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Aerocool's Project 7 P7-C0 Pro case reviewed

Cool looks and high airflow

When I first opened the box of Aerocool’s Project 7 P7-C0 Pro case, I felt like a kid at Christmas. This is the first case with RGB LEDs that I have ever beheld. I was excited! It took a lot of self-control to photograph this case before I pulled it apart, put a system inside, and generally covered it in fingerprints. This isn’t a case I would put under my desk and forget about. Thanks to the lighting inside, it would live on top of my desk in full view.

The P7-C0 Pro is an ATX mid-tower that measures 8” wide by 17.5” tall by 16.1” deep (205 mm x 468 mm x 451 mm). Aerocool made it compatible with ATX, microATX, and Mini-ITX motherboards. The chassis itself is made from steel that Aerocool claims is about 0.7 mm thick. Both the left and right sides of the case are covered with tinted tempered glass measuring about four millimeters thick.

The front panel of the case has a chamfered plastic rim that helps spread the light emanating from the RGB LED strip it frames. The panel mostly consists of metal mesh to allow plenty of airflow to the three front fan mounts. On the bottom of the front panel there is a handle to pull the panel away from the chassis. With a firm pull, the panel pops free. Be careful when removing the front panel as the RGB cord can become caught and damaged. This cord has to be unplugged from the I/O panel to allow the front panel to be completely removed.

Strangely, the front-panel RGB LED connector doesn’t connect to the included P7-H1 RGB LED fan hub (more on that later), so it can’t be controlled with the hub’s software. I think this incompatibility is an oversight, since it limits the number of colors a builder could choose in Aerocool’s RGB LED utility that would match up with the front-panel lighting.

The integrated RGB LED controller in the I/O hub cycles through 10 different colors, and that’s probably enough for most builders’ tastes, but I still would have preferred the option to connect it with the P7-H1. That compatibility would also give builders a reason to upgrade to the P7-H1 if they bought the non-Pro version of the P7-C0, much like Cooler Master’s modular system gives builders reason to stick with that company’s ecosystem. As it stands, the RGB LED accent at the front of the case has to be adjusted manually, and that’s unfortunate given the P7-H1’s tight integration with other Aerocool Project 7 hardware.

With the front panel removed, we can see the P7-C0 Pro’s removable dust filter. The filter uses magnets to keep it closed. Pulling it from the right swings it open on an integrated hinge. Once the dust filter is completely swung to the left, it pulls out for easy clean-up. With an open mesh front panel like the P7-C0’s, a filter like this is essential, and I’m glad to see one included.

At the rear of the case, Aerocool provides the standard I/O cutout along with a preinstalled 120-mm exhaust fan. This fan is a plain black affair with no RGB LED lighting, and it uses a three-pin connector for motherboard fan control. Although many motherboards now ship with headers that can control both three- and four-pin fans, we’d have preferred to see a four-pin PWM fan here for the best motherboard compatibility. The exhaust fan can be replaced with a radiator that uses either a 120-mm or a 140-mm fan.

Like most mid-towers, the P7-C0 offers seven expansion-card slots. There is a plate that slides over the expansion card brackets once they’re installed, which helps to better secure the cards. At the bottom of the rear face is the cutout for the power supply unit.

On the bottom of the case, Aerocool included a removable dust filter for the power supply. It easily slides out towards the rear of the case, although getting around to the rear of cases to remove dust filters like this one can be a bit of an inconvenience with a system installed. The feet on the case are constructed from plastic, and they have rubber pads on the bottom to reduce vibration and noise transfer to the system builder’s floor or desk.

On the top of the case, Aerocool includes another welcome dust filter. This dust filter is made of metal mesh and attaches to the case with magnetic strips on the borders of the filter. Underneath this filter, the company includes mounts for two 120-mm fans or one 140-mm spinner. Thanks to the narrow width of the case, however, radiators can’t be installed here—they’d run into the top of the motherboard.

The top I/O panel includes two USB 3.0 ports and separate headphone and microphone jacks. The large power button lights up blue when the system is powered on, and it’s paired with a hard drive activity light. The company’s engineers didn’t provide a reset switch, so holding down the power button to perform a hard reset is the only option for rescuing a locked system.

The final button on the top panel allows you to change the color emitting from the front panel’s RGB LEDs. As I noted earlier, this button cycles through 10 preset color options and doesn’t affect the color emanating from peripherals connected to Aerocool’s P7-H1 hub. Holding down this button for about a second and a half will trigger one of three separate lighting modes: solid, “breathing,” and “pulsating.” Holding down the button for four seconds will turn off the front-panel LEDs entirely.