix has even tweaked its popular Prodigy case, with the Phenom and other models offering small refinements to the cosmetics, addressing many issues people had with its otherwise impressive mini-ITX case. However, we're still to see mini-ITX from a couple of case manufacturers, most notably Corsair, which is leaving the door open for other less obvious names to nab some of the market. The latest to attempt just that is EVGA, with its first ever case, the EVGA Hadron Air. From initial glance it may look like a fairly typical small tower case but in fact it is one of the smallest mini-ITX cases we've seen.

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The Hadron Air stands just 305mm tall with the tilting front stand and is just 169mm wide and 308mm deep - easily the smallest enthusiast tower-style mini-ITX case we've tested. It really is astonishing to think this case will fit a mini-ITX motherboard, 3.5in hard drives and most single-GPU graphics cards.

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The front stand is a clever little touch, keeping the Hadron Air at an eye-catching jaunty angle but also serving a practical purpose by allowing cool air to enter the venting that runs along the case's underbelly. There are additional vents in the side panel and roof too.

The exterior might be coated in your average black case paint, but the case is far from totally generic-looking. As well as that jaunty angle, there's the front panel which comprises a reflective fascia with a small EVGA logo and a large square power button in the middle. It's not exactly fancy but is a change from the norm. The gloss finish may put some off but, in the Hadron Air's defense, it's not a straight silver mirror finish but a more a glossy brown/black. It proved to be fairly fingerprint and scratch-proof too. Nonetheless, for our taste, a mesh panel here might have been preferable, even if it's not cooling orientated - the mesh in the top panel looks great.

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Amazingly, for such a tiny case, the Hadron Air even includes a side window, although it does partly show the two 3.5in/2.5in bays. The right panel sports another surprise - a cut-out for a slimline slot-loading optical drive. A slimline drive is going to be pricier than a 5.25in drive you can fit in the Prodigy or such like, but EVGA could easily have scrubbed optical drive support altogether so at least there's an option if you need CD/DVD/Blu-ray support. Below this are two USB 3.0 ports and two minijacks.

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The rear of the case reveals a lot about the internal workings. The Hadron is so small that using an SFX or ATX PSU would have a huge impact on the internal space, with the only alternative being one that we loath: to have the PSU mounted over the motherboard (this restricts CPU cooler height massively and generally makes for an awkward system). EVGA has instead taken the bold move of offering its own slimline server-style PSU, which is akin to an oversized Shuttle affair if you're familiar with those.

We say bold because in our experience, the tiny fans in these units tend to be loud, and moreover having an included PSU seriously ramps the price up. Still, we certainly can't think of another way around the problem and the PSU EVGA provides certainly seems to tick all the right boxes. It provides up to 500W, has a 40A 12V rail, sports dual 6+2-pin PCI-E connectors and all the usual motherboard connectors plus two SATA and four Molex connectors - enough to power anything you can fit into the case but not much more.

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The front coating isn't eye-glaringly reflective but it does attract dust and finger prints - Click to enlarge

Specifications
  • Dimensions (mm) 169 x 308 x 305 (W x D x H)
  • Material Steel
  • Available colours Black
  • Weight 6kg
  • Front panel Power, 2 x USB 3, stereo, microphone,
  • Drive bays 2 x 3.5in/2.5in, 1 x slimline optical (slot-loading)
  • Form factor(s) Mini-ITX
  • Cooling 2 x 120mm (2 x 120mm fans supplied
  • CPU cooler clearance 140mm
  • Maximum graphics card length 267mm dual-slot
  • Maximum PSU length PSU included
  • Extras 500W PSU