UK price (as reviewed): £111.98 (inc. VAT)
US price (as reviewed): Currently unavailable
Striking seems a fair way to describe the design of the P7-C1 Pro, one of the new chassis from the Taiwanese outfit that makes up its Project 7 family of products that extends into other areas like power supplies and fan controllers. Like Marmite, it received a very mixed response in the office once it was out of its packaging, so some are bound to love it and others to not-so-love it. Looking to appeal to different tastes, Aerocool has made the P7-C1 Pro available in all-black as well as the white/black one you see here. For different budgets, there’s also a non-Pro version in both colour choices that lacks the three RGB front fans and is further segmented into SKUs with either an acrylic window or a tempered glass side panel.
The roof and bottom looked initially like they were made of metal, but sadly like the front panel they are hewn from plastic. The core steel chassis also seemed a bit thin, so build quality isn’t one of this case’s strongest assets. We also noticed the white paint job, especially on the top and bottom parts, had a mild pearlescent finish with a subtle pinkish tinge – we’d probably opt for the black SKU given the choice. The P7-C1 Pro does at least have wide feet fitted with rubber pads, so it’s sturdy when upright.
The indented front panel has a large mesh section through which the trio of 120mm RGB fans glows. The white trim around the mesh is also backlit by RGB LEDs, though in the normal P7-C1 this is limited to eight static colours. With the P7-C1 Pro here, the P7-H1 fan/RGB hub is included and gives you control of the RGB LEDs through software or through your motherboard, if compatible. More on that over the page. All versions of the P7-C1 ship with a black 120mm rear exhaust fan as well.
The I/O panel is located on the roof. The power and reset buttons feel a little flimsy, but there’s good connectivity including an SD card reader and four USB ports (two at 3.0 speeds).
Ventilation slits in the outer roof panel allow for airflow here, although there’s no dust filter. That said, where Aerocool has used dust filters, the design leaves a lot to be desired. For example, getting the front filter out is a five-step process in the manual, as both side panels to be removed before the front panel will come off, and even then you need to unplug the panel’s LED cable for it to come away cleanly. For the PSU, meanwhile, there’s a thin sheet of material wedged into some notches, but the plastic bottom panel makes accessing it near impossible – we can’t see how you’d refit it without a lot of frustration. We could potentially overlook this design in a sub-£50 case, but at this price a slide-out filter here is basically a necessity.
September 18 2020 | 18:30