Egyptian deities probably aren’t a realm to which PC enthusiasts give much thought when picking out components, but for whatever reason, the Hiper Group has decided that’s the appropriate theme for its new line of cases. Considering we’ve seen everything from the companion cube from Portal to a simple shoebox used as inspiration for the protection and containment of a PC’s guts, we’re just going to have to go along and make puns involving mummies and pyramids for a few pages while examining this fine-looking, all-aluminum, multiple-120mm-fan-wielding ATX case known as the Osiris.
Hiper’s first case in the same line (and first case at all) was called the Anubis, and it gave us a glimpse of the potential at the Hiper Group. Built exclusively from aluminum and focusing on airflow, the Anubis was a rather impressive entrance into the market. With the Osiris, Hiper has taken all the criticism and feedback from the Anubis and gone back to the drawing board to optimize modularity and simplify design. The result is a good example of form following function—and a rather spiffy case, to boot.
Aesthetically, there isn’t much about the Osiris that we haven’t seen before. But the elements do come together in a way that will certainly please most enthusiasts.
Like the Cosmos we’ve praised so much and many other popular cases released recently, the Osiris keeps flair to a minimum and uses small elements of flash to upgrade its appearance from boring to classy. Chrome-colored piping outlines the 120mm fan intake at the bottom of the front panel, beneath the five-high 5.25″ drive rack. The brushed aluminum comes in your choice of anodized black or silver, both of which have a deeply-grooved, brushed finish. Our black unit has a particularly industrial flair.
Hiper includes stealthy drive bay doors that can hide optical drives that might otherwise disrupt the Osiris’ all-black exterior. In our experience, these bay covers only work well with the most ‘standard’ of optical drive configurations (the eject button layout can be tricky to match just right). If the bay covers don’t work with your burner of choice, you can always remove them and just put up with looking at the bezel of the optical drive itself.
In an interesting twist, the Osiris has an honest-to-goodness accurate hieroglyphic inscription of its name in the top right corner of the front bezel. Check it out in the picture below:
Moving to the case’s top plate, we find one more 120mm fan positioned toward the back, providing extra exhaust from the hottest area of the interior. The port cluster is up top, as well—a design decision we’re seeing more and more with taller towers, which makes sense since we figure most people don’t like having cases this large taking up a significant portion of their desk. For the Osiris, it’s almost imperative you keep the case on the ground. Not only is the port cluster up top, but the power and reset buttons are too, along with the HDD activity and power LEDs.
The port and button area is set off from the rest of the top panel on a separate piece of aluminum, and I rather like the effect. The lack of an outline doesn’t exactly match the rest of the styling scheme, but the addition of the bolts at the corners gives the panel the same industrial look as the front of the case. Here we see the only mention of the manufacturer anywhere on the unit, a welcome change from displaying brand logos all over the place. We also find an eSATA port, instead of the usual Firewire plug, and a trio of audio hookups, instead of the usual headphone and mic jacks. It’s a shame the USB ports are so close together, though. I’ve noticed that even the smallest of USB flash drives tends to keep other devices from plugging in easily when the ports are crammed right next to each other.
Moving down to the side, we encounter the first truly unique aspect to the Osiris. Instead of using a steel mesh for ventilation and EMF protection or a typical clear acrylic window for showing off the internals while keeping out dust, Hiper has employed both materials in a dust-free, mesh-looking side panel. At first, we were a bit skeptical of the approach, but using multiple materials in case panels seems to be rather commonplace now. This particular arrangement gains the benefit of some visibility into the guts while avoiding the problems associated with dust entering the computer from locations other than the fan intakes.
Before we jump inside, let’s take a quick look at the back of the Osiris. Note first how the increasingly popular bottom-mounted power supply bay makes an appearance, and also that we can already see how the bay is designed to supply the PSU with ample cool air. A filtered intake in the case’s bottom plate allows even largest of PSU fans to draw all the cool air they need from directly outside the case rather than having to make do with warm air that’s already flowed over hard drives, the processor, or other internal components. From here, we can also see hose holes for water-cooling rigs and an exhaust grill capable of supporting multiple fan sizes.
Unfortunately, this shot also reveals some damage that our review unit incurred during transit. There’s no doubt in my mind that the side panel would fit fine if the case hadn’t been manhandled, because the right side panel is the same size and uses the same mechanisms, and it sits perfectly flush.
