All of the lights
The P7-C0 Pro comes with Aerocool’s RGB LED fan hub, called the P7-H1, and three RGB LED-illuminated P7-F12 Pro 120-mm fans. These spinners are high-quality hydraulic-bearing units, and they're outfitted with four rubber pads on their corners to minimize noise and vibration transfer to the host enclosure.
This hub connects to the motherboard with a fan header and a four-pin Molex cable. The choice of an increasingly-antiquated Molex connector to juice up the P7-H1 seems a bit curious to me, since the P7-C0 itself powers its front-panel RGB LED lighting with a SATA plug. The P7-H1 also needs an open USB header on the motherboard to interface with Aerocool’s P7-S1 RGB LED control utility. That's a lot of cables.
The hub can provide a speed signal to as many as five fans using a single PWM signal from the motherboard. Although the P7-S1 utility doesn’t provide speed control over the connected fans directly, it does offer RPM monitoring for those fans through its interface. Just how much control one will have over the connected fans will depend on the capabilities of one’s motherboard and its utilities. Although we’d prefer to see the P7-H1 provide a one-stop fan-control solution, that capability likely would have raised the cost of the P7-C0 Pro package overall. Offering a pass-through for the speed signal from the motherboard’s fan header is a fine compromise, even if it’s still a compromise.
Each fan has a male four-pin RGB LED plug that allows Aerocool’s software to control the color of the fans, as well as a female LED plug to allow daisy-chaining of the fans from one of the hub’s RGB LED headers. With the P7-S1 software, you can set the fans’ color and animation modes. The P7-S1 software offers three lighting modes, just like the P7-C0’s integrated controller: solid, “breathing,” and “pulsating.” Folks who want more elaborate lighting effects might have to chain the P7-F12 Pro fans from an increasingly-common RGB LED strip header on a motherboard, at which point the P7-H1 becomes a perfectly functional PWM fan hub.
Both of the P7-C0’s side panels are identical sheets of tinted tempered glass. After removing the four padded thumb screws on each side panel, you can ease the glass panel away from the chassis. The panels are held in place with a rubber grommet on what appears to be a motherboard standoff screw. Once either panel has been removed, you’ll want to take care not to misplace any of these grommets, as they tend to fall off. Reinstalling these glass panels can be a little tricky, too. Lining up all the holes with the grommets can take a little bit of patience. I found it easiest to line up the panel on the bottom grommets first, as the top ones then align almost automatically.
On the left side of the case, we can see that the mount for the power supply unit and the two 3.5” drive sleds are enclosed in their own compartment accessible from the right side of the case. We’ve encountered similar permanently-installed metal shrouds and drive cages in other cases, and we’re not fans of the design. The shroud can make installing a power supply and routing cables a headache, and the permanently-installed 3.5” drive cage makes room for extra cables quite limited in the P7-C0. While a permanent shroud may be the most aesthetically-pleasing way of hiding the power supply and its cabling, it’s not as user-friendly as it could be. At least Aerocool perforates the shroud with holes for PCIe cabling and the like.
The mostly-open main chamber allows for the installation of graphics cards up to 15.3” (390 mm) long with front fans installed, or 415 mm without. The maximum height of a CPU cooler is a generous 175 mm, too. A cable pass-through cut into the motherboard tray lets builders run cables from the back of the motherboard tray into the main chamber, although it’s not the most generously-sized cutout I’ve ever seen.
On the right side of the case, we can see the large hole Aerocool punched into the motherboard tray to ease the installation of after-market CPU coolers. The layout provides plenty of tiedown locations for cable management. In its tightest spots, the P7-C0 offers about half an inch (13 mm) of clearance for cables, but most of the cable routes one might want to use offer about 1.1” (29 mm) of space.
There are two SSD mounting plates on the right side of the case mounted behind the motherboard tray. Like the rest of the case, these trays are constructed out of steel and are removed by loosening the thumb screw and sliding the tray up. Securing SSDs to these trays requires the usual quartet of small screws, even if the trays themselves are tool-free.
Now for my favorite part of any case review. Aerocool preinstalls the motherboard standoffs in the P7-C0, removing an annoying step in any build. I had zero problems installing the motherboard using this preinstalled hardware.
Once I had the rest of my test system’s components installed, I discovered how little room the P7-C0 offers for running cables from the power supply through its various cut-outs and channels. I routed my wires though all of the holes I expected to use with the belief that there was enough room behind the motherboard tray for my preferred routes. With the limited space the case offers in some spots, though, I found myself rearranging wires often before settling on my final routing arrangement. As a result, I would warn prospective builders to plan their cable-routing schemes prior to installing components and cabling permanently. I suggest using twist ties as a method of figuring out cable routes before using the included zip ties, for example.
Once I had my system’s main power cables where I wanted them, I installed the three P7-F12 Pro RGB fans that came with the case on its front panel. Aerocool designs the fan hub to fit in a 2.5” SSD tray (or at least, it’s a happy coincidence), so I slid it into one of the P7-C0’s 2.5” drive sleds. I didn’t use any permanent attachment method for my testing, but the hub seemed to stay in place there. As we’ve seen with other cases that use similar layouts, the area in front of the power supply and behind the hard drive in the P7-C0 becomes a major pinch point for unused cable lengths and cables that just need to pass through to various components.
With the large amount of open space behind the front fans, I was sure I could get Cooler Master’s MasterLiquid 240 all-in-one cooler installed in this case, but that turned out not to be so. The large end tanks on the MasterLiquid 240 ran into protrusions near the I/0 panel mounted at the top of the case, and I could never quite get the cooler aligned with the front mounting points as a result. Builders using common Asetek liquid coolers with slimmer end tanks might have better results.
Given that my 240-mm radiator seemed incompatible with the P7-C0, I turned to the 120-mm push-pull setup offered by Cooler Master’s MasterLiquid 120 closed-loop cooler. I had no issues mounting this heatsink on the case’s rear wall. Since I had some extra places I could mount additional fans in the case afterward, I installed the former exhaust fan on the top of the case to help with airflow.
Other than some minor annoyances with cable management and my issues putting a 240-mm radiator in the front of the P7-C0, my build experience with this case was pretty easy, even if it wasn’t the most hassle-free build I’ve ever had.