AOpen G325 Casing


Exterior Design

Exterior Design

Taking a cue from the sporty enhancements favored by wannabe car enthusiasts, AOpen has added decorative arches to the sides of the G325, giving it a rocket like appearance. (Or maybe we were just influenced by the packaging, which had a trail of exhaust and fire emerging from the back of the G325.) These arches are made of plastic and the ends and corners can be quite sharp and pointy so be careful or you may get a few unpleasant grazes. Naturally, our first instinct was to lift the casing out of its box by one of these arches, which seemed appropriately like handles. That was until we saw a tag hanging by one of them, warning us not to use them as handles. With a weight of around 4kg when empty, the fragile arches on the AOpen G325 can probably be misused in this fashion for a while but you really shouldn't try it when it's loaded with your precious hardware, as these arches are just mere styling and not properly attached to the chassis. The lack of a carrying handle does dampen our enthusiasm for this light casing somewhat and you would probably end up hugging it as the most comfortable carrying position.

The front bezel is slightly curved and made out of plastic while the drive bays are all hidden behind bay doors. Only the top 5.25-inch external bay has an eject button to accommodate an optical drive; the others are opened manually if required. The entire front bezel can be removed rather easily and you will need to do so to install your optical or floppy drives. This being a SFF casing, you can only have one external 5.25-inch and 3.5-inch drive. There's just the one button for power and reset and it glows blue when the system is running. The lower front panel opens to reveal the standard ports, which are two USB2.0 ports, audio and microphone jacks and a FireWire port.

Simple ventilation holes are found at the sides of the casing. These are no meshes for them so expect dust to gather quickly in your system. Unfortunately, there are also no front ventilation holes so these are the only pathways for outside air to enter the casing. Hence, regular cleaning is probably necessary to prevent dust buildup from affecting your system temperatures. With no allowances for attaching cooling fans, the PSU fan is likely your only source of moving air. We expect it may get rather warm inside in the casing, as PSU fans are generally not the best system ventilators.

The external housing for the PSU is perhaps the most distinctive feature of the AOpen G325. Putting the PSU outside helps to save valuable space inside the casing for your components so it's not a bad idea. In principle, it's similar to the external power bricks that are found on the Xbox 360 or the Mac Mini. Removing the plastic shroud to install the PSU is relatively straightforward, requiring only a screwdriver.