As it arrived, the Osiris’ frame was bent just out of square enough to keep the left side panel from fitting properly. The latches at the top were both in good working order, but one of the hinges on the bottom was broken off, further preventing the side panel from staying put.
There isn’t anything too surprising about the internal layout of the Osiris, but we did see why the side cover was giving us problems.
Due to someone treating our test unit like a soccer ball (and they must’ve been really rough because, the packaging foam was quite thick and sturdy), one of the braces for the rear spring-loaded hinge broke, allowing the hinge fall off its mount. These spring hinges are actually one of the nicer systems I’ve seen for holding and guiding side panels into place. Sometimes it’s amazing to me just how hard it is to get a side panel perfectly positioned for it to lock, but with the Osiris you just gently guide the panel downward at an angle, and then use the latches at top to secure it. Nice.
The inside of the Osiris is rather spacious, with no dividers or crossbeams restricting access to the internals or interfering with irregularly-shaped components. One has to wonder if some additional bracing might have helped the case from getting knocked out of square, but the ability to withstand rough play really shouldn’t have to be a consideration when buying an enclosure. We’re confident that the Osiris is strong enough to endure typical PC settings, and we’d rather have easy access to its guts than superfluous dividers.
Drive capacity is in line with expectations for a case this size, with the Osiris capable of housing four hard drives in a fan-equipped cage and five 5.25″ drives that line up with the pop-out panels up front. Interestingly, the Osiris completely lacks an external bay for a 3.5″ drive by default, but there is an adapter cage which will fill the 5.25″ pop-outs if you want to run a floppy drive, or more likely, one of those everything-in-one flash card readers.
We’re pleased to see some basic vibration absorbing material for each and every drive, including the externally-mounted 3.5″ drive. In practice, however, these small strips of rubber haven’t wowed us with their noise reduction performance. Notice that Hiper has designed extra fins of aluminum onto the side of each drive slot, presumably in an attempt to keep the drives running cool.
Instead of sliding drives in from the back or the front, Hiper takes a different approach. To install drives, first you must remove the entire front panel from the case. This is a relatively simple “pull hard enough until it gives” procedure, but I would have preferred if a latching mechanism similar to the side panels were implemented instead. Note the 3.5″ adapter plate I mentioned before; it can be moved into one of the top five slots and mounts flush with the rest of the bezel.
Even the hard drive cage is designed to slide out of the front of the case rather than being removed internally, which makes for a bit of a pain if all you want to do is change a hard drive. The drive rack does have mounting slots that allow for a large range of motion for all the drives, allowing one to line them up with the front bezel or push them slightly forward or back. It doesn’t hurt that Hiper includes enough thumbscrews for a tool-less installion with any drive combination you could imagine, but more on that later.
The only thing really worth talking about in the motherboard area is the excellent cooling potential around the CPU area thanks to dual 120mm exhaust fans. As the ever-popular Antec P180’s design has shown, it’s generally better to exhaust all the hottest air from the top rear of a case instead of limiting airflow in the region with another heat-producing component, like a power supply. It’s also easy to see in these two shots how the power supply’s cables aren’t going to be obstructed by any kind of compartmental barrier, which will make for an easier install.
Every power supply I’ve ever seen should fit in the Osiris. Unlike some cases, there are no obstructions whatsoever on the bottom plate. The only thing to make sure of is that the PSU’s fan is positioned over the supplied fan filter. Then again, doing so is only necessary if you want your PSU getting its air from outside the case—the Osiris’ power supply mounting plate has screw holes for an inverted install, too.
Putting it together
After setting our power supply into the bottom tray, the rest of our basic test system install went smoothly.
The hard drive mounting system works well and doesn’t require tools. However, we really don’t see much point to the rubber strips considering that they only cover a small portion of the drive once it’s properly installed. Each drive has to go into its predetermined slot, so there’s no choice but to line them up right between each absorption strip/heatsink combination.
Our motherboard went in next, and we were pleased to see that our large Silverstone CPU cooler fitted with an Antec tri-cool 120mm fan fit into the case without any problems. The DVD burner went in just as easily, and with the supplied thumbscrews, we were easily able to get a perfect fit with the stealthy eject button and tray cover.
