RAIDMAX TORNADO CHASSIS

11-156-223-13-300x225In Q1 2011 we built a new machine for general use. The Raidmax Tornado is a conventional ATX chassis. This chassis is available in several color schemes, including a bright red design. The model reviewed is the blue trimmed black color.

The chassis is not as deep as other ARX chassis which limits the size of video cards to abough 8 inches. Cards like the Asus EAH5450 and the EVGA GT 640 fit easily.

FANS

The Tornado has a rear 120mm fan and a 80mm front grill fan. There is also an 80mm fan on the side panel. The front and rear fans are blue but the rear fan is not illuminated. Its possible to install a 120mm fan in the front grill if desired.

The Tornado  is made of steel which which makes it more costly to ship. Steel chassis are stronger which makes them popular with extreme systems.

The side fan is aimed over the memory which can be warm due to heat from the CPU and regulator. Infrared cameras show the highest temperatures are near the regulators.

Overall airflow is fairly good, the main flow from the front and out the rear+PSU fans is typical. The side fan provides additional cool air to help with add-in cards and motherboard mounted heatsinks.

CABLE MANAGEMENT

The Tornado has no room under the motherboard tray to manage cables effectively. This means more zip-ties are needed to keep the clutter to a minimum.

We recommend using velcro cable straps in addition to zip-ties to manage cables, so that airflow is not impeded.

Modular power supplies make cable management easier by eliminating unneeded connectors.

MOTHERBOARD TRAY

The fixed motherboard tray lacks much room for installing a back plate. The means aftermarket coolers are limited to models that are designed for the LGA1155 socket.

The P8H61-M is a smaller µATX chassis that fits easily into the Tornado. There is ample room for 10″ video cards if desired.

We installed the Asus P8H61-M LE/CSM motherboard and Intel i3-2100 into this chassis to create a basic box. The i3-2100 is 65W TDP so a modest CPU cooler is adequate.

FRONT GRILL

The front grill is designed as large air filter. The front USB 2.0 and audio ports are placed in an obsolete floppy bay slot. The power and reset switches straddle the floppy bay making this arrangement convenient.

The power LED is blue and the hard disk LED is red. Both have large lenses and they are very bright.

Because Raidmax uses a front panel box for USB and audio, it’s actually easy to upgrade to USB 3.0 for use with more recent motherboard. We easily found a USB 3.0 box with HD audio that would match the Tornado easily.

PSU

The Tornado comes with a 238W power supply that is completely unsuitable. We installed  FSP SAGA+ 400R PSU and it was easy to connect. Using zip-ties to manage the cable bundle make the machine very tidy.

Only in very recent years has the PSU industry starting offering modular cables more widely. Most people are still using the older fixed cables which are easy to manage with the Tornado. Zip-ties are very popular in securing cables. Unused strands can be folded up and zip-tied to make storage easier.

Eventually we upgraded this machine with the Corsair CS450M which is much more energy efficient. The modular cables also makes cable management easier.

DISK BAYS

The hard disk bay has lots of room for hard disks. With enough SATA ports its possible to install 4 hard disks.

There are also 4 DVD bays which provides much room for even a duplication workstation. Some gamers actually installed 2-4 optical disks so that disk checks would be less of a nuisance.

VIDEO CARDS

Cool air is drawn from the front of the machine. Some video cards dump warm air back into a machine so the rear and PSU fans remove the heat. The side fan helps provide ample cool air to prevent heat buildup.

There is not enough room for longer gaming cards. This chassis can work with shorter cards: