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GIGABYTE Triton 180 Case
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Date: Aug 07, 2007
Section:Misc
Author: Jeff Bouton
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Introduction and Product Specifications

When you think of GIGABYTE, you may envision only a manufacturer of motherboards and video cards, but there is a lot more to this Taiwan based company than initially meets the eye.  GIGABYTE also markets Network Servers, Notebook PCs, a broad array of peripherals and their Thermal Solutions line which covers PSUs, air and water cooling kits, and Chassis.

When perusing GIGABYTE's line of chassis in preparation for this article, we were taken aback by just how extensive their collection was.  Their high-end 3DMercury line integrates liquid cooling with a slick aesthetic, which makes for an impressive looking premium case for the serious enthusiast.  At the other end of the spectrum is the more affordable Triton series, which offers sleek looks, a toolless design and silent air cooling that can easily be updated with a water cooling kit later on.  In between, GIGABYTE offers a broad range of chassis to fit many budgets and needs, with an obvious focus on details.

Today, we're going to focus our attention on those looking for an affordable case with premium features and room to grow.  The Triton 180 is a mid-tower which offers tons of drive bays, tool free installation and oversized fans for quiet cooling.  Those looking for a solid chassis for about $70, GIGABYTE thinks they have your answer.

GIGABYTE Triton 180 Chassis
Back in Black

Dimension:  200 x 440x 480 mm (W x H x D)

Front bezel:  Material Aluminum

Color:  Silver / Black

Side Panel:  Intel CAG1.1Air Guide Design

Body Material:  0.7 mm SECC

Net Weight:  8.4kg

5.25" drive bay:  (External) 5

3.5" drive bay:  (External) 2

3.5" drive bay:  (Internal) 3

Expansion Slot:  7

System Fan: 
(front) One 120 mm silent fan equipped  
(rear) One 120 mm silent fans equipped

I / O Ports:
Two USB2.0
One IEEE 1394
HD audio + AC97

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The package we evaluated was a complete retail kit including a black Triton 180 case and a few other items to help with system assembly.   The package included a Manual that thoroughly covered all aspects of the cases' features as well as providing clear step-by-step instructions for completing a full system build.  Along with the manual, GIGABYTE provides an assembly kit to help ensure that the build goes smoothly. 

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There is a major emphasis on the Triton 180 being 'tool free', but that doesn't mean some components won't need to be screwed in the old fashioned way.  For example, standoffs and accompanying screws are provided for mounting the motherboard to the motherboard tray.  There were a few extra screws for mounting the PSU as well, while three pair of drive runners are provided for mounting drives in the three internal 3.5" bays.  Lastly, GIGABYTE included a few adhesive wire tie downs, a magnet ring and a small polishing cloth to keep the case looking new.

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Exterior Overview

Made from light weight aluminum, the mid-tower Triton 180 comes in either silver or, as with our unit, black finishes.  The front of the case is outfitted with a nice collection of USB, FireWire and Audio ports for connecting external components.  There are two USB ports and one FireWire port for connecting Flash Drives, Digital Cameras, external hard drives or any other item that may need frequent connection and removal.  There were also a Headphone and Microphone ports, that support both HD Audio and AC97 headers.

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The Triton 180 comes with a ton of room for storage components.  The case is layed out for maximum drive capacity, offering five external 5.25" drive bays, two external 3.5" drive bays and an additional three side mounted 3.5" internal drive bays.  It's hard to think that the average consumer would fill all 10 drive bays, but if needed, the Triton 180 has more than enough room to support a multitude of storage options.

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The front bezel is removable for installing drives, although the clips were very tight.  With many cases, the front bezel pops off with a little tug, but the Triton 180 is designed to be released by taking off both side panels first and physically releasing each of fours clips by hand.  This is less than ideal in our opinion since many cases come with easily removable bezels that require a simple tug.  This is even more of a factor since the Triton 180 comes with a filter that requires the bezel's removal to access and clean.  The removeable filter is washable, much like what is found in a window-style air conditioner. 

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The rear of the case comes with an I/O shield, which seems unnecessary since every aftermarket motherboard will come with a custom fitted shield of its own.  Both side panels are removable with two thumbscrews each; the PSU is mounted with four screws included in the kit.  The bottom of the chassis comes with four rubber lined feet that absorb vibration and keeps the case from sliding on smooth surfaces.