Looking at our fully-assembled system, it’s clear the Osiris can house larger-than-normal video cards. With massive cards like the GeForce GTX 280, case design becomes much more of an issue than it used to be. We’re confident the Osiris would make a fine choice for even the longest of video cards, just as long as you position your drives accordingly. A sufficiently long graphics card in one of the bottom three ATX motherboard slots might run into the hard drive cage, but one could probably work around this conflict by placing the hard drive cage near the top of the case or by using the supplied external 3.5″ drive adapter for a single drive instead.
While the Osiris will house a Flex-ATX, Micro-ATX, or standard ATX motherboard just fine, it doesn’t have mounting points for extended ATX mobos. We’d recommend checking out Cooler Master’s Cosmos if you need to squeeze in a server or workstation board.
Although our simple install in the Osiris certainly won’t tax its thermal capabilities as much as some enthusiast’s rigs, it will give us a general idea of how cool the case keeps various components. We used a basic nForce-based Micro-ATX motherboard with an Athlon 64 X2 3800+ CPU, along with a GeForce 6600 GT, a 300GB SATA hard drive, and an NEC DVD-R/RW optical drive in our test system. As I said, we opted for a Silverstone CPU heatsink fitted with a 120mm Antec Tri Cool fan and a Zalman VF-700 Cu cooler for the video card. After loading the computer with rthdribl for the GPU and/or Prime 95 for the CPU, we measured the temperatures with SpeedFan.
Keep in mind that we’re using aftermarket coolers for both the CPU and GPU. More and more people are comfortable with heatsink swaps, even on graphics cards, and that shouldn’t skew our evaluation of the case. Furthermore, we’ve scaled back every fan in the case to run slower than normal; we have our tri-cool CPU fan running at its low setting, and we have two of the 120mm case fans (and the GPU fan as well) connected to a three-pin to four-pin molex adapter that actually gives the fan 5V instead of 12V. Hiper included some three-pin to four-pin molex adapters, but they’re designed to use the usual 12V line. I used a Zalman FanMate controller to bring the third 120mm fan down to a level that was inaudible above the other fans, too. After these adjustments to fan speeds were made, I used a sound level meter and got a reading of 24 dBA 12″ from the front of the case and 25 dBA 12″ from the side. That’s fantastically quiet.
This case is darn near silent with these simple modifications, and with any normal amount of background noise, a system in the Osiris should be impossible to notice by sound alone. With results like these, it’s a real shame more case manufacturers don’t bundle the 5V versions of those 4-pin-to-3-pin fan adapters. 12V is wholly unnecessary for proper cooling in the Osiris, save for maybe a super-overclocked quad-core with dual Radeon 4870s. It’d be especially nice for Hiper to include these adapters (or at least a basic three-way switch like Antec does) considering the Osiris is already designed with simplicity in mind.
We didn’t formally review the Anubis, but we’ve looked at Hiper’s products before, namely its Type R power supply. After Hiper earned our TR Recommended stamp of approval for the Type R, we had high expectations for the Osiris, and for the most part, it has delivered. The construction could be a little stiffer and the aluminum a little thicker, but the Osiris’s fit and finish are executed well. Our test system was easy to install, especially the power supply, but we’re a little miffed by the misaligned vibration strips in the hard drive cage. Granted, after it was all put together, I didn’t think the hard drive sounds were a serious enough issue to complain about, especially in light of the optical drive really being the only component still generating a significant amount of noise.
The little things start to matter more and more in the crowded market that hosts the Osiris, so we’re pleased to find little touches like the included zipper pouch chock full of well-labeled accessories. The ability to secure the drives with thumbscrews might seem a little old-fashioned compared to screwless designs like the Cosmos, but no one can deny their simple functionality or steadfastness. We would’ve liked to see some kind of fan undervolting accessory considering our system did fine with all the case fans running way slower than normal, but the clever side panel latching mechanism, window design, and flexible power supply mounting holes easily make up for this omission.
Ultimately, a case needs to embody the look of the entire computer as you imagine it, and we can see plenty of folks liking what the Osiris offers. This is a more cautious design that will appeal widely to enthusiasts, but it’s not too boring, either.
At around $170 online, the Osiris is priced right about where you’d expect a high-end enclosure. In this range, the Osiris has to compete with cases like Antec’s venerable P180, which can’t easily accommodate the longer video cards and power supply units that fit comfortably into the Osiris. The Osiris also bristles with aluminum, which makes for a lighter system overall. However, it doesn’t feature fan filters, speed controls, or sound-insulating panels. Whether the Osiris is the right enclosure for your next system will depend on your priorities and, of course, your aesthetic preferences.