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Interior Design

Once the cover was removed, we had a clear view of the intake port of the front mounted 120mm near-silent fan.  This fan is situated near the lower three hard drive bays so that the fan blows cool air directly on any installed drives.  This is the ideal scenario for keeping the drives cool.  The rear of the case has a matching fan to exhaust warm air.  GIGABYTE added a nice touch by mounting each fan with rubber buffers to absorb any vibration created by the fans.

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As we stated earlier, the case can support a total of 10 drives, with five 5.25" external bays, two 3.5" external bays and three 3.5" internals bays.  The 3.5" and 5.25" external bays utilize a tool free mechanism for securing the drives.  Each group of bays has a similar mechanism, which includes an unlock switch and slide rail.  Installing both Optical and Hard drives is a snap.  Simply slide each component into place and lock each drive into place.

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Installing hard drives into the internal cage is even easier than the front mount bays.  Simply attach the side rails to the drive and slide the drive into positon until it locks.  To remove the drives, release the tension on the rail tabs and pull forward.  When it comes to mounting drives, GIGABYTE has come up with a simple tool free design that works exactly as expected.

The next major area to focus on is installation of PCI cards.  Like the drives, GIGABYTE integrates a tool free mechanism.  The latch is a two stage device that requires you to push it down to release and then pull it up to open.  It's a little different to other toolless designs we've seen, but works rather well once you get the hang of it.  Once the card is put into position, the latch easily locks into place, securing each card.

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The Triton 180 comes equipped with all the necessary connections pre-wired including USB, FireWire and Audio plugs to connect to the motherboard headers for each.  There are also the standard hard drive and power LEDs as well as Power and Reset switches. Both the front intake fan and rear exhaust fan can be connected directly to a single motherboard chassis fan header as both are combined into a one plug assembly.  We should note that the rear fan comes from the factory with its wire neatly routed to the front of the case, which is a nice touch.  The last item to cover is the cone added to the side panel to help focus cooler outside air onto the CPU.  This is an interesting idea that follows Intel's CAG1.1 spec, but may get in the way with oversized coolers, such as the popular ZALMAN CNPS9500 LED 92mm CPU cooler which is quite tall.  Fortunately, the cone is easily removed with four screws if necessary, so this isn't a major issue.

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System Build and Conclusion

To really get a feel for what it's like to work with the GIGABYTE Triton 180, we put together a compelte system inside the case.  When it came to the installation of the motherboard, we missed the option for a removable motherboard tray, but this was not a huge obstacle.  Installing the PSU, hard drive and graphics card all went smoothly.  While we used an ATI X2600XT for this test build, we also tried dropping a GeForce 8800GTX into the slot as well, since it is the longest card on the market.  With some cases, the long 8800GTX can pose a problem with hitting the hard drive cage, but the Triton 180 was manufactured with this in mind, allowing our card to fit into place without issue.

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Once we got all the hardware in place, it was time to fire up the system to get a sense for just how quiet the "silent" case fans were.  In the end, the only fan we actually heard was the CPU cooler that was used.  The case fans were very quiet while also moving a fair amount of air through the interior of the chassis.  With a quiet cooler and PSU installed, the Triton 180 should be an excellent candidate for those looking to build a near silent PC.

When building a new computer, or simply replacing an existing case, it's important to have a quality chassis to house all of your components.  For those in the market for a quality chassis that won't break the bank, GIGABYTE has come up with an affordable solution in the Triton 180.  For about $70, the Triton 180 offers a mostly tool free design that can house up to 10 drives while keeping things cool with two included 12cm case fans.  Not only were we impressed with how quiet the fans were, we also liked the little touches, such as wiring already run neatly in the case and rubber shock absorbers to buffer any vibrations.  Having a washable dust filter mounted on the front of the case was another plus, although the removal of the front bezel could use a redesign so users don't have to remove the side panels to clean the filter.  That niggle aside, this case proved to be an excellent offering for the price.

The GIGABYTE Triton 180 was a bit of a surprise. Whether you are looking to build a quiet air cooled rig or a water-cooled system, the Triton 180 can help get the job done. While it may not be a flashy product with bright LED case fans and a windowed side panel, we still find its form appealing while its function delivered on virtually every front.  For $70, we find it hard not to recommend the GIGABYTE Triton 180 chassis to anyone looking for a quality case with a strong emphasis on value.

  • Tool Free Design
  • Abundant Airflow
  • Air Filter 
  • Tons of Room for Multiple Drives
  • Very Quiet Case Fans 
  • Great Value
  • Bezel/Filter Removal Requires Both Side Panels be Removed
  • CAG1.1 Cone May Hit Larger CPU Coolers  

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